The pH level of a pool refers to how much acid or base that pool contains, and it is necessary to know the pH level of a pool before using the water in it for anything. The pH level of a swimming pool, by standard, is between 7 and 7.6, meaning that the water in the pool has a balance of acid and alkaline in it.
Many different factors can cause the pH level of the water to increase, that is, to exceed the standard range of 7–7.6. Minerals, pollutants, or components of the soil are some of the factors that can create a disparity in the natural pH level of the water.
Hence, there is a need to maintain a balance between the alkalinity and acidity in the pool, to make it fine for swimming.
What causes high pH in a pool?
As mentioned earlier, a rise in a pool’s pH can be caused by different things. One of the reasons could be the excess addition of chlorine.
Liquid chlorine is an acid, and in the case of a pool with a high pH, chlorine could be very useful to lower the pH level of the water. But when it is in excess, it tends to raise the pH level, causing an increased alkalinity level.
Another reason could be a consequence of the kind of substances used to clean the pool. Some of those substances may contain highly alkaline components, which are likely to make the pH level shoot up.
Aside from the addition of some substances that can increase pH, exposure of pool water to direct sunlight can bring about an unexpected rise in the temperature of the water, thereby causing the pH level to exceed the normal range.
What happens if pool’s pH is too high?
An increase in the pH level of pool water can cause a strange softness to the water. The water begins to form insoluble deposits, like scales and soap curds on top and below the surface of the water.
Furthermore, the excess softness of water attracts harmful elements such as lead, which makes the water even more dangerous.
Frequent intake of soft water, even while swimming, can lead to health problems like high blood pressure. Also, the excessive softness of water can cause an increase in water bills.
This is due to the wastage of gallons of water in an attempt to reduce the softness of the water caused by high pH.
How do I lower the pH in my pool without chemicals?
There are several ways to lower the pH in a pool, but it mainly involves two processes; which are chemical methods or natural methods.
The chemical method, as the name implies, involves the use of some special chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, or even carbon dioxide.
The natural method involves the addition of non-chemical substances in their appropriate quantities, some of which are:
- Lemon juice
Rainwater has a pH of 5.0–5.5, meaning that it is slightly acidic in nature. Therefore, in a case where the pH level in a pool is high, the addition of the right amount of rainwater to the pool will reduce the alkalinity level of the water, thereby bringing about a balance in the pH level.
It should also be noted that the rainwater should be added in a small quantity. An excess amount of it is likely to make the water acidic, which will be harmful to the skin of swimmers.
This addition of rain water can simply be done by aiming the spouts from the rain water collectors of the house into the pool.
Lemon juice is also a source of acid, specifically citric acid. It has a pH of about 3.0, which is highly acidic. Therefore, adding just a little quantity can lower the pH in the pool, but it must first be dissolved in water.
Also, take note that the mixture of water and lemon juice should be added to the pool water in a very small quantity. Adding an excessive amount of it could cause the water to become highly acidic, making it unsafe for swimming.
The use of lemon juice is very advantageous in the sense that, aside from lowering the pH, it also kills the bacteria and fungi in the water, which further increases its purity level.
The use of vinegar is a very common method to lower the pH of pool water, especially white household vinegar. The pH of white vinegar is about 2.5, which means it is highly acidic in nature.
Therefore, just like lemon juice, a little quantity should be added directly into the pool, and not in excess, to prevent the water from becoming acidic.
Also, unlike lemon juice, it should not be dissolved in water but should be poured directly into the pool. Apple cider vinegar is another kind that can also be used.
How long does it take to lower pH in a pool?
Usually, the lowering of the pH level of a pool largely depends on what kind of method is applied, either chemically or naturally. The chemical method is kind of faster due to the reactivity the applied chemical creates with the pool water.
But the effect of the combination of a lot of chemicals on human skin will not be healthy. Hence, the natural method, though slower than the chemical method, is better and healthier.
The time it takes the natural method to completely lower the pH level of the concerned pool is dependent on what is being used to reduce the pH. Taking rainwater as an example, it lowers the pH of the pool water almost immediately after its application.
Generally, if it is just a little pH adjustment that is made to the pool water, the alkalinity level of the water should be tested after about an hour.
It is fine to swim in it after at least one hour. But if the pH adjustment made is large, meaning that if the quantity of acid applied is large, the pool should be allowed to settle for at least 24 hours.
More so, it should be tested again before use to make sure the acid level of the pool water has not increased above normal. This process can be applied when the acid added is probably white vinegar or lemon juice.
Can frequently changing the pool water lower its pH?
It is advisable to change the pool water frequently, but not too often. This is because, over time, certain minerals are built up in the water, and these minerals actually help in lowering the pH level of the pool if the alkalinity is high.
Therefore, frequently changing the pool water removes those minerals, making the pool more susceptible to increased alkalinity levels as it is also necessary to ensure the pool water is clean at all times.
Other methods can be applied to make sure the water in the pool can have a balance between alkalinity and acidity levels at the same time. Application of disinfectants used to clean the pool that do not cause large shifts in the pH balance is a good measure that could be done, instead of frequently changing the pool water.
Can shocking a pool lower the pH?
No, it actually works in the reverse way. Shocking a pool is very good practice. But it is only applied when the pH is low, that is when it is highly acidic, and there is a need to raise it to create a balance in the pH level.
This shocking method can also be done by the use of liquid chlorine, as it contains a high alkaline quantity, and must be applied to the pool water every week to quickly raise the pH level of the pool if there is high acidity.
Nevertheless, it does not help to lower the pH level at all. Also, take note that one advantage of shocking a pool with chlorine is that as the chlorine level in the pool water is increased, it helps to kill the germs and bacteria in it, causing the water to be further purified. So, shocking has its advantages, but it does not lower the pH level of a pool.
What do I do if the natural method does not work?
There will definitely be times when the natural method of lowering pH will not be very much effective, which indicates a very high level of alkalinity in the pool water.
So, what do you do in such a case? This is when the application of the right chemicals comes in handy. If the natural method fails to work, chemicals like sulphuric acid or hydrochloric acid can be applied in their appropriate quantities.
However, the natural method of lowering pH in a pool is generally the best method to follow.
What is the best natural method for lowering pH in a pool?
The cost is a major factor to consider when selecting a method for lowering pH. There are many natural methods that can be used to lower the pH in a pool, but there is one that is better and even easier to afford.
Taking the previously mentioned ones, rainwater, lemon juice, and vinegar as examples;
- Lemon juice is gotten from the lemon fruit, which can easily be found anywhere and can be purchased at very cheap prices. It is also advantageous in the sense that while it is highly acidic in nature, it will be completely harmless to the human body even if it is added in bulk. However, just as it was said before, the cost factor has to be considered. It will involve a whole lot of expenses on the purchase of lemons from which its juice can be extracted, which will just be enough to reduce the alkalinity of a whole swimming pool. The cost is very high and will end up being a huge waste if there are not enough lemon fruits. Therefore, lemon juice is good but not the best for lowering pH in a pool. It can be best applied in smaller quantities of water, for example, in lab experiments.
- Another nice option is the application of white household vinegar, which is sourced from the breakdown of certain foods such as potatoes, whey milk, or molasses. White vinegar is known to have a sour taste, and the presence of acetic acids, and these acids present in white vinegar are what are used to lower the pH level of pool water. Therefore, the option of white household vinegar is a very good one. However, there will be a waste of energy in the production of enough white vinegar for a whole pool. In addition to this, the cost of purchasing all of that vinegar will be extremely high and will involve a lot of unnecessary expenses. So, although the white vinegar option is a very effective one, it will not be the best one for lowering the pH of a pool. Just like the lemon juice option, it can be best applied in smaller quantities of water, like in official or even school lab experiments.
- Of course, the last but not least of all the options mentioned is the application of rainwater. Rainwater cannot be purchased as it is a free gift of nature, so it is really cost-effective. That is, it involves very little or no expense at all. Also, recall that the pH of rain water is between 5.0 and 5.5, therefore, its addition in just the right quantity will effectively lower the pH of the pool water. Plus, rain water is the purest form of water in nature, so it will be completely harmless to the skins of those who swim in it, as it has very little, if any, chemicals in it. Again, the addition of rain water can simply be done by aiming the spouts from the rain water collectors of the house straight into the pool. In essence, rain water is the best natural method of lowering the pH level of a pool.
Please take note that after the application of any one of these natural methods, the pool water should be left to settle for at least an hour. Afterwards, it should be tested to determine the new pH level. This is to be applied to small quantities of water.
However, when it concerns large pools of water, after application of any of the natural methods, the pool water should be allowed to settle for at least 24 hours and, afterward, should be tested to determine its new pH level.
If it is rain water that is applied, it can be tested after about an hour, and can then be used.
It is very essential for the pool water to be tested after the application of any one of these natural methods. Doing so helps to ensure that a totally safe and harmless pool is provided for everyone to enjoy.