Understanding the crucial variables in Performance pH and ORP alteration is a highly variable and depends primarily on three factors:
These variables have a dramatic effect on pH and ORP.
An ionizer works primarily on the mineral content in the water. It is the dissolved mineral content (referred to as TDS) which creates the pathway for the “ionization” (or more correctly electrolysis) to occur. Water without mineral content or TDS, like reverse osmosis or distilled water, will not conduct the current and therefore can not be “ionized”. This first variable is the most crucial to performance. 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 the of pH and ORP alteration. The importance of this variable can not be emphasized enough.
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. Do not be fooled by the claim some manufacturers make that larger electrodes will necessarily deliver better performance. Generally the larger electrodes have poorer conductivity – so they have to be larger.
The flow rate through the machine determines how long the water is actually 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.
On most ionizers you can only adjust the flow rate by using your faucet or tap. If your faucet is all the way "on", the water will process very fast through the machine. If your faucet is just barely "on", this reduces the flow and the water will process for much longer. With a fast flow rate you may only achieve slight alteration in pH and ORP, slow it down and you will get higher pH and better ORP. Simply put, speed it up, you get a less alteration; slow it down and you'll get more.
To illustrate this whole principle lets look at two very different tap waters and their effect on performance. Remember the crucial variable is the dissolved mineral content or TDS (total dissolved solids) which is measured in parts per million. This creates the pathway for the ionization to occur. In California the tap water tests at 385 - 501ppm of total dissolved solids. The tap water in Seattle, Washington tests at approximately 40 – 47ppm. You could test water from an ionizer in Carlsbad at a given setting and flow rate and you would get a certain result. You could test the exact same ionizer in Seattle without altering the setting or flow rate and you would get dramatically different results. Is it the ionizer? No. It is the water as the main variable in performance. There is much less pathway in Seattle’s water. To further illustrate variability, you could alter the voltage or flow rates through the ionizer in either Carlsbad or Seattle and you would get different results again.