What Effect Does Carbon Dioxide Have On Tap Water?

Many households use tap water daily. It normally consists of hard water and some contaminants. However, that is not the only concern associated with water. It also contains carbon dioxide which is present in the atmosphere. How does carbon dioxide get in the water?

What are its effects on water? Keep on reading this article to get the answer and so much more.

How Does Carbon Dioxide Get in Water?

This gas is present in the air both by volume and weight. Therefore, means that almost all natural water used contains some amount of it. Normally, when carbon dioxide reacts with water, carbonic acid, a weak acid is formed. This decreases the pH level of water. Therefore, when it is added to water, the water becomes more acidic and less alkaline.

Additionally, when it rains, the gas in the air is absorbed. Then, when the rain hits the ground, it is slightly acidic. The further it flows through the vegetation the more it absorbs in the ground. Moreover, whenever this rainwater goes through limestone formations, the carbonic acid reacts with limestone to form soluble calcium bicarbonate. This neutralizes the carbonic acid slightly. However, if the water passes through rock formations, the carbonic acid is not neutralized.

Hence, it can corrode the surfaces it passes through. Furthermore, if the carbonic acid isn’t neutralized further by any chemicals, the plumbing system, especially copper and the galvanized parts get corroded. Unfortunately, if the corrosion is extreme in certain areas, the plumbing equipment may be severely destroyed. Nonetheless, if the area’s water contains a low concentration of minerals, there are no sufficient alkaline media to neutralize the carbonic acid; hence the effects of carbonic acid will be felt.

Neutralizing the Carbonic Acid in Water

Who would want a corroded plumbing system? The carbonic acid present in the water has severe effects, hence, it is important to look for ways on how to remove or neutralize the acidity. The following are some of the methods that can be used to remove acidity in water;

  • Using Limestone Chips (Calcium Carbonate)

One way of removing the carbonic acid is passing the acidic water in a tank containing limestone chips. Once the acidic water is passed through the tank, the calcium carbonate will react with the carbonic acid. In this way, the carbonic acid gets neutralized.

  • Using Magnesium Chips

Also, you can use magnesium oxide to neutralize carbonic acid. The magnesium oxide, however, adds hardness and alkaline salt to the water. On the positive side though, the process is cheap and a considerable amount of carbonic acid in the water gets neutralized.

  • Using Sodium Carbonate

In some cases, the carbon dioxide in the water may be highly concentrated. Therefore, to curb the acidity, you can put a solution of soda ash (sodium carbonate) into the water. The carbonic acid and the sodium carbonate will then react to form sodium bicarbonate. The advantage of this procedure is that there is no water hardness added to the water compared to when using magnesium chips. Moreover, the method is ideal and economical when removing acidity in large volumes of water. However, it needs more attention.

What Effect Does Carbon Dioxide Have on Tap Water?

At this point, we have seen how carbon dioxide gets to the tap water and how to neutralize the acidity. However, what happens if the acidic water is not neutralized? What is its effect on water? To begin with, the high concentration of carbon dioxide makes the water more acidic thus decreases the pH of water.

Therefore, when the water contains it, there is an increased concentration of calcium, magnesium, and potassium ions. Moreover, there is increased water alkalinity. Also, according to a study conducted recently, the presence of carbon dioxide in water does not currently pose a threat to human health.

However, if the water has very high levels of acidity, it may lead to erosion of teeth and bones. Moreover, the presence of water can lead to corrosion. Therefore, since the effects of carbon dioxide on the water can be felt, there is a need to neutralize the water before using it in your household.  Additionally, according to a study conducted, there is a way of estimating the amount of carbon dioxide contained in your drinking water. However, Let find how it affects humans?

Carbon Dioxide in Water and Other Living Creatures

So far, we have seen that carbon dioxide is present in the air and that almost all natural waters contain some level of it. Therefore, it is found in water as a dissolved gas. The aquatic plants depend on it for growth and survival. They use it for photosynthesis. However, in some cases, there is carbon dioxide released into the water bodies and the levels become too high.

This water pollution introduces unwanted acidity in the habitat of aquatic animals. If the level of acidity is too much, the fish population in the water can be affected. The fish then find it difficult to get the oxygen required from water. Unfortunately, they may eventually suffocate and die.

Therefore, when the water becomes too acidic, there is no balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide and this can affect the animals in the water. Furthermore, scientists warn that aquatic animals are affected by the increasingly acidifying water and this can disrupt the entire food web. As studies have shown, the rising levels of carbon dioxide in water are a huge threat to aquatic life.


Carbon dioxide is not only present in the air but also in the water. This article has explained how carbon dioxide gets into the water.

Moreover, it has shown the effects of carbon dioxide on water. The carbon dioxide increases the acidity of water thus decreasing its pH level. Nonetheless, currently, the carbon dioxide in your tap water may not be harmful to your health but the increasing levels might be harmful in the future.

Jeremy Lee is a researcher and part-time blogger who has a passion to discover cutting-edge technologies related to water filtration. He knows the importance of purified water in our lives and started this blog aiming to provide the best product reviews, buying guides, and other useful information related to water. When not working, he loves to spend time with his beloved wife and two kids.