2 weeks back, I signed up for a free Alkaline Water System from Eight Stars, but it’s not completely free, as I had to pay for the 4-stage filter set for S$168 and installation charge of S$50. Everything works fine, except one thing to verify: is the water really alkaline?
Buying the Testing Devices
In order to test the alkalinity, I browsed online for testing kits that I could order. My usual sites are AliExpress, Taobao, Qoo10, and Lazada. There are a few pH tester models and I scrutinized their specs as well as consumer feedback. Some of them do not come with batteries, while some do not have calibration powder. Sometimes, the cheapest does not mean the best, so I decided to buy from this seller “rainbowonline”.
While I was shopping, I found that many shops bundled the pH meter with a TDS/EC meter. TDS (total dissolved solids) measure the amount of organic and inorganic substances present in a liquid, while EC (electrical conductivity) measures the amount of salts or impurities. Both forms of measurements are related, in fact, you can convert EC values to TDS. So I thought, since I am testing the water, might as well just buy this TDS to check out whether the rest of the filtration system actually works. For convenience, I ordered from the same merchant.
Based on my shopping experience with Lazada, I find that the oversea items are shipped really fast compared to AliExpress (Taobao is just a fast but they charge forwarding fee). I received both items within 8 calendar days delivered via letterbox. Best of all, most items are about the same price as buying from AliExpress or Taobao. I would definitely buy from Lazada because it offers localised sales support, although the person chatting on the app is the overseas merchant who often could not respond in a cohesive manner.
Both test kits come with instructions in English, but the usage is quite simple: just immerse the sensor into the test subject and wait for the reading to appear. The pH meter does not come with any calibration powder but I’m fine with that. Given the low price of the meters and the infrequent use, I am not banking on their longevity and accuracy, so if it breaks down after a few months (or years), I’ll just buy another one.
I filled 2 cups with tap water (green cup) and the filtered alkaline water (black cup). I dipped the pH meter into the tap water and the result shows 7.73 pH. Singapore water is known to have a pH range of 7.8 to 8.3.
Next, I dipped the same pH meter into the alkaline water and the result shows 9.03 pH
I can conclude that the Eight Stars Alkaline Water System is really producing alkaline water.
Next, I tested the TDS/EC. On the tap water, the TDS meter shows a value of 80 ppm, which is very good. Any value below 150 is considered good. Singapore water hovers around 74 – 269.
As for the conductivity, the meter displays 158 uS/cm. Singapore water quality hovers around 89-435.
When I tested the alkaline water, the values showed 89 ppm and 178 uS/cm respectively, indicating slightly higher levels than then tap water sample.
So what does this mean? I guess the Alkaline Water System has indeed introduced some minerals into the water, like what the individual filters have claimed.
But since the meters could not tell what those minerals are, I can only hope that those are the healthy minerals and not introducing harmful elements. Note that it may not be a good thing to take in “pure” water as our body needs some natural minerals.
I have tested both water several times, and the results are consistent. The values might deviate a few notches, but it is clear that the pH of the Eight Stars Water Alkaline System is higher than tap water, and there are a little more dissolved solids.
Test Report from Setsco Services
Updated 5 July 2019: Eight Stars sent me the latest water sample report dated 22 March 2019. It shows that the pH value at 21.7 degrees is 9.3. See the full report on this PDF here.
Apart from pH and TDS measurements, the water that comes out of the Eight Stars Water Alkaline System does taste pleasant to me. Usually if you boil water and store in a container, you will “taste” the container (if it’s plastic, the water tastes plasticky, if it’s aluminium, you taste metallic). Comparatively, the alkaline water has a clear, fresh, neutral taste. Best of all, there is no need to boil before drinking.
In fact, after this experience, I think it is really safe to drink water directly from Singapore taps without boiling. But before you do that, you might want to test the water quality of your tap. While Singapore treated water has good standards, the water pipes that transport to your taps might be corroded.
To have peace of mind (and some fun), consider buying the pH and TDS meters from Lazada. They cost less than S$15.
And finally, for those friends and readers who have been waiting for my verdict, it’s good to get the Eight Stars Alkaline Water System. If you have concerns on the brand or legitimacy, go for reputable brands. However, I could not conclude whether drinking alkaline water benefits my health, as I have not noticed any positive change to my health and lifestyle. If I do find something remarkable, I will be sure to talk about it.