As a pool owner, managing the water chemistry of your swimming pool is one of the hardest things to do in all of the pool cleaning and maintenance activities. Although difficult, achieving the desired pH level is important in order for the chlorine to be effective in sanitizing the pool.
Furthermore, when dealing with the chemistry of the pool water, the most difficult challenge is probably on how to raise pH without raising the alkalinity of the pool water. It is a fact that these two factors are related to each other and somehow any changes from one of them also affect the other.
In addition, when a pool has low pH which means its acidic, there is the tendency that it can cause damage to the pool. Meanwhile, having a high pH can greatly affect the effectivity of chlorine and can cause eyes and skin irritation to the swimmers.
With this information, the alkalinity of the pool water is equally important in achieving the desired pH level of the pool. This article will discuss a process on how to raise the pH level of the pool without raising the alkalinity of the pool water.
Why pH and Alkalinity are important?
When it comes to pool cleaning, chlorine plays an important role in sanitizing and cleaning the pool free from unwanted contaminants and germs. However, the effectivity of chlorine is greatly affected by the pH level of the pool water, thus the importance of maintaining the desired pH level is important.
As earlier mentioned, when the pH is low, the water is acidic and it will cause a lot of damage to the swimming pool such as corrosion of the metal parts, damage to the pool liners, and discomfort to the swimmers. However, having a high pH is also not good as it can affect the performance of chlorine in sanitizing the pool and can cause skin and eye irritation to the pool users. So, the need to achieved the desired pH level is important which should be between 7.4 to 7.6 level.
Meanwhile, a lot of pool owners know that the pH level always goes up and down as it always has a chance to fluctuate all the time. This is where the alkalinity of the pool water plays an important role because having the right amount of total alkalinity can help stabilize the pH level.
If you are not familiar, the total alkalinity of the pool water is the measurement of all the alkaline materials which were dissolved in the pool water. All these substances help in shielding the pH level through offsetting the acids in the pool water. Whatever the measurement of the total alkalinity of the pool water greatly affects the pH level of your pool which in turn affects the sanitation of the pool water and many other effects to the swimming pool.
- Pool pH is always high
The pool pH level is considered high when it is more than 7.6 when being measured. There are a few reasons why this happen such as the increasing temperature of the pool water. Too much chlorine stabilizer can also affect the performance of chlorine which in turn raises the pH level.
- Pool pH is always low
The common cause of always having a low pH level is when the pool water has low total alkalinity. This usually happens when an acid rain occurs or there is heavy precipitation. Using stabilized chlorine or chlorine in tablet form can also make the pH level low consistently.
- Pool pH is Low, Alkalinity is High
When the alkalinity of the pool water is more than 120 ppm, it can affect the resistance of the pH level. Adding chemicals that increase the pH level will only magnify the problem by making the alkalinity higher.
- Pool pH is High, Alkalinity is Low
The pH level will become unstable and unpredictable when the alkalinity is below 80 ppm. To address the issue, use a chemical that increases the alkalinity of the pool water.
- Pool pH and Alkalinity are both high
When the pH level and alkalinity are both high, you need chemicals the decrease the pH to address the issue. Muriatic acid is the most popular chemical that lower both the pH and alkaline level of the swimming pool.
- Pool pH and Alkalinity are both low
When this happens, it is highly suggested to raise first the alkalinity using the alkalinity increaser. The idea is to raise the alkalinity to 100 ppm then add a pound of alkalinity increaser to every 10 thousand gallons of pool water to raise it to 10 ppm. The pH level will automatically increase without doing anything.
- Pool pH will not increase (or decrease)
There are times when you keep on adding chemicals but still does not affect the pH level after the application. This is probably caused of a high total alkalinity level which usually measured at 120 ppm and will prevent the pool cleaner from adjusting the right pH level. To address the issue, use a pH decreaser or other chemicals that can affect both pH level and alkalinity.
- Is it safe to swim in high or low pH or alkalinity?
The answer to this question depends on the effect of the pH and alkaline level on the performance of chlorine in the swimming pool. When there is a high pH level, the chlorine is slow to react and affect its activity. But the pool water can still be considered clean and safe to use when there is a proper and effective filtration system in the pool and the presence of the right amount of free chlorine.
How to Raise Alkalinity in Pool without Raising pH?
Aeration is the process that lets you raise the alkalinity of the pool water without raising the pH level. In this process, you will need muriatic acid, a pool test kit, and protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and long sleeves shirts. It is also important to know your ideal alkalinity level which should be at 100 ppm and the target pH level should be between 7.4 to 7.6.
- Take accurate measurement of the pH and the alkalinity level
The first step is to take accurate readings or measurements of the pH and alkalinity level of your swimming pool. This is the reason why it is important to use a reliable test kit in taking up the measurement.
- Setting the target of the alkalinity level
When you set a target of your alkalinity level, always remember that both the pH and alkalinity will be affected by the use of acids. Used the highly-dependable pool calculator will give you a clue on the right amount of acid to be used on your targeted alkalinity level.
- Add Muriatic Acid to the Swimming Pool
The next step is to put the muriatic acid into the swimming pool. Depending on your targeted alkalinity level and the capacity of your swimming pool, you should be able to distribute evenly the acid into the swimming pool. After doing this, the natural process of aeration starts and the pH level will begin to increase.
- Testing the pool water after the application process
There are three testing schedules that should be done to monitor to pH level and the alkalinity of the pool water. Testing should be that first after 6 hours from the application. The next testing should be done after 24 hours and the last should be after 2 days in which it is being expected that the alkalinity should already be on the targeted level while the pH should be around 7.4 to 7.6.
Aeration is the solution on how to raise pH without raising the alkalinity. Many think that it’s too complicated to increase the pH without affecting alkalinity but this natural procedure offers a simple yet effective solution.