Pool pH and alkalinity are two important factors that affect the water quality and comfort of your swimming pool. pH measures how acidic or basic the water is, while alkalinity measures how resistant the water is to changes in pH. Ideally, you want to maintain a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8, and an alkalinity level between 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million).
However, sometimes you may find that your pool pH is too low, which can cause problems such as corrosion, eye irritation, and reduced chlorine effectiveness. In this case, you need to raise the pH level of your pool water. But how can you do that without also raising the alkalinity level, which can cause scaling, cloudy water, and high chlorine demand?
There are a few methods you can use to raise pool pH without raising alkalinity, depending on the current levels of both parameters and the size of your pool. Here are some of the most common ones:
Use Soda Ash
Soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate or pH Up, is a chemical that can raise both pH and alkalinity in pool water. However, it has a greater effect on pH than on alkalinity, so it can be used to raise pH without significantly increasing alkalinity.
To use soda ash, you need to first test your pool water using a test kit or test strips to determine the current pH and alkalinity levels. Then, use a pool calculator to determine how much soda ash you need to add to your pool to reach the desired pH level. Usually, you need about 6 ounces of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water to raise the pH by 0.2 units.
Next, dissolve the soda ash in a bucket of water and pour it slowly into the pool along the perimeter. Avoid adding it directly to the skimmer or near metal fixtures, as it can cause corrosion. Run the pool pump for at least four hours to circulate the water and distribute the soda ash evenly.
Finally, retest your pool water after 24 hours to check the new pH and alkalinity levels. If the pH is still too low, repeat the process until you reach the ideal range.
Borax, also known as sodium borate or 20 Mule Team Borax, is another chemical that can raise both pH and alkalinity in pool water. However, like soda ash, it has a greater effect on pH than on alkalinity, so it can also be used to raise pH without significantly increasing alkalinity.
To use borax, you need to follow the same steps as with soda ash: test your pool water, use a pool calculator to determine how much borax you need to add, dissolve it in a bucket of water, pour it into the pool along the perimeter, run the pool pump for at least four hours, and retest your pool water after 24 hours.
The main difference between borax and soda ash is that borax is less potent than soda ash, so you need more of it to achieve the same effect. Usually, you need about 10 ounces of borax per 10,000 gallons of water to raise the pH by 0.2 units.
Aeration is a natural method that can raise both pH and oxygen levels in pool water without affecting alkalinity. Aeration works by exposing the water to air, which causes carbon dioxide (CO2) to escape from the water. CO2 is an acidic gas that lowers the pH of water, so by removing it from the water, you can raise the pH level.
To use aeration, you need to increase the amount of air bubbles in your pool water using any device that can create turbulence or agitation in the water. Some examples are fountains, jets, sprayers, waterfalls, or even an air compressor.
To use aeration effectively, you need to run your device for several hours per day until you reach the desired pH level. You also need to monitor your chlorine level closely during this process because aeration can increase chlorine consumption.
Summary: How to Raise Pool pH Without Raising Alkalinity
- To raise pool pH without raising alkalinity, you can use chemicals such as soda ash or borax that have a greater effect on pH than on alkalinity.
- You can also use aeration as a natural method that raises pH by removing CO2 from the water.
- You need to test your pool water regularly and adjust accordingly until you reach the ideal range for both parameters.