How to Raise pH in a Pool Naturally

Balancing the chemical levels in your pool is a delicate matter. Different chemicals can have varying effects on the other chemicals you’ve already put in, and some swimmers are more sensitive to some chemicals than others–this is why it’s important to know how to raise the pH in your pool naturally.

Luckily, there are two cost-effective and completely natural ways to raise the pH levels in your pool. That’s right, you don’t need to invest in pH increaser or introduce any new chemicals into your pool. Soda ash and baking soda are two products you can incorporate into your pool’s maintenance routine.

In this article, we explain the negative impacts of low pH levels, as well as how to raise those levels naturally.

When Is My pH Level Too Low?

Your pool’s pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline (basic) the water is. Experts recommend your pool should hover between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale of one to fourteen, where one is extremely acidic. However, we recommend you aim for the sweet spot of 7.5, as lower pH can start to affect your pool.

But, what happens if your pH is too low in your pool? If the pH is too low, it means the water is too acidic. This water can damage your pool liner and cause irritation and discomfort in swimmers’ eyes and skin. Additionally, the other chemicals you put in your pool lose their effectiveness, because the acid breaks down those chemicals faster. 

Luckily, this can all be avoided. Let’s walk through the steps to return your pool’s pH level to 7.5 (or near it, at least) using baking soda or soda ash.

Why Use Baking Soda and Soda Ash?

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has a pH of eight, which helps increase your pool’s pH when it becomes too acidic. It’s such a great product that most pH-boosting chemical products actually use baking soda as their main ingredient.

Soda ash essentially does the same thing as baking soda, but it does a better job of addressing pH levels than the overall alkalinity of the pool. If your pool suffers from a lower pH more than lower total alkalinity, soda ash is the way to go.

How to Raise Your pH Levels

Start With a Test Kit

Every pool owner should be familiar with test kits. If you suspect your pH levels are off in either direction, use a strip or liquid testing kit to get an exact measurement of where the pH levels are and just how far off they are from your target level. Generally speaking, you should be testing your pool’s levels every two weeks, or more frequently if your pool is used often or by a high volume of swimmers.

Clean Your Pool

Because low pH can be a result of debris in your pool (dirt, leaves, etc), you want to skim the surface of your pool manually with a net. Eliminating factors impacting your pH level will make it easier for it to return to your target level. After you’ve skimmed the surface, check that your pool’s filter is also clear and running properly.

If you find any debris clogging up your pool’s filter, clear it out. Make sure the filter is running properly, because it is necessary to distribute your baking soda or soda ash in the next step.

Add in Your Baking Soda or Soda Ash

To measure how much baking soda or soda ash you’ll need, add 1.5 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water. Most residential pools hold between 18,000 and 20,000 gallons of water, so verify exactly how much your pool holds to get an exact measurement. Generally speaking, you’ll need about three pounds of baking soda. Soda ash varies, so read the product label to determine how much you’ll need.

There are a few ways to add in your baking soda or soda ash:

  • Make it into a paste: Some experts recommend mixing your baking soda or soda ash with water to make it into a thin paste. This allows you to smooth out clumps before pouring it into your pool, causing it to disperse faster.
  • Pour near the return jets: These jets push the substances around your pool faster, speeding up the dissolving process.
  • Sprinkle it in your pool: If you are in a rush, it’s perfectly acceptable to just pour the baking soda or soda ash directly into the pool. We recommend you walk along the edges of the pool as you dump the substance so that it distributes evenly.

Both of these substances take time to dissolve and can make your pool water look very cloudy when they’re initially dropped in. Avoid adding more baking soda or soda ash until the first amount you poured in has fully dissolved. This dissolving process can take anywhere between six to twenty-four hours.

Test Again

Once the soda ash or baking soda has fully dissolved, test the water again. You can repeat the above steps if your pH level is not high enough. We recommend you test your levels two or three times per week to get the most accurate reading when you’re trying to raise your pH levels.

In Closing

Baking soda and soda ash are two all-natural products you can use to raise your pool’s pH levels. For more pool maintenance tips and tricks, including if chlorine raises or lowers pH levels, check out our other posts!

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