How to Raise pH in Your Pool: A Comprehensive Guide

    Swimming pools are a fantastic addition to any home, providing a lot of fun and leisure to family, friends, and guests. However, to keep them safe and comfortable, swimming pool maintenance is essential. One of the most important aspects of maintaining your pool is managing the pH level, which can affect the growth of algae and bacteria in the water. If you find that the pH level in your pool is too low and needs to be raised, here are some steps to follow.

    Common causes of low pH levels

    Chemical Imbalance: Chemical imbalance is one of the most common reasons for low pH levels in a pool. While pool chemicals like chlorine and shock are essential to keep the water clean, too much of these can cause pH levels to drop. When these chemicals become excessive, they can create an acidic environment in the pool water that leads to low pH levels. 

    Rainwater: During a rainstorm, rainwater can enter your pool, causing the pH level to drop. Rainwater is usually acidic and can significantly affect the overall pH balance and alkalinity of your pool. After a storm, it's important to test the pH level of your pool to determine whether the rainwater has impacted its overall chemistry.

    Incorrect Alkalinity Levels: Alkalinity describes the pool's ability to resist changes in the pH level. If the alkalinity level in your pool water is low, it means that the pH level is likely to fluctuate more frequently, leading to low pH levels.

    Seasonal Changes: During the summer months when temperatures become high, and water evaporates quickly from the pool, the pH levels can become low. Also, when the pool's temperature is higher, it can accelerate the intensity of chemical reactions in the pool water, leading to a lowered pH level.

    Inadequate Pool Circulation: Poor pool circulation can also cause low pH levels as the pool water does not circulate correctly or adequately. It leads to the accumulation of stagnant water within your pool, creating an unhealthy environment for swimmers, and the pH level can drop as a result.

    Using Chemicals to Raise pH

    One of the most common and effective ways to raise low pH levels in your pool is by using chemicals. The two most common chemicals used for this purpose are sodium carbonate (soda ash) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Before adding any chemicals to your pool, it's essential to test the pH level to determine exactly how much of the chemical you need to add.

    The first step in raising pH levels in your pool using chemicals is to estimate the pool's volume accurately. You can do this by measuring the length, width, and average depth of the pool and then multiplying that by a factor of 7.5. Once you have an approximate volume, you can calculate how much of the pH-raising chemical to add to raise the pH level.

    Sodium carbonate is a strong base and needs to be added to pool water in small doses. Adding the chemical directly to the pool can cause clouding, so it's best to mix it with water before adding it to the pool. Start by adding one to two pounds of soda ash to a bucket of warm water and then slowly pour the diluted mixture into the pool. Be sure to pour the mixture around the pool's edges to ensure even distribution.

    After adding the chemical, wait at least several hours before testing the pH level again. If the pH is still low, you can add more of the chemical. It's important not to overdose the pool with chemicals as this can cause overcorrection and lead to high pH levels.

    Non-Chemical Ways to Raise pH

    If you're looking for a non-chemical way to raise the pH level in your pool, there are a few methods you can try. Keep in mind that these methods may take longer to raise pH levels than chemical methods, but they can be gentler on your pool and swimmers. Here are some non-chemical ways to raise the pH level in your pool:


    One of the most effective non-chemical ways to raise the pH level in your pool is through aeration. Aeration means exposing the pool water to air, which increases the pH level. You can use an aerator or water fountain to create more surface agitation and increase oxygen flow. This method is especially effective when used in conjunction with other pH-raising methods.

    Baking Soda

    Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a natural way to raise the pH level in your pool. However, baking soda is not as effective as sodium carbonate, so you'll need to add more to the pool to see results. Start by adding one pound of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool. Add the baking soda slowly to prevent cloudiness and wait several hours before testing the pH level again.

    Crushed Limestone

    Crushed limestone is a natural substance that effectively raises the pH level in your pool. Limestone is best used in a filter bag placed in the pool's skimmer, which allows water to slowly flow over the limestone. Keep in mind that limestone can also increase the hardness of your pool water, which can lead to scaling and other issues.

    Soda Ash

    Similar to sodium carbonate, soda ash can also raise the pH level in your pool without the use of harsh chemicals. Add one to two pounds of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water to gradually raise the pH level. Like with sodium carbonate, it's best to mix the soda ash with water first to prevent cloudiness.


    Q: What is the ideal pH level for a swimming pool?

    A: The ideal pH level for a swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.8.

    Q: How long should I circulate the pool water after adding pH increaser?

    A: You should circulate the pool water for at least four hours after adding pH increaser to ensure it's properly distributed.

    Q: Can raising the pH level affect other chemicals in my pool?

    A: Yes, raising the pH level can affect other chemicals, such as chlorine. High pH levels can reduce chlorine's effectiveness, so it's important to check your chlorine levels after raising the pH level.

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