Everyone dreams of a sparkling, clear pool, right? While a clear pool can be a sign of great maintenance and healthy water, it can also be a sign of acidic water that is not safe for swimming. It is important that pH and alkalinity are in balance when it comes to your pool water!
What is the difference between pH and alkalinity?
pH is the abbreviation for “potential hydrogen” and the reading indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water. Basically, it is the measure of how acidic or basic (alkaline) the water is. Total alkalinity is the measure of how stable the pH is. It measures the water’s buffering capacity to resist pH changes. Without control of the total alkalinity, the pH will rise and fall abruptly.
What are healthy pH and alkalinity readings?
An ideal pH reading is between 7.4 and 7.6. An ideal alkalinity reading is between 80 and 120 ppm. Maintaining these levels is important for keeping your pool properly sanitized and non-corrosive. When your pH and alkalinity levels are too low, your pool water becomes acidic. This can cause eye and ear irritation to swimmers, as well as corrode your pool surface and equipment.
What do I do if my pH and alkalinity readings aren't healthy?
There are two options for treating acidic water. The first is to treat chemically with pH Up and Alkalinity Up. Treating chemically is a great option when your readings are just below where we want them to be. The other option is to drain some water and treat with fresh water. Fresh water is naturally high in pH and alkalinity. When you dilute your pool water with fresh water, these readings will rise. Fresh water is the best and most cost effective option for pool water with extremely low pH and alkalinity or water with a high total dissolved solids (TDS) reading.
How do I prevent low pH and Alkalinity readings?
We recommend getting your pool water professionally tested at least once a week. At Angie's, we offer free water testing and can tell you every chemical you need to treat your water down to the ounce. When you get your water tested often, it helps you maintain and balance your chemical levels more easily! Another recommendation is not to rely too heavily on chlorine tablets. Tablets should be used to help maintain your chlorine level - do not rely on them for a chlorine reading! Chlorine tablets can cause your pH and alkalinity to plummet with overuse. Instead, you should be used liquid or powdered shock once a week (1 gallon or 1 pound for every 10,000 gallons of pool water).