How to Fix High and Low Pool pH

Summer in the Southwest means sizzling temperatures—and, if you’re fortunate enough to have one, some time by your pool. But to make sure it’s ready for swimmers, you’ll have to perform some swimming pool maintenance.

Maintaining your pool’s pH level is one of the most important ways to care for it. The pH scale is a measure of acidity, which runs from 0 to 7, and alkalinity or “base,” which runs from 7 to 14. Ideally your pool’s pH level will sit between 7.4 and 7.6, though some people widen that range to between 7.2 and 7.8. If your pool’s pH falls outside of the acceptable range, you’ll want to adjust it, and here’s how to do so.

Why your pool’s pH is important

Because you will be using sanitizing chemicals like chlorine in your pool water, you will need to frequently measure the pool’s pH level. Measuring the pH level at least twice a week is standard.

If your pool’s pH is too low (meaning it’s too acidic), it can irritate the eyes, nose and skin of those who swim in the water. But if the pH is too high (meaning it’s too basic), it can counteract the effects of the chlorine you used, compromising its cleanliness. That’s why finding a balance is so crucial.

If your pool’s pH is too high

If you measure your pool’s pH and discover it’s too high, you’ll need to add chemicals to lower it. Because these chemicals can be dangerous, make sure to use proper eye and skin protection and follow the directions on the manufacturer’s labels:

  • Sodium bisulfate or “dry acid”: As the name suggests, this substance comes in a powder form, so you’ll have to be careful when applying it. Avoid windy days if possible. Clorox makes a product called pH Down that works for this purpose. Sodium bisulfate is the milder of the two acidic chemicals.
  • Muriatic acid: Use extreme caution when handling this product, as it is also known as hydrochloric acid and has many other uses, including dissolving calcium and rock. HDX offers a no-mix product made specifically for swimming pools.

If your pool’s pH is too low

Here are some chemical products to help raise your pool’s pH level. Always wear appropriate safety equipment when handling caustic chemicals:

  • Soda ash or sodium carbonate: This material dissolves in water and, as you might expect, has a very basic composition. Make sure the pool’s pump is on and distribute it around the outside of the pool at a ratio of two pounds for every 10,000 gallons of water. FDC Pool & Spa pH Increaser is available at various retailers.
  • Baking soda: You can use baking soda at a ratio of 1.4 pounds for every 10,000 gallons to increase the total alkalinity of your pool. Pool Time makes a product that comes in a 16-pound bucket, called Total Alkalinity Increaser.
  • Aerating the water: If you’ve tried everything else, you can use your pool’s water features (like the jets) and point them at the surface, causing air to move through the water. Though this process may take days to complete, it does work.

Call for an estimate today

Maintaining a healthy pH level is one of the keys to successful swimming pool maintenance. At Arizona Pool & Pond Company, we’d be happy to help you with any pH problems your pool is facing. We not only have the expertise to fix your pool, but we also have the products to help you maintain it. Reach out to learn more.

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