Your exclusive Culligan Representative in Halifax Regional Municpality

Facts: pH and Alkalinity Part 1

Historically pH is an abbreviation from Latin language and stands for “potentia hydrogenii” (those who had Latin at school might remember the double “i” referring to the genitive of the neutral gender – gee I am getting old, this is over 30 years ago now?) and could be translated as the power of hydrogen. Over the years and in order to keep the abbreviation in its genuine form alive, it has developed into “Potential of Hydrogen.”

PH is automatically linked to other components on which I will touch a little later and which will make the whole connection very interesting. The most important one is alkalinity.

PH displays how acidic or basic water is. On a scale from 0-14 you can test the respective levels with 7 being considered neutral, anything below meaning acidic and anything above meaning basic.

Measuring pH for the determination of any treatment system is crucial. PH needs to be measured on site, since the slightest impact of air on the water – we call it oxidization – starts changing the pH level almost immediately and – in the very most cases – upward.

Another interesting fact about pH readings is that the scale to measure the levels is built up “to the power of 10”. What it means is that water at level 6 is 10 times more acid than water at level 7 and as a result, water at level 5 is 100 times more acidic compared to level 7.

It is even crucial measuring pH before shocking a well. Between 5 and 7 pH value, any sanitizing matter such as bleach, chlorine, chlorinated lime, hypochlorate and similar work best. High pH levels will render the chlorine in-effective (and adding more does not help, since it now becomes more an oxidizer rather than a sanitizer, which can bring out the worst of your water right in the casing).
If, on the other hand, the pH is below 4.3 it becomes dangerous: chlorine dissolved in pH levels 4.3 and below turns into toxic chlorine gas – one of the buddies you do not want to welcome to your house!

By the way, please allow for another side note along wells: Whoever had a well shocked in the past (or is going to in the future), let me – besides checking and maintaining a proper pH level – draw you attention to one of the most common mistakes. Any carbon filters through any systems of the house should be removed before the “shock” or afterwards they are basically useless! No kidding here!

As a general rule for domestic water the following sentence can be applied: Any water below 6 (increase necessary) and above 8 (decrease necessary) needs to be treated or it will have a negative impact on your water/system/plumbing/health.

In the old days, toxic chemical substances were almost always the most popular way to go in order to treat (mostly low) pH. With today’s awareness, different non-toxic alternatives have found their way into the market place. We deliver numerous solutions for scenarios dealing with pH adjustments.

Now why is it so dangerous to have “the wrong” pH level? If your pH is too high, it will result in scale build-up in your plumbing and all treatment devices. If it is too low –depending on other circumstances, which I will explain a little further below, 6.5 might be enough by the way – the water contributes to the corrosion of pipes and fittings.

As such the “aggressiveness” of your water can now dissolve certain metals into the pipes that are a definite health issue. How corrosive water actually is, depends on the correlation of the following factors: alkalinity, water temperature, total dissolved solids and hardness.