Maintaining the pH levels in your swimming pool is essential to the swimmers’ health and safety and the appearance of the pool water. Very basically, pH is the term used to refer to the chemical factors in your pool water. It applies to the degree of activity of an acid or base.
Measuring and Reading pH Levels
Correctly reading and measuring pH levels within your pool can be done independently. Many retailers stock kits that assist customers in measuring their pool pH.
To use the kit properly, you should understand that pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. While 7 is the target, neutral number, 0 indicates a high acidity level, while 14 is the highest to register base activity. Any number below 7.2 shows corrosive water.
Balancing the pH in a pool can be an incredibly frustrating game of back and forth between too much base activity and too much acidity. Often, it’s best left to a professional.
Raising the pH in Your Pool
When the pH levels sink below usual, significant problems can occur with your plumbing as the acidity in the water begins to erode it slowly. Also, acidic water irritates the eyes and skin. Here are a few side effects of pool water with low pH:
• Acidic water strips the body of natural oils
• Irritation of eyes, nose, mouth, and skin
• Corrodes all pool equipment that comes in contact with the water, liners included
• Lessens the effects of chlorine in the water
Many factors can cause a low pH to register in pool water, especially debris from wind and rainwater. Luckily, there are ways to raise the pH in your pool, kicking skin irritation and destroyed equipment to the curb.
1. Start by testing the chemistry levels in your pool. You can call a professional or purchase the test strips at the store. If your pH is below 7.2, then you’ve got to raise it.
2. Calculate the amount of water in your pool.
3. Measure your chemicals, ensuring that you’re adding the correct amount.
4. Carefully add the chemicals to your pool water.
5. Wait an hour or two, and test the water once again.
Lowering the pH in Your Pool
High pH levels can be just as bothersome as low. High pH levels harbor the potential to throw everything out of whack, including how effective your chlorine is. If the pH balance is consistently too high in your pool, you’ll notice the following issues:
• Cloudy and murky water
• Skin and eye irritation
• Constant adding of chlorine, without it registering on your chemical strip
• Clogged filters or pipes (or both)
• Scaling of the pipes, affecting your motor and filtration system
Since a high pH in your pool can come from almost anything that enters the water, it can be a battle to keep levels where they should be if your pool is consistently registering high. From pool shock to improperly measured chemicals, there are plenty of reasons that the pH of your pool may be high, but it’s certainly fixable.
1. Test your pools’ pH. If it registers high, then you’ve got to lower it.
2. Measure your chemicals, and prepare them to add to the pool. The substances most commonly used to lower pool pH are sodium bisulfate and muriatic acid. These can be incredibly dangerous to handle, so an expert is best.
3. Carefully add your chemicals, and if you’re doing it yourself, avoid windy days.
4. Allow chemicals to dissolve and retest within 24 hours.