How to Add pH Up to a Pool

‘pH Up,’ which is the commercial name for sodium bicarbonate, is a way to increase your pool’s pH. 

Can you swim in a pool with low pH? No–low pool pH can not only damage your skin, but it can also harm the pool’s own infrastructure. To prevent that from happening, here’s a step-by-step guide on adding pH Up to raise the alkalinity and pH in your pool.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Add pH Up to Your Pool

Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure the successful pH adjustment and a safe swimming environment:

Step 1: Take Safety Precautions 

Before jumping into the process, you must take care of your safety. Adding pH Up to your pool involves handling a potentially hazardous material, so taking necessary precautions is important. Follow these safety guidelines to ensure a risk-free experience: 

  1. Wear butyl rubber gloves to shield your hands from direct contact with pH Up. 
  2. Put on your safety goggles to protect your eyes from any potential splashes of chemicals.
  3. Ensure to keep the pets and children away from the pool during the process.
  4. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the pH Up manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Step 2: Test the Pool’s pH

Now that you’re well prepared, it’s time to test the pH of your pool’s water. Using either a pool water testing kit or pH testing strips, you can quickly and accurately measure your pool’s pH. 

Although testing kits offer a more comprehensive analysis, pH testing strips are simpler to use and are often more convenient for home use. For added convenience, choose testing strips that also include a cyanuric acid test to also determine the stabilizer level. 

Here’s how to test your pool’s pH using testing strips:

  • Dip the pH strip into the pool water, ensuring it’s submerged for the time specified in the instructions.
  • Remove the strip and gently shake off any excess water.
  • Compare the strip’s color to the corresponding colors printed on the container.

Generally, a safe pool pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8. Most home kits won’t provide a precise numerical reading, but they’ll indicate a “good” color range. If your pool’s pH is below 7.2, it’s time to add pH Up to raise the level and maintain a safe swimming environment.

Step 3: Calculate the Required Amount of pH Up

To effectively raise your pool’s pH, you must determine the appropriate amount of pH Up to add. You can choose between sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate (also known as soda ash) as your pH increaser. 

While sodium carbonate increases both pH and total alkalinity, sodium bicarbonate (which is what pH Up basically is) only increases total alkalinity. Therefore, sodium carbonate is a better choice if your goal is to raise the pH level. 

To calculate the amount of sodium carbonate to add, determine how much pH you want to raise. For instance, if you want to increase the pH from 7.2 to 7.4 in a 10,000-gallon pool, you’ll need to add 6 ounces of sodium carbonate. 

Pro tip: Do not exceed one pound of sodium carbonate per 10,000 gallons of water, as adding too much can lead to cloudy water.

Step 4: Make a Solution

Fill a five-gallon bucket halfway with water, add the calculated amount of sodium carbonate, and stir it with a wooden stick. Always add water first to the bucket to avoid chemical damage.

Step 5: Add the pH Up Solution to the Pool

With the solution fully dissolved, slowly pour it while you walk around the pool’s perimeter, focusing near the jets and away from the skimmer. This ensures even distribution and effective pH level adjustment. 

Step 6: Wait and Retest

Now, allow at least four to six hours for the solution to circulate before retesting the pool’s pH. You can add more sodium carbonate if necessary.

The Takeaway

While maintaining your pool’s chemistry is crucial, it’s also necessary that you know the proper way to do it. So, make sure to take precautionary measures, test your pool’s pH, prepare a separate solution of pH Up or sodium carbonate (recommended), and then add that solution as you walk around your pool’s perimeter. Once you’ve added the pH increaser, wait for four to six hours before retesting your pool’s pH to ensure it’s now in a safe range.

If you’d like to know this process for a well, check out our recent post on how to raise the pH of well water!

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