What Causes High Alkalinity In My Salt Water Pool? [Solved!]

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If you’re like many people, you’ve heard about how important it is to maintain a stable alkalinity level in your swimming pool. Your pool’s pH level can range from acid to alkaline, and the proper balance in here is ideal for maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your pool. It also provides you with more pleasurable pool experiences, lessens the chances of skin irritation, and guards you from possible health problems.

But what exactly is alkalinity, and how is it measured? Are there certain circumstances under which your pool’s alkalinity will spike? How does an alkalinity imbalance in your pool affect you as a swimmer, or someone who spends time in the water? We’ll answer all these questions and more in this article.

What Is Alkalinity, And How Is It Measured?

As the name would suggest, alkalinity deals with the acidity or alkalinity of water. The term ‘alkalinity’ can be a bit misleading, as there are actually two different measurements that go by this name. The first is total alkalinity, which measures the total amount of acid or alkali in your pool. The second is specific alkalinity, which measures the amount of acid or alkali that has a particular ionic composition. For example, calcium hydrogen carbonate has a particular formula that makes it more acidic than calcium carbonate, a common salt.

The pH scale, which measures the acidity or alkalinity of water, ranges from 0 to 14. Properly speaking, a pH of 7 is neutral, whereas a pH of less than 7 is acidic, more so the lower the number. For example, water with a pH of 4 is 20% more acidic than water with a pH of 7. Water with a pH greater than 7 is alkaline, or more so the higher the number. For example, water with a pH of 10 is 50% more alkaline than water with a pH of 7. Naturally, there is also a gray area in between, with a pH level of around 6, the so-called ‘critical pH’ or ‘neutral point’ when interpreting pH levels.

Why Does The pH Level Of My Pool Matter?

When it comes to the balance of acidity or alkalinity in your pool’s water, there are four main reasons why it’s important to keep this number as close to 7.50 as possible. These are as follows:

Reason One: The Main Purpose Of Swimming Pools Is To Provide Bathers With Relaxing And Recreational Water.

Let’s get one thing straight right away; swimming pools are not meant to be used for drinking water. Even if you’re not planning on drinking any pool water, the last thing you want is your pool’s pH level plummeting because someone drank some water from it. This could lead to all sorts of health problems, from digestive issues to skin irritations to headaches! The issue here is the same as with any other water source: water hygiene. Keep your pool clean by getting it cleaned at least once a month with a reputable pool service. Doing this ensures that germs that could make you sick will not be present in your pool. And remember: clean water is even more hygienic than fresh water.

Reason Two: To Stabilize The Bacteria And Maintain A Healthy Environment In Your Pool.

While we’re on the topic of germs and bacteria, let’s discuss something else that can harm you if it gets into your pool. Bacteria, like all living things, need food in order to survive. They require nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in order to grow and reproduce. These elements are referred to as ‘nutrients’, and they are usually present in the form of salts. Bacteria in your pool are generally healthy and balanced when the nutrient levels are high in here. However, if the nutrient levels are low, this can be an indication that some kind of bacteria are already thriving in your pool.

The problem is that, unlike plants, bacteria do not need oxygen to survive. This is why they are often found in places where there is no air exchange, such as hot tubs, spas, and saunas. There are also some bacteria, such as Legionella, that can live in fresh water and cause problems for people with underlying health issues. In these instances, the bacteria may invade the lungs, causing Legionnaires’ disease. Keeping your pool clean and clear of any foreign objects will help prevent this from happening.

Reason Three: To Keep An Eye On The Amount Of Phosphorous And Nitrogen In My Pool.

These two elements are nutrients that can accumulate in your pool and cause algae to bloom. Just like with bacteria, algae also need nitrogen and phosphorus in order to grow and reproduce. The difference is that algae need much more phosphorous than nitrogen. This is why it’s important to keep track of how much phosphorus and nitrogen are present in your pool’s water. You can use these two elements to create a nutrient-rich environment in your pool, which promotes the growth of algae. This, in turn, provides you with a yellowish-green tint to your otherwise clear pool. This is not a good thing, especially if you’re planning on swimming or holding water for recreational purposes.

Algae, like bacteria, can also be an indication that some kind of pollution is present in your pool. Just like with nutrient levels, you can look for signs of algae growth in your pool and decide whether or not to take some sort of action. For instance, if you notice algae blooms during rainy season, this could be an indication that some nearby bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, are being contaminated by run-off or sewage. In these instances, you might want to consider using a water purifying system to remove these pollutants from your pool. This is an additional cost that you will have to bear, but at least you’ll be able to enjoy a clearer pool without any worries about your health.

Reason Four: To Detect Changes In The Acidity Or Alkalinity Of My Pool Over Time.

This is a key consideration when planning or using your pool. Just like with any other important aspect of your household, the quality of your pool’s water will deteriorate over time if it’s not monitored and cared for properly. The first thing to go is the acidity or alkalinity, as these elements are extremely sensitive to heat and light, which makes them more prone to change. If you’re not careful, you can gradually turn your pool from an ideal pH 7.5 to a less than ideal pH 5. This, in turn, can cause all sorts of problems for the creatures that live in and around your water. Change is an essential part of life, but not when it comes to your pool’s water; this, we mean!

Changes in pH levels can also be caused by pollutants in your pool that react with hydrogen ions (H+) or hydroxide ions (OH−) present in your water. This causes the pH level to rise or fall, respectively.

What Is The ‘Safe’ Range Of The pH Level In My Pool?

As we mentioned above, keeping your pool’s pH level between 7.0 and 7.5 is what most sources deem to be the ‘safe’ range. If you’re planning on swimming in your pool, or you already do and it’s been some time since your last visit, it’s a good idea to have your pH level checked by a pool professional. The reason for this is that the pH level of your water can change significantly from what it initially was when you installed it, due to seasonal variations in temperature and light exposure. In the event that your pool’s pH is more than 7.5, it can become very slippery and dangerous to swim in. Also, if your pH level dips below 7.0, it can cause all sorts of problems for the creatures that live in and around your water. So, unless you’re absolutely certain that all your pH readings are correct, it’s best to keep your pool’s pH within 7.0 and 7.5 to ensure the safety of both you and your family members while having fun at the pool.

How Does An Alkalinity Imbalance In My Pool Affect Me As A Swimmer?

There are a few different ways in which an alkalinity imbalance in your pool can impact you as a swimmer. Let’s discuss them below.

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