Misunderstanding pH in Swimming Pools

      The safety of swimming pool water should be a priority for every homeowner. One of the main factors affecting safety is the pH levels, which react to just about anything in the pool chemistry. Maintaining pH at the right level, between 7.4 and 7.6, ensures a healthy and safe water environment for swimmers. 

      However, pH is also one of the most misunderstood factors when it comes to swimming pools. Homeowners must learn more about pH control vs. containment, bather comfort, and the use of CO2.  

      Keep reading to find out how to effectively lower pool pH without chemicals.

      Alkalinity’s Buffering Capacity on pH 

      Pool operators know that alkalinity plays an important role in buffering the pH. Alkalinity may act as a buffer against pH swings, but pH is the one that determines the percentage of each alkalinity type. 

      Let’s consider carbonate alkalinity. With the increase of pH, carbonic acid converts to HCO3 or bicarbonate alkalinity, functioning in equilibrium. The pH level rises to 8.3 when there is no more carbonic acid, and the hydrogen leaves convert bicarbonate into carbonate alkalinity or CO3.

      There are also other alkalinity types, but the bottom line is that pH dictates the alkalinity type present in the water. 

      How To Maintain Your Pool in Summer

      Bather Comfort and pH

      Maintaining the ideal pH level between 7.4 and 7.6 is needed because of two reasons; one is that pH controls the chlorine strength, and the other is bather comfort. Or so we are told. 

      The main reason behind bather discomfort, like eye and skin irritation, is not the pH level but the disinfection byproducts. This includes chloramines, non-living organisms, and other compounds or contaminants, which are the real cause of skin and eye irritations.

      So next time you feel any discomfort, don’t blame the pH imbalance but rather the chloramines.

      Carbon Dioxide and pH

      The laws of physics, or more precisely, Henry’s law of solubility of gasses, will help us explain the play between CO2 and pH. The amount of CO2 is responsible for determining the pH of pool water. More CO2 means less pH and vice versa. What does this mean?

      The off-gassing of CO2 will cause pH to rise naturally. As CO2 creates an equilibrium with the CO2 in the air, the pH levels will cease to rise. 

      Picture it this way. You open a bottle of beer, and the CO2 rushes to escape, trying to equalize the air above. As enough bubbles escape, the beer goes flat. The same happens in the pool water when CO2 is injected.

      Control vs. Containment

      Many get frustrated with the constant fluctuation of pH levels, but we have to understand that it is impossible to go against the laws of physics. Having said this, we can accept that pH simply cannot be controlled. As we discussed in Henry’s Law above, pH is supposed to fluctuate; hence trying to control it is useless. 

      We have to embrace the idea that pH can be contained, not controlled, and we are doing this with the use of sense and dispense systems that read pH and feed acid or CO2 to normalize the pH level. 

      Poolsmith Technologies: Understanding How to Lower Pool pH Without Chemicals

      Understanding pool chemistry and how and why pH reacts differently depending on the situation requires extensive experience. Poolsmith Technologies is your number-one pool service in Phoenix, Arizona, and a true expert in swimming pools.

      We have developed a sophisticated organic system to help contain and lower pool ph without chemicals. If you want to learn the advantages of this system, get in touch with  Poolsmith Technologies today!