How to Test Pool pH Level

In pool maintenance, you should be conducting two tests on at least a weekly basis: chlorine potency and pH level. In your pool tester kit, that you (hopefully) bought at the same time as your pool, there is a red bottle and a yellow bottle. The yellow bottle should be a testing solution for chlorine, and the red bottle is for pH; red is the one you want.

Testing solutions go bad over time and start to no longer work correctly, so you should replace your testing kit around every two years, or sooner if you notice that it is starting to produce inaccurate results. They can become defective sooner if you leave the kit out in the sun, so you should think about investing in a storage cabinet for the testing kit and other pool supplies and floaties.

How to Test PH Level in Pool

Testing the pH level of your pool is as simple as checking the chlorine. The testing tube you need should be on the right side of your tester block, labeled, “pH.” You will notice that there is a red-colored scale that runs the length of the right tube. You will be comparing your pool water to this scale to find out the pH.

To accurately test the pH level of your pool water, follow these instructions.

Take your testing block and dip it under the water in your pool and hold it under until the right tube fills up all the way. Don’t worry if any water gets into the other side, since it is separated and won’t affect the results of your pH test. Some testing kits come with small lids for each side so that you can cover one while you fill the other.

Squeeze five drops out of the red dropper and into your pH testing tube. Place your finger over the opening of the tube (or hold down the lid) and shake it gently until the water is mixed well with the pH testing solution. You can tell that it’s mixed when the water becomes a solid color.

Now compare the color of the water in the tube to the scale located just to the left to see what the pH level is. If the water in the tube doesn’t change color at all, this is a good indicator that you need a new testing kit and that your current test solutions have expired.

Correct PH Level Range for Pool

Some pool testing kits have a scale that shows in what range your pool pH should be. Between 7.8 and 7.2 is a widened range for a normal pool pH level, but you should aim for the pH to be in the middle of those two, so at about 7.4 or 7.5pH. As long as it is close to the center, no drastic or immediate action is necessary.

If your pool pH level reaches 7.6 or above, that is when you should have some concerns, and you should make an effort to lower it as soon as possible. Even at a pH of 7.6, bacteria can take hold of your pool water in a matter of hours and make it unsafe to swim.

How to Lower PH Level in Pool

As most pool problems go, there is a product solution that you can buy and use with little to no experience with pools. For lowering the pH, you will want to use a pH reducer, also called a pH minus. Ph reducer is a type of powder acid that balances out a pH level that has risen too high.

Dissolve the pH reducer in a bucket that contains some of the pool water, and then dump the bucket contents into the pool. Follow the instructions on the box for the exact measurements and length of wait time; these factors may change between different pool supply brands.

After using the pH reducer, retest the pool water with your testing kit to see where the pH level is at now. If the pH level hasn’t budged, make sure your testing kit is still working adequately and that it’s not expired. If you continue having problems, even after getting a new test kit, consult a pool maintenance expert at your local pool supply store since you may have to let them take a personal look at your pool and possibly add a stronger acid to lower the pH to the correct level.

PH reducer is more dangerous than chlorine since the reducer is an acid. Always keep these products in a safe place which can not be accessed by children in any way possible. Ingestion of muriatic acid (common acid used for pool pH reducer) can be fatal. Take safety precautions and practice patience while you are using the pH reducer.

Causes of a High PH Level in Pool

  • The recent addition of chlorine stabilizer.
  • The water temperature rose significantly in a short amount of time.
  • You put HTH Granular (Di-Chlor stabilized chlorine) in the pool.

Why a High PH Level in Your Pool is Bad

The biggest problem with your pool that you need to keep under control at all times is bacteria. Just like the way algae can cause bacteria to grow, so can an unbalanced pool. If your pool has the correct amount of chlorine in it and the filter is working, there should be no harmful bacteria in your pool, and it is safe for swimming.

However, when the pH level of the water gets too high and becomes alkaline, it prevents the chlorine from working entirely. Usually, chlorine is what keeps bacteria away from your pool water, so if there is no chlorine, the bacteria thrive in your pool. The pH level itself isn’t harmful necessarily; it’s more of the effects it has that cause harm.