There is a need to be conscious of absolutely all sectors or divisions of your swimming pool’s water condition.
In the absence of knowledge of operational precautions and actions at some point in time, you are running at a higher risk of health issues and planning a show of disgrace whenever anyone visits your pool – the swimming pool is going to be displeasing to see compared to others, and foul smells will arise soon.
Why Do You Need To Raise Your Pool pH?
Raising your swimming pool’s pH and alkalinity have to be done with caution and precision. First, ask yourself, “Is there a need for a rise?” You definitely would have been fed some information by maybe your friends, or you just came about the topic randomly on the internet. Perhaps you just followed the review given by people and arrive at the end of “How to raise the pH and alkalinity?”
These are what this article will discuss in detail. For DIY enthusiasts, this article explains popular homemade solutions and industrial solutions for your conveniences in pH, alkalinity, and acidity configurations of maintaining swimming pool water conditions.
Let’s get started with the signs for a raise before proceeding to the other sections that will drive the main aim of this article to actualization.
Signs Of A Need To Raise pH
- Discomfort in swimmers. If there are occurrences or complaints of swimming or experiencing itchy eyes or burning skin, there is a high percentage of a need to raise the pH of the swimming pool.
- Brittles or cracks in swimming pool sides
- Cloudy swimming pool surface. When acid reacts with the materials the swimming pool is built with, the dissolved contents from the reaction will stay inside the water and form a solution of a different color, uncommon in the swimming pool.
- If you carry out a test and the test kit read below 7.4. The lower it is or farther it is from towards the direction of small figures, maybe 1 or 2, the higher the need to raise the pH.
- Premature rusting of filtration membranes or swimming pool facilities like etching of heat exchangers.
Signs Of A Need To Lower The Alkalinity
- Observations of slight skin rashes after swimming.
- When the water comes in contact with the mouth, it tastes bitter.
- Scale build-up in the swimming pool’s walls.
- Presence of scales in swimming pool equipment and filtration mechanisms.
- With a test kit, the level of pH is high. Measuring a value above 7.8 and going towards 14.
- The chlorine level gets easily deranged in less time, and there is inefficiency noticed.
- General maintenance chemicals don’t work as effectively as before, as the high alkalinity will always create a pH bounce whenever they are added.
- Corroding pool rails and tracks.
- Cloudy swimming pool’s surface.
- Dry skin, eye itching, and sticky feeling after swimming.
Misconceptions in detecting if there is a need for a rise in pH or alkalinity
- The presence of a green or stained wall doesn’t always signify a need to lower the alkalinity. It is a collection of algae in the pool.
- Change in your swimming pool’s watercolor might emerge from a faulty filtration system and not from pH or acidity level.
- Don’t attempt using your mouth to check the level of pH or alkalinity. Although it will taste sour if acidulous and bitter if too alkaline, abstain from it. It will expose you to buccal cavity-related issues.
- pH is the only thing to test for in a swimming pool. There are several other conditions you can check for. Although acidity and alkalinity are subsets of pH, they are differently calculated to have a more concise measurement in chemical proportion.
What Causes The Swimming Pool To Have Low pH and High Alkalinity Fast?
- The use of saltwater systems makes the swimming pool water highly alkaline, usually up to 13, except if there are enough neutralization mediums in place.
- Exposure to sunlight and aeration.
- Heavy storms and contaminants from the debris of blown twigs and particles.
- Human activities. If the number of visitations is huge, the pH will be affected.
- Frequent liquid chlorine usages affect the water condition easily. Since liquid chlorine is a common sanitizer and is used at 3 days intervals in most swimming pools, it has a huge influence on the water pH.
- Lack of chlorine in the swimming pool water is almost directly equivalent to high alkalinity. In situations where there is less supply of chlorine as at when due, pathogens grow up in the water and make the pH high towards the range of 12 – 14.
- Insufficient knowledge of maintenance methodologies. If a swimming pool owner uses a maintenance method they see online without precaution or professional recommendations, there are higher possibilities that the state of the water will be towards a low pH or high alkalinity.
Test For pH
The swimming pool’s water condition needs to be known before the application of the solutions that will be prescribed or not and to get how much quantity is required for maximum control. There are different procedures involved in testing your pool’s water condition.
With our focus on pH and alkalinity, the rest, like bacteria content and algae presence, will not be checked. Only pH will be calculated, and the level of alkalinity can be determined with the result from it.
With different methods, you can choose one that suits your situation or financial capacity.
1. Liquid test kit
To start, get a clean bottle or cup to collect samples of the swimming pool’s water. Turn the cup upside down and dip it into the pool, turn it up quickly and avoid contamination.
Since this part is about conveniences, liquid testers are very easy to use in checking pH and chlorine levels. You can purchase these in your local pool store. It is a component of containers with inscriptions on them and liquids.
There will be instructions on the usage in the manufacturer’s manual. A quick glare at what the liquids are:
- Phenol red is one of the liquid chemicals in the test kit. When you add to part of your water sample, the redder the water turns out, the higher the pH
- There is also OTO. It is a yellow chemical; the more the water turns yellow after application, the more the chlorine content.
Just make sure the background used to check the water mixture is white and your vision is normal.
Conditioner or cyanuric acid level is also needed to be calculated to support your solution. This might not be known or available with ordinary liquid test kits, but test strips will be able to calculate it. Cyanuric acid is the rate at which cyanuric acid helps to prevent ultraviolet rays in sun rays from destroying chlorine in the pool’s water.
If the conditioner level is high, it will interact with the treatment you will use on the swimming pool, so there is a need to test for it too for solubility.
2. Strip testing
This is one of the cheapest means of checking the pH level of a swimming pool water. All you have to do is purchase a collection of pH strips and get its manual. The manual contains a chart of what the strip will turn in if it comes with different pH levels.
After the purchase, tear one strip out of the collection, usually 20 or 50 in a pack. Dip the torn part into your swimming pool and bring it out. There will be a change in color on the strip. Follow the charts in the manufacturer’s manual to get how much rise in pH the pool needs. There will be instructions advising and enlightening you on basic responses expected of you after the testing.
If you have litmus paper, you can make use of them. They work perfectly too.
3. Electronic swimming pool testing machine
Rather than the manual forms of checking the pH of the swimming pool, this offers a more accurate measurement of your swimming pool’s water. Although electronic testing machines are a bit on the high side of expenses, they are cost-effective.
You will get the exact number of your pool’s pH. The range of the pH of a normal swimming pool’s water condition should be within 7.2 to 7.8. if the result makes toward 14, it is alkaline. If it is below 7.2, it is identified as acidic. The more the result is close to 14 or 1, the more the alkalinity or acidity.
4. The Red Cabbage method
Red cabbage can be used to test for pH levels. To do that, get a bowl of distilled water and boil it. After you are sure, it has boiled, put in the whole red cabbage and let it boil in the water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Stir the solution at intervals while still boiling.
After the recommended time, turn off the heat and strain the solution to have a purplish extract. Get a water sample of your swimming pool in a clean bowl and put a few drops of the purple extract into it.
If the water changes to red, it indicates acidity. If it changes to green color, it indicates alkalinity, and if it remains purple, it indicates the water is in a neutral state. The stronger the color appears, the more the level of acidity or alkalinity.
Methods Or Procedures To Raise pH and Alkalinity Of a Swimming Pool
1. Industrial alkalinity increasers:
Raising the level of pH is the same as raising the level of alkalinity. Enter your nearest pool store and purchase available alkalinity increasers. There will be various products, but you can seek recommendations from the sales assistant.
There will be instructions on how to apply the increase with respect to your recorded pH and the volume of your swimming pool. If recommendations are provided here, and it differs from the product you purchase, that will be disastrous. That is the reason for fewer details about the application and the amount to be used here.
Borax is a compound of boron, oxygen, and sodium. It is a household material, and it is unharmful to human beings and animals. It is among the commonest means to raise the pH of a swimming pool. Despite being a homemade solution, it has a consistent and measurable contribution to the pool when it reacts with the water.
For a swimming pool of 5000 gallons of water, 567 grams of borax will raise the water’s pH by a value of 0.5. If your pool is of a capacity of 10,000 gallons, you will need 1136 grams of borax to give the same effect.
Borax works effectively for raising pH and alkalinity, so if the alkalinity level is too low, Borax is your next option.
- Since borax comes in powder, you will need to get a bucket to firstly dissolve it into a solution.
- Get distilled water.
- Make a solution of a calculated gram of borax and a considerate amount of water in the bucket.
- Stir into saturated forms and be careful not to have a fumy solution or a solution with lumps.
- Turn off your filtration system and pump.
- Pour the solutions into the swimming pool at different angles.
- Wait till it gets dissolved entirely in the water and reacts efficiently.
- Leave the swimming pool for 24 hours, and afterward, you can test for the pH to confirm the contribution of the borax.
Rather than do this, you can just sprinkle the borax on the swimming pool’s surface, but there are usually lumps with this method.
If you are using a testing method that wouldn’t give you an exact figure of the pH, the color changes will be obvious.
3. Muriatic acid
A muriatic acid is a form of Hydrochloric acid, and that throws us at the glare of its being toxic. It is used to decrease the alkalinity of a swimming pool when the alkalinity level rises above required. It is a clear, yellow, or colorless substance, but it exhibits a pungent smell. You can purchase it from any home improvement store or your local swimming pool store. The product and the concentration determine how much you will use and the procedures involved.
Get your pH test result and proceed to ask for recommendations based on your swimming pool size. In the process of application, be careful in handling. It is corrosive and can cause health issues if it comes in contact with your body parts.
Read More: How To Lower Pool Alkalinity With Muriatic Acid
Vinegar contributes to its chemical constituents to decrease the level of alkalinity in the swimming pool. After the measurement of your swimming pool, get vinegar to be used. You will use ¼ household white vinegar for 500 gallons of water. For 12 feet by 24 feet pool, there will be approximately 8640 gallons of water.
8640 ÷ 500 = 17.28
17.28 × ¼ = 4.32
This means you will use 4 cups and 1/3 of the cup for the pool.
Application of vinegar
- Get the vinegar to be used readily.
- Sprinkle it evenly through the swimming pool surface.
- Stir it with a stick for total circulation and dissolve.
- Don’t swim in the pool for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, conduct another pH test with one of the methodologies mentioned above. If the indicator still moves towards alkalinity, take the process again.
If the alkalinity is too low, you will be derailed by a lot of disadvantages. Be sure your usages are based on tests conducted and indicating a need for a raise.
Note: A decrease in alkalinity means the number on the pH scale reduces to 1. You need between 7.2 to 7.6 for your swimming pool.
5. Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite)
Home bleaches and liquid chlorine are basically within the pH of 11 to 13. If added to a swimming pool inadequate measure, they will raise the pH of the water to a high portion. Many people use bleach to shock the pool after a high level of acidity has been recorded. 100 – 200 ounces of sodium hypochlorite will react with 10,000 gallons of acidic water to become balanced and good for swimming.
To start, check how low the alkalinity of the pool is and consider adding more bleach as it decreases. Apply the bleach in a solution and if afterward, the water is more alkaline than required, apply muriatic acid to bring it down. Protective measures and cautions of chemicals should be obeyed in the process.
Read: How Much Liquid Chlorine To Add To Pool?
6. Sodium bicarbonate
Baking Soda is a common home DIY material that you might have been using for a whole different level of purposes, but right now, it is a good substance to change the pH of your swimming pool’s water. Even when you invite a professional swimming pool maintenance technician, he or she is more likely to use sodium bicarbonate as part of the chemicals to balance the pH of your swimming pool.
You can purchase sodium bicarbonate in a local store or make use of the one you have in your house before. Wear protective gear like gloves and long sleeve clothes while handling with care to avoid contamination with your body system (skin and entry through your cavities).
For a 10,000-gallon swimming pool, you are to apply 9 pounds of sodium carbonate.
Read more on How Much Baking Soda To Raise pH In Pool?
Application of sodium carbonate
- Get a bucket. Preferably a very clean one to avoid disbalances during mixtures.
- Put a considerate amount of distilled water in the bucket.
- Pour the sodium carbonate into the bucket with care. Avoid spillages.
- Stir into a solution, and don’t let lumps in it. Irregular solutions will result in unwanted results. Take your time to do this gently and also put it to mind again; your skin is full of pores that absorb anything that comes in contact with them. Don’t let the solution come in contact with your skin.
- Pour the solution into the swimming pool and use a stick to stir the swimming pool. In the absence of the stick, don’t panic. It will only take a few more minutes ahead of normal time for it to fully saturate.
- Wait for 24 hours for impact and retest the swimming pool’s water.
After these, the pH would have experienced a chemical balancing process. The chances are you will get a figure between 6 and 8 on the pH scale after the application.
Other Conditions To Test and Fix Up In Your Swimming Pool
There are other water conditions you must pay attention to achieve perfect functioning and enjoyment of your swimming pool.
- Chlorine level: Chlorine addition is targeted at eliminating germs and pathogens in the swimming pool. With high concentration, it is hazardous to swimmers. It is advised to check the chlorine level in a 3 days
- Bromine level: Bromine is an algaecide, sanitizer, and can work in place of chlorine. It works better in warmer weather and its measurement is proportional to the measure of chlorine.
- Calcium content: Calcium contributes immensely to the hardness of your swimming pool. Too hard means too cloudy a swimming Too soft means scaling and pitting the pool’s walls.
- Total dissolved solids (TDS): Measure the amount of both organic and inorganic materials dissolved in the swimming pool. Get a test kit to assess the level present in your pool, and when it is above 1500 ppm to 2000 ppm, you need to act fast. It is to be checked monthly.
- Cyanuric acid level: It is also called the conditioner level. Cyanuric acid protects the chemical content in the pool from interference from the sun. It creates an unnoticeable surface of defense to stop the sun from destroying the chlorine content fast and to let ultraviolet rays have a lesser effect. It is to be measured every month too.
- Algae presence: Algae exists in black, green, and yellow. They can appear in any of these forms in your swimming pool. Chlorine attacks them, but if not combined with algaecides, there might be algae outbreaks. You can identify their growth when you see small plants or particles getting bigger in your pool. Before this stage, when they become obvious, they would have been developing in a microstate. A test will reveal if this is going on and should be done every month.
Following the recommendations and precautions discussed, raising or lowering the pH and alkalinity of your swimming pool should be easy. Now, do your part and take action!