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How to Raise or Lower pH Levels in Your Swimming Pool

By April 7, 2022May 12th, 2023Maintenance
Swimming pool pH levels | Waterside Poolscapes

The sweet spot for your pool water’s pH level is 7.4. That’s when it’s perfectly comfortable to swim and dive in and when your swimming pool equipment doesn’t suffer from corrosion or scales. When the water’s pH levels rise or fall above or below that number, you need to take measures to restore its balance.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to do so. If you have a maintenance contract with Waterside Poolscapes, we will take care of it for you. If you’d rather handle it yourself, follow the tips below to learn all about the process of rebalancing your swimming pool’s pH level!

What Is the pH?

The term pH stands for “potential Hydrogen” and is a measure of how acidic or basic your water is. The range goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being the average. PH levels below 7 are considered acidic while those above 7 are alkaline (basic).

When the pH falls below 7.2, your swimming pool is too acidic and when your swimming pool water pH passes 7.6, the water is too basic. Both extremes are bad for your swimming pool equipment and can cause skin irritations to swimmers.  

That is why your swimming pool water should remain between 7.2 and 7.6 at all times, with 7.4 being the golden standard.

What Does an Elevated pH Do to the Swimming Pool and Swimmers?

When the pH Is Too High

When the water pH is too high and the water too alkaline (basic), the pool water becomes hazy and loses its transparency. Swimmers will complain of itchy eyes and stinging, dry skin.

Additionally, a pH above 7.6 harms your swimming pool equipment. Calcium Scale, Build up and other debris accumulates in the pipes and filters of the pool and makes it harder for the whole equipment to work properly.

When the pH Is Too Low

When the pH of your swimming pool water falls below 7.2, the water is too acidic. A low pH makes chlorine less efficient, which means your swimming pool water quality will suffer. Acidic and basic waters have a similar effect on swimmers: the eyes sting, the skin dries up, and it feels uncomfortable to swim in the swimming pool.

Also, acidic water is corrosive. That means that all metallic surfaces like railings, steps, and metallic components of the swimming pool equipment will start corroding.

How Can I Fix My Swimming Pool’s pH?

With the right chemicals and a little bit of patience, you can rebalance your swimming pool pH. You can’t just start throwing chemicals into the water, though. You are aiming for the right balance of chemicals to achieve the perfect pH.

The first step is to calculate how much water your swimming pool contains.

Measure Your Swimming Pool Capacity

Your swimming pool developer should have written down the full capacity of your swimming pool. If, however, you don’t have this number, you will need to calculate it yourself so you don’t accidentally put too few or too many chemicals into the water.

You will need some simple math to do so. While custom shapes may be harder to calculate, with your typical rectangular swimming pool you will first need to multiply your pool’s length and width to get the surface area. You can then find out the volume in cubic feet by multiplying that number by the average depth. Finally, multiply the volume by 7.5 to arrive at the volume of the pool (expressed in gallons).

Test the Water

The next step is to determine the level of the chemical imbalance. If your swimming pool water pH is 7.1, for example, you only need a small quantity of chemicals to raise the pH. If, on the other hand, it is 6, you will require much more.

You must have a testing kit that will tell you where the water stands and what type of imbalance your swimming pool is facing.

What Do I Do to Raise My Swimming Pool pH?

The most common compound to raise your swimming pool pH is sodium carbonate, or soda ash. Sprinkle it across the swimming pool and have your pump circulate the water to let it flow around. Another solution is sodium bicarbonate—basically, baking soda. 

Don’t expect the pool water to be balanced within seconds. You will want to check the quality of the water within 6 hours from the intervention and then again after 24 and 48 hours. 

What Do I Do to Lower My Swimming Pool pH?

The most common chemical to lower your swimming pool pH is muriatic acid. Again, you must let the acid work its way through the water for a few hours to lower the pH levels. Check within 6 hours and then again 24 hours after the treatment.

What Causes pH Imbalances?

There are many reasons why your swimming pool pH may get unbalanced.

Water Source

The water you used to fill up your swimming pool could be too acidic or too basic.

Chemical imbalance

Sometimes, an imbalance is created between chlorine, pH raisers, and pH downers. Maybe there is too much or too little of one chemical, leading to an overall imbalance. Liquid chlorine, for example, increases the pH of the swimming pool water.

Rain Water

Rainwater is acidic and hovers at around 5 pH. A rainstorm that drops a lot of rainwater in your swimming pool will inevitably lower the overall pH.

Leaves and Debris Lower pH

Leaves, pine needles, debris, dirt, and other natural compounds lower the swimming pool pH as they decompose in the water. You must keep your swimming pool clean and have the filter run consistently.


A large swimming pool party with many people splashing in the pool will have a detrimental effect on the water’s pH. Sweat, saliva, body oils, and bodily fluids in general lower the water’s pH. You will need to re-balance the water to reach the optimal water pH.

Waterside Poolscapes Will Keep Your Pool’s Water Balanced

If you feel you’d rather be enjoying your pool instead of calculating its volume, testing the water, and adding muriatic acid, chlorine, or soda ash every week, Waterside Poolscapes are here to help you.

Come meet us in person at 25311 Kingsland Blvd #110, Katy, TX 77494 showroom during our office hours, 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday, CST. Schedule a free, no-obligation swimming pool design consultation, or call us at 281-690-4810 for a quote. Download “7 Questions You Should Ask Your Pool Builder to get started. Our maintenance crews will keep your pool water perfect for swimming!

Let Waterside Poolscapes turn your dream swimming pool into reality!