Chill Out when it comes to testing pH and ORP

After spending a few years in and around the water ionizer business, I have come to accept the fact that people are looking for the magic bullet when it comes to water machines.

Perfection isn’t ever going to happen because the bouncing ball never stops moving. The machines are not the problem…the water is. To be more specific, the water conditions are constantly changing, which makes it impossible for the machines to get it right every time. If there was such a thing as constant source water conditions, it would be easy to regulate the output from a water machine. The reality is that a constant supply of source water is never going to happen unless you distill the water. Even reverse osmosis systems, which take almost everything out of the water are subject to variation.

The never ending variation in test results drives some people crazy who are looking for the perfect solution. My reaction to the concerns of the “perfection seekers” is to “chill out”. I perosnally don’t think that it makes sense to strive for consistency, because the water supplied from natural sources is always changing.

My recent involvement in testing the Alkastream antioxidant filters on behalf of my friend Ian Hamilton has provided more confirmation of people’s insatiable need to “know the truth” through test results so they can “choose the best machine”. Ian sent out two dozen machines to prominent water dealers and experienced water people around the USA and Canada. The general feedback was very impressive other than some noted deficiencies associated with any beta testing program of a new product. I love the beta testing methodology, because it allows a company to get real feedback from experienced people under different conditions. The feedback allowed Ian to make modifications to his product that have made it a much better machine.

What really struck me about the feedback from Ian’s beta testing was the anguish that some testers expressed about varying results that they noted from time to time during their testing periods. I have become accustomed to the never ending changes because I have been testing all kinds of machines in my lab for the last three years. However, people that are suddenly thrust into “test mode” are often surprised by the lack of consistency of test results. My reaction to their “need” to have the perfect answer, in the words of my kids, is to “chill out”.

The concept of “perfect” natural water is considered to be fast moving water from a clean mountain stream that tumbles over over rocks. The idea is that the water in uncontaminated, it picks up natural minerals that will provide ionization, and it takes on a hexagonal configuration as it get bounced around during its journey. If you think about the “perfect” source water, you will come to realize that the content and hence the properties of the source water would be changing every moment.

When my wife and I visited a number of water ionizer factories in Korea last year, I learned from the “old pros” of the industry that they change the pre selected level of drinking water that they drink from their machines all the time. Taking my cue, I now drink strong alkaline water first thing in the morning and before going to the gym, and I drink weak alkaline water before bedtime.

I also learned that the real secret behind ionized water is hydrogen ions, as opposed to pH and ORP. That doesn’t mean that pH and ORP don’t count, but it does mean that our North American preoccupation with measuring those two variables and trying to reach higher highs and lower lows simply doesn’t make sense.

For those that are still “stuck” on ORP created by electrolysis, I suggest a quick test that is easy to do if you have a pH/ORP meter. Fill a glass of strong alkaline water, which should have an ORP reading of -200 to -600 depending upon the source water and the power setting. Place the meter in the water and take a reading. Once you have taken the reading, remove the meter and place the palm of your hand over the top of the glass and shake the glass vigourously for ten seconds. When you take another reading with the meter, you will notice that the ORP level will be very close to zero.

What does the test mean??? Are all the health benefits disappeared??? The answer is that the temporary or unstable ORP created by electrolysis has disappeared due to the vigour movement, but there will still be health inducing hydrogen ions in the water. As the kids would say, “It’s all good”. The lesson to be taken from this test is that it is not the huge negative ORP level that makes you healthy. Therefore, ignore the silly claims of the marketing companies that tell you that their plates are bigger or they have more power etc. etc. etc. Bigger is not better!

I have learned that it is best to drink the water produced by an electric water ionizer in the first ten seconds after the water has been created. The bubbles that the machine creates in the drinking water are hydrogen gas. You will notice that the bubbles quickly rise to the surface of the water and disappear. One the bubbles rise to the surface, they combine with air and their healing power is lost. That means that you should drink the bubbles if you want to maximize the effectiveness of the machine.

So, my advice would be to drink pure ionized water, either from an electric water ionizer or an antioxidant filter as they are both good for you. In addition, chill out about the pH and ORP discussions, as they are simply a way for the water ionizer sales people to show you that “something” is happening.

As always, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

4 Responses to Chill Out when it comes to testing pH and ORP

  1. Rob,

    Yes, these are my sentiments too. The purpose of the demonstrations are to show prospects that you can “do something” to the water that comes out of your home tap. Ionizer company reps seem to get quite hung up on the measurements, readings and plate/power sizes of the electric models.

    When the bottom line is how I feel after I continue to drink the water. What doesn’t come back allergies, lower back pain etc. I tend to tell people now it’s the negative hydrogen charge that is imprinted on the water that counts, and how long it sustains it.

    I also tell them that source water run through the antioxidant filter model is a ‘way’ cleaner water than coming through the filter of an electric water ionizer.

    • Hi Brenda:

      The frustrating part of all the testing is that while we all know what we are measuring in terms of pH and ORP, I have never read anything that confirms that the measurements mean anything. When I spoke to the engineers in Korea, they indicated that ORP is irrelevant and that the best levels for ORP are mildly negative. I have come to accept that line of thinking, but once again, I can’t prove it.

      I agree with you that it is all about making the source water clean in terms of removing contaminants and to produce hydrogen ions. Ultimately, it is really about how the water makes you feel.

  2. I have an Alkastream , my first ever alkalizing machine, but I wish it provided a better way to know the output pH of the water. The ball valve makes accuracy very difficult and I find myself having to measure pH all the time to know what I’m drinking at different times of the day. I love its simplicity and it’s not having to use electricity but I wish Alkastream would tweak their unit to correct this problem

    • Hi Kathleen:

      I will pass your comments along. I’m sure the company is aware of the issue. I assume the lack of a readout is a cost issue. However, what you probably don’t know is that the readouts on electric machines are not actually accurate. For example, when you set a level of 9.0 pH on an electric machine, the machine produces a “set” amount of energy to produce what it expects will create a 9.0 pH. However, the machine doesn’t have any idea what the source water conditions are. If the water is “soft” instead of “hard”, the machine will under perform. If the water is too hard, the machine will under perform.

      The electric machines allow for dealing with changing water supply conditions by providing many “sub levels” of power. In theory, the “sub levels” make sense, but how many people actually check the results from their machines every time they use it? Nobody does it. People assume that their source water conditions remain stable, but it is simply not true. So, the preset levels on electric machines are only a best guess. The machines themselves don’t actually monitor the output levels and adjust the power according to the source water conditions. So, the trade off in using a natural ionizer is that you can’t control the power supply because a power supply is not needed.

      On a personal level, I think that people put WAY TOO MUCH stock in the actual pH levels being produced by the machines. I think North Americans drink the water at much higher levels than they should because the water ionizer companies boast about the output levels in their advertising. I start with a strong pH level in the morning as a boost instead of drinking coffee. I taper off the pH level over the day and end up drinking water with a pH of about 8.0 in the evening. You can achieve similar results with an antioxidant filter by simply adjusting the water flow level. I agree that it would be nice if the product that you purchased has a flow control valve that was easier to operate.

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