How to Raise the pH in a Pool

person holding pH testing kit

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Estimated Cost: $20

Your pool's pH level is one of the more important chemicals to monitor in the pool. A low pH level can cause burning eyes, irritated skin, and cause excessive pool surface wear, and mechanical failure.

Over time and throughout the pool season, chemical levels will vary naturally. Generally, the ideal pool pH is 7.6 which is not too acidic, not too basic but just right for pools. Chemical levels can fluctuate for a variety of reasons also, including too much sun, leaking water, a recent big rainfall, or simply someone that went in with too much sunscreen on. These are only some of the scenarios that can affect the chemical levels in your pool and demonstrate why levels must be checked on at least a weekly basis. Here's how to properly maintain your pH level in the pool and what to do if you find that it is too low.

Before You Begin

Make sure you have all the materials necessary to test and adjust your pH levels and are familiar with the warning on the back of the pH container in case of emergency. Also, make sure your pool is on and in good working condition. Remember, if your pool is leaking anywhere it won’t matter how many chemicals you add, you will always need more.

Warning

It is very important to read and familiarize yourself with the safety labels on the pH container and the testing device (strips or liquid) in case of accidental exposure. In the event of an emergency, this knowledge will allow you to react much quicker than if reading it for the first time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scooper or cup
  • Gloves

Materials

  • 1 container pH Powder

Instructions

  1. Test the Pool

    Make sure you are familiar with the testing procedure chosen. If using testing strips, simply dip the strip in pool water for a few seconds and match the colors up to the chart on the bottle. If you are using drops, take the test tube and fill it with water to the appropriate line and then add the specified number of drops and shake in a circular motion until the color changes. Match that color up to the chart and you will find the current pH level.

  2. Adjust the Level

    Take your scooper/cup and slowly add the first cup in front of the return water jet in the pool making sure that as much of the chemical dissolves as possible.

    Determining the proper amount of chemical to add depends on a lot of specific factors with your pool including how much sun it gets, size, how much the level is off, type of finish. When adding for the first time add one or two solo cups worth of chemicals and wait a few hours before retesting (or approximately 2 pounds per 10,000 gallons for larger pools).

    Tip

    When it comes to pool chemicals, you can always add more but you can’t take them out. Another thing to consider before adding pH powder to the pool is that if you add too much too fast it can cause the pool to turn milky white.

  3. Retest the Water

    After adding the pH powder, wait 24 hours and retest, and adjust accordingly. If you added too much of the pH powder and your pool turns milky white, leave your pool running for 24 hours to filter through the water and it will clear on its own.

Can You Raise the pH in Your Pool Naturally?

If you don’t have chemicals to add to the pool, assuming all other levels are correct, there is another way that you can raise the pH level of a pool naturally. This method is called aeration. The easiest way to achieve success with this technique is to run your pool for longer and to activate all water features. The idea is to create as many bubbles and disturbances as possible to allow your pool water to release the carbon dioxide (which is acidic) and thus raise your pool's pH.

When to Call a Professional

If at any point you do not feel comfortable or you notice something out of the ordinary such as a leak, stop what you are doing and call a professional. There is nothing worse than adding expensive chemicals and literally watching them go down the drain.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Water Treatment and Testing. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.