The Pricey Effects of Too-Acid or Too-Alkaline Well Water

If you have a private well supplying your home, the acid/alkaline balance of your water is something you should pay careful attention to. If the water tends too far toward acid or alkaline, the effects of that water can be hard on your pocketbook. Whenever you test your water quality, make sure that the acidity or alkalinity is being measured.

Ideally, your water should be close to a neutral pH.


pH: The abbreviation pH refers to the concentration of hydrogen (H) ions in the water or other liquid. The p stands for potential.

Ion: An ion is an atom or molecule that has a net electrical charge because it has gained or lost one or more electrons.

Neutral pH: On a scale from 0.0 to 14, 7.0 is considered neutral. Pure water measures 7.0 on this scale.

Acid: Typically, an acid is a corrosive liquid. Anything below 7.0 is acidic to a greater or lesser degree. Battery acid would measure close to 0.0.

Alkaline: Anything above 7.0 is alkaline. Alkaline substances may be salty or acrid. Substances near 14.0 on this scale include ammonia and household bleach. Alkaline substances are also referred to as basic.

Does All Water Measure 7.0 on This Scale?

No, because surface water and well water also contain other ingredients. Minerals, industrial chemicals, soil, pollutants, and bedrock all have effects on the water supply they come in contact with. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that drinking water measure between 6.5 and 8.5 on this scale.

Water measuring 8.5 may be safe to drink, but this will be hard water, meaning that it has a high mineral content. Water seeping through limestone can pick up minerals like calcium and magnesium and become alkaline. Other minerals that contribute to hardness include aluminum, barium, manganese and zinc.

Water measuring 6.5 or below is acidic. Water can become acidic if it passes through tree roots or granite, but more often it is industrial pollution that makes it acidic. Groundwater that is too close to power plants, animal feedlots, landfills, mining sites, or other industrial operations may be acidic.

If your household water measures outside 6.5 to 8.5, correcting it to these acceptable limits protects the health of your family and pets as well as your pocketbook.

Effects of Acidic or Alkaline Water on Your Household and Health

If you notice any of the following problems in your household, it’s time to test the pH of your water!

Acidic Water

  • Acidic water is corrosive and so can gradually dissolve the metals in your plumbing system. This can introduce iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and lead into your drinking water.
  • Dissolved iron and copper will stain plumbing fixtures.
  • Zinc is sometimes used as a rust-resistant coating inside pipes. Acidic water can dissolve small quantities of this metal and add it to drinking water. The result can be nausea, vomiting, anemia and pancreatic damage.
  • Lead in drinking water is very dangerous. It can delay the mental and physical development of children. Among adults, it can increase blood pressure and harm the kidneys. It can also harm fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm birth.
  • Too much manganese in drinking water can affect the brain development of infants and young children. Among older adults, excessive manganese can cause a physical condition similar to Parkinson’s disease.
  • Acidic water can corrode pipes, resulting in leaks.
  • Dishwashers and water heaters can also become corroded and need replacement.

Alkaline Water

  • Alkaline water will build up deposits on kitchen and bathroom fixtures. These deposits are usually calcium carbonate and are referred to as limescale.
  • The same kinds of deposits can build up inside pipes, reducing water pressure.
  • Gas water heaters and dishwashers can also develop scale deposits which gradually reduce the efficiency of those appliances. They may eventually need to be replaced.
  • Hard, alkaline water may taste bad and be cloudy.
  • It may be difficult to get clothes clean.
  • Showering or bathing in hard water can dry the skin and hair.
  • Dishes and glasses may become spotted and these spots can be difficult to remove.
  • Hard water can also corrode plumbing pipes, although through a different process than acidic water.

Correcting Acidic or Alkaline Water

The first thing you need to know is where your well water measures on this scale. From there, we can help you determine what type of water filtering or treatment you need to provide healthy water for your family. All our most popular water tests provide an accurate measurement of your water’s pH. The other contaminants we test for can provide further insight into the reason your water is too acidic or alkaline.

We work with our water test customers to help them understand the results of their tests, advising them on the best type of filtration of water treatment to eliminate the problem. We want you, your family, your pets and even your houseplants to have access to plenty of healthy water! Call us at (800) 344-9977 to get started on an accurate analysis of your household water.