What to Look for when Buying an Acid Neutralizer

An acid neutralizer is used to help maintain the pH balance in many water systems. If your sink drains or tub drains have turned a bluish-green color, then chances are you have acidic water. The acidic water reacts with copper pipes to create this discoloration. While acidic water isn't a major health concern, it is a nuisance to deal with. An acid neutralizer will treat the pH issues before the water comes in to your home. There are a few options to choose from when you pick one out. Here are just a few things to look for when you make your purchase.

pH Levels

You can purchase a test kit to determine what the actual pH level is in your water. If the level is less that 5.5 then an acid neutralizer isn't necessary. Even though a very low pH level indicates high acidity in your water, there are other methods to look at if your levels are lower than 5.5. Most often, an acid neutralizer isn't going to do the job necessary with very acidic pH levels. A liquid feed systems installed by a professional are the best options in these cases.

Medium of Neutralizer

The neutralizer is something that will need to be replaced every now and then. Because of this, knowing what is being used to neutralize the water in the first place is important. Most neutralizers will use either calcite, magnesium oxide or gravel. Since this is being used on your homes water supply, it's a good idea to make sure it's a food grade quality. These materials can be costly and very heavy. One cubic foot of calcite can weigh as much as 100 pounds. Be sure that the neutralizing unit you are choosing is one that is easily accessible, and will allow you to add the medium as often as needed without a lot of cost or effort involved. 

Down-Flow vs. Up-Flow

While both of these have benefits, the down-flow design is much easier to deal with. With a down-flow neutralizer, the water will flow down over the neutralizing medium before it enters your home. There is no additional pressure needed. An up-flow system will require a control valve and pressure. The water will be physically pushed up in to the neutralizer before it enters your homes water supply. This can equate to lower water pressure, and pieces of mineral can become dislodged because of the force and enter the pipes. A down-flow system is generally cheaper, easier to install and won't affect your homes water pressure.

Flow Rates

All neutralizers will be made with different flow rates. The average will work at around 5 gallons per minute. If you use a lot of water, or have a large family that may need to use different water supplies at the same time, a higher flow rate may be necessary. In some cases more than one unit may be required to achieve the flow rate that works best for your household.