What is Pool pH and How to Identify

Hello and welcome! Today I’m going to give you a rundown on pH and what it means to your pool and what you can do to control it. We'll break this down into four parts. well start with an overview of what pH is, then we'll talk about acids and basics. Then we'll end with a small tutorial on how to use a test kit so you can find the pH of your pool yourself. 

What is pH?

Potential of Hydrogen, or pH, refers to the amount of an acid or base within a particular body of water. And is easily the most important chemical factor to maintain in your swimming pool. It's measured on a scale from 0 to 14 with a 7 being neutral. Typically, you want your pool to sit around 7.2 up to 7.8. A value of 7 to 14 is considered basic with 14 being the most basic and 0 being the most acidic.

What is too acidic?

So if a pH value between 0 and 7 is considered acidic then if your pool’s pH is below 7.2 your water is considered corrosive. This can create many issues for you, for instance, this eats into plaster and damage metals within your pool. The process of the walls of your pool being eaten away by highly acidic water is called etching

 (an example of etching in the siding of a pool)

This also dramatically changes how Chlorine in your pool behaves. Your chlorine will become more effective as a sanitizer at a lower pH. However, it will also become much more unstable, so you will need to add much larger quantities of chlorine than you normally would.

What is too basic?

The opposite is also true if your pool’s pH is higher than 7.8 you are more likely to see cloudy water or have scale forming on the sides of your pool.

(an example of scale forming on the siding of a pool)

This also makes chlorine less effective so just like if your pH is too low you will need to add additional chlorine. You can see that maintaining a proper balance of chlorine is very important. Chlorine as well as other sanitizers are the most frequently added chemical into pools and have the most powerful impact on pH and overall water quality. Something worth mentioning here is that chlorine comes in many forms, and each varies widely in pH. For example, most chlorine tablets have very low pH while liquid chlorine has a very high pH. In the event that your pH is off, you can add a pH increaser or pH reducer. These are substances like muriatic acid or soda ash.

Now obviously you don’t want your pool to get to the point where you are beginning to see scale forming or any of the objects in your pool becoming damaged. So, then the question is how often should you be checking the water in your pool to be sure that your water is sufficiently balanced? You should be checking your pool at least once a week! If you’re new to pool maintenance, it’s actually recommended that you test 2-3 times per week.

How to Use a pH Test Kit

  • Fill the chamber on your test kit up to the fill line with water directly from your pool
  • Add an amount of PH reagent indicated by your test kit
  • Shake the test kit to activate the reagent
  • Simply match the color with the color guide in the center of the kit
  • The lower the number/ the closer to pink your outcome the is the more acidic your pool is. conversely the higher the number/more orange the result is the more basic the water is!
  • The you're free to rinse out the vials and you're all done!

Here below you can see a typical Taylor 2000 series on the right and here on the left, you'll see one in use. And on the left one if you look at the column on the right side (filled with pool water)  you can see based on the color guide in the center of the test kit that the PH is right around 7.4 which is right in the optimal zone!


 And that covers all the basics in regards to the PH of your pool! And as always if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out to us here. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

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