One of the significant challenges most pool owners face is keeping their swimming pool chemistry balanced. It’s a requirement if you want to keep it swimmable for the rest of the season and even during the closed winter.
And for the sanitizer to work, other water attributes must be balanced: pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness.
And the thing is, you cannot balance one pool chemical and expect the other to balance it out. No! Pool sanitizer works at its best when the other attributes stay balanced.
Your pool pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness must be at their optimal ranges. If not, you might end up creating more chloramines or even using more chlorine than you need.
With pool testing being all that you need to know what is low and high, let’s assume you use it and found low pH. What next?
One thing for sure is, you must raise it immediately. But how? That is why you’re here. Right? In this post, you will know everything you need to increase your pool pH pool.
What is the Ideal pH Pool Level?
Experts recommend maintaining a pool pH level of anything between 7.2 and 7.6, the lowest and highest, respectively, and with 7.4 being the most ideal.
However, pay closer attention to your pool specifications on equipment. An example is, a pool heater might require a stricter level between 7.4 and 7.6.
Why Your Pool pH Balance Is Important
Are you wondering why you have to keep your pH balanced? Apart from the above sanitizer problems, other problems can arise because of low pool pH. So, what happens if pH is too low in pool?
Maintain Water Clarity
With swimming pools being a part of most residential homes, the chances are every pool owner out there wants to keep the swimming pool water looking pristine to compliment everything.
When the pool pH goes down, the pool water goes murky, hazy, or flat-out hazy. The result of this is a cloudy swimming pool.
And if your pool runs on higher levels of Total Hardness levels, its pool pH balancing is always a priority if you desire to maintain crystal clear water.
Prevent Pool Equipment and Surface Damages
Not only low pH but also high levels could damage your pool equipment and surfaces. Low pH can cause corrosion on your pool pump, ladders, and other pool equipment.
It can erode the surfaces out, and if you use vinyl lines, it can lead to wrinkling. What’s more, depending on your chlorine levels, the liner might start to fade. For the concrete pools, the damage extends to causing expensive repairs.
The best way to protect your investment and save yourself from expensive repairs is to keep the pool pH at the ideal levels.
Maintain a Comfortable Swimming Pool
Low pH leads to an acidic water formation, which makes a swimming pool uncomfortable to swim in and, at times, harmful to the swimmers.
And depending on your pool chlorine levels, it can lead to bathing suit bleaching. The swimmers will also start to complain of stinging eyes.
Swimmers might also experience discomfort with the nasal cavity irritation, sticky, itchy, and dry skin, not forgetting the brittle feel on their hair.
You can avoid all these if you keep the pool chemistry, including the pH, balanced.
With most pool owners using chlorine, the sanitizer effectiveness is wholly tied to balancing the pool pH. Salt pools also convert the salt to chlorine – it ends up with the same reliance to pool pH.
Allowing the pH to drop below 7.2 can lead to higher disinfection rates from chlorine. As aforementioned, this will lead to discomfort and safety issues for the pool users and damage to pool equipment.
If you want your pool sanitizer to stay at its optimal protective level, it’d be best to keep the pH levels optimized. Testing frequently, daily or bi-weekly, is the recommended pH testing frequency. Balance it immediately if you find it low or high.
What causes low pH in pool
Low pH causes all sorts of problems to the pool owner, swimmers, and the swimming pool itself. But what causes the pH decrease?
Improper Use of Pool Chemicals
Pool Total Alkalinity is more of a stabilizing factor of pool pH. When unbalanced, the pH is also unstable in the same direction.
If the alkalinity level is high and you try to balance it using muriatic acid, you affect the pool pH. If the pH level needed a minor adjustment, you would end up reducing it too much.
You might not realize it, especially if you balanced pH first and alkalinity. That is why it’s always better to balance the Total Alkalinity and then raise the pH pool after.
With natural rain having a pH of around 5 and 5.5, it’s naturally acidic. If it rained heavily, a substantial rainfall amount could alter the pool water pH and turn it acidic.
If it were to come across CO2, the water drops absorb it and become even more acidic. The heavy rain now has the potential to lower the pool pH even lower.
If you held a pool party, this could also be a reason you have low pH. When the swimmers enjoy their swim, bodily fluids get washed off and dissolve in the pool water. These contaminants have the potential of lowering the pool pH.
How to Raise pH Levels in Your Pool (Step-by-Step)
Now that you understand why balanced pH is necessary, what causes low pH, and the ideal levels of balanced pH, knowing how to raise it will be your best move. Here are a few steps to follow to raise pH pool.
Things You Will Need:
- Chemical-Resistant Gloves
- Protective Goggles
- Sufficient Soda Ash or pH Increaser
- A 5-Gallon Bucket
- A Stirrer (A Wooden Stick)
- Digital Test Kit
Step 1: Test pH levels
You cannot balance your pool pH when you don’t even know if it’s low or high. So, the first step to raising pool pH is to test your pool water.
Use the digital test kit to test the water pH – follow the directions on the owner’s manual. If the reading is below 7.2, the pH needs raising. If between 7.2 and 7.6, you don’t have to touch it. But if above 7.6, then you will reduce it.
So, which is it? If your pool pH is low, continue to step two by how far do you want to raise it? Minus the reading, you got from 7.2 to know the raise you need.
Step 2. Get Ready
Wear your protective gear – put on the protective goggles and gloves before holding the chemicals. It protects you against any risks. Even though soda ash is safe, getting in your eyes can cause painful discomfort.
Step 3: Measure your chemicals
Once your gear is on, it’s time to get handy. But let’s go through some things first.
Which pH-raising chemical is the best?
In the list of things you need, I mentioned sodium carbonate and a pH increaser. So, what should you buy? It all depends on your budget and urgency.
The most common and readily available chemical used for raising the pool pH is sodium carbonate (soda ash). You can get it at a local grocery or pool supplies store.
There is also the option of using a pH increaser designed to raise pool pH similarly. It uses sodium carbonate as the main ingredient.
It’s much expensive than soda ash, and it might have some effects on the pool alkalinity. But with soda ash and a lot of aeration, the impact on total alkalinity is very minimal.
I would recommend using soda ash, but of course, you have the freedom to use either.
How Much Soda Ash to raise pH in pool
Assuming you already know your pool capacity, you need around 6-ounces of soda ash to raise the 10,000-gallon pool pH by .2 points.
For example, if you have a 10,000-gallon swimming pool with a pH reading of 7.0 and want to raise it to 7.2, you will need 6 –ounces of soda ash.
With this being an expert estimated, it should work most times. Of course, you can add more if your pH levels are more stubborn.
Step 4. Add your chemicals
Take the 5-gallon bucket and add clean, soft water 3/4 full. Add the measured soda ash in and stir it to get things mixed.
Pour the content into your pool around the perimeter slowly. Do not bucket it in one area since it will take time to distribute.
While bucketing the soda ash mixture, ensure your pool circulation system is on to support the distribution to all the corners.
After adding the chemicals, wait for at least an hour and less than 24 hours.
Step 5. Test Again
After the wait is over, test your pool pH again. If it’s back to normal, congratulations, you’ve successfully balanced your pool pH.
If it’s still off, repeat the process. Remember to note the difference this time. You might need to reduce the amount of soda ash you need to add. If the water gets a little cloudy, don’t worry. Wait for a few hours.
If you’re still experiencing pH fluctuations, there could be other issues causing the problem. Test other chemicals especially pool alkalinity, as it has a direct effect on pool pH.
If off, balance it and then check the pool pH next. Also, make sure chlorine levels and calcium hardiness aren’t out of balance.
Your swimming pool must also be clean. Debris and leaves could be causing balancing problems.
Swimming pool maintenance isn’t easy for DIYers. You have to get handy at some point. One of the main problems you’ve to take care of is raising the pH pool when it’s low. The whole process is simple; you won’t use much of your energy on it. Relax and take it slow; in the end, you get to enjoy a swim-safe bath.