Adjusting the pH value of the pool

Having your own pool is the dream come true for all water rats. For carefree splashing in the cool water, the pool must be regularly maintained and the water quality checked. Of enormous importance for the quality of the pool water is the pH value. If the pH value is wrong, there is a risk of eye irritation, skin irritation and damage to the pool in the worst case scenario. We will tell you how you can easily measure the pH value of your swimming pool at home and what possibilities there are to correct the value.

What is the pH value

The pH value indicates whether an aqueous solution is acidic or basic. pH stands for pondus Hydrogenii or potentia Hydrogenii, which means as much as Weight resp. The power of hydrogen. The pH value describes the concentration or activity of hydrogen ions in an aqueous solution.

The following applies: the smaller the value, the more acidic the solution and the larger the value, the more basic it is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Values< 7 are considered acidic, values> 7 as alkaline. 7 is neutral, the ideal value for your pool water.

Examples from our everyday life to help you understand the different pH values a little better:

pH scale

pH value scale

Example pH value
stomach acid 1,5

Optimal pH value in the pool

The pH value of your pool water is influenced by various factors. This includes:

  • the water temperature
  • The swimming frequency and use of the pool
  • the degree of pollution of the pool water
  • Rain
  • the hardness of the water you use to fill the pool
  • the addition of disinfectants and flocculants

Therefore, if the pool is used frequently during the summer months and becomes contaminated, for example, by sunscreen or leaves and grass, then the water quality should be checked at least twice a week and the pH value adjusted if necessary.

The ideal pH of the pool water should be 7 to 7.5. In the following section you will find out what happens when this value is exceeded or.

The pH value is too low

With a pH value below 7, the pool water is too acidic. Skin, mucous membrane and eye irritations may occur. In addition, pool parts made of metal can be damaged by corrosion and pool materials and other parts such as filters can be attacked. Also an unpleasant smell can indicate a too low pH value. Here, action should be taken quickly and the pH value raised. You can find out exactly how this works in the section Adjusting the pH value.

The pH value is too high

If the pH value is too high, the effectiveness of other pool chemicals such as chlorine for disinfecting the water can be reduced. If chlorine loses its effectiveness, there is an unpleasant smell of the chemical. A milky cloudiness of the water due to a too high lime content and algae formation can also indicate a too high pH value. If the pH value is too high, eye and skin irritations can also occur. If the pH is too high, it can be regulated with special pH reducers.

Measure pH value

The pH value is measured using the so-called pH scale and read off from the color scale. Here, a pH indicator indicates the respective value: Indicator substances (so-called. Acid-base indicators) such as thymol blue or phenolphthalein react to the liquid to be tested and change color depending on the pH value. In the case of acidic solutions, the pH indicator turns red. Alkaline solutions in turn stand out in the pH indicator by the color blue.

To measure the pH value of your pool water, you can choose between different measuring methods and applications. We have summarized the most common methods for you. A distinction is made between analog and digital measurement:

  1. Analog measurement – Ideal for smaller pools and above ground pools

Test strips are probably the easiest way to determine the pH of your pool water. The test strips are sealed with indicator substances and are simply held in the pool water. Depending on the pH value, the strip changes color and the value can be read from the color scale provided. However, the disadvantage of measuring with test strips is that it is rather inaccurate. However, it helps to get an approximate tendency whether your water is too acidic or too alkaline and the pH value needs to be readjusted.

When using the test kits, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. However, such test kits are similar in their application: Water is filled into the supplied test tube and a few drops of the test liquid (indicator solution) are dripped into it. Close the cap and shake the tube. Now the water changes color. The pH value can be read from the scale on the basis of the color.

Such test kits work similarly to those with test liquid. Here, however, a test box is immersed in the pool water and a tablet from the blister pack is pressed into the box. If the box has a lid, close the lid and shake the box. If the box does not have a lid, crush the tablet until it dissolves. Now you can read the pH value from the table.

With this method the value is determined electrochemically. The most common application of the pH meter is measurement by glass electrodes of a so-called combination electrode. This combines a glass electrode and a so-called reference electrode. The latter is usually a silver-silver chloride half cell, i.e. a specific type of electrode. The pH meter is dipped into the liquid to be measured. A half-cell reaction now takes place at the glass membrane and an electrical potential is formed. This potential is directly dependent on the hydrogen concentration. The pH value can then be determined from the potential difference to the reference electrode.

Newer pH meters use field-effect transistors. Here transistors are immersed in the solution. Hydrogen ions are deposited. An electrical potential is built up, which in turn can be measured

    Digital meters

The advantage here is that digital meters calibrate automatically and are very easy to use: Simply hold the meter in the water and the value will be displayed to you. Often, such digital meters can also determine other values such as the content of chlorine. Another advantage: digital meters can determine the pH value very accurately.

Please note: Always follow the respective manufacturer’s specifications and operating instructions. Each test procedure must be used correctly to provide a reliable indication of the pH of your pool water.

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