The Dangers of Unbalanced pH & Alkalinity
Advice - Pools
Let's Talk pH - The Truth
Simply put, if your pool water is too acidic it can corrode your pool equipment, cause etching on surface materials and cause skin, eye and nose irritations on swimmers. If your pool water is too alkaline, it can cause scaling on your pool’s surface and plumbing equipment, and can cloud the pool water. In addition, both high acidity and high alkalinity will alter the effectiveness of your chlorine, which will clearly disrupt your pool’s disinfecting processes.
On the pH scale, zero indicates extreme acidity and 14 indicates extreme alkalinity. Where 7 indicates a neutral state. We recommend that you aim to keep your pool pH between a 7.2 and 7.8.
High pH - What To Do
When the pH level in your pool exceeds 7.8 pH, your water is considered to have high pH. This means that your water is now too soft and there can be consequences. A high pH level can be caused by several factors, the main culprits being additional chlorine stabilizers and sudden increases in temperature. In addition, high pH runs a risk with your chlorine, as your chlorine will no longer disinfect fully. There are also physical consequences of high pH for swimmers. Red irritable eyes, dry skin and premature wear and tear of goggles and bathing suits are often indicative of a high pH level.
As pH is the most dynamic factor at play in your pool water, everything that enters your pool will affect it. If your pH is too high, you'll need a chemical that will decrease it. Our Club Pro pH Down is a popular, quality product that will reduce your pH levels easily and effectively.
Low pH - What To Do
Low pH is bad for swimmers, your pool and your wallet. Acidic water is corrosive. The most immediate effect is felt by swimmers as the water will sting their eyes, nasal passages and will dry out skin and hair, causing itching. Acidic, low pH water corrodes metal surfaces and pool accessories such as ladders, railings, light fixtures, and any metals in your pumps, filters or heaters. Low pH water will cause etching and deterioration of plaster, grout, stone, concrete and tiling. Any vinyl surfaces will also become brittle, which increases risk of cracks and tears. All of these dissolved minerals will hold in the solution of your pool water; which can result in staining and cloudy pool water. Lastly, but certainly not least, the presence of low pH in your pool will greatly decrease the amount of working chlorine, which can lead to bacteria and algae build up.
There are a number of professional products that you can use to raise the pH in your pool. Our professional pick is always pH Up, a pH increasing chemical by Club Pro.
Water alkalinity is one of the main factors that will influence the chemistry of your pool water. Total alkalinity is related to pH as they both focus on your pool’s acids. With a proper alkalinity range, we recommend 80 ppm to 150 ppm, total alkalinity keeps the pH level stable.
If your alkalinity level is too low, then your pool pH can fluctuate at the slightest addition of an acid or base. pH can drop randomly, which causes damages to pool walls, metal, and to swimmers. Therefore, it is important to routinely perform tests; we recommend once a week. To raise your alkalinity is to firstly know the size of your pool and what your target alkalinity, within the range, will be be. The product you’ll need to use will have to be made from sodium bicarbonate; a key substance used to raise alkalinity. When your alkalinity level is too low, we recommend Alkajuster, the alkalinity increaser from Club Pro. Alkajuster is a chemical used to increase the level of alkalinity in your swimming pool. When using this product, broadcast it over the surface of your pool, preferably in the deep end.
If your alkalinity level becomes too high, it will become difficult to change the pH. You’ll know your pH is too high when your pool water is cloudy, there is scale build up on your pool walls and your chlorine is no longer successfully sanitizing your pool. The process of proper re-balancing your pool water alkalinity can take more than one week, so be patient with this one. If your pool alkalinity becomes too high, we recommend that you either consult a professional for detailed instructions or, use high quality Alkaline adjusting products.
Simple Science Goes A Long Way
Maintaining the proper balance of chemicals in your pool is a continuous process. Any new material that enters your pool (such as debris, gardenia, oil, lotion, etc.), will influence the water’s chemistry. In addition to pH, it is important to monitor total alkalinity, calcium hardness and total dissolved solids. Pool health is also your health, your time and your money. With the proper professional products and weekly testing, maintaining balanced water chemistry will become an efficient, simple process.
Need help determining your pool's pH and alkalinity levels? We provide free water testing at our pool supply stores.