Swimming Pool PH - What is it and How to Keep it Balanced

by Pool Builders on 05-09-2009 in Articles

Swimming pool pH is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a safe and healthy pool for your friends and family. What pH actually is, is a measurement of acid to alkaline ratio within the pool water. If the pH is above 7.0 the pool is alkaline. If lower it's acidic, and 7.0 is perfectly neutral.

It's important to test swimming pool pH at least once a week to keep it balanced and well maintain. The ideal range for a swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.6.

Problems Associated With Low pH

If a pool is too acidic there are a few problems that come along with this.

Metal Corrosion:

Including equipment, pumps, pipes, and so on.

Staining:

Since metal is corroding it releases other chemicals into the pool, leaving really nasty stains that can be difficult to get rid of.

Chlorine:

Chlorine becomes ineffective when the pH is too low. So your pool isn't getting sanitized and really you're just wasting money adding more chlorine.

Swimming Environment:

Itchy eyes, burning nose, ruined swimwear, and so on, making swimming less than favourable.

Problems Associated With High pH

If a pool is too alkaline, your pool is susceptible to:

  • Cloudy Water
  • Scaling
  • Damages to sand filters (thanks to some chemistry it can actually turn the sand into cement!)
  • Dry skin, burning nose and itchy eyes.

What can we do to control swimming pool pH?

In general, swimming pool pH will have a tendency to rise, mostly because of human waste, such as sweat. In this case, the pool should be treated with an acid. The most common forms of acid include muraitic acid and dry acid. Make sure your pump is on. You'll want to slowly add acid and begin to check the pH levels from time to time and stop once the pH has been lowered back to optimal levels. Be sure to pay attention to the instructions that come with whatever type of acid you choose to go with.

If, however, the pH is too low, take similar steps except instead of an acid you'll be using an alkali such as soda ash. Again, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Swimming pool pH problems arise because of poor maintenance, but don't beat yourself up over it. For the most part this is because of bad information and advice given by pool "experts" who want to you to spend more and more money on their chemicals and other equipment.

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