The pH level of a swimming pool is raised by adding alkaline compounds to the pool water or through aeration. The only way to raise pH of a pool without raising alkality is through aeration. Dipping in a swimming pool, especially on a hot day, is a very fun way to cool off from the stress of the day, with a lot of activities that can be done in it for both recreational and fitness purposes.
But with a wrong pH level, the swimming pool experience you look forward to might be something you will not like to experience as irritation might occur leading to sickness.
What happens if pH is too low in a pool?
When the pH level of a swimming pool is too low, it can lead to a variety of issues that may affect not just the water chemistry of the pool but also the pool’s physical components and structure, and as well as the pool users.
Low pool pH level
Having a good pH level is very important in achieving desirable pool functionality and hygiene levels. When the pH level of water in the pool falls below a pH value of 7.0, it is said to be a low pH level, and the more it drops, the more dangerous it becomes. A low pH level in a pool is caused by several factors that can be natural factors or human.
Naturally, a low pool pH can be the result of rainwater entering a pool. Pools are usually open to the atmosphere and in event of rainfall, the rainwater enters the pool. Rainwater has a normal pH level of around 5, this is acidic, and as such when a reasonable amount of rainwater enters and mixes with water in the pool, the pH level will drop.
Also when people use swimming pools, the dissolved fluids on the body and hair sip into the pool water. These dissolved fluids, like sweat, hair oil, cream, and body lotions, are composed of acidic substances and hence contribute to low pool pH levels. This can be slow or fast, depending on the number of people using the pool per time.
Low pool pH level in a pool should be taken care of as soon as it is noticed as it can lead to different issues associated with pool usage. Acidic water is not good for contact with humans or equipment. It causes the skin to itch and burning of eyes, hence it makes the pool to be very discomforting to the users of the pool.
Aside from making the pool unfit for users, a low pool pH level in a pool also causes damages to the structure of the swimming pool. Acidic water corrodes the piping and liners, causing them to become brittle and hence crack with time.
What pH is too low for swimming?
The pH scale starts from 0 and ends at 14. A pH value of 7.0 is said to be neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline. Below this value is said to be acidic, and above it is said to be alkaline. The human body on average is slightly alkaline having a pH value of 7.4.
Therefore, one has to be careful when it comes to swimming in pools as certain pH levels can be dangerous to the human body and cause serious health hazards. The ideal pH level in a swimming pool water falls very close to the pH level of the human body, the closer it is, the better. A pH level below 7.0 is regarded as too low for swimming because it can cause irritation and dry skin.
Is it safe to swim in a pool with a low pH?
It is not safe to swim in a pool with low pH. At low pool pH, the water becomes acidic. It should be noted that the human body has an average pH value of 7.4. When in an environment that is lower than this, the normal pH level of certain parts of the body can be altered, leading to discomfort. For instance, there will be increasing irritation in the eyes as the pool pH drops lower and lower.
Does high chlorine cause low pH?
If this is your first time seeking an answer to this question, then it is likely that you are about to pour chlorine in your pool but you do not know the effect of excessive chlorine in your pool. Well, you are not the first person to have done so. many of us have been in the same shoe before.
Many have applied excessive chlorine in their pool before. High chlorine level is not just dangerous to health but can also lower the pH level of pool water, making it more acidic and leading to corrosion and other low pH-related issues.
So it is advisable to check for chlorine levels from time to time to avoid the issues that come with having high chlorine in your pool water. The best, and probably only, way to do this is by use of test strips. They are fast and easy to use and some can take just about 10 minutes to show the results.
Does low pH in the pool cause algae?
Is your pool suddenly turning green on the liners, or you have started noticing some green, yellow, black, or pink growths at the corner and crevices of your pool and you are wondering what is responsible for this growth?
Is the algae growth your pool caused by low pH level? No, algae don’t thrive in acidic environment. Algae are plant-like organisms and as such need the various essentials that plants need to survive. A low pH will be too acidic for algae to thrive but at the same time will not also be conducive for the pool users and for the overall functionality of the pool as parts might begin to experience corrosion.
While algae may be an indication that something is off about your pool, they tend to show up when the chlorine content of the pool water is not adequate or enough and the water is alkaline.
What causes algae in pools?
Algae are always in the pool water in one way or the other – even in a clean clear pool. Algae exist just like dormant seeds, waiting for the right time and condition to bloom out of hiding. Since algae are plant-like organisms found almost anywhere, they have a way of dispersing themselves.
They do so through spores, which are like an algae seed. These spores can be blown or carried into the pool water by the wind or from swimmers’ clothing and accessories. Where they wait for the appropriate water condition that will provide them the desired nourishment to thrive.
There are some factors however that causes the growth of algae. These factors, when in place or effect, will trigger the growth of algae in the pool. They include:
- Poor circulation and improper filtration. An unclean pool filter contains debris and impurities which clogs it up and reduces its functionality. A pool filter is supposed to filter and prevent impurities from entering the pool. But an unclean filter cannot adequately perform this task since it is filled with dirt already. Rather, debris which includes algae and algae spores is trapped on it and gradually sips through into the pool. Also, a clogged-up pool filter does not have an adequate opening for water to flow through, hence it reduces the water flow rate in the pool, allowing algae to thrive since they thrive well in almost still water.
- Imbalanced water levels. A low pH level means acidic water and less chlorine content and much gets used up. Inadequate chlorine content is a sign for algae to start coming out of hiding. Also, a high pH is another window for algae to quickly come out of hiding. Therefore, maintaining a well-balanced pH level is very important if you want to keep algae growth under control.
How to kill algae in pool
Algae in a pool is not a very appealing sight to behold or to want to take a swim in. in fact, algae in a pool should be like a stop sign saying, “stop! Clean your pool!”. Maintaining a very proper, clean, and well-balanced pool water is the best way of getting rid of algae and preventing them from coming back.
Getting rid of algae include the following steps:
- Physically brushing the algae off the pool surface to loosen hold and create more surface for the chemicals that will be applied to reach.
- Adding chlorine and algaecides. Before this, the pool pH level is reduced to increase the effectiveness of chlorine and kill algae faster.
- Shocking of the pool water.
- Cleaning and running pool filter for long period.
- Balancing pool pH levels.
How do you raise your pH level?
Raising your pool pH level is simply making it less acidic and making it more alkaline. Hence alkaline compound like soda ash helps in raising the pH level of pool water. So maybe your water level has dropped below the ideal 7.2 – 7.6 pH levels and you already experiencing some skin irritation with each pool use, then you have to raise the pH levels back up.
This includes the following:
- Adding alkaline products: Soda ash or sodium carbonate is an alkaline compound with a strong TA level. It dissolves in water and adds to the total alkalinity of the water. However, one has to be careful not to apply it in excessive amounts, as this might cause the pH level to be too high, leading to another pile of pool problem. 2 pounds of soda ash should be used per 10,000 gallons of water. Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) is another alkaline compound similar to soda ash that can be used to raise the pH level of a swimming pool. However, for every 10,000 gallons of water, 1.4 pounds should be used instead of 2 pounds like the case of soda ash.
- Aerating the water: This is a more natural way of raising the pool pH level by allowing nature to do its normal day-to-day balancing process. Over time, the pool pH will gradually adjust itself. However, this can take too long a time, hence the need to speed it up by aerating. This is done by creating an increased bubbly effect or water activity on the water surface by turning on the pool water flow features and jets. This will make oxygen dissolve in the pool water at a faster rate causing some reactions to occur that lead to an increase in pH level.
Will adding chlorine raise pH?
Chlorine in water does not raise the pH level. Chlorine when dissolved in water and reacts with it to produce hypochlorous acid, an acidic compound that lowers the pH level of the water. So, chlorine, when added in excess, lowers the pH level of pool water rather than add to it.
How to raise pH in a pool without raising alkalinity
Reducing total alkalinity level goes hand in hand with reducing the pH level of water in a pool. Maybe because the same chemicals are used, but separating both processes is best said to be impossible. The only way possible is to lower the alkalinity first and then seek to increase the pH level afterward.
Over time, pH levels do increase naturally, we just have to speed up the process. This is done by aeration of the water in the pool. This is useful as in some cases when acids are added to reduce alkalinity all at once, the pH level becomes too low and thus harmful.
Aeration causes CO2 gas dissolved in the pool water to change back to gas and come out of the water. This triggers some chemical reactions to occur within the bid to achieve a normal composition.
In the process, Hydrogen ion (H+) is consumed and gradually becomes lesser. Since pH is the measure of Hydrogen ion concentration, less of it means the pH level gradually goes up while total alkalinity remains unchanged.