I noticed in late February that even immediately after washing my hair, it felt and looked greasy and that my bath water felt as though it had a bit of bath oil in it. The town water department thought that it might have to do with my water heater.

Before I got around to having it flushed, I noticed that it was leaking from the bottom. I had it replaced on March 17, but the problem persists.

The town tested my water on March 30. Yesterday they told me that all was normal, except that the hot water was a few points higher in Ph level. The cold water is 7.something, while the hot is 9.something.

I can't figure out what would be causing this, and it's a nuisance! So, I'm trying to find out what would cause the ph level to be higher and what can be done about it. Thanks!

  • 9 is somewhat high (about baking soda range) and 2 points is a big difference (the pH scale is logarithmic). Perhaps a retest is in order to confirm the results? Did they say any thing about how unusual this is or do they run into it all the time?
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 18:25
  • Did you actually get the pH tested before you swapped out the HW heater or just after? I understand that the oily feeling was happening both before and after.
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 20:42
  • Ok, if you had it tested both before and after, and they used the same tester for both the cold and hot that would all but eliminate a faulty test. This is good in the sense that we can now look for other things with this troubleshooting step out of the way
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 20:54
  • Do you have hard water or scale build up? I don't know if city water systems correct this but I assume so
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 20:55
  • I've been researching this and want to make sure: do you have a water softener by chance? Or are you sure that you don't have one?
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


Water testing is affected by temperature so if they tested the water hot and did not adjust for the temp the measurement was off. When I worked in a clean room the water was tested at 72 degrees if the temp was +- a couple of degrees we had to adjust the values so that is probably the reason for such a high level. But I think it went down on hot measurements, the only thing in your tank that could affect the PH is the anode , flushing the tank and or replacing the rod would be all that you can do.

  • Any chance that it could come from the pipe leading to the tank?
    – domicile
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 20:36
  • I really doubt you would see an increase if you did the pipes would not last long. If the pipes were plain pvc (not CPVC) that is required for hot water there could be some minor leaching but 2 whole points is a lot. If anything I would flush the tank it is possible a high metal count could affect the reading if the anode has crumbled and ended up in the bottom of the tank , this is really the only thing I can think of. The pipe from the city or well is usually the same right up to a few feet prior to the tank in most homes.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 21:10

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