Alkaline water dispensers that claim to produce healthier, cleaner water seem to be everywhere now. PRISCILLA KHAM finds out how they work and if you should get one, too.
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We know that water is essential to life, and staying hydrated could offer a host of benefits, from maintaining your complexion to keeping your energy levels up. But how much do you know about alkaline water and, more interestingly, the special dispensers that claim to turn regular tap water into alkaline water, which is believed to offer greater health benefits?
While tap or regular mineral water usually has a pH level of seven and below, alkaline water has a pH above seven, and contains alkalising compounds such as potassium and magnesium. Its purported benefits include reduced acidity, improved gut health and a higher metabolism rate.
Perlin Wong, business development manager at AOX, which distributes antioxidant alkaline water dispensers here, says, “Drinking alkaline water daily helps probiotic bacteria, which need an alkaline balance to survive and thrive over harmful gut bacteria.
“Although it is not totally endorsed by mainstream medical research, there are many independent researchers who support alkaline water for health.”
David Hoo, corporate marketing manager of H2O Life Source, a water specialist company that provides innovative, value-added speciality water and water-related solutions, says alkaline water helps counteract oxidative damage to our cells by hunting down free radicals in our system and neutralising them.
MAKING WATER ALKALINE
Dispensers, says David, produce alkaline water through ionisation or the use of a filter car tridge.
With ionising machines, water undergoes electrolysis to create alkaline ionised water. Some machines even provide LCD displays of the pH level, and allow you to choose different levels of alkalinity for different purposes.
With a filter dispenser, alkaline minerals in the filter help change the pH level in water and supposedly provide antioxidants as well. At the same time, contaminants such as sand, chlorine and even bacteria are removed from the water.
INSTALLING A SYSTEM
Most companies provide installation services and after-sales maintenance. Perlin says standard installation is included when you buy an AOX water dispenser. An expert will help you put your dispenser in place, which includes sourcing assistance for, say, electrical or plumbing works – to connect the dispenser to a water source.
David adds that buyers can also try installing the system themselves, which should take just 10 to 15 minutes. Youtube demo videos show you the equipment you’ll need, like scissors, pliers and a faucet diverter – usually included in your purchase.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ONE
Perlin advises selecting a dispenser with filters that have been certified by relevant authorities such as the Health Sciences Authority and quality control organisations such as SGS, a global inspection, verification, testing and certification company.
Also check the following:
• The prices of the dispenser and consumables such as filters.
• When the filter needs to be changed and the cost involved.
• Whether the company provides after-sales service such as installation and maintenance. This could save you a lot of trouble and time.
• Find out who the manufacturer is and the country of origin. Countries such as Korea and Japan produce leading dispenser brands.
• Finally, ensure that the levels of alkalinity the dispenser can produce are compatible with your needs. "Some are able to produce water with a pH of more than 10. This is not only unnecessary, but also unsuitable for drinking,” says David.
As for the lifespan, you can expect your alkaline water dispenser to last for at least three years to more than five years.