The pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” and is a measurement that provides an indication of the level of hydrogen in a substance.
Ionization alters water in two significant and measurable ways: pH and ORP. These alterations to water are what make it very different from other waters you may drink.
The other way an ionizer alters the water is in ORP. This stands for Oxidation Reduction Potential. Most leading water researchers from Asia agree that in ionized water the elevated pH is good. But, the ORP is more important. Alteration to the ORP is what causes the micro-clustering, antioxidant and the oxygenating effects.
ORP is a “potential” energy that is stored and ready to be put to work. We know that the energy is in ionized water and we can measure it with an ORP meter. When we use the term “potential” in describing ORP, we are talking about electrical potential as expressed in millivolts.
What you measure is the very slight voltage in water. We are measuring the presence of oxidizing or reducing agents by their specific electrical charge, thus Oxidation-Reduction “Potential”.
High pH water has More “reducing” agents (-ORP) and low pH water has more oxidizing agents (+ORP).
The ORP of most tap water in North America is between +200 to +600mv, i.e. these waters are oxidizing agents. High pH ionized water demonstrates a –ORP and so is a reducing agent or “antioxidant”. Most bottled waters are acidic (low pH) –many are quite acidic — and have higher ORPs (over +400mv).
An ionizer works primarily on the mineral content in the water. Water without mineral content, like reverse osmosis or distilled water, will not conduct the current and therefore cannot be “ionized”.
Tap waters vary widely in the dissolved mineral content. The higher the mineral content (“harder” water) the higher the levels of pH and ORP alteration an ionizer can achieve; the lower the mineral content (“softer water”) the lower levels of pH and ORP alteration.
The heart of an ionizer is the water cell which contains the electrodes. The electrodes are what deliver the current and creates the “ionization”. We control the voltage conducted through the electrodes and then to the water by selecting the different “Alkaline” settings on an ionizer.
The higher the Alkaline setting (or voltage), the more alteration you will achieve in pH and ORP. Effective conductivity is the primary determinant – not electrode size – of effective delivery of the current or voltage into the water needed to create electrolysis.
The flow rate through the machine determines how long the water is in contact with the electrodes receiving the voltage and the effects of electrolysis.
If your flow is fast (say you could fill a quart or liter in 15 seconds) then the water is not processing very long and not receiving much alteration. Conversely, with a slow the flow rate (say the same quart or liter took 60 seconds) the water is in the chamber in contact with the electrodes longer and will receive more alteration.
You can always achieve higher pH and ORP readings with reduced flow rates. So, controlling the flow is an important variable in performance. If you speed up the flow rate, you get a less alteration; slow down the flow rate you’ll get more alteration.
Comparing ORP Water with a pH over about pH10 does not taste good to most people. Most researchers state that the ideal range for drinking alkaline water is between pH 8.5 and pH 9.5. When testing ORP at pH 8.5-9.5 levels is where the ORP should be tested at a pH level that a person would drink.