Acidic water

by Mary Sauer
(Saugerties, NY)

We bought a full house water softener because our water is very hard as well as very acidic.

However, I have heard it is not good to drink softened water, so we bought an under sink filter Aquasana) to filter the drinking water which does NOT go through the softener.

The problem is that it will not alter the ph, only filter contaminants. What can we do about this?


It is unusual to have very hard water (with normally means it has a high mineral content) and have it be acidic.

To answer your question, it kind of depends on what is in your water and whether your water is from a well or a municipal water system.

Normally, municipal water is purified and then treated with chemicals such as chlorine and/or fluoride, which increases the acidity of the water.

However, lye is also often added to the municipal water to raise the pH slightly and make it more alkaline because acidic water can corrode the water pipes!

(Unfortunately, the water authorities don't seem to care too much what the lye does to our bodies if we drink straight tap water that is unfiltered.)

Anyway, the point is that tap water normally has a neutral pH of about 7.0 for this reason—because of the added lye.

So, if your tap water is acidic, then chances are your local water treatment plant is not adding lye.

It is most helpful to get a free water quality report annually and find out what they do and do not add to your water.

So if someone has a good quality drinking filter, such as an Aquasana water system, most of the contaminants, including the lye, are removed from the water.

However, removing the lye will often make the water slightly acidic again if the source water does not contain enough of the alkaline minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium.

If your source water is from a well, you do not have to deal with the problem of water treatment chemicals. And thus, I suspect you do not have a well because if well water is hard, it is most likely mineral rich and would therefore not be acidic.

Since the Aquasana system does not remove natural occurring minerals in water, your water will contain some minerals, which is healthier than the de-mineralized water produced by reverse osmosis systems and distillers.

If your drinking water is still acidic after filtration (removal of organic contaminants and some chemicals), most likely is just low in minerals.

Thus, I think the healthiest way to improve the alkalinity of your filtered drinking water (regardless of whether your source water is from a well or tap) is to simply add liquid ionic minerals to your drinking water or to take ionic minerals in a glass of water at least once a day.

OR you can replenish some of the trace minerals with a high quality natural salt, such as Himalayan crystal salt or Celtic sea salt, both of which contain over 80 trace minerals in a balanced form that is beneficial to the body.

I do NOT recommend most of the alkaline water tabs and solutions that are advertised to improve alkalinity of water. If you look at what’s in them, in most cases it is sodium hydroxide, or LYE.

Check out this definition of sodium hydroxide from Wikipedia:

“Sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, or lye, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula NaOH. It is a white solid and highly caustic metallic base and alkali salt which is available in pellets, flakes, granules, and as prepared solutions at a number of different concentrations.”

You can read more about the ionic minerals I recommend toward the bottom of my page about reverse osmosis water (which is very acidic).

You can learn more about the importance of natural, mineral-rich salt in your water here.

I hope this helps a little!

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Jun 21, 2014
Follow up to Acidic water
by: Anonymous

Nancy, so glad I have been able to pick your brain! Getting info from my husband is like pulling teeth, so after I read him our exchange he reminded me he hooked up a ph conditioner that wasn't being used at the farm, to our drinking water.

So this means we are taking our well water, passing it through the ph conditioner and then through the under sink Aquasana filter.

Taking your suggestion, I used the ph tester for our pool and tested the drinking water. It scored 8.5 or above! Joe says that is probably because the drinking water sits in the tank for a relatively long time compared to the whole house use. He said it uses calcite to buffer the ph.

Are there any issues with drinking water so alkaline? I can see I need to send my drinking water to be tested for more accurate results. Thanks again for your info. Mary


I believe calcite is CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) which is insoluble in water and ok to drink. In fact, some calcium supplements are in the form calcium carbonate. So, I would definitely not take any calcium supplements in addition to drinking this water. Too much calcium supplementation is not a good thing.

8.5 pH water is not too alkaline to drink. I have a water ionizer and drink water that is between 9.0 and 9.5 pH.

Jun 20, 2014
Should I drink filtered soft water?
by: Mary

Nancy, thanks for your reply. I realized I had forgotten to give you details about my water source.

We have a well, and the salesperson knew where we lived because he said it is the one place in our area with unusually acidic water.

We do have an aggregate company about 1/2 mile away which has been fined for burning PCBs and has contaminated groundwater, though the town says no individuals are impacted.

Our water tests came out good when we put our house up 6 years ago.

My paperwork from water conditioner says ph was 6.8, and hardness is 10, but I remember my husband discussing with salesperson a ph that was even lower (maybe 6.4 ?)

He told us we had a lot of calcium in the water during the hardness test (also greying of white clothes).

I am looking for your opinion, based on our proximity to the aggregate plant, if we should be running the drinking water filter AFTER the softened water or leave it as is, straight from the well? The Aquasana filter does not correct ph.

Thanks for your expertise. My parents also did the Reverse Osmosis and Distilled water route, coming to the same conclusions as you did, which is why we did not do RO. I am very interested to hear what you think. Thanks again. Mary


Mary, is your water softener salt-based or salt-free? If it is salt based, I would leave your drinking water filter as is, straight from the well. If it is salt free, it might be ok to filter the softened water.

However, I would still lean toward drinking water straight from the well after it is filtered through the Aquasana system.

You can read my comments about drinking soft water here.

Since I am sure you must have your well water tested regularly, try to get a pH test of the well water (as well as the water quality report) because I am sure it fluctuates depending on the groundwater.

In addition, you can get pH drops (inexpensively) from a pool supply store to check the pH of your drinking water after it is filtered to see where it's at.

Ideally, we want drinking water to be at 7.0 pH or higher but anything above 6.5 pH is reasonable and not a huge concern as long as you are getting some absorbable multi-mineral supplementation.

Since you know your well water is already high in calcium, I would NOT take any calcium supplementation. The amount of calcium that is in a balanced multi-mineral supplement will be fine.

Just to compare, reverse osmosis water is normally going to be at about 6.0 pH, which on the pH scale is a huge difference.

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