Everyone knows that the picture-perfect swimming pool is one that is clean, clear, and inviting, but swimming pool owners know that it’s not as easy as it seems. Even if you take good care of your pool, it's hard to keep the pool pH level from ever-changing. It can easily get too high or too low. Either way, it’s bad news for your equipment, your water, and your skin. Not only will having a healthy pool pH level make your pool water look great, but it will prevent your pool's unpleasant odours, discolouration and can even reduce the need for pool chemicals.
When you're ready to treat your pool to a little extra love, or if you just can’t seem to get it right, this guide will show you the steps to striking that perfect balance with pool pH.
What is pH and what should a standard residential pool's pH be?
So when we talk about a pool’s pH, we’re talking about the level of acidity in the pool water. When we add chemicals into the pool, hypochlorous acid is produced, allowing the pool water to dehydrogenate or oxidize. This chemical reaction and the proper amount and filtration give the pool a clear and clean look, but obviously, too much of this chemical and the balance can easily be tipped to be harmful to the pool.
This is measured on a pH scale of 0 to 14, where the perfect pH measure is right in between that at 7.5. While anything between a 7.4-7.6 pH is the perfect level, a pool's pH level below 7.0 can be seen as containing too much acidity, and anything above 8.0 pH level is seen as basic or alkaline, which will usually result in cloudy pool water, and scaling on the pool equipment.
What are some of the common reasons why I have a low or high pH in my pool?
Low pH levels can cause a variety of problems to your swimming pool and even to whoever swims in it. Pool liners can become brittle and rough when the pH is too low, and corrosion of the equipment and fixtures can occur. Not only that, but it can also cause swimmers some serious pain and annoyance, like itchy skin and sore, burning eyes.
Low pH can be caused by natural occurrences, like diluting from a heavy rainstorm. Because rainwater contains a high level of acidity, enough of it can cause the pool pH to be thrown out of balance.
If you’ve seen an increase in the pH level, this can be caused by a number of things.
The use of chlorine stabilisers or HTH Granular in pool water is one of the main causes of a pool pH that is too high. These powerful chlorine compounds are the most effective disinfectants, but they also cause a direct pH rise. An abrupt rise in the temperature of the water might also result in a higher pH level.
How can you increase the pH in a pool?
There are a few things to check in order to raise or lower the pH in your pool. It may be tempting to start adding more chemicals and products to the pool; however, it’s important to refer back to your pool testing strips or kits to make sure you get the pool’s chemical readings first. It’s crucial to remember that pool testing reagents can last up to a year, so they may provide an inaccurate reading, so be sure to replace them at least every year just to be sure you’re not getting a faulty chemical test.
Soda ash is a highly alkaline substance that dissolves quickly in water and leaves only a trace behind. By adding soda ash to your pool, you can be sure that the pH of the water will be raised, and the acidity will be reduced. In order to do this, it’s important to calculate how much soda ash is needed. It’s worth adding small amounts at a time, making sure not to exceed 1kg. You can do this by distributing the soda ash evenly across the surface of your water and allowing the pool filter to circulate and pump the water for at least one hour before checking the reagents again. Repeat as many times as necessary to bring the pH balance back to 7.5.
If this doesn’t seem to do the trick, aerating the water will. The procedure can take a considerable amount of time, but it is effective. You can do this by switching on all the water features and aiming the jets towards the surface of the water, and also by putting aeration pipes above the jets.
How often do you need to be adding chemicals into your pool to make sure your pH is staying consistent?
You should check your chlorine levels at least two to three times a week on average. There are no concrete rules for how often to add chemicals, but by testing the pool every few days, you can ensure you stay on top of it before it gets out of hand.
You can do this in combination with your other pool maintenance tasks that you’d carry out on a weekly basis. If you need any help with supplies such as our popular Dolphin pool cleaners, give us a call or send through an enquiry.
Alkalinity vs pH in a swimming pool
The terms alkalinity and pH are not interchangeable. Water alkalinity is a measure of the carbonate and bicarbonate levels in the water, whereas water pH is a measurement of the amount of hydrogen (acid ions) in the water. It’s the alkalinity, not the pH, that decides how much acid to use in all water sources.
Keeping up with your pool’s pH too much of a hassle?
If you can't figure out how to treat your pool pH or are having trouble finding the perfect balance, simply searching for a pool store near me won’t always cut it. That’s okay! Pool Assist are the experts at pool maintenance and can solve all your pH problems fast! We’re here for all of your pool supplies Perth, so if you need some help with your pool maintenance or need an extra part, give us a call to book a service today