How to Raise the pH Level in Your Pool

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Nothing beats a long swim in the pool on a hot summer day. Swimming pools are a great way to cool off, get exercise, and have fun. You have to take care of your pool because it can be unsafe for you and your equipment if you’re swimming with an unbalanced pH. 

What Does pH Mean in Your Pool? 

The pH scale measures the acidity of a liquid. Everything falls on a scale from 0 to 14. On the scale, 0 is the most acidic thing out there, like a robust solution of hydrochloric acid. A 14 indicates the most basic things, like liquid drain cleaner. 

The scale is logarithmic, meaning that small changes between six and seven are massive changes in the concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution. 

What is a Safe pH Range in a Pool? 

With your pool, you are shooting for a pH range between 7.2 and 7.8. Going above or below this level can lead to many severe problems for both you and your pool. Hitting the middle range is the best option because you don’t have to worry about checking it as often. 

Test the levels every two weeks for a private pool to ensure they don’t change too much. However, if you have been having balance problems, you may want to test more often to stay ahead of any potential issues as you dial in your pool’s pH. 

What Lowers Your Pools pH? 

Many factors can change your pool’s pH levels. Some of these are naturally occurring issues, and others are caused by adding too many chemicals. 

Heavy rainfall can lower your pH if your pool is outdoors, especially if your area experiences acid rain. Normal rainwater has a pH of around five, so that can already lower your pool’s pH. If it’s acid rain, it can be as low as four. 

If you use your pool a lot, you can cause the pH to get out of whack. The more often you swim, the more people in the water can lower the pH. If you use your pool more than usual, you may want to test the levels more often. 

Sometimes you can add too many chemicals to your pool mix. This problem happens when someone tries to fix a pool with a too high pH, but it also occurs if the alkalinity is out of balance. Alkalinity is the measure of how well a solution can neutralize an acid. 

You may never figure out what exactly caused the change, but luckily, you don’t have to know to fix the problem. 

Why is a Low pH Dangerous? 

Low pH can have detrimental effects on people and equipment in the pool. If you are slightly below a pH of seven, you might notice your eyes burning or moderate skin irritation. 

Low pH can also make a pool less sanitary. It interferes with chlorine killing bacteria and oxidizing other contaminants in the water. When the pH is too low, chlorine doesn’t work as well, and your pool can grow nasty bacteria that make you sick. 

Your equipment can rust when exposed to lower pH. Your ladders, pumps, piping, and filters will break down quicker, and you will have to spend more money fixing them. It can also destroy your pool’s lining, which can be expensive to replace. 

How to Test Your Pool’s pH?

There are plenty of kits on the market to test a pool’s pH. Some tests are better than others, but they will all let you learn the range of your pool’s balance. 

Most of the kits require you to take a sample from the pool and add reactive drops to the water. The water will then change colors and tell you the pH level of your pool. There are also strips that you can place in the water directly. 

Can High pH Be a Problem?

High pH can be just as big of a problem as low pH. There are many methods to fixing high pHl, and if your test shows that’s the problem, you will want to use different ways to lower your pool’s pH. 

How to Raise the pH Safely 

Once you notice that your pool’s pH is too low, there are many methods you can use to get that pH up. All of these methods are safe when you do them correctly. One of the keys for these methods is to accurately figure out how much you need to add to the system. 

To do this calculation, you will have to know the size of your pool. Often, the pool volume is on the paperwork, but if you have misplaced that information, you can calculate the volume.

Take the pool’s length, width, and depth of the pool and multiply by 7.5, or length x width x depth x 7.5 = gallons of water. Therefore, 7.5 is how many gallons of water fit in a cubic foot. 

Aerate the Water 

Running air into your water will raise the pH and not affect the alkalinity of the pool. Many different systems aerate the water in your pool and work by agitating the water and exposing more of it to the air. 

You can add systems that aerate in the pool or while the water goes to and from your filter. Many people make home-built aeration systems to save money. Adding air to the water is a great way to raise your pH without adding more chemicals. 

The downside to the aeration process is it can take a long time, and you may have to make some significant changes to your pool setup. 

Use Soda Ash 

Soda Ash is a basic material that will raise the pH of your pool. When you use soda ash, you will want to make sure you don’t overdo it. You want to use no more than two pounds of soda ash for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. 

When you add it to the pool, evenly place it over the whole surface of the filter. Once you add the soda ash, let the filter continue to run for at least an hour. 

Use Baking Soda 

If the problem with the pool is low alkalinity, the pool will have issues avoiding becoming too acidic. To fix this problem, you will need to add baking soda. Adding about a pound and a half of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water is a good place to start. 

After you let that circulate for over an hour, you can recheck the alkalinity. If it is still low, you can add more baking soda. Repeat the processes until your alkalinity gets into an acceptable range again. 

Final Thoughts On How To Raise Your Pools PH Levels

Staying on top of your pool’s pH may seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry. Once you get in the habit of checking and correcting your pool’s chemistry, it is straightforward. A few tests can avoid a ton of money in health bills and repairs. 

Ensure that your family can have fun and stay safe every time they jump in the pool. Keep your pH from getting too low or too high, and let everyone cool off in the pool. 

The Pool Care Handbook & Video Course

by Swim University
This is an illustrated e-book with detailed videos and step-by-step instructions on how to best care for your swimming pool. 
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