Whatever Happened to Ionized Water?

May 01, 2017

Written by Tom Klaers, Clean Response

In 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed with the mission to develop more energy efficient and sustainable buildings.  Initial efforts were focused on developing standards for new building construction, and over time, grew into the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification.  A LEED certification establishes interrelated standards for design, construction, maintenance, and operation of a commercial building.

Over the years, the appeal of more sustainable buildings also increased property management industry’s interest in electro-chemically activated (ECA) water. In the early 2000’s, ionized water was in the news.  People were drinking it for the health benefits some producers touted, it was sold in spray bottles as a cleaning solution, and a new carpet cleaning franchisor based it’s marketing on “patented empowered water.”  As the interest, applications, and claims about ECA water grew, many companies moved to be part of this trend -- or to protect their business from it.

Large chemical companies took interest in ECA water, as did equipment manufacturers and cleaning companies of all kinds.  The prospect of producing and selling greener products and services had great appeal (and still does).  In the spring of 2013, the BOMA Newsletter ran an article about the history, advantages, and applications of ECA water.

While companies have had mixed success with ECA products and equipment, the rules and regulations of ECA products continue to evolve, creating more market opportunities around the world.  ECA water optimization work continues with the goal of creating activated molecules at the highest possible parts per million and longest shelf life, using the smallest amount of salt and electricity, while accurately controlling the pH levels of the water products. Click here to see a table of pH levels of familiar products compared to the two products produced by electrolytic cells (ECA water generating equipment): Catholyte (cleaning solution) and Anolyte (sanitizing solution). Another factor in ECA optimization is the purity of the water and salt used in the process, as sediments and other contaminants change the chemistry and potentially the pH of the solutions the systems produce.

ECA water products and services for commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, and more include:

  • Carpet cleaning
  • Floor scrubbing
  • Janitorial cleaning
  • Building restoration
  • Legionella prevention
  • Elimination of bacterial and viral outbreaks

Property managers knowledgeable in ECA water products and applications can potentially be more proactive in managing and protecting their properties and serving the needs of tenants. For example, many of you have probably heard of saltwater swimming pools.  These pools are not filled with ocean-like saltwater; instead, they use freshwater treated with ECA products (rather than chlorine) to disinfect the water and manage the pH of the water.  This is just one example of the benefits some professionals in the industry see in using ECA products and technologies.

Today, the most advanced electrolytic cells are producing Catholyte and Anolyte with up to a 6-month shelf life.  The solutions can be boiled or frozen without compromising their effectiveness.  The solutions can be applied in a spray, mist, or fog, and can take the form of a gel, cream, or foam.  The form and application method can help maximize the effectiveness of the products, which like any other cleaning and sanitizing products, are affected by concentration, exposure, and duration.

As electrolytic cell technology continues to improve, more stable and effective solutions will be developed, and new applications and markets for ECA products could create a more sustainable world.

Category: Industry Insights

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