One of the most important activities of pool care is ensuring the chemical balance in the water is well maintained. A well balanced chemistry is vital in keeping your pool clean and also ensuring it is safe for swimming. Chemicals such as chlorine are used in controlling the growth of bacteria and algae in the pool while chemicals such as muriatic acid keep the pH levels of your pool water well balanced. To maintain your pH levels, you need test strips and a drop kit. It’s also crucial that you keep a consistent volume of water in your pool. A low than normal level of water can make the chemicals high while a higher than normal level can dilute the chemicals and make them less effective. In addition, incorrect water levels also have dangerous effects on circulation and filtration.
The perfect range for pH in the swimming pool water is usually 7.4 to 7.8. If the pH level is kept at that range, the chances of it irritating our eyes when swimming is low. If you have tested you pH and realized that it is low, then you will need to raise it. Your pool water has become acidic and can easily corrode metal surfaces, dissolve concrete and masonry surfaces and strip vinyl pools of their ability to stretch and decrease their lifespan.
Why should you raise pH in pool?
As earlier stated, if your pool pH is low, then you are exposing your pool equipment to damage. Here are some other problems that low pH in pool water can result to:
• Metal surfaces in your pool such as ladders, railings, screws, pool cover components and light fixtures and any other metal surfaces in the pump and filter are at a risk of corrosion. Plaster gunite, concrete and fiberglass pools can all be affected in different ways such as pitting, etching and delaminating due to low pH. Pools that are vinyl line may become brittle and finally end up cracking and tearing. In addition, stone, coping, masonry surfaces and décor tiling in the pool can dissolve due to the acidity in the pool water as a result of low pH.
• Are you wondering where all the dissolved cement and metal corrosion goes? Well, it gets right into your pool water! Still, the water cannot hold so much contamination and at some point it will show it is totally contaminated. When the water gets completely contaminated, extra metals and dissolved minerals start forming on the walls of the pool as stains and discolorations.
• Low pH in pool water decreases your ability to control total alkalinity since low pH decreases the efficiency of chemicals that are used in balancing alkalinity.
• Swimmers will start complaining about irritation on the eyes and nasal passages due to the low pH levels of the pool water. Furthermore, they will experience dry, itchy and cracked skin as acidic water tends to strip the body of its natural oils.
How To Raise PH In Pool
Aerate to Raise pH
Aeration is also another way of raising pool pH. Turn your water features on and point water jets towards the surface. You can even add pipes on top of the jets and direct the water towards the surface. Anything that will get water on the surface moving. This helps in removing carbon dioxide out of the water. Therefore, aeration raises the pH in the pool without interfering with total alkalinity. This process takes several days, but it works perfectly well for pools that stubbornly maintain low pH.
Raising pool ph with sodium carbonate (soda ash)
• Carefully read the instructions on the label of the packet you purchase. This is because different manufacturers may have different percentages of sodium carbonate though a normal container of soda ash should have 100% sodium carbonate.
• Establish how much you will need to add. This will be based on your test results. We recommend that you add three quarters of what is recommended and then retest later until you are satisfied with the results you get. You want to avoid adding too much soda ash and then have to lower the pH again.
• The instructions may indicate that you dilute the soda ash first. If this is the case, follow the dilution instructions in the product.
• Since this product usually comes in powder form, avoid adding this when facing the wind. If it’s impossible to wait until there is no wind, apply it downwind from yourself. You do not want the soda ash to get to your skin and clothes.
• Get as close as you can to the water as the wind is likely to blow the powder into the air rather than into the pool.
• Try and add the soda ash into the pool at the water return jet sights. This is where the water gets into the pool. Do not add the soda ash at the water inlet sights such as the skimmer area. The dry acid should be evenly around the pool as much as you possibly can but not in the areas where it can easily be pulled into the pool filter and pump.
• The powder easily gets dissolved, so there will be little or no need at all to spread it around the pool with a pole brush.
• Give the pool water at least 6 hours before retesting, but try and wait for not more than 24 hours.
If the pH in your pool drops even after you have tried to raise it, then it’s time to raise your total alkalinity. A low total alkalinity allows the pH to randomly fluctuate. The total alkalinity should be between 80ppm to 150 ppm. If your test indicates alkalinity, you can put 1.4 lbs of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) per 10,000 gallons of water in your pool. This will increase the total alkalinity by 10ppm. Allow the water to circulate for more than one hour before you test it again.
Baking soda raises the pH just a bit; its major effectiveness is raising the total alkalinity. Avoid adding excess amounts of baking soda as it is more difficult to lower alkalinity than to raise it.
Soda ash will also raise the total alkalinity, so always check your total alkalinity when trying to raise your pH. You do not want to push the total alkalinity too high.
The pool pH may change overtime due to several factors. Therefore, raising your pool pH is needed regularly. You need to test the pH levels of your water regularly and correct pH as soon as possible so that you may avoid pool equipment damage and staining your pool walls.