pH is one of the most important factors for keeping your pool water healthy and safe. When your water is kept at a proper pH level, your chlorine will work more effectively. You will also have less issues with equipment, and your pool will stay clean longer.

What is pH?

Specifically, pH is a scale between 1-14 that measures the ratio of hydronium ions (H3O+) compared to hydroxide ions (OH-) in a solution such as water. The scale is logarithmic; this means a pH measurement of 5.0 has 10 times more hydronium ions than a pH of 6.0, and a hundred times more than a pH of 7.0.

The pH scale is intrinsically important to the study of chemistry, biology, medicine, civil engineering and just about every other science-related discipline. This importance stems from pH’s ability to cause drastic changes in how a solution reacts to other compounds it comes in contact with.

How Does pH Affect Pool Water?

Pure, distilled water has a pH of 7.0. Human eyes have a slightly higher pH between 7.2-7.4, and so should your pool if you want people to be comfortable.

A pH reading lower than 7.0 will mean:

  • Acidic water
  • Leads to corrosion of pool materials such as metals and plastics

A pH higher than 7.6 means:

  • Basic water
  • Leads to releasing of calcium carbonate or chalk into water, causing scaling and buildup

Both conditions make the sanitizing agent in chlorine less effective and not last as long. Both conditions will also likely lead to irritated eyes and skin.

How Do I Maintain pH?

The best advice for keeping a stable pH is to measure it every day. Once an extremely high or low pH level occurs, the water will be more likely to accelerate further in that direction. With daily measurements, your levels will be much easier to keep consistent.

High pH

Most pools are prone to having their pH’s gradually become higher when unchecked. All chlorines – liquid, solid and granular – have a high pH. Organic compounds like dust and leaves also tend to be slightly basic.

To lower your pH, you are going to have to add an acidic substance to the water. The most common type is muriatic acid, a diluted form of hydrochloric acid. This liquid can be extremely dangerous to human skin or pool materials if handled improperly. Granular sodium bisulfate is safer, but not quite as effective.

Both should be added with extreme care while wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles and full-length clothing. Pour them carefully into the deepest part of the pool while the pump is running. Add the amounts gradually and test the levels again after an hour and readjust.

Low pH

A low pH is less common, but it can be the result of acidic rainfall or other environmental factors. Adding a basic substance such as sodium carbonate will increase the pH.

With proper care, your pool will stay at an ideal pH level of 7.2-7.6, which makes your chlorine up to ten times more effective. It will also prevent any sort of maintenance issues or irritation and redness for bathers.

If you are having difficulty keeping your pH at this stable, ideal level then you could always enlist the help of an expert in Palm Beach pool service. We offer a free consultation of your pool’s setup and chemistry. We can provide regular maintenance and cleaning for it as needed. Take a look at our residential services page for more details.