Keeping things like twigs, leaves, bugs, and other kinds of debris out of your pool is relatively easy. However, issues often arise when it comes to ensuring it remains chemically balanced, as you need to keep constant track of things like the pH.
If the pool pH gets too high, it comes with a myriad of issues. High pool pH makes the water uncomfortable and unsafe for swimmers by causing eye and skin irritations. What’s more, it can lead to scaling, clog filters and make the water cloudy.
The good news is that pH is pretty easy to lower using muriatic acid. This guide explains how to do it, the optimal levels to aim for, and how to test pool pH levels.
What’s the Optimal pH Level in Pool
Pool water that is chemically balanced should have a pH level of between 7.2 and 7.8, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). This pH range matches the body’s average pH level, which ensures the water will not cause any problems for the swimmers.
However, 7.4 is considered optimal, and anything up to 8.0 is still acceptable, and the water should still be safe for the swimmers and pool fixtures.
A pH level above 8.0 means the water is too alkaline, and you are likely to spend more money and time trying to keep other things like chlorine within the optimal levels.
How to Test pH Level
Since the pH levels will affect the effectiveness of free chlorine at sanitizing your pool water, it is a good idea to test both simultaneously. Although the test frequency will depend on how often you use the pool, at least twice a week should be good enough.
If you want a simple and cost-effective method for conducting regular pH tests, go for test strips like Poolmaster 22211 Smart 4-Way Test Strips. However, if you prefer something that gives you more accurate and specific pH levels, go for digital pH meters such as the Vivosun pH Meter.
When using test strips, you only need to dip the strip in the water and check the color change, while test kits may require you to take some water samples from the pool. However, the manufacturers provide detailed instructions on what you need to do, so they are easy to figure out.
Lowering pH Level with Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is a form of hydrochloric acid, and it provides one of the most reliable methods for lowering pool pH levels. It is the same stuff that many homeowners use to clean bricks and tiles.
When using muriatic acid, you need to wear protective clothing to ensure your safety as it is a highly corrosive substance. But you should be okay provided you follow the provided directions.
Step 1: Test Pool pH
Every pool owner needs to know that before you try to change your pool’s chemistry, you should always start by testing the specific element you want to alter. Hence, when trying to lower the pH, the first step is to test it to confirm it is not within the 7.2 to 7.8 optimal range.
Step 2: Suit Up
After the measurements, you should now wear your protective gear. Here you require at least safety goggles, acid-resistant gloves, and an apron that is chemical resistant.
Step 3: Determine the Amount of Muriatic Acid to Use
Next, you need to determine the amount of muriatic acid to use. Given that the acid concentration differs between brands, you should check the label to know how much to use.
Step 4: Measure and Dilute
Once you identify how much you need, the next step is to measure and dilute it, as this makes it safer to handle. When diluting, use water from the pool and make sure you add the muriatic acid to a bucket of water and not adding water to the acid.
Step 5: Pour the Mixture into the Pool
After mixing the acid with water, you can now add it to the pool. Like with most other chemicals, you should pour it around the perimeter and concentrate more on the deep end as this allows it to mix in much faster.
Step 6: Give it Time to Work and Retest pH
You need to give the acid at least 3 hours to work before you can retest the pH. However, the pool should be ready to use in just 30 minutes. If the levels are still high after the test, repeat the process to add more muriatic acid.
A high pH level causes problems for both the swimmers and pool fixtures. It irritates eyes or skin and will also lead to clogged filters and cloudy water.
Keeping the level within the 7.2 to 7.8 optimal pH levels can help you avoid these issues. While there are many ways of lowering pH levels, muriatic acid is one of the fastest and most straightforward options.