Common Questions About Acidic Water
What is Acidic Water?
Acidic water is water that has a low pH level, meaning it is more acidic than neutral water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral, lower values indicating greater acidity, and higher values indicating greater basicity which is considered alkaline. Acidic water can have a pH ranging from 0 to 6.9.
There are several factors that can contribute to the acidity of water, including the presence of certain minerals, such as sulfur and carbon dioxide, and industrial pollution.
What Causes Acidic Water Contamination?
Acidic water contamination is caused by natural processes that begin with rainwater and the soil leading to your well water source.
Rainwater is extremely acidic: when water evaporates, it leaves behind everything the water contains, including minerals, which are called dissolved solids. When these dissolved solids are removed from water, the pH is lowered immensely.
When that water falls back to the earth, it seeps into the ground and eventually reaches the source of your well water. As it makes its way through the soil, it normally picks up minerals. If it does, this can cause other issues, like iron water and hard water if the soil is rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium; however, if the water does not pick up minerals, it tends to stay acidic, and then you have this problem.
Do Any Places in Maryland Tend to Have Problems With Acidic Water?
Anne Arundel County tends to have acidic water and iron water issues.
However, because of how soil composition works, it is hard to say any given county or community has acidic drinking water issues. It varies everywhere, including between adjacent properties. It all depends on where your well is located, what water source it draws from, and what the soil environment leading to that water source looks like.
Is Acidic Water Harmful?
Acidic water can have a number of harmful impacts, including the corrosion of pipes and the leaching of heavy metals from pipes, which can affect the quality and safety of drinking water. It can also be harmful to plants and aquatic life.
When acidic water comes into contact with any metal, it begins to degrade it and leeches heavy metal into your water. The effects can be very costly to homeowners since the acidic water corrodes your plumbing, wrecks your appliances, and ruins your fixtures.
Acidic water can also lead to health issues since it strips metal from your pipes. For instance, acidic water can leach copper into the water if you have copper plumbing, which can lead to copper poisoning if your levels get too high.
What are Signs Around the House My Water is Too Acidic?
Damaged Water Fixtures
Do your water faucets and sinks look like they’re being eaten away by something? Because acidic water has a low pH, it strips away metal, and is an obvious sign of the problem.
Do you have blue-green or green stains in your sinks or around your water fixtures? (It will look like the Statue of Liberty.) Do you also have copper plumbing? This is a sign that you have heavy metals in your water which is created when acidic water comes in contact with copper or other metal plumbing.
Frequently Replacing Appliances
Think back over the past few years: have you had to replace or fix your hot water heater, dishwasher, or washing machine? Had issues with anything else that uses water along the same time frame?
While appliances can break, it is a sign of acidic water issues when appliances don’t fully perform as expected. A water heater isn’t able to heat up the water effectively, and washing machines may not clean as well as desired.
Leaky Plumbing Lines
If you do not have PVC plumbing and your pipes have developed leaks, acidic water could be wearing them away from the inside-out. If this is the case, you’re probably seeing some of the other issues mentioned above as well.
How Can I Treat Acidic Water?
You’ll want to consult with a water treatment expert about the best approach for your home. While some water issues are indicated by unique problems, there are some water issues that share the same signs. For example, acidic water and hard water ruin water heaters. Additionally, the remediation plan may be different for each home base on other water issues or plumbing configurations. You’ll want a trusted water consultant to test your water to diagnose the water issues so they can design a plan for your unique needs.
Generally, acidic water is addressed with a neutralizer, which is the tried and true method for dealing with low pH water. As fancy as that sounds, neutralizers mimic the soil and add in what your water source is missing. In the case of acidic water, neutralizers expose the water to calcite, which increases the water’s hardness. If a neutralizer isn’t effective enough since the pH is extremely low, we recommend installing a chemical feeder system.
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