Quick Chemistry class recap: the pH scale measures the acidity or basicity of a substance and ranges from 0 to 14, where 7 is neutral. 0 is the most acidic level of pH, and 14 is the most basic – but the further the numbers get from 7 (neutral), the more reactive the substance measured
Why pH Matters to Pools
For water to be safe for human exposure, you want a pH that sits right around 7. For chlorine (and other chemicals) to be its most effective, the ideal pH range for the water is between 7.2 and 7.6, but many people operate with pH levels higher than the ideal range, and most make adjustments to maintain efficiency.
A 2013 study conducted by the Department of Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark concluded that “Swimming pools should never be maintained at lower pH than 6.8,” as this leads to a significant increase in the formation of haloacetonitriles and trichloramine.
How Proper pH Makes Your Life Easier
Proper balance in a pool involves more than simple pH, though pH balance plays a critical role. When pools are properly balanced, the pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness all work together to prevent corrosion, etching, and scale formations that damage the pool and/or the equipment. More importantly, though, proper balance reduces the risk of irritation to the eyes and skin of swimmers.
The bottom line is that you can enjoy your pool without pain, protect your pool and equipment from damage, and reduce the frequency with which you need to make costly repairs to your pool. More play, more pleasure, less pain in the you-know-what: it’s a winning combination for you.
Why do Pools get Dirty?
Despite your best efforts to keep the water in your pool clean, clear, and free of debris, dirt happens. It happens to even the cleanest pools because people have germs and bacteria, and bring dust, dirt, and other particles into the water from their clothes, feet, and skin.
Trees drop debris, dirt, and organic matter into pools, birds flying overhead drop things, and the wind carries all kinds of particles, germs, bacteria and more. These things combine with the chemicals in the pool and other biological, organic, and chemical components to create even new problems for pools. It’s an endless cycle that must be constantly monitored.
How to Test pH Balance of Pools
In order to determine if your pool has a proper pH of between 7.2 and 7.6, you should test your pool at least once a week. Most pool supply stores carry pH testing kits that are simple to use and inexpensive – especially when compared to the repairs and replacements maintaining proper pH balance will save over the life of your pool. Follow the instructions for the specific test kit you purchased in order to get accurate readings on the pH balance of your pool.
Putting in a little work now by maintaining your pool’s ideal pH can save you a lot of pain, work, and money in the long term. More importantly, it can take the pain out of pool ownership and give you much more time to enjoy your outdoor oasis.
If you need advice or assistance, we’d love to help! Contact us or drop by today.