What is a water ionizer?2011-2-26 11:20:27
The Water Ionizer has been developed following decades of research in water ionizer technology in Japan. Water Ionizers have been imported from Japan and Korea since the early 1990's and is used extensively in medicine, industry and homes across the world. It is most commonly used by folks who are looking to reduce acidic toxic waste in the blood, tissues, and fluids of the body and to adhere to the more alkaline state required by most human metabolic processes.
So, What Are They?
A water ionizer is an appliance that uses the process of electrolysis to change the structure of water on the molecular level, creating antioxidant rich ionized alkaline, and oxidizing ionized acidic streams of water simultaneously.
Water ionization, or water electrolysis, is the method of producing a concentration of alkaline and acidic minerals - separating the oxygen and hydrogen found in water ( H2O ). The alkaline water provides an antioxidant and electron rich medium for consumption, and the acidic water provides oxidizing water that works like an antibacterial and cleanser for external use.
During electrolysis an electrical current is passed through electrodes in the electrolysis chamber where it comes in contact with the water as it flows through. These electrodes are often referred to as the "plates" because they are actually metal plates (titanium coated with platinum) within a sealed chamber.
During the electrolysis (or ionization) process, some of the plates will receive a positive electrical charge and some will receive a negative charge. The minerals in the water carry the electrical charge to complete the circuit. This means that the water going into the water ionizer MUST contain minerals for the machine to operate correctly. If "purified" water enters the water ionizer, no reaction will occur.
When water molecules are exposed to a strong enough electrical current the H2O molecular structure is separated, forming the negatively charged hydroxide ions and positively charged hydrogen ions.
The minerals in your tap water will have either a positive or negative electromagnetic charge. When the minerals in your water are exposed to the electrical charge inside the electrolysis chamber, they are drawn to either the positively or negatively charged plates (electrodes). For example, calcium and magnesium are considered to have a positive electromagnetic charge which, during the electrolysis process, causes them to be attracted to the negatively charged electrodes.
The same thing happens with the minerals that are negatively charged. Acidic negatively charged minerals are attracted to the positively charged electrodes or “plates.”
The electrodes attracting the alkaline and acidic minerals each have their own separate outflow ports. The separate outflow ports send water to the dispenser hose or the drain hose. The type of water ionizer you have and the pH level you select on the control panel determines whether alkaline or acidic water comes out of the main dispenser hose.
Water Ionizer Electrodes
The water ionizer electrodes are the heart of the unit. They are often referred to as the ionizer's "plating system", because the ionizing component is basically composed of metal plates (platinum-coated titanium) which carries a voltage across their surface. The plating system is what causes the incoming water to be separated into alkaline and acidic streams.
Electrodes can come in many different sizes, and have different textures. In the past, water ionizers used what is known as "flat" style plating systems, where the surface of each plate was flat and smooth. Older models of water ionizers that used flat style plating systems generally had higher electrical consumption and generated more heat. As water ionizer technology advanced, plating systems gradually became smaller and more sophisticated; with the invention of "mesh" type plating. Mesh plating allows for a much greater surface area and better electrical conductivity within a smaller area which, in turn, requires less energy consumption, produces less heat and achieves more efficient splitting of water molecules to produce greater pH and ORP results.
Another factor often used when referring to water ionizer plating systems is the "number" of plates used within the chamber. Contrary to popular advertising gimmicks, the actually number of plates used is irrelevant. Advanced electrical technology has, just as with every other electrical device, caused all components to become smaller and more efficient, achieving greater results. A good analogy would be to compare a Porsche™ with an old Station Wagon. A Porsche™ only uses 4 cylinders while the Station Wagon has 8 cylinders. The Porsche™ engine, with its newer and more sophisticated engine, is FAR more powerful and efficient than that of the older 8 cylinder engine of the Station Wagon. The same goes for water ionizer electrodes.
With all of that being said, the efficiency of any plating system of a water ionizer, whatever structure and texture it has, is dependent on its power supply system and its computerized control system.
The other important component in every water ionizer is the power supply. The power supply regulates the amount of power coming from your wall outlet, and converts this power into the current that is used to give the electrodes the positive and negative charges for ionization.
The two types of power supplies that are used in water ionization are 'transformers' and 'SMPS' (switched mode power supply). Transformers are able to deliver a more powerful "punch" to devices that require higher energy use (i.e. coffee makers, hair dryers, older style televisions, etc) while SMPS power supplies were generally for more delicate, more sophisticated technology, such as LCD televisions, computers, etc.
Due to the energy requirements of a water ionizer, all water ionizers up till today used transformer based power systems. Several previous attempts incorporate the more sophisticated SMPS power system into water ionizer technology failed (overheated and produced audible "hums"). But, as with all other technology, SMPS power systems have been advanced so that they are more able to handle the larger power requirement of water ionizers. SMPS is now being incorporated into the new, more advanced, water ionizers... which, in turn, is allowing for higher efficiency, lower power consumption, less wasted energy and less heat production. The newer water ionizers are now using this newer SMPS technology, which is controlled by the ionizer's computerized control system.
Computerized Control System
The brains of any water ionizer is it's controller board (circuit board). The control system basically controls all of the functionality of a water ionizer, and handles all communication between the user and the main components.
All water ionizers have settings that are "preset" by the factory to control desired levels of alkalinity. Older models of ionizers had basic functionality, and limited capacity for user interaction. Advanced computerized control systems found in all newer water ionizers allow users to adjust the power within the presets to ensure that the electrodes are receiving enough current to effectively split the source water. This allows you to customize each preset on the control panel like you "customize" the presets on your car radio. Many of the new water ionizers allow for "micro-adjustments" of all levels of activity in the water ionizer... even allowing for different language selections (finally!).
The computerized control system also monitors things like filter life, flow rate and proper function of the water ionizer. The more advanced the computerized control system, the more adjustability the water ionizer will have; which means more personalized control for the user. Owners can now better communicate with the water ionizer to tell it exactly what kind of water is being used - which allows the ionizer to adjust itself to adapt to the water type selected, producing more accurate and sustained results.
Every water ionizer will have some sort of filtration system to remove common contaminants, with either one or two internal filters. The types of filters offered by each water ionizer manufacturer varies greatly, but all of these filters can be categorized into several basic groupings. It is also important to note that due to the rising contaminant level of our tap water, filter technology is quickly advancing to adapt to the current water conditions.
In the old days, when our tap water was fairly clean and the internal ionizer filters only needed to handle a small amount of contaminant removal, standard GAC (granular activated carbon) media was acceptable. This media removes chlorine and other water treatment chemicals. For more complex contaminants found in the water supply, the use of pre-filtration was needed. A variety of pre-filters are available to handle different contaminants that the GAC can not remove, which can be found in our online shop , and do the trick of cleaning up the tap water quite nicely for many people.
Then came more water contaminants, and the introduction of "chloramine" (a chlorine-ammonia compound) by the municipal water supply companies. Chloramine was more capable of reducing bacteria in the water supply, but was far more poisonous to drink. So, water ionizer companies began to use what is known as "catalytic carbon," which has a much greater surface area, and a much better ability to remove harmful chloramine and other newly introduced contaminants. A giant leap forward in water ionizer filtration technology.
That brings us to today. The water supply in America (and around the world) is so utterly polluted, so disgusting, that one would wonder if the water is purposely being made poisonous by certain "interests". We are even now finding pharmaceuticals in our drinking water (i.e. heart medication, birth control, cholesterol lowering drugs, etc) in tens of millions of homes across America. This left water ionizer manufacturers to come up with newer, more advanced filtration for their machines.
The most advanced water filtration available for any water ionizer can be found in new "EHM filter technology. ThetEHM filters are the most advanced water filters that have ever been made available for water ionizers, and have stepped up to the task of removing not only a huge range of common water contaminants, but also remove dangerous pharmaceuticals from the tap water. Now, we can not only have healthy alkaline and ionized water, but CLEAN water as well.
Many water ionizers have a "mineral port" that allows for the addition of calcium, Himalayan salt, or scale guard media.
For folks with "soft" water - water with low amounts of calcium - a calcium cartridge can be inserted into a special port on the water ionizer to add required calcium to the water before ionization. EHM features the ability to add Himalayan salt to several of their machines, which help to create extremely acidic water when desired. And, for those who have slightly "hard" water - water with too much calcium content - EHM offers Scale Guard Inserts to help reduce the amount of scale buildup which might occur due to excessive calcium in the tap water.
Water Ionizers are different than other water purification methods
Water ionizers are considerably different than other types of plain water filtering methods, and should not be confused with being a type of "filter" (though they have filters in them), but more of a "health" device.
Reverse Osmosis Water or Distiller Purifier
An RO system eliminates most total dissolved solids from the drinking water, while a distiller removes ALL substances. The disadvantage of this is that the resulting water will be both devoid of healthy minerals that your body requires and will be acidic (approx 5.2 - 6pH). Drinking this type of water regularly can cause mineral depletion in the body, leading to disease. This water is intended for car batteries and irons, not for human consumption. The ideal water for the human body should be alkaline, and this requires the presence of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
For more information regarding the harmful effects of drinking R.O. and distilled water
General Water Purifier
A general water filter, such as a Brita® filter or undersink housing, is ideal for removing foul tastes and odors - such as chlorine. But harmful substances, such as detergents, parasites, volatile organic chemicals, and pesticides may not be eliminated altogether. Also, a general water purifier does not create water with more oxygen, nor does it create water with a healthy negative ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) which acts as a natural antioxidant.
A water ionizer is both a water "purifier" and a creator of antioxidant alkaline water. It eliminates harmful substances from the incoming tap water through its filtration system, leaving in the beneficial minerals your body needs, and then sends the water through a special ionizing chamber which separates the water into hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions to form two very distinct types of water - the alkaline water is used for drinking and cooking (internal use) and the acidic water can be used for skin and hair care (external use). Alkaline Water is Good for You can be quite significant - helping the body to rid itself of acidifying toxic waste buildup.
For more information on how a water ionizer works
Because water ionizers are a fairly new concept to folks in the USA, we feel that the only way to learn about our machines effectively is for people to try it for themselves with our water ionizer.