help with skin rash from water!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by misstresst, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    I was wondering if anyone here knows if acidic water can cause a skin rash? I am suffering.Heres my story.I lived in Mass,and never had a problem.Moved to NH and started getting exczema from the water.Its a dug well. I bought a softener on Craigslist to see if it would help. It did! the rash went away. but then it came back. I had the Culligan guy come out,he changed out a rusty eductor. Then the rash went away. Its now back, and the Culligan guy says the softener is working,so he dosnt know what to tell me. Im thinking,since its 8 years old,could somthing else be not working properly? I called a private well guy,he had the water tested,and he said the softener is still softeneing,and that the water is acidic. Ont the test it shows to be 5.7. I am going crazy with this rash, and wanted to know if any of you had expierienced anything along these lines?
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've treated a lot of acidic water and been in the water treatment business for 21 yrs and sell equipment all over North America and I've never heard of acidic water causing this complaint before.

    Hard water causes dry itchy flaking skin problems, especially with fall/winter dry (low humidity) air.

    You should get an acid neutralizing filter to prevent any metals in your water system from being damaged and those metals being added to your water.

    Your softener may not be giving you 0 gpg soft water from one regeneration all the way to the next which means you could have hard water some of the time.

    You may want to contact a dermatologist.
  3. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

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    8
    I have gone to a derm before the softener,and he doesnt know why people get it.He just gives me a cream that isnt good for my health and says he doesnt know if it will ever go away.I think he just wants my money.I know its the water. My water tested 5.0 for hardness from and un-softened sample,and o.o gpg for the softener sample. Its not just me,my boyfriend gets a rash on his ankles,that also cleared up when we first got the softener. So,we know its definatley the water.
  4. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    hey,also what do I do if its not givng me soft water every time? is the system too small? or is somthing wrong with it?
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What is the pH of the water?

    Get a hardness test kit at most any hardware store, or online, and use it every day for 7-8 days about the same time of day and see if the water is always soft.

    If it is, then it can't be hardness causing the problem unless you get hard water through the softener when your peak demand gpm is highest and exceeds the constant SFR (service flow rating) gpm of the size of softener you have.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    Acidic water won't help your skin. Get it closer to neutral, then see what happens. What tests have you had done on the water? Hardness is only one of many. You could have heavy metals, bacteria, or chemical contamination. NH has a lot of areas with arsenic. With acidic water, it can eat copper, lead, tin, and maybe other metals into the water.
  7. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    the PH is 5.7
    iron 0.1 mg/l
    hardness 5.0 (untreated)0.0 treated,at time of testing anyway
    chlorides 100.0 mg/l
    manganese 0.1 mg/l
    alkalinity 34.2 p.pm
    I got a call from the well guy he said it also has some bacteria in it
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    I'd have it tested for other heavy metals. Arsenic can give symptoms (from what I read) at concetrations as low as 10 ppb. You need a good lab to do tests for some things, especially when only a trace can cause problems. Bacteria can't help, either.
  9. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,660
    Location:
    .
    Soap. Have you changed soap? Even laundry soap on towels and wash cloths can do it. Along with body soap. Or shampoo and conditioners.
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Cookie is on to something with the soap. I think dermatologists deal with this all the time....change soap brands and some people react.

    The hardness number 5.0 ( if that is grains per gallon) seems quite reasonable. Around here our city water is listed as 14.0. A lot of people use softeners, but a lot of people do not.

    But the 5.7 ph seems quite acidic. For gary or whoever.....what would be considered the "normal" or "acceptable" range of ph?
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yes 5.7 is very acidic. 7.0 is neutral.
    PH in the mid 6's can really chew up copper in a hurry!
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The pH should be 7.0 or slightly higher; 7.0 is neutral and the EPA and state acceptable range although not enforced is 6.5 (acid) to 8.5 (base/alkaline or caustic).

    I suggest a backwashed acid neutralizing filter. It will add 4-6 gpg of hardness to the water and then the softener has to be setup (reprogrammed) to remove it.

    If the bacteria is Coliform, you should treat it with a UV light since you have a softener.

    A softener removes hardness, lead, copper, iron, manganese, radium etc.. So I doubt the acidity etc. is causing your itchiness, but it could be. Although I've never heard of bacteria causing skin problems, it might.
  13. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

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    8
    ya, Im gonna shoot myself. and I thought well water would be better than city water. ha.
    Id think if acidity in the water can eat pipes,it may eat up skin?
    all I know, is when we first set up the softener.the rash magically went away.its mind boggling. I figured maybe the softener is just old,or somthing.
    I apreciate the input.
  14. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    I will look for an all natural laundry soap.
    but the soap I use in the shower,is handmade with out all the nasty chemicals in it. Ive been not using it on the rashy spots too, just in case.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    If I don't use a bath soap like Cetaphl (sp?) and a fragrance free detergent and softener on my clothes, I end up itching all over, especially in the summer (when you sweat more), but it is also a factor in the winter as well.

    NH isn't known as the granite state for kicks...there's a lot of it. As a result, many areas have radon in their wellwater. Long-term, this can be bad as the disolved gas in a hot shower where you are confined with it means you breath it deep into your lungs.

    You might want to have the water checked for radon as well.

    I don't know if the agitation of going through a water softener might dislodge some, but there would have to be a way for it to escape, and the whole thing is fairly well sealed, so I doubt it.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
  16. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    ya, Im finidng out that other people around my area,have to have softeners. I also live next to a gas station,that also used to be a car repair garage in the old days.... My boyfriend just thought too, that our boiler doesnt have a back flow thingy?(not sure of term) on it,and the boiler has been in this house for a million years before I bought it. Hes thinking,maybe there could be some mungy water getting into the shower water? I dont know.I bought a test kit,and will test the shower water later. The well guy didnt seem to think I needed to test it from the shower,he tested it from the water tank/pump.and from my kitchen sink. The test for gas(volatile somthing or other) in the water is expensive. 100.00! dam!
  17. burleymike

    burleymike New Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Idaho
    I would spend the $100 on the VOC test. If your well is dug then it is probably quite shallow and susceptible to contamination.

    Many chemicals can cause skin problems. Though it does seem unlikely because your problem went away when you first installed the softener. You still don't want to be drinking any amount of VOCs, long term many of them are a cancer risk.


    My kids get excema if the softener runs out of salt. Our water is very hard 22.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    In addition to a VOC or TOC test, you should have a hydrocarbons scan. That will identify any petroleum based stuff in your water much better than the VOC/TOC tests.
  19. misstresst

    misstresst New Member

    Messages:
    8
    thanks.I will keep you guys posted when I get the water tested.
  20. brokenwingb4

    brokenwingb4 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Wyoming
    I am in the same mess. And I was poking around on internet for some answers to rashes on the skin. Do you itch after showering? I think I found something that I might help you with I hope it helps. One thing I have learned that coolness helps the condition but vinegar also helps it is an alkiline fighter. But here is what I found. Water Heater is old and full of deposits you may be allergic to the minerals that harden from your well into the old water heater. I am going to toss my sucker. I have been every where for a rash on my head. It is bumpy no flaking no sores just rash and I get rashes at times on body. But if you plan to live there I would toss the water heater and get a decent water softner. They have those ones that are very small and work with electronic zapping water somehow and that is suppose to be the best idea for minerals. But the dang minerals are drying on your skin. And I bet you have a bad water heater and this is problem. You can take benadryl for itching and see a doctor and ask for Atarax it is a itching medication to settle your nerve endings down. It makes you a bit sleepy but it works for settling those darn nerve endings down to make it to where you can survive till everything works out. write me at plocken@vcn.com if you found help. I see this thread is 2 years old but I believe I may be onto something. I can hear our country water heater clanking around way ahead of time when hot water is used and even if you flush the things the deposits may be to many and big to come out at the drain opening that unloads through using a garden hose attached to bottom of heater. We have community water from a water source in our rural subdivision in Wyoming. And we have hard water. And I have been after hubby for years as I moved out here when we married 13 years ago. I am a red head older lady 57 and I have some issues with this water out here. And there is problems and you are not nuts. But I have been in a quandry to find help but mainly I have had this break out since December. But my skin started getting plague build up of crustie bumps and I go to derm and they say oh just part of old age. There is allot more to it than just that. Doctors are lazy these days and idiots that they don't take things serious cause having too many minerals cause gallstones and kidney stones. Yes a health exam showed my husband who has lived in country our here in wyoming all this time has a great big kidney stone in his kidney little over a 1/2 centimeter in size that is big. But getting too many minerals isn't such a good thing. And the alkaline that is in dust out here???? I am highly allergic to the dust out here and having allergic reactions and have to bath whenever I am out for a day in the dust and wind out here. I came from Illinois originally. And come to think of it I was a farm girl with well and I had gallstones by time I was 21 years old. So there is a big problem with minerals in water. And who knows maybe we are becoming more incapable providing immunities anymore to somethings through diets and such. But somehow an allergist might be able to use the sample of the cold water and hot water cause they are different and from different sources get that hot water coming out faucet and they can inject the water into your skin and if you break out there you have it you have an allergy to something in water and maybe they can analize from there. But I am really thinking on that old hot water heater as the source to my problem right now. I had to go register in here when a link up I found your question in my persuit to finding some answers but one other thing I have found liver disease causes itching skin. Maybe that is because of water I just don't know??? but once the liver has a disease in it or is enlarged it will cause your skin to itch. I have read up on that too. I hope I don't sound like an idiot talking too much but you are looking for a needle in the haystack here just like I am and eventually we will find it but do know about that benadryl or antihistimes. You need medication to settle the antihistimes down in your skin that is the cause of itching. At last give yourself some relief friend. Take care
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