What is pH?
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is, like hot and cold describe extremes in temperature, acidic and basic describe extremes in chemicals. This means in your swimming pool pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. Maintaining proper pH levels in your swimming pool water is important to the health and cleanliness of your pool environment.
The pH Scale
A logarithmic scale, the pH scale measures from 0.0 to 14.0 with 7 being neutral, the pH in your swimming pool should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.8. Keeping pH between these levels will keep swimmers comfortable, as pH outside this range will cause skin and eye irritation. As pH also determines your sanitizers effectiveness, pH maintained between 7.2 and 7.8 will also allow your sanitizer to work optimally keeping your pool clean.
Effects of High and Low pH
High pH causes problems in your water such as:
- Scale and calcium buildup at your waterline and on accessories
- Cloudy or dull water
- Burning of eyes or nose in swimmers
- Dry itchy skin and scalp for swimmers
- Drop in effectiveness of chlorine sanitation allowing for algae growth
- Clogging of filter elements and media
Low pH causes problems such as:
- Eroding of pool plaster and grout
- Corrosion of metal pool accessories (pool ladder, pool heater…)
- Staining caused by metal corrosion
- Breakdown of swimwear, pool toys, and accessories
- Swimmers experiencing burning eyes and nose
- Swimmer experiencing itchy , dry skin
- Rapid dissipation of sanitizer like chlorine, requiring more frequent dosage
As always the best way to avoid these types of problems is frequent water testing and making adjustments as needed. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for tips on how to adjust pH when you find it is too high or too low.