The health benefits derived from swimming can’t be compared with those of other cardiovascular activities. With swimming, you are working on your entire body. You burn more calories to be in shape and train your muscles for strength. So, swimming is one exercise you need to always engage in to reap these health benefits. But is it safe to swim in a pool when the pH becomes low?
The answer to that is ‘No’. A pool with low pH is bad for you and other swimmers. Once your pool water pH becomes low, the water becomes acidic. Acidic water is corrosive to the pool components and toxic to your health. The immediate effect that will be felt by a swimmer is a sting in the eyes, then the nasal passages will dry out and the skin wills start itching.
You should know by now that the only water you should swim in should be crystal clear. So, you need to find out the pH level of your pool water before use. In this post, you will learn why low pH in a pool is unsafe for you, the causes of low pH, and the remedy needed to fix low pH.
What is the safe pH level for swimming?
On the pH scale, 0 indicates extreme acidity while 14 indicates extreme alkalinity. Your pool water pH level can be too high, too low, or at the optimum level.
Once your pool water pH goes above 7.8 it is considered to be high. Any pH above 8 is too high. A high pH level in your pool is an indication that the water in your pool has turned alkaline. It is not safe to swim in such a pool.
The same applies to a pool with a low pH level. Pool pH is considered low when the water is lower than 7.2. Once the pH goes below 7.0, it is considered to be too high. This simply means that your pool water has turned acidic and using it that way will be dangerous.
The safe pH level for swimming is when the pool water pH is within the healthy parameter which is between 7.2-7.8. The ideal level is 7.4. So to have a safe swim make sure your pool pH level is close to 7.4 (we recommend 7.3-7.6).
Can I swim in my pool if the pH is low?
It is not safe to swim in a pool with low pH. The following are the reasons why you shouldn’t swim in a pool when the pH becomes low;
- The water is acidic
This is the first thing you would experience if your pool ph is low. Your pool water is no longer healthy for you. Acidity affects the body which will lead to heart diseases, inflammation, and other autoimmune diseases. So swimming in it should be a No for you.
- Your eyes will sting
Pool water with low pH will sting the eyes if it comes in contact with them. This makes the eyes turn red. If the acidity is too high, it may affect the eye cells and possibly damage some. So, avoid acidic pool by all means.
- Itches on the body
You can be having itchy skin which might be a result of low pH. This is always due to a lack of chlorine effectiveness or from even chlorine rashes. Chlorine rash comes from your exposure to high chlorine concentration. The thing is that low pH levels can throw your pool into chaos making the chemical used to react negatively to sensitive skin. So swimming in a low pH pool needs to be avoided.
- Affects your nasal passages
Another part of your body that will be highly affected is your nasal passage. The channel for airflow through your nose may be affected as you inhale in the pool water. The respiratory mucous membranes will be highly affected making breathing a lot difficult.
Is it safe to swim in a pool with a low pH?
It isn’t safe to swim in a pool with a low pH level. Moreover, pools with too low pH levels usually turn cloudy if not handled properly. There are three great risks associated with cloudy water. The following are the risks involved;
The truth remains that cloudy water is a drowning risk because it makes it difficult for swimmers that are suspended or struggling underwater to get help immediately. So one can get drown easily under a circumstance that would have been easily arrested if the water was crystal clear.
Before a swimmer gets into a pool it is recommended by The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) to check first and ascertain that the drain at the bottom of the pool in the deepest area is safe to swim. The water in that part should be crystal clear and visible enough for you to prevent drowning that may cause death. Murky water needs to be avoided at all costs.
- Contracting a stomach bug or UTI
This is another issue with swimming in a pool with a low pH level. You are most likely to contract a urinary tract infection or a stomach bug. The cause of these two risks is E-coli. This mostly occurs with the presence of chloramines (this is the chemical compound that is created when chlorine reacts with contaminate). This is an indication that there are so many contaminants in your pool water. So when you swim in pool water like this with so many contaminants and chloramines you may get an infection from E-coli bacteria in the water.
Simple tips you can practice to make your pool safe for swimming
You can always make your pool safe for swimming at all times. The best thing is to always be on top of your game by keeping your pool water balanced. You wouldn’t be enjoying the benefits of swimming if your pool pH is either too high or too low. So you should use the following tips to make the necessary changes for the safety of your pool at all times. The following are workable tips to help you through:
- Skim out leaves and debris
One of the contaminating factors of your pool is debris in your pool water. You might not have control over this but you can always help out by skimming them off your pool daily. You can even do it just three times every week. If you don’t want leaves falling from trees and entering into your pool, try to cover it when it is not in use. If trees are around and you fail to cover the pool, they will contaminate the water. So, you get them off your pool as soon you notice any. This debris can turn your water cloudy which makes the water unsafe.
- Test the pool chemical balance
For the safety of your pool, you should carry out weekly testing of your pool water chemistry. This is to be sure that everything is balanced. Unbalanced pH or alkalinity can damage your pool components and also make the water unsafe. So you need to be sure that everything is well balanced.
- Apply a good sanitizer
To keep the bacteria and micro-organisms off your pool you need to apply a good sanitizer. A good sanitizer for your pool is chlorine-based. You can find chlorine-based sanitizers in the local stores or online. It is more effective than other forms of sanitizers. So if you want to fight bacteria in your pool and also prevent infiltration then you must add a good sanitizer to your pool. But most importantly, you should use a good measure of it to avoid overdose. Too much chlorine lowers the pH level of pool water. So you need to be careful while using it, especially chlorine tablets.
- Shock your pool
This is another good thing you should do for the safety of your pool. You should always shock your pool by adding chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals to your pool to help raise the free chlorine level in your pool. This will be able to eliminate contaminants and microbes.
- Vacuum clean and brush your pool
Another thing to keep your pool clean and safe is to keep it clean. Contaminants and algae can invade your pool due to dirt and debris. So you need to regularly vacuum clean and brush the pool thoroughly. This will enable you to give your pool the deep cleaning it deserves.
- Use experts for your pool maintenance
It’s a good practice to learn how to maintain your pool by yourself. At least, it will help you to save some money. But the truth is that you may not be able to know everything as a pool owner as long as you are not an expert in that field. You don’t want to always spend your time correcting issues that you could avoid with professional advice. So bring them in once in a while and seek their professional opinions.
How to fix a pool with low pH
The points listed above are preventive measures to keep your pool safe. But if you are already having a low pH level in your pool then you need to fix it. As stated already, a pool with a low pH level is bad for you and your loved ones. So you need to raise it to the optimum level before using it. One good chemical for raising a low pH is soda ash.
Soda ash is recommended because it has alkaline material that can easily be dissolved in water. When it dissolves in the water it will leave little or no trace in your pool. When soda ash is added to your pool it will increase the pH and alkalinity as well. To raise your pool pH level to the recommended range of 7.2-7.8, you need to follow the steps below;
- With a test strip, test your pool water to ascertain its pH level to know whether is too high or too low.
- If it’s below 7 it shows it’s low. You will need to calculate the quantity of soda ash required, depending on the capacity of the pool. It should be about 2 pounds per 10,000 gallons of water.
- Leave your pool filter on as you add the soda ash to aid in circulating the chemical.
- Pour the soda ash evenly around the entire surface area of the pool.
- Allow the circulation to continue for about 1 hour before retesting to know if it has reached the desired level.
Does low pH affect chlorine?
Low pH in a pool will lead to an excessive amount of free chlorine in the pool as the pool becomes acidic. Low pH means that the pool has turned acid because of the excess hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid in the pool water. This will make the chlorine react less when added to the pool.
As you can see throughout the post, it is not safe to swim in a pool with low pH. Low pH simply means that the water is acidic and it could be toxic to your skin and internal organs of your body.
To avoid getting health issues because of the water condition, it is better to adjust the pH before you can use the pool again. More importantly, do your best all the time to prevent your pool pH from getting low. We have discussed the preventive measures and the process to fix it if it finally occurs. . take the necessary steps to ensure your pool and its users are safe.