How To Raise pH

How To Raise pH In Pool - Ultimate Guide To Increasing pH

One of the most important chemical properties of your pool’s water is the pH reading. This level indicates the overall acidity or alkalinity of your pool’s water, which can have many negative effects on swimmers and your pool overall if it becomes unbalanced.

In this article, we will talk about the ideal range for pH in swimming pools, what causes low pH in pools, and the problems associated with low pH.

We’ve also put together a guide on how to raise pH in your pool, with added information about how to choose the right product for your situation.

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Ideal pH Range In Swimming Pools

The ideal range for pH in swimming pools is from 7.2-7.6. Pool water that has a pH within this range is neither too acidic nor too alkaline for your swimmers and water chemistry.

Improper pH can cause irritation to your swimmers, but it can also increase chlorine consumption, lead to issues with water quality, and damage pool equipment.

Low pH in a pool is typically caused by the use of stabilised chlorine, which is naturally acidic, but it can also be caused by heavy rain or other debris in the pool.

Problems Associated With Low pH

Damage To Equipment

If the pH level is low in your pool, it means that the water has become too acidic and has corrosive properties that are damaging to most materials.

These materials include your pool’s lining and equipment, but can also include swimmers, pool toys, and the material surrounding the edges of your pool, whether it be concrete or wooden decking.

Chlorine Degradation

Acidic water also leads to increased degradation of the free chlorine molecules in your pool. This causes you to use up much more chlorine when performing regular maintenance, and leaves your pool at risk of improper sanitation.

Irritation To Swimmers

A low pH level in your pool can also cause irritation to swimmers. This most often occurs as irritated or itchy skin, and burning in the eyes or nose in cases of contact with the pool water.

Although these side effects of swimming in acidic water can be irritating, they are mostly harmless and should resolve on their own after exiting the water.

Lower Alkalinity

Low pH can also lead to lower alkalinity. Your total alkalinity acts as a pH buffer, and when it is within the ideal range of 80-120 parts per million (ppm), it works to prevent abnormal drops or spikes in pH levels.

When your pH drops, more of your carbonate alkalinity is converted to carbon dioxide, which is slowly released from your pool into the atmosphere.

Long periods of low pH will lead to low alkalinity.

How To Raise pH In Your Pool

Luckily, increasing pH in pools does not have to be a difficult process. When raising the pH in a pool, you will need to select a product to use, gather equipment, and take steps to ensure that your pool receives the right amount of chemicals to correct the pH levels.

Choose The Right Product

First, you will want to choose a product to increase your pH. There are two main options for this available: sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. While both of these products can raise the pH of your pool, there are some important differences between them.

Sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, is the most common pH increaser available at pool supply stores. This product is relatively inexpensive to purchase and easy to use. It will substantially increase your pH and alkalinity.

Sodium bicarbonate, known more commonly as baking soda, is also a common choice for raising the pH of a pool. This product has less impact on pH however, while still increasing the alkalinity a fair bit.

To determine if you will need to make adjustments to your total alkalinity, test these levels with an appropriate test kit. Total alkalinity that is reading below 80ppm is too low, and should be increased to around 100ppm.

If your total alkalinity is too low, and your pH is not particularly low, baking soda is likely the better product for your pool.

In some cases, it may be useful to use these products together to get the right balance of pH and alkalinity.

Gather Equipment

Once you have decided on a product to use, gather the rest of your equipment. We recommend the following:

  • Nonmetallic bucket
  • Mixing utensil
  • Measuring cup
  • pH & alkalinity test kit

Test Your pH Levels

Before beginning the process of treating your pool, test your pH levels. This should be done as close as possible to the time that you will treat your pool so that you will have the most accurate results to work with in your calculations.

It is also advisable that you test the total alkalinity of your pool, as this reading is directly related to your pool’s ability to maintain a balanced pH.

Calculate How Much Product To Add

Regardless of whether you are using soda ash or baking soda to increase your pH, follow the dosing instructions provided on your product’s packaging.

These should inform you how many grams of product to add for the volume of your pool in litres, and some packages also include a measuring scoop for your convenience.

If you want to take the guesswork out of the equation, use this handy alkalinity calculator to work out the right dose.

Treat Your Pool

After using the calculator to figure out how much product to add to your pool, mix this amount of product into a bucket of your pool’s water until it is dissolved.

Once it is dissolved, distribute this solution in your pool by pouring it around the perimeter.

After dosing your pool, you will want to let your pump and filter run for 3-5 hours while your pH and total alkalinity levels adjust to make sure the product is well mixed into the water.

After this period, retest your pH in order to figure out if any extra product is required.

Once finished, your pool’s levels pH and alkalinity should be reading within the ideal ranges of 7.4-7.6 and 80-120ppm respectively.


Increasing the pH in your pool may sound daunting, but the task is relatively simple. When compared with other pool chemistry issues, low pH is among the easiest conditions to treat.

Do you have any questions about low pH in your pool, or raising the pH in a pool? Let us know down in the comments, we’d love to help!

Louis from Pool Advisor


A chemical engineer by trade, Louis is committed to debunking myths in the pool industry by explaining the underlying chemistry and making it accessible to all.