Add The Chemical To Your Pool
Adding baking soda, soda ash, or borax to your pool water is pretty straightforward.
While some pool owners prefer to dissolve the powder in a bucket before adding it to their pool, this isnt actually necessary.
Instead, simply add baking soda, soda ash, or borax to the water near an active return jet, or add it directly to your skimmer. This will give it enough circulation to dissolve on its own while your pump is running.
Its a good idea to only add around 75% of the total dose and restest before adding the rest, just to prevent accidentally adding too much.
Low Ph Is An Easy Fix
Raising the pH level of a swimming pool is as easy as adding more alkaline materials. Soda ash and sodium bicarbonate are two common alkaline products that can be used to raise pH levels in a pool. Remember that optimal pH levels for a swimming pool are between 7.4 7.6! If you overshoot it and need to bring your levels back down, read my guide on how to lower your pool pH level.
Questions? Shoot me a note!
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How Often Should I Test Pool Ph
Test pool pH every day. Your pool waters pH changes constantly due to water and chemical evaporation, rain, and things added by your swimmers such as sunscreen and sweat. Use a pH test strip or your pool test kit to check the pH levels daily so you can make adjustments quickly and keep your pH within the ideal range.
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Test The Ph And Alkalinity
Always test your pools pH and alkalinity before adjusting them. The alkalinity and pH go hand-in-hand. When you increase the alkalinity, the pH goes up . The same rule applies to reducing the pH or alkalinity. Its important to adjust both of them rather than solely relying on the pH to increase them both.
You can test your pools chemistry with test strips or liquid drops. Ill show the pros and cons of both, along with product suggestions to help you make the best decision for your swimming pool.
Why Is Total Alkalinity Important
Total alkalinity and pH are in tight connection. In most cases, if you raise pH, you increase TA, and if you decrease TA, you decrease pH. So you need to know both TA and pH to manage the pool effectively.
The higher TA is faster and the higher pH raises naturally. For example, if the total alkalinity is 80 ppm and water temperature is 80°F , the pH will raise naturally to 8.32!
When you add chemicals such as washing soda/soda ash to raise pH, you simultaneously increase total alkalinity.
High TA requires more acid to decrease pH and you will need to add it more frequently to stabilize pH. As a result, you will spend more on chemicals.
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What Ph Balance Is So Important
As you can tell, off-balance pH levels can cause some issues. For example:
- Low pH irritates the skin and eyes. It can also irritate the mucous membranes in your nasal cavity. This is because acidic water will strip away your bodys natural oils.
- Low pH corrodes equipment. Everything in contact with acidic water is basically being worn away, which is why if left unchecked, it will corrode your plumbing, accessories, liners and other equipment.
- Unbalanced pH kills chlorines power. Whether its low or high, unbalanced pH is the super-villain of your pools germ-fighting hero. In this scenario, you can add all the chlorine you want and your pH levels will render it useless.
- High pH clouds the water. While cloudy water in and of itself is not necessarily unsafe, it does usually signal an underlying issue. And besides, no one wants to swim in murky water!
Common Problems With Pool Ph And Total Alkalinity
Now that you have a basic understanding of how Total Alkalinity and pH work together, lets take a closer look at how to resolve specific balance issues in your pool. Weve said it before, but well say it again when making any adjustments to your waters chemistry, ALWAYS read and follow product label instructions, and only add balancing chemicals to the pool if the pump is running. Start with an accurate pool water test to ensure youre dosing the pool correctly. And remember: its far better to make small, gradual adjustments than it is to make large changes. Keep on top of pool water chemistry with regular testing 2-3 times per week.
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What Is Pool Ph Level
pH levels refer to the hydrogen ion present in the water. On average, the normal scale for swimming pools is 7.2 and 7.8.
Achieving this number isn’t always easy, considering several external influences which affect the rating of your pool.
Such include the addition of chlorine, chemical, humans, bacteria, just to name a few.
Importance of Maintaining Good pH Level
Maintaining the ideal rating for your pool keeps the water sanitary and increases the longevity of your equipment. Plus, it also affects the pH and total alkalinity of your pool water.
Unknown to many, reaching the perfect pH balance affects how it interacts with other chemicals and anything else you put. One great example is chlorine.
Chlorine does wonders at cleaning a pool and keeping it sanitary.
But, with the wrong rating and total alkalinity levels, using chlorine won’t do much of its job. It’ll be a waste of time and can cause some serious physical manifestations.
You’ll start feeling itchy, your skin feels irritated, and your eyes have that burning sensation. And don’t let us even get started with muriatic acid or cyanuric acid.
It can also cause some serious damage to your pool equipment. A swimming pool water is too acidic once the rating goes down, and it corrodes your equipment.
Remove The Debris From Your Pool
Your swimming pool will inevitably get all sorts of natural and artificial debris in it. For example, local plants, pests, pets, hair, oils, dander, and other debris can alter the pH.
This debris also uses the free available chlorine , converting it into chloramine . This process increases the likelihood of algae blooms and stains.
Most plants and soil have a slightly acidic pH, so they need to be removed from the pool as quickly as possible. Nothing is quite as bad for a pools chemistry as a squirrel laying at the bottom of the liner or a bunch of dead fruit resting in the skimmer basket.
Follow this quick method to clean the debris and prevent it from reducing the pools pH:
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What Is Alkalinity And How Is It Related To Ph
The first step to understanding how to keep your pools pH levels under control is by understanding the factors that affect the pH. One important concept to understand in this regard is alkalinity. Alkalinity refers to the pools total alkalinity or TA, which is the total concentration of hydroxides, cyanurates, dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates in the pools water.
Considered alkaline substances, each of these is high on the pH scale, meaning they are extremely alkaline or basic, as opposed to substances low on the pH scale that are extremely acidic. The ideal pH for a swimming pool is between 7.4 and 7.8 to ensure the water is neutral, not too acidic or basic, and suitable for human use.
It is easy to confuse pH and alkalinity because of how closely they relate, but the two aspects of your pool are not the same. While pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water, alkaline is a measurement of all alkaline substances present in the water, as measured by parts per million . The alkaline substances in your pool water act as a buffer against fluctuations in the pH of your pools water.
Because of this, your pH levels usually will correlate with the alkaline substance measurements of your pool. If your pH is low, your alkalinity is likely low as well. If your pH is high, it is likely that your alkalinity is high as well.
What Causes Low Ph In The Pool
If the pH is too low, it could be due to a variety of factors including the natural decomposition of organic matter and high levels of metals in the water. In pools without chlorination systems, lowering the pH will also cause higher chlorine demand, leading to increased chemical costs for maintenance.
Lower pool pH levels can be caused by either high chlorine levels or low alkalinity.
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Bonus: Factors That Lower Ph
For the most part, pool pH will rise over time, so there are not too many cases where a pool’s pH remains low, or continues to lower over time. That’s why we have devoted an entire article to rising pH, and a mere bonus segment within it for lower pH. In a cementitious pool , pH will almost always rise. This segment is really more for fiberglass and vinyl liner pools.
Some reasons for pool pH being reduced or staying low include using acidic chlorine like trichlor and getting a lot of rain. Rainwater tends to be acidic, and it can be even more acidic the closer you are to a major city. Another thing: rainwater contains no calcium carbonate, meaning it’s not only acidic but super aggressive on the LSI. Other things that can lower pH in a pool are leaves and pine needles. This is an underestimated factor, especially during the offseason.
Climates that get a lot of rain or snow in the winter time, combined with leaves and pine needles on a mesh cover? Yep, that pH is going down in the short term, probably making the water low on the LSI, so it has to correct itself. This leads us into entirely different conversations about types of calcium dusting in pools that occur during the winter, as well as other issues like pool crystals and calcium formations. Fortunately, we have already written about those topics.
Chemicals that lower pH
To lower pH, you must increase dissolved CO2. There are two ways to do this.
Cause And Effect Of Too High A Ph Level
An increase in the pH level can be caused by several things. A first cause is the addition of chlorine stabiliser or HTH Granular to the pool water. These strong chlorine products are the best disinfectants but they also result in a direct increase in the pH level. A higher pH level can also be caused by a sudden rise in temperature of the water.
However, much more important than the causes are the effects of such a high pH level. The first consequence is one that can also be felt in your wallet. As a result of too high a pH level, the chlorine in your pool will no longer work effectively. This in turn results in increased chlorine consumption.
Also the physical consequences for swimmers are painful but easily identifiable. Red eyes, a dry skin and premature wear of swim gear such as goggles and swim wear are associated with too high a pH level.
The consequences of too high a pH level should therefore not be underestimated. Corrective action is required!
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How Much Baking Soda To Add To Pool: And Why
Having a pool has a way of turning you the owner into a chemist, without you knowing it. With so many tests and measurements needed to ensure the quality and safety of your pool, you will find yourself working almost like a chemist in your free time. With baking soda, however, you can maintain the quality of water in your pool, without having to go through the stress of running so many tests. Baking soda is safe and straightforward to use, while also providing your pool with a clean, clear, sparkling water that is pleasant to swim in. Baking soda does not sting the eyes neither can it cause drying of the skin.
In case you are wondering how baking soda works, and how you can use it to improve the water quality of your pool, just keep on reading as I open you up to the many benefits of this excellent substance.
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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Wait Doesnt Ph Follow Alkalinity
Yes, pH is influenced by total alkalinity.
In this case, since your total alkalinity is high compared to your pH level, the pH will eventually creep up by itself.
Technical explanation: Higher total alkalinity causes dissolved carbon dioxide to leave your water at a faster rate. Since carbon dioxide is acidic, removing more of it from your water drives up the pH.
But that doesnt mean you should wait it out. Without help , this process can be extremely slow and leave your pool in a vulnerable state for far too long.
Not only can acidic water be damaging to your surfaces and equipment, but it also burns through chlorine faster, potentially leaving you unprotected against algae and other contaminants in your pool.
In short, the faster you can get your pH back in range without compromising the rest of your water chemistry, the better.
Factors That Raise Ph In A Swimming Pool
So why does the pH tend to climb in swimming pools? You may notice pH almost never naturally drops over time…so there must be something going on. It turns out, while pH is controlled by the concentration of Hydrogen ions, practically speaking, pH is also determined by the amount of carbon dioxide in the water. And there are several factors that affect CO2 levels in pools, and cause a pool’s pH to lower or rise. So let’s talk about some of them.
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Myths And Facts About Consequences Of Low Ph
While going through many articles you might find that low pH leads to negative consequences for health and pool maintenance. Common thoughts include:
- Skin and eye irritation.
- Damage pool equipment.
I am happy to inform you that most of these statements are not true or partly false. Below we debunk some of them with facts.
This is a myth and a fact at the same time. If you dont add cyanuric acid to the water, then the level of active chlorine strongly depends on the pH.
However, when you add cyanuric acid for chlorine stabilization you almost demolish the impact of pH on chlorine form.
Skin and eye irritation
Nobody wants to be itchy or see skin irritation after swimming in an acidic pool. But the truth is that our skin surface is a little acidic and its pH ranges from 4 to 7. So swimming in a little acidic water cause no harm .
As for the eyes, their normal pH is around 7.1 , but this is not the pH that causes major eye irritation and redness. Chlorine causes the biggest damage to the eyes. It dehydrates the eyes and, breaks tear film that protects the eyes from infections.
Damage to the pool
This is the fact. Maybe you wont notice severe effects with a pH of 7.0, but as more acidic the water becomes more damage it makes to the pool. Acidic water causes corrosion of pump, concrete, and metals. It also makes the surface of tiles rougher, which promotes algae growth