A safe, clean, sparkly blue pool starts with pH measurement and keeping it in range. Managing the proper pH level of your pool water is vital to the health of your pool, protection of your pool equipment, and the comfort of swimmers. Everything works optimally in your pool when the pH measures at a correct level. And swimmers are happy and healthy, too.

What does pH mean?

You probably learned a little about pH in chemistry class, but here is a refresher.

pH measures a substance’s acidity levels or alkalinity levels on a scale from zero to 14. Zero equals the highest levels of acidity, and 14 means very alkaline or basic.

Everything has a pH level (the measurement of hydrogen in water) – teardrops, blood, soda, milk, lemon juice, and even dirt. Water’s pH level is 7, which is considered neutral.

What is the ideal pH measurement of pool water?

Pool experts aim for optimal pH levels of 7.4 to 7.6. At this level, chlorine works more effectively, and pool water is balanced correctly.

How do you test the pH level?

You can measure your pool’s pH levels by using test strips or reagent kits. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine your readings, and adjust as necessary.

At Pool Stop, we offer free water testing in store. Our trained technicians use water analysis software to test your pool water quality in a controlled environment. Bring a sample taken away from the return jet and at least 18” below the surface of the water. It is recommended that you bring your water within two hours of collecting it.

What are the effects of a low pH and high pH?

If you get a low pH measurement of pool water, over time you may see:

  •     Clear pool water
  •     Increased sanitizer activity
  •     Possible eye irritation and dry, itchy skin for swimmers
  •     Corroded pool equipment and rough plaster

 If you read a high pH level, over time you may see:

  •     Cloudy pool water
  •     Chlorine doesn’t work well
  •     Slimy water and surfaces
  •     Calcium or mineral deposits on plaster and in equipment (scale)

What factors can shift the pH level of your pool water?

Substances and materials are continually coming into your pool. Aeration will cause your pH to vary, so keep that in mind. Rain, debris, sweat, and even soil and bugs can affect your pool’s pH levels.

How often should you check your pH levels?

It is recommended you check the pH levels once per week when you check your chlorine (more if you have a high swimmer load). This routine will keep your pool clean and blue and everything operating correctly.

pH in Harmony

With some attention, knowledge, and care, you can ensure the ideal pH levels of your pool water. A system of consistent testing and adjustment will keep your pool water in a good range, protect your plaster and equipment, and keep swimmers safe.

Need assistance with achieving correct pH levels?

Pool Stop has decades of experience servicing pools and ensuring proper water care. Call us or visit our store to chat with our knowledgeable staff or free water testing.