Here’s the simplest way to lower the pH of your swimming pool and ensure your pool stays pH neutral:
- Know the importance of pH and balancing your pool
- Prepare pH paper to test your swimming pool water
- Test! The ideal result is around 7.5
- Lower the pH if required
- Enjoy your clean and safe swim!
However, as a pool owner you’re going to want to have a read through this article on how to lower the pH of your swimming pool, because doing so will help you to know exactly how and when to do so in order to keep your pool in full working order and at it’s beautiful best.
Why It’s Important To Know How To Lower The pH Of Your Swimming Pool?
To understand how to lower the pH of your swimming pool, you need to first understand why it’s important to lower the pH of your pool water in the first place.
I know, that probably sounds way too complicated already, but don’t worry – this is not going to be anything like a high school science class. Well, maybe just a bit – do you remember playing around with those weird strips of paper that showed you how acidic or alkaline something was?
Well, you can measure, decrease, and lower the pH of your swimming pool water in a super-simple way that’s actually not too dissimilar to that science class.
But first, let’s check out why pH is so important – this is one of those things you seriously need to know as a pool owner.
Importance of pH for your pool
You need to know the importance of pH so you know what signs to look for when your water is too acidic or alkaline. If your pool water is not properly pH balanced and you don’t know how to lower your pH level in your swimming pool then you can inadvertently cause a whole ton of potential problems for yourself as a pool owner – from causing serious health issues, causing unsightly dirty or cloudy water (breeding grounds for bacteria and the dreaded algae) and even seriously damaging your equipment and pool deck areas /
So, first, we’re going to analyze your pool water pH level.
The Ideal pH Level For Your Swimming Pool
In order to prevent the dramas above from happening to your pool, what you want to aim for is slightly alkaline water, at approximately 7.5 on the pH scale.
Sounding like a science lesson yet?
This is the level most similar to human pH – as we are absorbing our entire body into the water, it needs to be a similar level in order to prevent any irritance to skin and eyes. (Conveniently, this level is also the most acceptable level to prevent damage to surrounds etc). This is why it’s important to know how to lower your pH levels in your pool quickly, and how to identify when they are too low – before it starts to burn and sting)!
It’s important to note that pH in your pool can change quickly depending on what chemicals you are adding, and when you add them – any chemical you add to water changes the pH if it’s soluble, as it bonds with the water molecules to change the chemical structure – and so the pH- of the water itself.
Making sense so far? Great. Now, remember that school science lesson and those pieces of paper on your tongue. You probably had to take that piece of paper and measure it against a pH scale – the closer to zero on the pH scale the color your piece of paper went, the more acidic it is.
7 is pH neutral, anything towards zero is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline.
What happens if your pool water is less or more than 7.5? Well, it’s not too damaging if you’re only a few points either side, but you definitely don’t want to be under the 7.2 mark or over 7.6.
The Damage Caused When You Don’t Lower The pH Levels Of Your Swimming Pool
If your alkaline levels are too high on the pH chart, and you don’t know how to lower the pH level of your pool back down, you’re entering into alkaline territory! It doesn’t sound as scary as acid levels but it can actually cause issues that are just as bad!
While high acidity in your pool water can fade clothes, damage your pool deck and equipment, and cause that burning feeling in your throat and eyes – the damage can be just as great to your health, water, equipment, and deck if your water is too high up the pH scale.
Water that is too alkaline also can irritate your skin – when you emerge from the water you’ll feel as though your skin is covered by a kind of chalky film, which can cause itching and sensitivity. This also discolors your clothing and, over time, if not treated, can impact your decking and surrounding areas, causing discoloration and even damage.
In addition, you’ll also potentially experience a kind of ‘scale’ forming, which blocks pipes, filters, pool walls. A bit like limescale in your kettle/bathtub.
It can clog your filters if you use a sand filter and causes those ‘holes’ in the sand element that we mentioned earlier in the filter section, as well as blocking up your sand with clumps of grime that attaches to the scale build-up.
Ultimately the water can’t filter properly through your sand filtration system and your pool quickly gets even cloudier and less hygienic.
This wear and tear on your filter and circulation system can end up getting pretty expensive pretty quickly!
All this can be prevented when you know how to lower the ph levels of your pool safely.
How To Take A pH Reading For Your Pool
So the first thing you need to know about the process of how to lower your ph levels of your swimming pool is that the easiest way to take a pH reading is by using those little papers we talked about, pH paper!
NOTE – this is not the same as litmus paper, which is the stuff you used to use in school and they only tell you whether your water is acidic or alkaline, not provide you with the actual reading of the pH level.
You want to get your hands on pH papers! They are so simple to use and cheap to purchase. Simply scoop a cup of your pool water out into a container, and simply insert your paper into the cup. Watch for the color to change, and then hold your strip next to the test paper scale that came along with your papers when you purchased. Match the color to the scale, which will give you your pH reading. Simple!
However, there is a more accurate way to gain a pH reading, by using a pH meter. They are more expensive and slightly trickier to use, however, they do provide a much more accurate reading which is highly important if you want to be super accurate in deciding whether or not to lower the pH levels of your pool.
To use a pH meter you have to take the water temperature first as it impacts the reading due to how sensitive it is! Use a thermometer to take a reading of the water temperature in your cup – note this must be done as soon as your water leaves the pool as even a slight shift (for example your cup left on the deck in sunlight while you go to fetch your thermometer!) will change the reading and make it inaccurate.
Input the temperature into your pH meter, and then insert the probe on the meter into your water. Your pH reader should then tell you the exact pH level of your water.
How To Lower The pH Level Of Your Pool
Once you have tested the pH, you might have to correct the pH level in your pool water. To increase your pH levels, the most commonly used chemical is sodium carbonate (soda ash), which is used to lower the pH of your swimming pool. This is often referred to as pH Up.
If the pH is high, and you need to lower the pH level, pH Down is used. pH Down comes in two forms: liquid acid (muriatic acid) or dry acid (sodium bisulfate).
- Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) comes in liquid form and is super strong. It’s used for a wide range of industrial purposes.
- Sodium bisulfate is a fine powder, so be careful when using this as it’s easy to spill – watch out for that breeze! It’s toxic but it’s not as strong as muriatic acid so this type of pH Down is frequently the more popular choice.
However, there is no single set method for raising or lowering the pH as it depends on your current pH level, the current cleanliness of your water, the size of your pool and even the type of chemical you intend to use.
If you need to lower the pH of your swimming pool, read the instructions carefully- they’re not difficult to understand but it’s probably good advice to share that if you find the wording confusing, contact a professional! These are toxic chemicals and you don’t want to risk not using them correctly.
What Causes The pH Of Your Pool To Lower Naturally?
There are many reasons why your pool pH can change, anything from rainwater entering the pool to an overload of swimmers at a particular time of year.
Since the sanitizer is the most frequently included chemical in pools, it can powerfully affect pH, (and so, therefore, the water quality). Of the sanitizers regularly utilized in pools, chlorine is the most widely recognized. Chlorine arrives in an assortment of structures – liquid, tablet, etc – and so it fluctuates generally in pH level.
Most tableted forms of chlorine have a very low pH and will tend to lower pH over time, while liquid chlorine is very high in pH and will tend to lower pH values.
When you use chlorine in your pool, especially after giving your water the chlorine ‘shock’ treatment, pH levels can rise higher than you would like. A higher pH level can also be caused when the temperature of your water suddenly increases.
Changes in pH due to sanitizers or other factors can be minimized and controlled by the proper implementation of a chemical process in your pool called total alkalinity.
Total alkalinity is not 100% essential in maintaining your pool’s pH, as long as you check your pH regularly (it’s easy to make it part of your daily or two-day checks)! so that you can see quickly if you need to lower the pH of your swimming pool.
It’s not difficult to lower the pH level of your pool, and keep it at a safe, healthy and clean level, as long as you’re prepared to do the frequent, simple checks!
So, now you know all there is to know about how to lower the pH in your pool.