Here’s the simplest way to raise the pH of your swimming pool and ensure your pool stays every so slightly alkaline at pH 7.5, which keeps your water healthy and safe to swim in:
- 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
- Increase 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 raise 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 Raise The pH Of Your Swimming Pool
To understand how to raise the pH of your swimming pool, you need to first understand why it’s important to raise 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 raise 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 raise 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, 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 raise 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 7.8.
The Damage Caused When You Don’t Raise The pH Levels Of Your Swimming Pool
If your acidity levels are too low on the pH chart, and you don’t know how to raise the pH level of your pool back up, you’re entering into acidic territory!
Acidic water will irritate your skin and potentially be a serious health hazard. Nobody wants to swim in a pool full of acid!
Although you’re unlikely to take your acidity that extreme by mistake (although it has happened before)! high acidity in your pool water can fade clothes, damage your pool deck and surrounds as well as the liner, and all your other equipment too.
You can actually tell if your pool is too acidic without even doing any sort of pH test – when you swim you’ll feel it stinging your eyes and you’ll have that familiar burning sensation at the back of your throat if you accidentally swallow any!
Over time though if your pH level stays acidic it will quickly fade the colors of your swimwear, and even crack your concrete or pool surrounds, opening them up to the presence of algae, grime, and other unwanted elements in your pool decking areas.
In addition to this your pool railings or fencing could possibly splinter, fade, and take on a dull edge from the repeated splashing of acidic water, and your equipment like your pump or filter can start to corrode or rust (even if you have a saltwater pool).
So, keep aiming to raise the pH of your pool water!
The Damage Caused When You Raise Your pH Levels Too Much!
Although this article focusses on how to raise your pH levels in your swimming pool, and an acidic pool sounds nastier than an alkaline pool, the damage can be just as great to your health, water, equipment, and deck if you go too high up the pH scale.
Your eyes will still sting and be itchy, and you’ll still experience itching, irritated skin.
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.
All this can be prevented when you know how to raise 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 raise 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 raise 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 Raise The pH Level Of Your Swimming Pool
Once you have tested the pH, you might have to correct the pH level in your pool water. The most commonly used chemical is sodium carbonate (soda ash), which is used to raise the pH of your swimming pool. This is often referred to as pH Up.
If the pH is high, pH Down is used. pH Down comes in two forms: liquid acid (muriatic acid) or dry acid (sodium bisulfate).
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 soda ash you intend to use.
If you need to raise the pH of your swimming pool, read the soda ash 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!
How Much Soda Ash Is Needed To Raise The pH Of Your Swimming Pool?
This is the basic equation for adding soda ash to correct the pH of your water:
It takes about 6 ounces for every .2 pH points you need to raise 10,000 gallons of water.
For example, let’s say the pH in your pool measured 7.0 and you have a 20,000-gallon pool. In order to raise the pH level of your pool to 7.2, you would start out adding 12 ounces of soda ash. Make sense?
(points needed to raise/2) x 6 oz = amount of soda ash to add
if you’ve added too much, you’ll notice that your water has turned cloudy but not to worry – just wait a few hours and this should clear naturally with the action of your filter and pump system. Wait until the cloud has disappeared and then retest using your preferred pH test.
What Causes The pH Of Your Swimming Pool To Raise Naturally?
There are many reasons why your swimming pool pH can change, anything from rainwater entering the pool to an overload of swimmers. Since the sanitizer is the most frequently included synthetic in pools, it can powerfully affect pH, and by and large, 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 raise pH values.
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 raise the pH of your swimming pool.
It’s not difficult to raise 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!