pH vs Alkalinity: The Basics of Pool Water Chemistry

Family Having Fun Jumping Into Swimming Pool

pH vs Alkalinity: The Basics of Pool Water Chemistry

If you are planning on swimming in your pool this summer, something you’ll need to make sure of is that your pool chemical levels are balanced. Critical levels to check every time you test your pool are your pH and alkalinity. To help keep you and your pool safe, we’ve outlined the difference between pH and Alkalinity and the basics of pool water chemistry. Follow this guide when testing and balancing your pool water to make sure it is done correctly.


What is pH in Pool Water Chemistry?

Pool pH levels measure the amount of hydrogen in your water. It’s important to maintain healthy pH levels in your swimming pool. Unbalanced pH levels can cause harmful effects to both you and your pool.

pH is the main factor in determining the effectiveness of your chlorine. The lower the pH levels, the stronger the chlorine will be. Low pH levels can cause irritation to your skin and eyes as well as overall discomfort. In addition, low levels can cause surface and equipment damage as well as corrode the metal components in your pool.

On the other hand, high pH levels make your chlorine less effective. This means the cleansing effects are lessened. This can lead to issues that come from having an abundance of bacteria in your pool water. As well, your pool can suffer, showing up as cloudy water, and scaling.


What is Alkalinity in Pool Water Chemistry?

Alkalinity, or total alkalinity, acts as a kind of pH stabilizer in your pool water. In order to help control the fluctuation of pH levels, alkalinity acts as a controller. Each type of chlorine has different pH levels, so you have to balance your pool water chemistry according to the type of chlorine you use.

Low pool alkalinity can often be caused by one of the following:

  • Incorrect acids or pH stabilizing chemicals
  • Hard rain storms
  • Draining or backwashing your pool
  • Clogged or backed up pool filters


How do I Balance My Pool Water?

It’s important to maintain balanced pool water chemistry. To do this, test your pool water frequently—at least once a week. pH levels are measured between 0-14. When testing your pool water, be sure that your pH is between 7.2 and 7.8. This is the safest range for your pool water. Your alkalinity is different. It is measured in parts per million. For your alkalinity, you want to be between 80-120 ppm. If you have a saltwater pool, your levels may be closer to 70-120 ppm.

When balancing your pool water, alkalinity is the first thing that should be balanced. To raise your alkalinity levels, add increasers such as baking soda. This sets you up so you can test and measure your pH levels. To increase your pH levels, add pH increasers such as soda ash until your levels are where they need to be.


Turn to the Pros

Balancing your pH and alkalinity levels can sometimes be a tricky process, especially if you just had a big party with lots of people in your pool. That’s why we recommend turning to the pros. At Opulent Pools, we help pool owners repair and maintain their pools so that they are ready for swimming at any moment. For more help with your pool, send us a message on our contact page or give us a call at (404) 462-0777.