I Can't Get The pH Up In My Pool

by Liz
(South Africa)

I have recently purchased a house and trying to figure out how to balance the pool. It is a fibreglass pool approx 27,000 litres.

The pH reading is very low, below 6.4 (the tester kit shows the water as bright yellow). I have added 1 x 250g packet of HTH 'pH up' and that didn't work. After a day, I added another packet. It still hasn't worked.

Now I read from other comments that I must read the 'Total Alkalinity' but I don't even have a tester kit for that and this is the bit that confuses me.

Is this what I need to do next, what do I need to do it?



Thanks for the question Liz

First thing I would recommend is to stop using anything you buy from the pool store called "pH Up" or "Alkalinity Up". If you look at the ingredients it's probably sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or something similar. This is nothing more than baking soda (not baking powder) that can be purchased in your local grocery store for 1/3 the price.

Next, I'll need to convert litres and grams into gallons and pounds, then convert back to metric for you. I'm not too familiar with the metric system, as are most Americans.

For every 10,000 gallons, to raise the pH 0.1ppm, you'll use 1.25lbs. of baking soda. This is 567 grams. As you can see you probably didn't use enough.

Without going into all the math about how I converted this, the short answer is you'll need 9.375lbs. of baking soda to bring the pH up to 7.4ppm. This equates to 4252 grams, or 4.25 kg.

This is where persistence and patience comes into play. Many pool owners make an adjustment then test after an hour or two. They normally get a false reading. The reason is you need a full turnover of the water before taking a test and making another correction. This is normally about 8 hours. The water needs to fully circulate through the entire system before taking another test. This is the "patience" part.

Make your adjustment in the evening, with the filter and any water features such as slides or fountains ON, and test in the morning. Test the water, make another adjustment, then retest in the evening and make another adjustment if needed. It can take a couple of days to raise the pH a full 1ppm, from 6.4 to 7.4ppm.

Start with a 1 kg, or 2 pounds, and work up from there. Don't simply dump all of the bicarb into the pool at once. You may put too much in and overshoot your target of 7.6 - 7.8ppm.

Here are some links to help:

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

Remember to have the filter on when raising the pH.

The total alkalinity (TA) is the opposite side of the same coin of pH and can be raised with sodium bicarb. It's how you put it in the pool that decides whether you want to raise the TA or pH. To raise the pH you'll want to dilute the bicarb in a bucket and broadcast it around the perimeter of the pool with the pump on.

To raise the TA you'll turn the pump OFF, water motionless, and add straight into the pool, no diluting. Leave the pump off for as long as you can, maybe overnight, then turn the pump back on, allow for 1 turnover, then test and make another adjustment if needed.

The TA fill water where I live is 30ppm and the pH is 8.2ppm. Now, how can I use bicarb to raise the TA without the pH going through the roof? I've used the above method to balance the YMCA pool several times and the hundreds of pools I've taken care of. It works, but again, you need patience.

Get a good test kit. I'd encourage you to get a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 pool test kit.

Pool Water Testing

Water Testing Kit

This is the one I've used since 1999 and most pool professionals use it as well. You can also go to your local pool store and have the water analyzed for free.

Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out for you.


Click here to post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

Soda Ash To Raise pH Made The Pool Cloudy

by Rick Pangle
(Brevard, NC)

I adde 20lbs soda ash mixed in water first and it clouded the 130,000 gallon pool.

How can I clear it up?

Thanks for the question Rick

I use 25 lbs. of sodium bicarb. to raise the pH of the YMCA pool (80,000 gallons) 10ppm. It always will cloud up when you make a slurry and mix it with water.

It should be o.k. if you keep the filter running 24/7.

Normally it will take about a day to clear it up, but you should be fine.

A couple turnovers of the water should do it.

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


Click here to post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

How Much pH Minus To Get Level Down..Too High

by Anne

We are battling on a daily basis to keep our pH balance down to the right level and only once had it down to 7.2 it is more likely to be 8.1!!

How often can you add pH minus to the pool to get the level down. I know you don't put too much in at a time but how often can you add it?

My husband is getting sick to death with our pool and it just seems to control our lives. We have just had to empty and refill because we could not stop the pool from going green last year and in the end there was so many chemicals in it the only way was to empty and start again!!

I don't want to do that again. Apart from the water and pool chemical cost, we have a water shortage at the moment.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for the question Anne

I can understand your frustration, and so do many other pool owners in your situation.

First, I would encourage you go get a Taylor Reagent FAS-DPD K-2006 pool water test kit. You can buy them online. These are the best on the market. A little getting used to but worth the investment.

Water Testing Kit..FAQ..Chemistry Testing..Procedures..Balance..Swimming..

Next, I would ask you the pH level of the fill water. If it's 8.0ppm, then you might be fighting a pH problem from the beginning.

You can go here to learn the best way to handle your pH level problem.

Swimming Pool pH Levels..Chemistry..Alkalinity..Water..Care

You can add a second or third application of pH minus or muriatic acid after one complete turn-over of the water. This means that all of the pool water goes through the filter and back into the pool. It normally takes around 10 - 12 hours for a residential pool of 24,000 gallons to have a complete turn-over at around 40 gallons per minute (GPM).

40 GPM X 60 minutes = 2,400 gallons per hour
2,400 GPH X 10 hours = 24,000 gallons

Obviously the time will be less with a smaller pool.

For getting rid of your swimming pool algae and/or green pool water, you can go here:

Remove Swimming Pool Algae..Green..Chemistry..Care..

About the pool chlorine problems, it might be that you need to get some cyanuric acid (CYA) in the pool. This is the stabilizer for the chlorine and without this the pool will drop the chlorine level very fast.

Adjust Your Swimming Pool Chlorine..Chemistry..Salt Water Maintenance..Inground

Chlorine Tablets..Swimming Pool Chlorine..Chemistry..3..1..Inch

You're probably using an unstabilized form of pool chlorine such as liquid or granules. Get the CYA up between 20ppm - 40ppm and you should be fine.

The FAS-DPD test kit will have a CYA test.

Hope this helps and have a wonderful Summer


Click here to post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

Sodium Bicarbonate and pH Increaser

Sodium bicarbonate and a pH increaser were added at the same time to the pool and haved caused the water to turn milky and cloudy. How can I clear this up fast?

Thanks for the question

Unfortunately there's no "fast" way to clear up a pool. When bicarb and pH increaser are mixed and the pool is cloudy afterwards, the best remedy is to keep the system on FILTER and backwash. This will decrease the water by a couple hundreds gallons and you can then top it off with fresh water. No permanent harm was probably done.

The pH will probably go through the roof. You can use 0.8 qrts of acid to reduce the pH 0.2 per 10,000 gallons.

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

It would be great to have the size of your pool, along with the kind of filter and a complete list of readings: Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper) and names of any algaecides you may have used along with clarifiers, phosphate removers, and/or flocs.

There could be an underlying issue and the readings can shed of light on it.

If you would like personal assistance, I do phone consultations for a donation of your choice. It makes things go much faster. If you choose to not go that route, we can correspond by email.

Contact Me


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


Click here to post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

I've A Saltwater Pool..pH Is High

All my pools the pH is high and I've done everything I could to bring it down but nothing is working.

Do you have any suggestions

Thanks for your question, but unfortunately the question doesn't give me enough information to give you a reasonable answer.

What do you mean by "I've done everything"? Have you used muriatic acid? If so, how much? When did you add it and how long after the application did you re-test? What where the results? What are the readings?

What is meant by "high pH level"?

How big is your pool?

As you can see there's many questions that need to be answered before I can give you a solid answer to your question.

You can resubmit a question with those answers provided and we can go from there.


Click here to read or post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

Very High Swimming Pool pH Level...8.2ppm..

by Harvey
(Buckeye, AZ)

Pool guy said I have a very high swimming pool pH level..8.2ppm...was off the charts. He said to add a 1 gallon of muriatic acid to 4800 gallon swimming pool. Is it safe to swim after 12hrs?

Thanks for the question Harvey

A high swimming pool pH level is somewhat debatable. Most pool guys will tell you to run your pool pH level between 7.2ppm - 7.4ppm, but I personally think this is a bit too low. You'll end up using alot more muriatic acid to keep the pH down to that level.

A better range is 7.6ppm - 7.8ppm and keep your total alkalinity between 80ppm - 100ppm.

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Swimming Pool Alkalinity

I keep the YMCA pool at these levels and I barely need to add any muriatic pool acid, maybe 1 gallon per month. Be sure to use the links above to lower your pool pH level. Pump motor on, water circulating, add the acid around the perimeter of the pool, and turn on any water features like slides, water falls, etc...

This will touch the pool water pH but not the total alkalinity too much. It should be safe to swim after 12 hours because that would probably be 1 full turn-over of the pool water if you have the pool pump going for that length of time.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

Swimming Pool pH, Alkalinity, & Chlorine Levels

by Laurie
(Katy, Tx)

How To Lower Pool pH & Alkalinity Level..How To Raise Pool Chlorine Level

I tested the pH level and it was too high, so I added 24 oz of liquid muriatic acid with pump running (15,000 gallon above ground pool that was drained, scrubbed, and refilled over the weekend).

After 24hrs of continuous running of the pump, the pH & alkalinity are still unchanged.

I also added stabilizer a few days ago and the chlorine still won't last more than 24 hrs.



Thanks for the questions Laurie

To first address the pH level, I'm not sure what is meant by "too high". What was the pH level before you added acid and after? Same for the alkalinity and low chlorine level?

I would encourage you to get a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 test kit. It's the best on the market.

Water Testing Kit

Pool Water Testing

There are many pool sites on the internet, but rarely, that I know, they tell you to first test your fill water after a fresh refill and BEFORE you add any chemicals. You must do this because you must have a starting point. You'll know exactly what the pH, alkalinity, and hardness are so you can make the right adjustments. There's no guess work involved.

For every 10,000 gallons of water, to decrease the pH by 0.1ppm, you need to add 12oz. of acid.

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Pool pH

Muriatic Acid

Information on how to lower your alkalinity can be found here:

Pool Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity

To lower alkalinity per 10,000 gallons you'll use a little less than 1/2 a qt., or 0.8qts.

How much stabilizer did you put in? You can find a good CYA acid chart at this link:

Swimming Pool Chlorine

You want the chlorine 7.5% of your CYA and that level is 30 - 50ppm.

You can shock the pool using Di-Chlor. This is a fast dissolving form of chlorine which will give you a good boost to your CYA level. But be careful that the CYA doesn't get out of hand.

Use Tri-Chlor chlorine tabs to keep the level consistent. You can go through the pages above. Everything you need to make the right adjustments is here.

You should keep a daily log during this time. Keep track of everything you do to the pool and what time of the day you do it. This way you can have a good record that you can refer to again.

Muriatic acid always decreases the pH level when broadcast around the perimeter of the pool while the pump is on. It may take a few applications, but the pH will come down. Same with the alkalinity, although you want the pump off for this.

Once again, go through the pages above. They will give you everything you need.

Hope this helps and have a great swimming season.


Click here to post comments

Return to Swimming Pool pH Level.

swimming pool care, basic pool care, above ground pool maintenance, inground, salt water

Click Here To Learn How This eBook Can Save You TONS Of Time & Money

Click Here To Learn The Best Way To Clear Up Your Pool 

Recent Articles

  1. White Slimy Film On The Bottom Of Pool

    the water was crystal clear but upon skimming the top we noticed a white slimy film completely covering the pool liner.

    Read More

  2. High Cynaric Acid

    My pool is a 26,000 gallon above ground vinyl liner. around 7/31/2014 the cya raised to 113

    Read More

  3. Can Super Floc Remove Pool Algae?

    Will raising the pH level and adding Superfloc get rid of algae?

    Read More