How To Raise Pool Ph Level
Sometimes the pH level goes lower than needed. If you were learning how to lower the pH level of your pool and it accidentally went too low, its time to bring it back into balance.
As for what causes low pH in a pool, that varies:
- Leaves and pine needles may give you a lower pH reading. This includes the leaves on the pool cover.
- A heavy rainfall, especially in a city, can lower the pH. Rain is slightly acidic and will lower the alkalinity.
- Many people lounged in the water. Body oils and sweat may mean a low pH for your pool.
- You used dry or muriatic acid to lower pH. It may have been too much or there couldve been other factors at play. Sometimes its a challenge to get the pH just right.
Although a low pool pH is uncommon, you can still balance it out. The pool water is too acidic now. That means you balance it with alkaline substances. Raise pool pH with borax, soda ash or aerate the water. Washing soda and sodium carbonate are other names for soda ash.
To use soda ash to raise pool pH, follow these steps:
- Follow the directions on the package to learn how much washing soda to use.
- Run the pool pump and filter.
- Sprinkle the washing soda evenly across the whole pool.
- Wait an hour for the soda ash to distribute throughout the water.
- Test the water and proceed accordingly.
Follow these steps to raise pool pH with boric acid:
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How The Aeration Process Works
How To Use Muriatic Acid To Lower Your Pools Alkalinity
You dont have to shell out a fortune for fancy additives to manage your pools unruly alkalinity level. Good ol muriatic acid readily does the trick. Dont just pour some acid into your pool, though, or youll be doing way more harm than good.
Left untreated, high alkalinity can cause damaging scale to form inside your pool and circulation system. It can drag pH up with it, and throw your water chemistry all out of whack. Adding muriatic acid is an easy, inexpensive way to lower your pools alkalinity. All you need is a bucket, some safety precautions, and a little patience.
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Why Is Pool Alkalinity Important
The ideal pH level for your pool water is slightly alkaline at 7.4 to 7.6
This lean towards alkaline is intentional because its where chlorine works best, as well as being easy on your skin and your pool equipment. There is some wiggle room here, but not all that much.
Unfortunately, pH is extremely sensitive and can quickly be thrown out of balance by temperature changes in the water, not to mention foreign substances such as rain, debris and even bodily waste.
Spoiler alert: Thats where good ol alkalinitycomes in.
The solution to maintaining your pH level is to add a pH buffer, which is exactly what alkalinity increasers are. You can almost think of alkalinity as adding a layer of armour to your pH, absorbing fluctuations and keeping your pool chemistry stable.
Pool Ph Testing Frequency
Its good to get into the habit of frequently testing your pool pH. That way, if its a little high or low, its a quick and easy fix. When the pH gets extremely acidic or alkaline, its tougher to correct. It also takes longer to adjust it.
Follow these guidelines for testing the pool pH level:
- In general, test your pool water at least twice a week. Youre likely testing the chlorine that often, so just add pH testing to your routine.
- When youre swimming daily, test daily too.
- Test the pH after a pool party. If the water level changed from all the splashing, your chemical balance may be off.
- Do a pH test after heavy rains or storms. Rainfall and plant debris can change the pH.
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Low Ph And High Alkalinity
Although they tend to affect each other in the same direction, youll sometimes end up with low pH and high alkalinity. Usually, this issue pops up when you add too much cyanuric acid to your pool.
Using a chlorine stabilizer in your outdoor pool is important, but using it incorrectly will negatively affect your overall water chemistry. You may also notice a weird imbalance because alkalinity and pH are affected by chemicals at different rates, so even when you make adjustments, one may rise more than the other.
More Aeration And Turbulence = Faster Ph Rise
Things to Do To Make CO2 Outgas Quicker:
1. Turbulence created by return lines aimed up, waterfalls and spillways2. Using a pressure washer aimed into the water to create turbulence3. Aeration from a compressor, leaf blower or shop vac and diffuser disks or manifold with holes4. Aeration using Venturi injectors5. Using a degasser
Whenever the pH is low and the alkalinity is OK, use air to raise only the pH.
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Can You Swim In A Pool With High Alkalinity
High alkalinity itself is not necessarily an unsafe swimming condition.
It can, however cause some water issues that could potentially make it unsafe, such as:
- Unstable pH levels
In other words, use caution.
Its better to go ahead and stay on top of keeping your pools levels balanced than to risk unsafe or unclean water.
Lower Alkalinity And Ph With Acid Then Raise Only Ph With Air
Lowering the pH significantly will increase the amount of carbonates that are in the form of carbon dioxide in the water and that will increase the rate of outgassing . Aeration will also increase this rate of outgassing. As the carbon dioxide outgases, the pH rises with no change in total alkalinity. You can then add acid to lower both pH and TA with the net effect of lowering only the TA.
In other words, add acid until the alkalinity reaches about 90 to 100 ppm. Then aerate until the pH rises to 7.4 to 7.6.
The main rule to keep in mind is that it takes 25.6 oz. of full-strength muriatic acid to lower the total alkalinity by 10 ppm in 10,000 gallons. The problem: If one adds enough acid to lower the total alkalinity all at once, the pH can get very low. Now, let’s see how low it would actually go in some extreme cases.
Add the Acid The key to adding such large quantities of acid to the pool is to avoid overdosing in one place, as that could damage the plaster. Adding the acid slowly over a return flow with the pump running, and then brushing to ensure thorough mixing, will prevent the pH from getting too low in one spot, potentially damaging the plaster.
Add the Air Simply doing things like pointing the returns upwards and running the pump on high to create surface disturbance will aerate the water reasonably well. One could also add an aerator to a standard return.
The idea is to increase the air-water surface area as much as possible, for as long as possible.
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You Used A Ph Increaser
A pH Increaser does just what youd expect it raises your pools pH level. Spiking your pools pH level by adding an incorrect dose is a common mistake.
Also known as pH Up, its composed of sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate .
Baking soda is mainly used to raise a waters alkalinity, but it also will cause the pH level to rise.
What Causes High Alkalinity In Pool Water
There are quite a few reasons why the water in your pool is experiencing high levels of alkalinity. Once you understand what is causing the problem, then you can then start fixing the problem.
One of the most common reasons why alkalinity levels are so high in pools is because of too many chemicals. This is usually the result of human error. However, for people who live in a geographical area that experience acid rain, this can be a common problem. The acid rain can continuously change your pools pH level.
Another reason why the alkalinity in your pool may be too high could be the result of both sweat and lotion. Crazy huh? The reason being is because sunscreen has a lot of chemicals in it, and when you spread it on your body and then sweat in the sun, these chemicals get into the pool and change the pH levels. This is also the case for soaps and body washes too.
A third reason why the alkalinity of your pool water may be too high could be attributed to a sudden rise in the temperature of the water. If the morning temperature is quite brisk and then it gets much warmer throughout the day, the alkalinity level of your pool water may increase by quite a lot.
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What Causes Low Alkalinity
Your pool water can become low in alkalinity for a number of reasons. A drop in alkalinity is something that most pool owners will experience. It can be a fairly easy fix, but it is important to figure out the cause to prevent low alkalinity in the future.
Muriatic acid or other dry acids are definitely effective for cleaning your pool. But they significantly impact the waters pH levels, which need to be accounted for when treating the swimming pool. Overuse of these acids can cause the water to become unbalanced.
Another common reason your waters alkalinity will drop is heavy rain. Rainstorms can alter the swimming pools pH level because the additional water dilutes chemicals in the water or because the rain itself is slightly acidic.
Why You Have High Alkalinity
When the pH goes up, it enters into alkaline territory on the pH scale. This rise will gradually increase the total alkalinity level as well. Theres a few reasons why this occurs.
When swimmers enter the pool, they bring with them their own pollutants that affect the water chemistry. These can be anything from natural body oils, to sunscreen or lotions they may have applied to their skin.
The water that is being used to refill the pool can also be a culprit. If its high-alkaline water to begin with, you can bet it will affect the pools total alkalinity.
Another cause for high alkalinity can be when you shock the pool. While this is performed to quickly rid the pool of pollutants, chlorine-based pool shock is highly alkaline, and can raise the waters total alkalinity level in the process.
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Determine If The Alkalinity Is High Or Low
If your total alkalinity is low, you need to raise the alkalinity. So, how to raise alkalinity in the pool?
You can add sodium bicarbonate into the water. The amount of sodium bicarbonate will depend on the chart attached to the pool test kit.
Meanwhile, if the alkalinity is high, you can apply diluted muriatic acid. You can calculate the amount of muriatic acid that you need by using a pool calculator. You need to know the amount of water in your pool to know how much chemical to use.
What Is Ph And What Should It Be
pH simply means the waters total acid-alkalinity balance.
If the balance is off, problems can and probably will occur in your pool or spa.
Any element added to the water, be it sweat, sunscreen or leaves or bugs will cause the pH to change.
If the water becomes too alkaline , the water can become cloudy or it can cause scaling on the plumbing equipment and on the pool lining something that can be costly to fix.
If the water is too acidic , it can cause etching or corrode the metallic equipment. In the worst-case scenario, highly-acidic water can give you and your guests skin rashes or irritations.
For these reasons, its important to monitor pH levels closely.
Its also important to note that the water will need to be tested more frequently during periods of high usage due to an increase in by-products from swimmers or simply from dirt that gets tracked into the pool.
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How To Lower Pool Alkalinity
Pool supply stores carry a product called pH Decreaser, which is mostly Sodium Bisulphate. This product will lower both pH and total alkalinity, but you can use muriatic acid instead. Because you may already have it on hand, and its cheaper than pH Decreaser, its worth knowing the right way to use muriatic acid to lower your pools alkalinity.
Tips On Lowering Swimming Pool Total Alkalinity
- I also have instructions for using dry acid and muriatic acid in another article: Lowering Swimming Pool pH. The instructions are similar, so be sure to follow the instructions for lowering alkalinity if it is your total alkalinity that needs to be lowered. The primary difference between the two instructions is you want to avoid lowering the pH when lowering total alkalinity.
- Both of the products described above might be labeled with names like Alkalinity Decreaser and Alkalinity Minus.
- Add half to three quarters of the amount suggested. Make sure it is dissolved and retest alkalinity several hours later. You want to avoid lowering alkalinity too much. Determine how much remaining chemical to add to bring the total alkalinity back into the center of the range.
- Even if you do your best to pour the liquids in the pool, you still will often end up lowering the pH level somewhat. Test the pH when you adjust and test total alkalinity to make sure your pH has remained balanced, or if you need to raise the level somewhat.
- After months and years of testing, you may notice patterns in your alkalinity, such as adding water tends to raise or lower alkalinity. You may want to adjust the amount of alkalinity reducer you add to the water based on this knowledge that your water alkalinity will tend to wander up or down.
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Natural Ph Rise: Carbon Dioxide Loss
The chemistry of pH sounds a lot more complicated than it is. In short, the less CO2 in solution, the higher the pH. CO2, when dissolved in water becomes something called carbonic acid .
H2O + CO2 H2CO3
Water + Carbon Dioxide creates Carbonic Acid
See the chart below.
The more carbonic acid in your water, the lower your pH will be. Injecting CO2 lowers your pH, but not total alkalinity. Acid, on the other hand, lowers both pH and total alkalinity. The opposite is also true about CO2. When CO2 off-gasses , the amount of carbonic acid decreases so the pH rises. So aeration itself raises the pH of water because CO2 escapes. If you want to raise the pH without adding any chemicals, just aerate the water to release CO2.
Check out this detailed diagram of all the chemistry going on, courtesy of Robert Lowry:
Henrys Law of Solubility of Gases
Naturally, CO2 wants to be in about the same concentration in the water as it is in the air. So CO2 off-gasses until it is in relative equilibrium with the air above the pool. This phenomenon is known as Henrys Law. And dont worry, we had no idea what Henrys Law was eitherbut it makes a lot of sense as to why carbon dioxide naturally leaves, and the pH rebounds some time after putting acid in. This means chasing pH is a bad habit, because it is futile. pH is naturally going to rise. Embrace this.
Algae raises the pH of water too
How To Lower Pool Ph With Hydrochloric Acid
The names hydrochloric acid and muriatic acid are often used interchangeably in the pool industry.
Hydrochloric acid is very similar in composition to muriatic acid however, the main difference being that muriatic acid is roughly 30% more diluted. Because hydrochloric acid is more potent, there are also fewer contaminants added to it, making it more expensive.
Ultimately, it achieves the same job as muriatic acid. Check the manufacturers instructions for the exact amount needed to adjust pH levels of your pool.
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