It drives me crazy when I review water ionizer websites that claim that their machines are far superior to their competitor’s machines. They also seem to revel in bashing the competition. Why would anyone want to do this? All it does is confuse potential buyers and make the company look really stupid. The pharmaceutical industry must just be sitting back and chuckling at the ridiculous behavior of the participants in the water ionizer industry.
Bashing other companies or products in order to make your product look good by comparison is pathetic. The public is looking for information and the truth, not a sales pitch. Can you imagine GM using its marketing dollars to tell people not to buy a Ford or Chrysler because they make lousy cars? I think it was about 15 to 20 years ago that Coke and Pepsi went through a short period of bashing each other. The strategy turned the public off and people started looking to alternatives. The management teams at both Coke and Pepsi figured out very quickly that people don’t like that type of approach. I hope that the water ionizer companies learn the lesson quickly, so that they can start to focus on the important issues. I believe that everyone in the health care industry should be morally obligated to become as well informed as possible, as customers are putting their trust in their hands.
Now it’s time to take an honest look at what it takes to produce the best results from a water ionizer machine. I will start by saying that you can ignore most of the marketing hype that you see on the internet. While some sites provide excellent information, most focus their efforts on selling you their product. Marketing people emphasize the virtues of the products, and minimize the factors that are lacking in their machines.
Despite all the flashy proclamations on the internet, there are two key elements to producing the best results for ionized water. Marketing companies illustrate other virtues, but they are secondary factors in producing good results. The primary factors are:
1) The amount of electrolysis that actually occurs in the ionizing chamber of a water ionizer.
2) Dealing with the factors presented by the source water.
Dealing with issue number one (the time that water is exposed to the ionizer plates) is easy. It is simple physics to understand that the more electrolysis that takes place, the better the results in terms of producing pH and ORP. So, how do the machines achieve maximum electrolysis? The ionizer companies go on and on about the plate size, the material the plates are made of, solid plates vs. mesh plates vs. slotted plates, and power. The simple fact is that the more exposure to the surface area of the plates, the more electrolysis takes place.
More surface area can be achieved in three ways… more plates, bigger plates, and introducing slots in the plates. More plates cost more and therefore push the price up. Bigger plates make the machines bigger and therefore make the appearance of the machine on your counter more conspicuous. Slotted plates add 25% more surface area (according to the physicists) without changing the size or number of the plates. So, it seems that slotted plates are a “no-brainer” as it doesn’t affect cost or size. You will see the companies that don’t have slotted plates present an argument about clogging, but it is nonsense. Putting slots in plates is a positive thing and it doesn’t increase the cost, so all the companies should be doing it. In every case, if you slow the flow of the water flow over the plates down, the results will improve, because more contact with the plates means more electrolysis. The review sites use water flow rates as one of the tricks to make their machines look like they produce the best results.
The manufacturers have been engaging in a battle of the number of plates for the past year. I believe that the primary reason for this strategy has been to combat the claims of one of the Multi Level Marketing companies that their machine was better because it had more plates. It is obvious that more plates are better, but how much is enough? I personally wasn’t convinced that moving from 5 plates to 7 plates would actually make a significant difference in performance, as I assumed it was just more marketing hype that would allow companies to raise their prices. However, when testing 5 plate versus 7 plate machines, the 7 plate machines do in fact produce better results under soft water or hard water conditions. If your source water is ideal (pH level of 7.1 to 7.3 and moderate hardness 80 to 140 parts per million), then you can achieve reasonably good results with a 5 plate machine.
Choosing a machine for its plate size becomes a personal issue. Bigger plates are better, but it makes the units bigger and more cumbersome. A bigger unit on the counter bothers some people, but not others. If a machine has small plates, the shortfall can be overcome somewhat by a machine that has more power. Personally, I can’t wait until the industry provides a wide array of under the counter “UTC” units that are priced more reasonably than what is available at this time. UTC units will allow for outstanding output from machines without worrying about the size, because the machine will be hidden away.
Now we need to deal with the more tricky factors, the source water. Canada and the USA have many different source water issues. We have to deal with great variations in the amount of hardness in the water, and we also have to deal with other water issues such as impurities. In cities, most people have to deal with chlorine and fluoride, which are negative factors, as well as concerns about the contents of older pipes. Rural areas don’t have to deal with chlorine and fluoride, but they typically have to deal with sediment in the water, and sometimes nasty things like nitrates (on farms) or heavy metals.
Unfortunately, the water ionizer companies have basically ignored the various issues and focused on selling their units. It is a typical case of greed, where profits are more important than safety. I believe that they can do a much better job. The only issue that the companies have addressed at all is the issue of soft water. Soft water is a problem for water ionizers because soft water contains very few minerals, and the ionizer requires minerals to work.
There are two different strategies that the various companies have chosen to deal with soft water. The old fashioned way to deal with a shortage of minerals in the water is with a calcium port, and the two oldest ionizer companies use this method. Companies that use this system have their customers purchase calcium and inject it into the machine. This system is effective, but I personally don’t care for it, because the amounts injected are not metered out in any systematic and accountable way, and the cost is both high and unnecessary. In my opinion, the better way to deal with soft water is to use filters that slowly introduce minerals into the water as the water moves through the filters. This system makes a lot more sense on an intuitive level, and there are no additional costs. While I would like to say that the manufacturers have perfected this system, it appears that they still have some work to do. Fortunately, one company in particular seems to be getting much better results than others when it comes to dealing with soft water, so it is just a matter of time until the competitors make the adjustment.
When it comes to the nasty things that we find in the water, I find that the manufacturers just don’t seem to care. Maybe they do care, but they certainly haven’t done anything about it yet. I think they can do a much better job. To that end, I have been doing some research with manufacturers of purification systems that could be used in combination with the water ionizer systems. I don’t have anything definitive yet, but the prospects are promising. I believe that we should be able to combine the positive aspects of the purification properties of reverse osmosis systems with the healthy contributions made by water ionizers. There are some logistical problems that we are working on, but I think a cost effective solution is possible. I will keep you posted as things develop.
This is totally off topic, but I thought it was funny. I was talking to a lady the other day about her new water ionizer, and I asked how she liked it. She said that she enjoyed the taste of the water, and that she had more energy, but what really impressed her was that her cat wouldn’t drink regular water anymore. It reminded me of a message on a magnet that my Mom used to have on her fridge. The message said “The more I get to know people, the more I like my cat”.
© This Alkaline Ionized Water article was posted on Waterfy