Various ways to raise pH in pool water Explained


There you are, wandering around your pool and deeply thinking about pH testing. By the time, you have got the testing kit and you examined it. What have you got? You have got pH level low and thinking of raising it. So, you need to know, what does pH mean and how to raise pH in pool water?

In water, pH generally shows how much the water is corrosive and the capacity of alkalinity. There is a scale of pH measurement which shows how much you should raise pH in water and in different circumstances how much you should low pH in water. This is the most important part of pH for pool water as well. In later sections, we are going to discuss about pH in pool water and its importance and safety in details.

Your pool water must have proper pH measurement. Else, you or the swimmers may get corrosive or over alkaline water substance may harm you with skin disease. Let’s see the overall reasons why your pool water must contain proper pH-

  • Eye and skin problem occurs due to low pH
  • Chlorine will not work in high pH
  • Corrosion occurs in low pH

What does pH mean for the pool?

What does pH mean for the poolYou might be searching all over the internet to find out what does pH really mean? pH informs you about how much the water is clean and hygienic. It helps you to balance the water chemistry.

pH is the short form of potential hydrogen. So, it means-

  • High percentage of hydrogen ions when pH is higher
  • Low percentage of hydrogen ions when pH is lower

When your pool water gets hydrogen ions or pH higher, it will be oxygen rich with more alkaline and the scale of measurement will get over 7. If it is lower, water will get corrosive and acidic and the scale measurement will get less reading, less than 7. Usually, pH scale contains 0-14 numbers on measurement scale. It identifies-

  • Higher acidity or lower pH reading
  • Lower acidity, Higher alkaline in pH reading

Standard pH measurement numbers for pool water is 7.4-7.6. Below or higher this range will need to sort out and bring it to recommended numbers.

The potency of pH

The potency of pHpH maintaining in pool water is very much important and is essential for your healthy and hygienic lifestyle. Pool water contains chlorine which removes and kills bacteria. pH can contain both high acid and high alkaline in water which deter chlorine to work efficiently.

So, pH plays a vital role to maintain hygiene in water. You must need pH in proper range to ensure you and your family members are safe in pool water. Let me tell you about the effect of high and low pH in water.

Effects of High pH

High pH occurs when hydrogen ions and alkaline gets higher in range. For an example, in scale of 0-14, when pH scale shows the reading number 13, it classifies extreme alkalinity in water which will cause severe skin infection and hostile situations.

High Alkaline in water means it has higher pH level and if this somehow goes into human body, it will render the Alkaline into acidic substance. So, it will turn out to be unsafe, if you swim into pool water. Let’s see how high pH effects pool water-

  • Growing calcium on pool surfaces and accessories
  • Cloudy pool water
  • Clogging elements in pool water
  • Reduce chlorine and increases algae and bacteria growth
  • Skin and eye burning
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Bacterium or virus will continue to grow

Effects of low pH

Low pH occurs when hydrogen ions become low. This time alkaline doesn’t have any effect here. Low pH results pool water to get more acidic. For example, on 0-14 of scale measurement, if pH level shows 2 then it will classify as acidic. Low pH will cause elevated level of toxic metal. More the number shows lower mark, more it will be acidic. Let’s see how low pH affects pool water-

  • It demolishes pool plaster
  • Corrosion of metal things around pool
  • Low pH leaves stain and reason for metal corrosion
  • Cause of burning eyes and nose
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Decoys pool toys and accessories
  • Dissipate chlorine faster if too much water in acid

Factors that lead to low pH

Factors that lead to low pHYou are staring at your pool water and thinking how you can continue swimming in the pool. When you are swimming in the pool, you feel skin irritation and your eyes burning with hair falling. It’s because your pool water has low pH.

Pool water becomes low in pH scale due to several man-made factors. Supplying unhygienic water and sources which supplies unrefined water is one of the main factors for low pH in pool. Low pH can arise from several sources. Let me show you some sources which cause low Ph in your pool water-

  • Local Source of Water
  • Human Source
  • Organic Source
  • Chemical Source
  • Source of Ground or Rain Water

Local Source of Water

This is one of the most common issues which lead water to get low in pH. If your water source comes from a river or canal then it is the factor your water gets low in pH or acidic. Water source contaminates primarily by the course of its path. Some of the major points of water contaminating –

  • Water course may change its path and falls into the contaminated section
  • How safely source of water is coming through pool water section
  • If source has issue in refinement

Human Source

Human can cause water to get contaminated with low pH. Human body contains all kinds of bacteria which may get dissolved into pool water while pool usage. Besides, using pool may imbalance pH due to adding sweat, oils, saliva and urine. So, check the pool water, if you have crowd gathering around pool or if you are having pool party.

Organic Source

Organic sources such as aquatic bugs; Collembola or plecoptera, grass, cuttings mix with the water. Specially bugs contain several bacteria and contaminate water. The substance of their body gets dissolved in water. Another reason is, if pool is bordered by trees, leaves and grass will fall easily on pool water and lower the pH level.

Chemical Source

You are buying chemicals with high hopes of raising pH level in pool. Do you know using excessive chemical in pool water may reduce pH level? Sometimes, chlorine tablet becomes the reason for lessening pH level. In addition, pH level will decrease so much that it will go down to 2.8. If you use include bromine pH level will stay at 4.

Source of Ground or Rain Water

Don’t think that rain water exclude from being unsafe. Heavy rain contains lots of elements which is hostile to the environment. Your pool may get acidic substance from rain water. If loads of water flooded into your pool, the chance of getting reduced pH water in your pool is higher.

What happens when the pool water has low pH?

What happens when the pool water has low pHProper level of pH is an essential part of maintaining your pool water. Your pool water may get acidic, contaminated; alkalinity in the water gets raised. So, you need to check your pool water on a regular basis.

Low pH arise when the scale measurement gets down; less than 7.  pH level should get in a range of 7.4-7.6. If you get less reading than 7, your pool water will show some unwanted effects. So, what are the effects you will get in later situations due to low pH in your pool water? The consequences of getting low pH level illustrates below-

  • Effects on Swimmers and gear
  • Consequences for pool and its water
  • Effects on your budget for the pool

These are all the standard situations you may fall in regular basis, if necessary measurement is not taken. Let’s see all the points in details below-

Effects on Swimmers and gear

You are swimming in your pool water and a moment later, you are scratching your back and get the itchy feeling in your eyes and even your eyes get red. It will surely make your swimming experience unpleasant. Softer water with high pH level is much pleasing to be swimming.

Acid water has effect on your swimming gear. You may get the feeling of your swimwear gets slippery and it will wear faster than usual and starting to bleach overtime. Let’s see all the consequences at a glance-

  • Low pH water causes red eyes and scratchy backs
  • Water becomes acidic
  • Accessories become slippery and unsafe

Consequences for pool and its water

While you are planning to dive in pool water, you notice the color of pool water changes. It’s because the pool water has become polluted or having low pH. Low pH causes significant changes in pool water and effect the disinfectant chlorine. You may have to add large amount of chlorine in water to ensure the disinfection of water.

On the other hand, the acidic water will change the heat pump operations by corrosion. You will observe its service life is getting down than your expectation.

Moreover, you will observe the roughen mosaic. Your beautifully designed tiles will get rougher and get strain as the time goes. This will also promote the algae growth on your tiles and make your pool water polluted.

In addition, your pool water will change into black from brown or blue color by the effect of low pH level. Let’s see all the consequences at a glance-

Effects on your budget for the pool

To raise the pH level on your pool, you need to buy the expensive chemicals and materials. Your pool needs to maintain the total alkalinity and acidic effect which is affecting your total pool experience unpleasant. Hence, you need to buy all the chemicals and material by spending huge amount of money.

How to raise pH in pool?

How to raise pH in poolLow pH in a pool may take weeks or a month to occur or you may not check the overall issue’s going on in your pool water where your pool water may get low in pH factor. We have discussed earlier that metal accessories corrosion, burning eyes with scratchy backs are the common issues you will get for low pH in water.

However, regular monitoring of your pool water, some testing and chemical treatment with maintaining pH level are the common ways to recover from this unwanted situation. Furthermore, using soda ash or sodium carbonate is the most conventional way to raise pH levels. There are number of ways to start raising your pool pH levels.

It all starts with testing the existing pH

It all starts with testing the existing pHpH testing strip is typically the product that you are using to test pool water’s pH levels. Get the strips from local market and follow the instructions written on the manual. Just dip the strip into the water and check which color is showing. Check pH according to test kits tube-

  • Fill a small tube with pool water
  • Add drops to determine color based on pH

Monitor chemical ranges regularly

Note down the pH levels every time you get the changes. pH will change repeatedly due to many factors. Take a notebook; write down the pH, as it changes its values.

Take the recommended pH level

When you are dipping the strips into water, it changes the color. Check the below points for what to do the next-

  • Color changes according to pH levels; Dip strips in water
  • Match the color that is included on the product
  • Find out how many points you need to raise
  • Put the pH level in between 7.4 to 7.6

This is the required duty you should do to determine pH levels. An example will make this clear cut- if your strip shows yellow color, the product pH level will show 7.2. You need to raise the pH by a minimum of 0.2 and maximum of 0.6.


Some testing strips only measure down to the pH level of 6.8. If pool water pH shows 6.8 in measurement scale you need to bring the pH back up into the previous level and start it all over again.

You need to find out how much soda ash is required for the job

how much soda ash is required for the jobSoda ash is the most common chemical you will find to raise the pH level of your pool water. In research, for an average pool of 32 square meters, you need 175 grams of soda ash or sodium carbonate which will raise the pH level of 42,000 liters of water by 0.1.

For more detailed calculation follow the steps-

Find out amount of water holds your pool

Find out amount of water holds your poolYou need to find out number of liters of water your pool holds and need to multiply the volume by a multiplier based on the size of the pool. Use measurement instruments-

Rectangular shape pool
  • The formula to calculate is length X Width X Average depth X 7.5.
  • If your pool has deep end, measure the depth of each end with measurement instrument
  • Find out the average depth dividing each depth by two
  • Calculate by the given formula
Round shape pool
  • Formula is diameter X diameter X average depth X 5.9
  • Some parts of the pool here may get deeper
  • Measure the shallow depth and deeper depth dividing each depth by two
  • Get the average depth and calculate
Unusual shaped pool
  • Adjust the formulas to find out liters or gallons of water in each section


  • Discuss with pool expert for estimated gallons

Find out the figure of soda ash you need

How much soda ash you need is essential to figure out the quantity of chemical you need to add in pool water.

  • Six ounce of soda ash (175g) to increase 10,000 gallons of water
  • It will raise the pH by 0.2

An example will clear this step, if you get the pH level 7.2 and you need to raise it to 7.6 then get the double amount of soda ash, it means 12 ounce of soda ash and add it to get the 7.6 mark.

Now, add soda ash to the pool

add soda ash to the poolAdding soda ash is a vital step to raise pH level. Check out the steps below-

Turn on the pool filter while adding soda ash

Turn on the pool filter while adding soda ashSoda ash will work better when you keep the pool filter turn on during the soda ash mixing. If you are planning to clean the pool and turned it off, just turn the filter back on.

Get a five gallon bucket and fill it with water

Get a five gallon bucket and fill it with waterGet a big bucket which can contain good amount of water and mix soda ash into the bucket. If you don’t have big bucket then any bucket will work. At least get a bucket which can contain at least 3.8 L of water. Don’t add soda ash in the bucket before you pour water.

Calculate soda ash mixed into bucket of water

Calculate soda ash mixed into bucket of waterMeasure the soda ash according to the formulas I discussed above. Use usual midsized cup or measuring cup to calculate the amount you need. Pour soda ash into the bucket of water.

Pour soda ash around the pool

Pour soda ash around the poolWalk around the pool and slowly pour all the soda ash water. If you want to do it slowly then get a plastic cup to scoop water out of bucket and throw it into the pool.

Check pH after an hour

Check pH after an hourGive it time to mix up with pool water. After an hour passed, Take another test strip, dip it into the water and see the pH level.

Add more if needed

If you don’t find the actual pH figure then you may need to add more soda ash or better wait a day or two to figure the pH level. Adding extended amount of soda ash will make pool water cloudy.


  • Some pool chemicals can cause serious injury due to its rapid reaction often
  • Add sodium carbonate powder in jets to spread around pool effectively
  • Make sure your water pump is running
  • Test once more the water for both pH and alkalinity
  • Make sure you run the filter pump for 4 hours to circulate the water

What to do when the pH is still low?

What to do when the pH is still lowYou did all the steps to ensure the optimum level of pH in water but you are still getting low pH from your pool water. You have added the requirement of soda ash and gallons of water all day but all goes in vain.  This time you need to focus on other issues that you might be getting from your pool water. Check out the work around below-

Checking the total alkalinity

Checking the total alkalinityIf pH drops continuously then try to increase the total alkalinity. Alkalinity is a measure of the Alkalinity has some ranges you need to maintain. Less alkalinity range will reduce the pH factor randomly. The recommended range is 80ppm to 120ppm. See the work around below-

  • Wash your hand properly and get the alkalinity strips
  • Dip the strip in water for about one second
  • Hold the strip for a while or lay the strip down for 15 seconds
  • See the color and determine the level
  • Compare the color pad on the strip with the color code on the test strip
  • Not down the numbers
  • If you get the reading under 80ppm, then you need to raise the alkalinity by baking soda
  • If you get the reading over 100ppm then you need to lower it by dry acid

We will now discuss about adding baking soda in pool water to raise pH and alkalinity.

Adding baking soda to raise pH

Adding baking soda to raise pHBaking soda or sodium bicarbonate will decrease the pH level significantly. You need to remember this; Sodium bicarbonate is only about half as capable at raising pH.

  • Add 1.4lbs of sodium bicarbonate (Baking soda)
  • Add baking soda per 10000 gallons of water
  • This will increase the total alkalinity approximately by 10ppm
  • Let the gallons of water flow in the pool water
  • Baking soda will raise the pH somewhat
  • Soda ash will raise the total alkalinity as well

Recommendation for baking soda

  • Let the soda ash water flow for a longer period of time in pool
  • Do not add too much baking soda
  • Adding too much baking soda will make the pool water cloudy
  • Adding excess amount will raise the amount of baking soda than raising total alkalinity

Here’s a great way to raise the pH

Here's a great way to raise the pHIf you don’t find any other convenient technique to work around or don’t find any conventional technique to work then don’t worry. There is another method which is an effective way to raise the pH. The technique is called Aeration or airing in a word.

It mainly uses in water to remove dissolved gases, Oxidized metals, such as iron and chemicals. Aeration is often called the first process for treatment plant.

Raising pH by Aerate

Raising pH by Aerate

  • If you have water features, turn it on
  • Place the water jets towards water surface
  • You can add pipes over jets to direct water to the surface

What it does?

  • It will drive carbon dioxide out of water
  • It won’t affect total alkalinity in water
  • Effective technique for raising pH


In conclude, pH range in water is an essential part of maintaining water purification. If your pool water is not in the range of recommended level then try above methods to raise the level. The required pH level is a mandatory subject as it will harm other things around your pool. If you somehow can’t manage to keep the required level, try different methods. It will affect on your health and budget but somehow you will get rid of harmful pH water effect. As a result, it will ensure you to use your pool water safely.

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I’m an ex-salesman who turned a pool specialist on a very special occasion (I would disclose someday). Currently, I run my own concern as a full-time pool specialist with extensive experience and understanding of pool settings, health, and facilities. The past decade has taught me a lot about aquatics and its correlation with swimming and backyard pools. I study a lot on the development of the way we build, clean, and maintain a pool for home owners, resorts, and other parties. I can’ wait to share what I know, and I chose this blog to help me spread my insights. I hope you would find some nice ideas from my blog posts!


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