The pool pH level is very important for your pool. This is why you need to always have a regular check-up on it. As long as your pool pH level is in the ideal range, which is between 7.2 and 7.8, it will be safe and clear. This is why you shouldn’t allow your pool pH to get too high or too low.
So what happens if pH is too low in your pool? Low pool pH makes the pool water acidic. If you let your pool pH get too low, several health and maintenance issues will arise. You will experience deterioration in your tiling, plaster, stone, grout, and concrete. There will be etching of vinyl surfaces which will increase its tears and cracks. The swimmers will be affected too.
The essence of having your pool within the pH range can’t be overemphasized and that is why this article is written. If you are still new to pool water chemistry then you need to continue reading this post to learn more about pool water pH, why you shouldn’t allow it to get too low, and how you can raise it to the ideal level.
What is low pH in a pool?
A low pool pH is when the water pH level is below the recommended range which is between 7.2 and 7.8. Once your pH goes beyond 7.0, the water will become too acidic and needs to be readjusted back to the ideal range.
What is a good pH for a pool?
The pH level that is usually considered to be good is 7.4. Though the range between 7.2 and 7.8 is considered safe for swimmers, do your best to always keep it closer to 7.4. We recommend 7.3 to 7.6.
The pH scale is always between 0-14 where pH 7 is neutral. If the pH is above 7 the water becomes basic, but below 7 makes the water acidic. The optimum level is 7.4. This level is recommended because it is the same with the human eyes and mucous membranes. Interestingly, a pH of 7.4 offers good chlorine disinfection.
Is it better to have high or low pH in a pool?
It is not safe to swim in a pool with high or low pH levels. The truth is that the proper pool pH level is the middle number. The pool experts are of the view that pH between 7.3 and 7.6 is the optimum performers and give the cleanest water. But high or low can cause cloudy water, skin rashes, and scaling of the pool equipment.
So do your possible best to always avoid pH levels beyond the recommended range. Test your pool always to ensure the level is okay. If not, readjust to the proper level.
What happens if pH is too low?
Once your pool pH becomes low, you are bound to start experiencing the following challenges;
- Pool water turns cloudy
This happens often to pools as reported by several pool owners. When your pool pH is low, the pool water is likely going to get cloudy or murky, especially when you don’t handle the issue on time. You need to always keep your pool water looking pristine. If your pool pH is in the optimum range you wouldn’t experience cloudiness. But once it becomes low the pool water turns cloudy. It even gets worse if the pool water contains high calcium hardness.
- Scaling of your pool’s surface and equipment
Low pH in your pool will damage the swimming pool surfaces and equipment. It usually leads to corrosion of the pool pumps, liner, ladders, and other components. More so, the chlorine level is affected which can make the liners fade. If you are using a concrete swimming pool then it will start etching which will cost you a huge amount of money for repairs. So it’s important to always keep your pool pH from getting low.
- Uncomfortable pool
This is another thing you would experience once you have a low pH level in your pool. With low ph, the pool water turns acidic and makes swimming very uncomfortable and harmful to swimmers. With the level of chlorine in your pool, it might begin to bleach your bathing suit, the eyes of swimmers will sting, and may be harmful to the nasal cavities. The skin is always the most affected as the skin dries out, becomes sticky, and itchy. Even the hair will begin to feel brittle. So with low pH in a pool, there is no comfort.
- The pool becomes unsafe
A pool with a low pH level is never safe for both the equipment and the users. The cloudy water might hinder visibility. It makes the swimmers find it difficult to navigate properly and this can lead to drowning, and if not properly handle death might occur. This is one reason why it is never advisable to use the swimming pool when the pH is low and/or if the water becomes cloudy. It can lead to sudden death from drowning.
Does high chlorine cause low pH?
Yes, an excess amount of chlorine can make your pool pH drop. Once this happens your pool because acidic and it will bring all the bad effects that can make you panic.
When chlorine dissolves in water it forms hypochlorous acid and hydrochloric acid. These acids react with sodium hydroxide in water to form a neutral compound, so there is no effect on the pH level. But once the amount of hydrochloric acid becomes high in the water, it will lead to excess residues of the acid and that can lead to a drop in the pH level of the water.
Will shocking pool lower ph?
Yes, shocking a pool can reduce your pool pH. The chemicals used to shock pools have low pH, so when you have them in excess it can make the pH drop. Like chlorine tablets that have low pH of 2.8-3.0. Even bromine is a great sanitizing chemical that has a pH that is about 4.0. So both of these can reduce the pH of your pool. The bottom line is that if you overshock your pool it will lead to excess residues of acidic compounds in the water which can lower the pH and turn the water acidic.
Does low pH affect free chlorine?
Low pH leads to excess free chlorine in your pool water. For the pH of your pool to become low means that the pool water is acidic already. Yes, the chlorine will still be active but too acidic and unsafe for anyone to swim.
This excess chlorine in the pool can damage the pool components and wear off the pool surfaces.
Can you swim in pool with low pH?
No, always remember that low pool pH is unsafe for swimmers, even for your pool and finance. Low pH water is corrosive. The swimmers might be the first to feel the bad impact because the water will sting the eyes, caused both itching and dryness of the skin.
So, if the pH is low, you need to wait until you have raised the pH to its optimum level before use.
What pH is too low for swimming?
Any pH lower than 7 is too low for swimming. So, always aim for about 7.3 and 7.6. However, if the water pH is higher than 8 the water will become alkaline and unsafe. So, while you are trying to avoid low pH also endeavor to avoid high pH levels.
Does low pH in pool cause algae?
No, a low pH level in a pool doesn’t cause algae because low pH means that the water has excess chlorine which makes it acidic. Algae start appearing in pools when the pH rises and the sanitizing chemical dips.
However, low pH can damage the filter which can lead to the growth of algae in the pool. Once the filtration system stops working properly algae and other microbes will start invading the pool. But if the sanitizing chemical is active, even though it’s in excess, algae will not be able to invade the pool.
Will low pH make my pool green?
Low pH in a pool makes the water acidic and can damage the filtration system. Once the filtration system is not working properly, algae will start to grow in the pool. What makes a pool turn green in the presence of algae. So if the filtration system gets damaged because of low pH, it can lead to the pool turning green.
What affects pool pH?
Some factors will affect your pool water which will lower its pH level. The negative impacts of these factors are the main reasons why you should always test the pH of your pool water. Once you notice that the pH is out of balance, you need to take action immediately. But first, you need to find out what is responsible for the drop in pool water pH level. Below are some factors that may affect your pool pH level.
- Overuse of the pool
When a pool is overused over time it will affect the water balance. Both total alkalinity and pH will be affected. The pH level will drop and the water becomes acidic. With this decrease in pH level, the water will be unsafe to users. So, if you use your pool regularly you need to test the water balance always.
Also, when the people using a pool at a time are too much, the pool is most likely to be polluted. The effect will be a drop in the pH level. What happens is that all the dirt, fluid, oil, and other cosmetics from the swimmer’s body will drop into the water. Of course, they will contaminate the water and bring down its pH.
- Rainfall water
This is prevalent with outdoor pools, it is almost impossible to have an outdoor pool and you wouldn’t have rainwater creeping into it. Rainwater already has a low pH of 5 to 5.5. So it naturally acidic and once it gets into the pool it will be diluted in the water. The process will make the water pH decrease.
- Improper and high use of chemicals
This isn’t only about using the chemicals inappropriately but using them in high doses. Experts are of the view that chemicals used to sanitize a pool can affect the pH of the pool water. Some of the well-known sanitizing chemicals have low pH. So when you add an excessive amount of these chemicals to your pool it may lower its pH level. An example is chlorine tablets. It has low pH already and overusing it will make the pH of your pool drop.
What to add to the pool if pH is low?
If you have tested your pool and the pH is below 7.2 which means your pH is low. You would need to add a pH Increaser. An example of a pH Increaser is baking soda. If you are a new user you should start by adding at least one-half or three-fourths of the recommended amount. Then you would be retesting intermittently to ascertain if you need to add more. If the level is still below the ideal range, you add more. Use the outlined steps to get it right.
- Test your pool to ascertain its pH level.
- Determine the amount you chemical you need for your pool. You should know that the pool chemical measurements are based on 10,000 gallons of water. So you might need to adjust your measurement if you have a smaller or a larger pool. You will need to add 3-4 lbs of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water if you are starting.
- Baking soda comes in powder form, so it can still be sprinkled directly into the pool water. To get a better effect, you can spread in wide arcs across the surface of the pool. Do not dump it all in a particular spot. Try not to do this exercise on a windy day to prevent the powder from going airborne.
- Take a break for about 6 hours; this is to enable the baking soda to dissolve well in the water. To help you disperse the chemical better, you can turn on your circulation system
- You can go ahead to retest and repeat this process between the next 6-24 hours after adding the baking powder. This should be done if your pool pH is still below 7.2.