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The Importance of Pool pH Levels: Maintaining a Safe and Balanced Swimming Pool

Chlorine vs Saltwater Pools: Exploring the Pros and Cons

Addressing High Alkalinity in Pools: Key Practices for Optimal Balance


When it comes to pool maintenance, one of the most critical factors to consider is the balance of the pH level of the pool water. Indeed, pH levels play a crucial role in maintaining a safe and balanced swimming pool environment. In this article, we will explore the importance of pool pH levels and why they should be carefully monitored and adjusted.


1. Understanding pH Levels 

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity levels of a substance, and it is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH level of 7 is considered neutral, while values below 7 indicate acidity, and values above 7 indicate alkalinity. For swimming pools, the ideal pH range is typically between 7.2 and 7.8. Maintaining pH within this range is crucial for several reasons. 

2. Swimmer Safety with Proper Pool Maintenance

One of the primary reasons for maintaining proper pH levels is to ensure the comfort and safety of swimmers. Indeed, when the pool’s pH level is too low (acidic), it can cause skin and eye irritation, leading to discomfort and potential health issues. On the other hand, if the pool’s pH level is too high (alkaline), it can also cause skin irritation and make the water cloudy, affecting visibility. By keeping the pH within the recommended range, swimmers can enjoy a comfortable and safe swimming experience.

3. Water Balance and Efficiency of Sanitizers

Maintaining water balance with a proper pH level is essential for the effectiveness of sanitizers, such as chlorine or bromine. When the pool pH level is too high or too low, it can impact the efficiency of these sanitizers, leading to inadequate disinfection of the pool water. If the pH is high alkalinity, the sanitizers become less effective, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired results. Conversely, if the pH is too low, the sanitizers can become overly aggressive, leading to excessive chlorine demand and potential skin and eye irritation. By keeping the pH level balanced, you can optimize the effectiveness of sanitizers and ensure proper water chemistry.

4. Preventing Corrosion or Scale Formation with Baking Soda

Imbalanced pH levels can also have a detrimental effect on the pool equipment and surfaces. If the pH is too low, it can cause corrosion of metal components, such as pool heaters or ladder fixtures: muriatic acid is sometimes needed to adjust pH when it’s too high. Conversely, if the pool’s pH level is too high, it can lead to the formation of scale deposits on pool surfaces and equipment. Soda ash or baking soda may be used to correct these high pH levels; these deposits can be difficult to remove and can affect the efficiency and lifespan of the equipment. By maintaining proper pH levels, you can prevent corrosion and scale formation, prolonging the life of your pool equipment and surfaces.

5. Water Clarity and Balance of Your Swimming Pool

pH levels also play a role in maintaining water clarity and balance: when the pH is within the recommended range, it helps to prevent cloudiness and maintain crystal-clear pool water. Imbalanced pH levels, however,  can lead to hazy or dull water, affecting the overall appearance of the pool. By regularly monitoring and adjusting the pH, you can ensure that your pool water remains visually appealing and inviting.

6. Regular Testing and Pool pH Levels Adjustment

To maintain proper pH levels, it’s important to regularly test the pool water using a reliable pH testing kit. Testing should be done at least once or twice a week, or more frequently during periods of heavy pool usage or extreme weather conditions. If the pH level is outside the recommended range, adjustments can be made using pH increasers (to raise pH) or pH decreasers (to lower pH). It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make gradual adjustments to avoid sudden pH swings.


In conclusion, maintaining proper pH levels in your pool is crucial for the comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment of swimmers. By keeping the pH within the recommended range, you can ensure a balanced swimming pool environment, optimize the effectiveness of sanitizers, prevent corrosion or scale formation, and maintain water clarity and aesthetics. Regular testing and adjustment of pH levels should be a part of your pool maintenance routine to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all.


The author of this post is Mathieu Robert, certified from La Cité Collégiale in construction and building techniques.


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