You may have heard the term “pH level” used to describe drinking water quality, but don’t know what it means. The pH level in your water refers to how acidic or basic (alkaline) it is and is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. Water with a pH less than 7 is considered acidic and water with a pH greater than 7 is considered basic (alkaline). As an example, battery acid has a pH of 0 and is considered the most acidic, whereas lye has a pH of 14 and is considered the most basic (alkaline).
Pure water falls in the middle with a pH of 7 and is considered “neutral” because it is neither acidic nor basic (alkaline). In surface water systems, the normal range for pH is 6.5 to 8.5 and for groundwater systems it is 6 to 8.5. There are several reasons why the pH level matters when it comes to drinking water and why a pH adjustment may be necessary.
- pH Levels Can Change. Because the pH level in fresh water can fluctuate depending on weather patterns, natural processes, and human activity, many municipal water suppliers test the pH of the water to monitor for pollutants. When pollutants are discovered, a pH adjustment of the water is done to make it safe to drink again.
- Sign of Chemical or Heavy Metal Pollution. Water with a very low or high pH can indicate pollution and may not be safe for consumption. Increasing the pH of water is a technique used by many water utilities to protect customers from lead or other metals that may contaminate the drinking water.
- Unpleasant Smell or Taste. Water that falls outside of the pH range of 6.5 to 8.5, particularly if it’s alkaline, isn’t necessarily unsafe to drink but it can have an unpleasant smell or taste.
- Damage to Pipes and Fixtures. Acidic water with a pH of less than 6.5 is more likely to be contaminated with pollutants and can corrode metal pipes. Highly alkaline water can also damage pipes and other appliances that carry water.
If the water coming into your home comes from a well instead of a municipal source, it is especially important to have the pH level tested as well as testing for other contaminants to ensure that your drinking water is safe for your family. If you think that your water could be improved with a pH adjustment and would like to schedule a free in-home water test, please give us a call at Progressive Water Solutions LLC today.