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What Every Pool Owner Should Know About High pH Readings In The Water

by Howard Barnett

When it comes to general swimming pool maintenance, one of the things that many homeowners overlook is the importance of monitoring the pH levels regularly. A high pH level in your pool, or water that's too alkaline, may occur for many reasons and may lead to cloudy water that'll leave you uncomfortable if you swim in it. It's important that you adjust a high pH right away. Here's a look at why the pH matters and some common reasons why it can be too high.

Why Does it Matter?

Along with making your pool water cloudy, a high pH level can also cause burning in your eyes. It may also lead to dry skin and general itching. The biggest problem, though, is that alkaline water may interfere with chlorine's disinfectant properties, making your pool susceptible to bacteria. You'll have to treat the water with sodium bisulphate or muriatic acid to balance that pH level and avoid these risks.

What Causes It?

There are several things that can cause a high pH reading in your pool's water. In order to effectively treat an alkaline pH reading, you'll also need an idea of what's most likely the cause of the problem.

  • Total Alkalinity – when the total alkalinity levels of your water are high, it's going to lead to higher pH readings. Total alkalinity measures everything that's in the water, including the carbonates and bicarbonates. You'll have to treat the water with an acid product before you can effectively lower and maintain the pH levels if this is the source of the problem.
  • Chemical Treatments – If your weekly water testing shows low pH, you may treat the pool with a sodium carbonate or similar product. In order to do this effectively, you have to calculate how much to put in based on the current pH level and how much water your pool holds. If your calculation is incorrect and you add too much, it'll send you pH reading into the alkaline range.
  • Shock Treatment – Sometimes, your swimming pool needs a sudden burst of a heavy chlorine treatment. When it does, pool shock is usually the way to go. Most shock products are made from calcium hypochlorite, because it's heavily concentrated and water soluble. Other shock treatments are made from lithium hypochlorite. Both of these treatments have a pH reading that's over 10, so they're likely to increase your pool's pH. Any time you have to shock the pool, follow up with pH testing and treatment.

If these causes, tests and treatments leave you feeling a little overwhelmed, contact a professional swimming pool maintenance contractor, like KrisCo Aquatech Pools & Spas, to help you out.