How to Check and Raise Pool’s pH Levels: The Ultimate Guide

Do you know how to check and raise pool’s pH levels? If you have a swimming pool, you definitely need to know how to check and raise pool’s pH levels. Our guide will show you exactly how to do that effectively. Read on to find out more!

The pH level in a pool should ideally be between 7.2 and 7.8. If it falls below that level, it becomes harder for chlorine to work effectively and will lose its effectiveness as a sanitizer. You may need to make some detective work to figure out what’s causing the low pH levels, and then you can take action against it!

Remember, humans don't need to swim at a high or low pH level; they just need balanced chlorine levels.

It’s pretty much impossible for most people to maintain the right balance of pH themselves, so we’ve made this list to help you answer some of your questions. In this article, we will walk you through how to raise pool’s pH levels and maintain them at the right levels to keep your pool safe and healthy. 

Let’s get started. 

What’s the Importance of the Right Balance of pH in a Pool?

A proper pH balance is important to maintain in a swimming pool because it helps keep the pool sanitized. Without a good balance of pH, chlorine will lose its effectiveness as a sanitizer in your pool. It may also cause some issues. For example:

  • Irritates skin and eyes – Low pH levels irritate the mucous membranes of your nasal cavity. One reason is that acidic water strip away your body’s natural oils.
  • Destroys pool equipment’s – All things that come into touch with acidic water are being worn away, which is why, if left uncontrolled, acidic water will damage your plumbing and other pool accessories, as well as your liners
  • Kills of chlorine sanitizing powers – Whether it’s low or high pH levels, imbalanced pH levels render any amount of chlorine useless
  • Clouds the pool water – No one wants to swim in murky and cloudy water!

What Is pH?

Check pH level

pH, or potential of hydrogen, is a scale used to measure how acidic or alkaline (basic) something is. It measures how much hydrogen ions are present in that substance. The scale stretches from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral.

pH greater than 7alkaline substance
pH less than 7acid substance
A pH greater than 7 means it’s an alkaline substance, and a pH less than 7 means an acid substance

Water and bleach would be examples of substances with a high pH level, and vinegar and lemon juice would be examples of low pH levels.

To keep a pool healthy, most experts agree that the optimal levels for swimming pools should be around 7.2-7.6, with 7.4 being perfect.

When the pool pH level falls below 7 or rises above 7.8, chlorine gets less effective, and your pool water becomes cloudy and unclear because it loses its balance with other chemicals in the pool water. This can lead to many problems, such as an increase in bacteria that can cause illnesses and skin infections for swimmers and may harm your equipment if not addressed quickly enough.

What Causes Low pH Levels?

These factors can cause low pH levels in a swimming pool:

  • Heavy rainstorm (acidic)
  • Heavy use (pool party)
  • Dissolved body fluids
  • Chemical imbalance

How to Safely Raise Pool’s pH Levels in Simple Easy Steps

Now that you’ve already got a pretty good idea of why pH levels balance is important in your pool, it’s time you learn how to cure it.

Increasing your pool’s pH levels is not a tricky procedure, but it takes time.

Adhere to these simple steps, and you’ll have your pool’s pH level balanced in no time.

Step 1: Check Your Chemistry Levels With a Test Kit

chlorine test kit beside pool

If you suspect that the pH levels are off, the odds are that you have previously examined the pool chemistry to make sure. If you haven’t already, go ahead and test to discover just how far off the pH is.

Make sure to follow the ideal pH levels between 7.2 and 7.6, 7.4 is the best. 

Meaning, if your pH levels show below 7.2, you’ll need to make some efforts to raise pool’s pH levels.

Step 2: Figure Out the Volume of Water in Your Pool

Swimming Pool Under

If you’ve lost your pool care guide and forgot how many gallons of water are in your swimming pool, you’ll have to do simple math.

Put your numbers in these formulas, and you’ll have it in no time.

  • Square pools: length x width x depth x 7.5
  • Round pools: diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9

Step 3: Calculate the Amount of Chemicals the Pool Needs

calculator and pen

Sodium carbonate, or soda ash, is what pool owners commonly use. You’ll have to add 6 ounces for every .2 pH increase in 10,000 gallons of water.

So, for example, let’s say you’ve measured a 7.0 pH level, and you have a 20,000 gallon of pool. For you to increase the pH level to 7.2, start by adding 12 ounces of soda ash.

This is only an expert estimate, which means that it will bring you very close, but sometimes, you may need to add a little more to account for variations in weather.

Step 4: Adding Soda Ash

Sodium Carbonate

Fill a five-gallon bucket with clean water, followed by your measured soda ash.

Stir a little to get it all mixed up, and then pour it around your pool to distribute the mixture evenly.

Ensure your pool pump is running during this period to ensure that the soda ash is evenly distributed throughout your pool. This is key to raise pool’s pH levels safely.

Step 5: Recheck for the Pool’s Chemistry One More Time

Checking Pool Using Test Kit

Wait roughly an hour and recheck your pH and alkalinity level one more time. If they’re back to normal, then your good to go.

However, if the levels are still out of range, you will have to repeat the process, adding as much soda ash as is necessary to get it back within normal range.

Suppose the swimming pool water gets a little cloudy, don’t panic. It should clear away within a few hours or so.

If you’re still having trouble getting the pH balanced, you may be dealing with something else that’s causing the problem.

Check for all your pool’s chemical levels, and correct the levels of chlorine and calcium hardness. Ensure your pool is as clean as it gets without leaves and debris since this may cause chemical imbalance.

Bottom Line

Remember the wise wisdom “prevention is better than cure”? This is actually a golden rule of thumb for pool owners. The easiest and efficient way to keep your pool healthy and safe is to maintain a daily pool routine.

  • Remove any leaves or debris from your pool with the help of your pool skimmer. Make sure you use a swimming pool cover at all times to limit outside contaminants that fall into the pool.
  • Ensure you allot some time to check your pool’s chemistry every week.
  • You should vacuum, brush, and deep clean your pool once a month to keep it in good condition.
  • Apply pool shock once a month too, but some pool shock works well with weekly use. 

Occasionally, your pool levels will become unbalance despite how diligent you take care of your pool. If this happens, we hope that today’s guide comes in handy and helps you raise pool’s pH levels in a safe way if that’s the case. Here are some of our interesting pool guides that can help you, too.

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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