Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is my swimming pool pH important?

Why is my swimming pool pH important?

Maintaining the proper pH level in your pool is very important for two reasons:

1. Comfort

The number one complaint among residential pool occupants is eye irritation. It is commonly assumed that chlorine is the primary cause. More often, however, eye discomfort is the result of high or low pH.

In order to better understand how this occurs, it is important to first know some basic facts about pH. pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. The scale is 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral. Scientifically, anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline or basic.

The average pH of the human eye is slightly above 7.3. So, to the eye, neutral pH is 7.3 to 7.4. However, the eye does not tolerate an acidic condition as easily as it tolerates an alkaline condition. Consequently, as pool water pH dips below 7.3 the eye becomes sensitive more rapidly than it does when pH rises above 7.4. In fact, the eye is typically unaffected until the pH level in the water reaches 8.0 or greater on the alkaline side of the pH scale. So, if we were only interested in swimmer comfort, the pH "sweet spot" would be 7.3 to 8.0.

However, there is another important factor of proper swimming pool maintenance that is affected by pH. That factor is water sanitation and swimmer health safety.

2. Water Sanitation & Health Safety

Swimming pools are constantly exposed to bacteria and other micro-organisms. So, water sanitation is critical to the health safety of all pool occupants.

The effectiveness of virtually all acceptable water sanitizers is dependent on the pH level of the water. In general, sanitizers become more effective as pH decreases (more acidic) and they become less effective as pH increases (more alkaline or basic). If swimmer comfort was not a concern, a pH level of less than 7.0 would be ideal for water sanitation and health safety.

However, most swimming pools are for swimming enjoyment. So a pH compromise is required. The compromise dictates a pH "sweet spot" of 7.3 to 7.8. This range best serves the interests of health safety (sanitizer effectiveness) and swimmer comfort.

But given the volatility of pH, maintaining swimming pool pH within this range utilizing liquid acid can be challenging and often seemingly impossible. As a result, many pool owners choose to increase the sanitizer level to offset the instability of pH.

This mitigation practice has been debated within the industry for many years. While some continue to argue that the water sanitizer level is more important than pH, there is a rapidly growing majority of experts who believe the opposite is true. For example, according to an article in the August 2008 issue of "Recreational Water Quality", a publication of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), pH is the most important factor in determining proper water balance and sanitizer (chlorine) effectiveness. As pH changes, so may the safety and cleanliness of your water. Also, untreated high pH can result in scaling and premature deterioration of the pool surface and equipment.

What are my options for maintaining proper pH in my swimming pool?

What are my options for maintaining proper pH in my swimming pool?

There are only two options − liquid acid or carbon dioxide (CO2).

Why haven't I heard of the CO2 method?

Why haven't I heard of the CO2 method?

If you are a residential pool owner, the answer is simple. The residential swimming pool industry doesn't talk about it because they don't understand it. In their defense, no one prior to Poolsmith® has ever taken the opportunity to seriously explore practical ways to apply the CO2 method to residential pools.

Until now, most CO2 systems marketed for use on residential pools were originally designed for commercial pools or they are "knock-offs" of commercial systems. These systems include components that are unnecessary for residential pools but they are required by commercial pool operators in order to comply with local health codes. Mostly, they are problematic and complicate the residential pool owner's experience.

With over 6 years of intense research, field study, observation, and the application of sound logic, we developed a truly practical and successful CO2 system for residential pools. As a result of this remarkable effort, we know more about the use of CO2 for residential swimming pool pH control than any other manufacturer in the world today and we are prepared to share our knowledge with all who have a desire to learn.

Is your process safe for my children, my pets, my pool equipment, and the environment?

Is your process safe for my children, my pets, my pool equipment, and the environment?

Yes! CO2 is safe and completely natural. It is inert, non-poisonous, and non-flammable. Our patented Carbon Dioxide InpHusion™ process utilizes recycled CO2 already available in the air around us.

As a simple overview, CO2 gas in the atmosphere is reclaimed by your local gases supplier. The CO2 is chilled, condensed, and converted to liquid CO2. The liquid CO2 is then stored in high-pressure cylinders. The cylinders are attached to our dispensing system. As the liquid CO2 warms, it returns to a gaseous state. The gas is injected into the pool water. As the CO2 is absorbed by the water, it converts to carbonic acid which naturally reduces and stabilizes swimming pool pH. There is no safer, easier, "greener", or more natural process for controlling pH in residential swimming pools.

Which is better − CO2 or liquid acid?

Which is better − CO2 or Liquid acid?

We have studied and observed the use of both methods on many real-world residential swimming pools in the Phoenix Metro Area. Based on weekly observations, our pH management data clearly indicates that CO2 stabilizes pH and produces remarkably consistent results week to week, month to month. Here are some of the most important and compelling comparisons of the two methods:

CO2

LIQUID ACID

CO2 is inert, non-poisonous, non-flammable and does not require special clothing or breathing apparatus when handling.

Liquid acid is corrosive, poisonous, flammable, and an inhalation threat. It is a very dangerous substance. Manufacturers' standards for proper handling require special clothing and breathing apparatus.

CO2 reduces and stabilizes pH. Remarkable pH stability is the "windfall" result of this natural phenomenon.

Liquid acid reduces pH but does not stabilize pH. This requires frequent applications. Typically, multiple applications weekly.

CO2 will not harm or deteriorate the surface of your pool.

Frequent applications of liquid acid can reduce the life expectancy of the pool surface.

How does the Poolsmith® system control swimming pool pH?

How does the Poolsmith® system control swimming pool pH?

Our system is designed to gently enhance a completely natural process. We do this by injecting a small, specific amount of CO2 into the water daily. During the 6 years we devoted to process and system development, we discovered how much CO2 must be added to most residential pools daily in order to help nature achieve the ideal pH range of 7.3 to 7.8. This discovery eliminated the need for costly pH sensors, digital displays, and sophisticated electronic components; and, allowed us to focus strictly on process.

We directed our research and development efforts to elements like CO2 flow rates, injection durations, injection pressure, CO2 absorption efficiency, gas diffusion principles, and, most important, carbonic acid production. Consequently, we developed the highest quality gas diffusion process in the industry and we were awarded patent protection for our unique Carbon Dioxide InpHusion™ process.

What's wrong with pH sensors and digital displays?

What's wrong with pH sensors and digital displays?

Our opinion on this topic is based on thousands of hours of field study since 2003. It is specific to residential pools.

We believe that pH sensors and digital displays are unnecessary. We believe they add cost rather than value.

If a system is designed to operate with a sensor, a digital display is necessary to convey the sensor's current interpretation of the pH value. All sensors share a common malady – "calibration drift". Without a digital display, the operator could not recalibrate the sensor or reprogram the control unit. Here's why we don't like digital displays.

  • They are difficult to read in direct sunlight.

  • Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight degrades the display.

  • They add unnecessary cost to the system because they require additional components to support their usefulness.

  • They do not increase the production of carbonic acid.

  • They do not improve efficiency or assure maximum economy.

With regard to sensors, we are especially opposed to their use on residential pools. Here's why.

  • They must be "plumbed" into the pool's circulation system. This creates the potential for future leaks or plumbing problems.

  • They should be protected from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and excess heat.

  • They are highly susceptible to "calibration drift".

  • They require frequent monitoring and maintenance. The water must be hand tested frequently to assure that the pH level displayed digitally on the system controller is accurate. Otherwise, improper treatment will result.

  • They add unnecessary cost to the system because they require additional components to support their usefulness.

  • They do not increase the production of carbonic acid.

  • They do not improve efficiency or assure maximum economy.

Why are pH sensors popular with other manufacturers?

Why are pH sensors popular with other manufacturers?

First, bear in mind that most, if not all, systems marketed today for use on residential pools are based on systems developed originally for "commercial" pools. Commercial systems are designed to meet local health code requirements. One of the standard requirements is pH sensors.

That being said, here is our answer to the question.

  • Commercial systems can be easily modified to install on residential pools.

  • The technology is inexpensive and easily obtained.

  • Development time is reduced because field study isn't needed.

  • Expertise with the CO2 process is not required.

  • Sensors and their accompanying digital displays appear to add value to the system so manufacturers can increase the retail price.

I've been told using CO2 will cause an unnatural rise in Total Alkalinity (TA). Is this true?

I've been told using CO2 will cause an unnatural rise in Total Alkalinity (TA). Is this true?

This has been a popular rumor within the residential swimming pool industry for many years. Its source and the research behind it are unknown.

First, Total Alkalinity (TA) is the measurement of carbonate and bi-carbonate material in the water. This measurement also represents the water's ability to buffer or counteract acid. Since life as we know it cannot exist in acid, water constantly seeks carbonate and bi-carbonate material. With most of the material around us being carbon based, almost anything that ends up in the pool will contribute to the TA level. So, it is not unnatural for TA to gradually increase in most in-ground swimming pools. A gradual, natural increase in TA is good for your pool and its occupants.

Nevertheless, the rumor about CO2 causing an unnatural increase in TA was one of our primary concerns when we began researching and developing our process over 6 years ago. Early on, we found it interesting that the commercial swimming pool industry did not appear to share the residential industry's concern about CO2 and its effect on TA.

Through exhaustive research, we eventually found an intriguing statement regarding CO2 injection that directly challenged and dispelled the residential pool industry's opinion. This short statement about a "clean" injection process became the foundation for our subsequent discoveries and the development of our patented Carbon Dioxide InpHusion™ process, the InpHuser® injector, and our unique dispensing system.

We tested our injection concept on several pools. As part of the test, we disabled the CO2 injection on some of the pools thus allowing TA to function unaffected by the CO2. On the other pools, we continued normal CO2 injections. After a year of testing, we found that our process did not cause an unnatural or unusual increase in TA. We simply could not find a statistical link between CO2, using our injection process, and any unusual increase in TA in any of the pools we tested. With systems operating in Central and South America, and throughout the U.S., there still is no evidence of a connection between CO2 and high TA.

How often will I need to refill the cylinders?

How often will I need to refill the cylinders?

Our goal is to help each of our customers enjoy the convenience of at least 3 months of uninterrupted service between cylinder refills. However, achieving this goal is largely dependent upon the volume of the pool (gallons) and the liquid CO2 storage capacity (cylinder size and number). As pool volume increases, CO2 daily demand increases. As a result, liquid CO2 storage capacity is an important consideration.

In order to truly appreciate the long-term convenience of our swimming pool pH control process, it is very important to select an appropriate CO2 storage capacity configuration for your pool. That's why we offer two system configurations, both accommodating 3 cylinders, but with different cylinder sizes - 20-pounds (27" high x 8" diameter) and 35-pounds (42" high x 8" diameter). Our "T20" (Triple 20), is perfect for pools up to 15,000 gallons while our largest capacity system, "T35" (Triple 35), will accommodate pools up to 30,000 gallons.

Over the past several years we have learned there is another element of water balance that can affect the length of time between refills. While the effect is minor, we have found that a Total Alkalinity (TA) level greater than 160ppm can reduce the effectiveness of the carbonic acid thereby requiring the use of more CO2 to achieve the target pH range. As a result, we highly recommend maintaining a Total Alkalinity level of less than 160ppm in order to maximize effectiveness and economy.

If you follow our guidelines and recommendations when choosing a system and cylinder configuration for your pool, we are confident you will enjoy the ease, safety, and convenience of this process for many seasons to come.

What if my pool is bigger than 30,000 gallons?

What if my pool is bigger than 30,000 gallons?

A single Poolsmith® system is capable of effectively treating pools containing as much as 200,000 gallons of water. However, the practical limitation is CO2 on-site storage capacity. Bigger pools require more CO2 daily and thus require greater on-site capacity. For pools greater than 30,000 gallons, a personal consultation with a Poolsmith® representative is recommended.

Will your system work with my salt/chlorine generator?

Will your system work with my salt/chlorine generator?

Absolutely! While our system is a perfect addition to any pool using any sanitation method, carbon dioxide's unique ability to stabilize pH is particularly successful in counteracting the constant high pH condition caused by salt/chlorine generators. According to an article in the Jan 28, 2011 issue of Pool & Spa News, results of a recent 5-month study reveal that persistent high pH is the most significant treatment concern regarding salt/chlorine pools. The study conculded that high pH was so problematic that applications of liquid acid were required every 3 days. This is not the case with carbon dioxide. Unlike liquid acid, carbon dioxide stabilizes pH.

Will I need to hire a pool professional, plumber or electrician to install the system?

Will I need to hire a pool professional, plumber or electrician to install the system?

No. Our system was designed specifically for residential pool owners. It is low-voltage and easily installed. If you can use a drill, a screwdriver, a 1 1/8" wrench, and if you can plug the system's low-voltage power converter into a standard house current electrical outlet, installation should take less than 30 minutes.

Do you offer a guarantee and warranty?

Do you offer a guarantee and warranty?

We want you to be happy with your purchase. To ease your anxiety, we proudly offer a 3-year warranty on all defective system components and a 6-month money-back promise.

It is our sincerest wish to help you learn how to use CO2 successfully because we want you to become a "champion" of our process and our system. If you allow us to help you, we will happily guarantee your satisfaction.

Here is our promise to you. If our system does not perform satisfactorily, simply return the complete and undamaged system to us within 6 months from the date you received the system. We will refund the purchase price of the system excluding any additional charges like taxes, shipping and handling, and installation.

People have asked why we offer a money-back guarantee. There are 3 reasons:

  1. We are confident you will be very happy with the purchase because we have never had a customer request a refund.

  2. Despite our successes, we understand there is a risk that our process may not meet the expectations of all of our customers. We do not believe those rare situations are the fault of either party. We are willing to share the risk.

  3. We understand your purchase is largely a leap of faith. We don't want you to regret it.

We sincerely believe you will quickly recognize and appreciate the safety and simplicity of this natural swimming pool pH control process. Truly, it's better.

Have a question that wasn't answered here?

  • Planet Friendly
  • Organic pH
  • Planet Friendly
  • Organic pH
  • Planet Friendly
  • Organic pH