HomeFiberglass PoolsWhy is pH Important for Swimming Pools?

Why is pH Important for Swimming Pools?

Swimming pools are not just a source of fun and relaxation. They require careful monitoring to ensure they remain safe and comfortable for everyone. One of the key factors in maintaining the pool's health is the pH level. Understanding the pH of your swimming pool water is crucial because it affects every aspect of the water quality and can have significant impacts on the swimmers’ health.

pH Basics

pH, or "potential of Hydrogen," is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is, based on the concentration of hydrogen ions present. This concept is crucial in fields like chemistry, biology, and environmental science, significantly affecting the balance of biological systems, including human bodies and swimming pools.

The scale for this measure spans from 0 to 14, with each increment indicating a tenfold change in acidity or alkalinity. A value of 7 is neutral, where hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions are in equal concentration. Values below 7 denote acidity, with a higher presence of hydrogen ions, while values above 7 indicate alkalinity, characterized by fewer hydrogen ions and more hydroxide ions.

Regarding swimming pools, the level directly influences the water's clarity, the efficiency of sanitizers, swimmer comfort, and the longevity of pool infrastructure. Imbalances can cause issues ranging from murky water and algae proliferation to discomfort for swimmers and damage to equipment. Thus, maintaining the proper balance in pool water is fundamental for optimal maintenance and care, with a recommended range of 7.2 to 7.8 ensuring the water is neither too acidic nor too alkaline.

Why pH Matters

Health Concerns

The condition of swimming pool water significantly affects swimmer health and comfort. When the water's acidity or alkalinity strays from the ideal range of 7.2 to 7.8, various health issues can arise, particularly affecting the skin and eyes.

In acidic conditions, when water becomes too sour, it can strip natural oils from the skin, leading to dryness, itching, and potentially more severe conditions like rashes or minor chemical burns. Eyes may also suffer, experiencing stinging or redness akin to the sensation of cutting onions.

On the other end, overly alkaline water can make the skin dry and itchy as well, but with the additional unpleasant sensation of sliminess due to a slippery residue. Visibility may decrease due to cloudy water, and swimmers' eyes can feel as though they have soap in them, resulting in prolonged discomfort.

Additionally, the effectiveness of chlorine, a primary pool sanitizer, is closely tied to the water's pH level. Chlorine performs best in slightly alkaline conditions. If the water's pH is not maintained, chlorine's sanitizing power is compromised, leading to an increase in bacteria and pathogens that can cause further skin and eye irritation.

Pool Equipment

The wrong pH can harm your pool and its equipment, leading to costly repairs or replacements. Metal parts like ladders, pumps, heaters, and other hardware are particularly vulnerable to corrosion. Even concrete surfaces can slowly erode under acidic conditions. Acidic water may also cause the rubber parts like seals and gaskets to become brittle and crack, leading to leaks and other mechanical failures. This corrosion not only diminishes the appearance of the pool but also significantly shortens the lifespan of the equipment, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Water Quality

It's clear that discomfort and health issues for swimmers can arise from imbalanced acidity or alkalinity. Striking the right balance is essential, with regular testing and adjustment, understanding symptoms of imbalance, and immediate corrective action being key to preventing these problems and ensuring a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for everyone.

Testing pH

Testing Kits: Various testing kits are available in the market, from simple pool and spa testing strips to more sophisticated digital pool water quality monitoring devices.

Digital Devices: Digital meters offer precise readings, helping you maintain the perfect balance in your pool.

DIY Methods: Though not as accurate as professional tools, some DIY methods can provide a general idea of your pool's pH level.

Adjusting pH

If the level is too low, it can be increased by adding substances like soda ash. If the level is too high, you may use muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. Careful handling of chemicals and following guidelines can make pH adjustment a smooth task.


  • Regular checks: Consistent monitoring is vital to maintaining optimal pH levels.
  • Professional services: Don't hesitate to seek professional help from a local pool care company if needed.
  • Seasonal adjustments: Different seasons may require different pH adjustments, so be mindful of the changing weather.


Maintaining the correct pH of your swimming pool water is essential for the health of both the swimmers and the pool itself. With regular testing and proper understanding of how to adjust levels, you can enjoy a clean, clear, and safe swimming experience.

Jan Stevens
Jan Stevens
Jan Stevens is an industry expert with over a decade of experience in the fiberglass pools sector. His authoritative insights are based on real-world experiences and a strategic mindset, making him a valuable contributor to the field and an esteemed author for our website.




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