How to Raise pH in Saltwater Pool

Basic knowledge of pool sampling and testing along with a reliable test kit and fresh reagents are important when opening up your pool if the pool is a saltwater pool then some emphasis should be placed on pH because of its tendency to fluctuate. How to Raise pH in Saltwater Pool?

  • Baking soda-sodium bicarbonate is naturally alkaline, pH of 8. When you add baking soda to your pool H2O, you will raise pH & the alkalinity
  • Soda ash/sodium carbonate- 6oz. will increase pH by 0.2 per 10,000 gals.
  • Aeration-When H2O is aerated, it outgassing CO2 from H2O resulting in an increase in pH.

If you own a salt pool, you may have noticed that your pool’s pH levels rise quickly, and despite regular chemical treatments are always high. This is because the salt cell generates chlorine gas, which increases the pH levels in the water.


Maintaining the ideal water chemistry in a saltwater pool can be a balancing act that confounds even seasoned pool owners. Achieving the perfect pH level is crucial for ensuring comfort, equipment longevity, and effective sanitation. If you find your saltwater pool’s pH levels have dipped below the recommended range, don’t worry. This article will guide you through the practical steps to safely and efficiently raise the pH in your saltwater oasis, ensuring crystal clear waters that are gentle on the skin and eyes — providing a comfortable and pleasant swim every time.

Understanding Your Pool’s pH and Water Quality

In the world of pool maintenance, it’s crucial to grasp the balance between pH level and water quality in your pool. Ensuring optimal water quality in a saltwater pool hinges on maintaining the appropriate pH levels, which, while it might seem impossible sometimes, is quite manageable with a bit of knowledge. The pH levels in your saltwater pool water are fundamental to the overall health and longevity of your aquatic retreat. When the pH levels stray too far from the sweet spot—neither too acidic nor too alkaline—the water quality can take a nosedive, affecting everything from swimmer comfort to pool equipment longevity.

Regularly testing the pool water for its pH level is essential in keeping pool water sparkling and inviting. You don’t want the pH levels to become an unseen adversary to your pool’s tranquility. As any seasoned pool owner knows, pool water that’s properly balanced with the right pH levels becomes easily clear and maintainable. It’s all about the harmony between pH levels and the balance water chemistry in your pool.

Pool maintenance isn’t complete without periodic adjustments to pH levels, ensuring the water quality remains pristine. Whether it’s a routine check or a calculated intervention to move and keep those pH levels back to their rightful place, maintaining water quality and pH levels safeguards your pool against the challenges that can emerge in a saltwater environment. Saltwater pools are most stable with a pH of 7.4–7.6, and a Total Alkalinity of 80–100 ppm. Most salt system manufacturers recommend a stabilizer level of around 50 ppm.


Identifying Low pH in Saltwater Pools and Causes


Identifying low pH in saltwater pools is crucial for maintaining water quality. Here are some signs and potential causes:

Signs of Low pH in Saltwater Pools:

  1. Corrosion: Metal components, such as pool heaters and ladder rails, may corrode more quickly.
  2. Skin and Eye Irritation: Swimmers may experience discomfort, including red eyes and dry skin.
  3. Scale Formation: Scale deposits on pool surfaces and equipment.
  4. Algae Growth: Low pH can contribute to algae growth.

Causes of Low pH in Saltwater Pools:

  1. Carbon Dioxide Absorption: Exposure to air and rain can lead to the absorption of carbon dioxide, lowering pH.
  2. Chemical Imbalance: Incorrectly balanced chemicals, particularly acidic substances, can lower pH.
  3. Organic Matter: Decomposing leaves, grass, or other organic matter can contribute to pH reduction.
  4. Overuse of Acidic Products: Excessive use of acid-based pool products without proper monitoring.
  5. Faulty Equipment: Malfunctioning equipment, like a malfunctioning chlorinator, can affect pH levels.

To address low pH, test your water regularly, and adjust the pH levels using appropriate chemicals. It’s essential to maintain a balanced pool chemistry to ensure a safe and enjoyable swimming environment.

Low pH can lead to a host of problems, corrosive water being merely the tip of the iceberg. And when your salt pool’s pH dives, it’s time to get to the causes from natural influences to the chemical changes happening below the surface.

Test strips or a digital tester can become your best friends in keeping the pool’s pH afloat and your pool water stable. Don’t skimp on the test; a single test won’t tell the whole tale. Consistent water testing reveals the water’s acid-base balance, alerting when it’s time to raise pH before it bottoms out.

A proper plan to adjust the pH involves turning to products like soda ash, borax or pH increasers tailored specifically for saltwater pools. The key to a successful pH raise is consistency and not just a one-off adjustment. Remember, a balanced pool is a successful pool and every test of the waters fine-tunes the chemistry that is your salt pool, ensuring it remains a haven of pleasure, not a source of problems.

How to Raise pH in a Saltwater Pool


To raise the pH level in your saltwater pool, you can use either natural or chemical methods. One natural method is aeration. This method involves increasing the water’s exposure to air, which will cause carbon dioxide to escape and raise the pool pH level. Another natural method is to use baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.

Soda ash or sodium carbonate are chemical methods to increase pH and alkalinity. These chemicals are sold as pH increases in pool stores. It takes about 6 ounces of soda ash for every 0.2 pH point you need to raise 10,000 gallons of water.

It’s important to note that you should not add more than 1 pound of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water at a time.  Also, it’s recommended that you test your pool water regularly to ensure that the pH level is within the recommended pH range of 7.4-7.6. 

Baking soda-also known as sodium bicarbonate is naturally alkaline, with a pH of 8. When you add baking soda to your pool water, you will raise both the pH and the alkalinity, improving stability and clarity. Many commercial pool products for raising alkalinity utilize baking soda as their main active ingredient.

Aeration-If you don’t have chemicals to add to the pool, assuming all other levels are correct, there is another way that you can raise the pH level of a pool naturally. The easiest way to achieve success with this technique is to run your pool for longer and activate all water features.

The idea is to create as many bubbles and disturbances as possible to allow your pool water to release carbon dioxide (which is acidic) and thus will raise your pool’s pH. Aeration is the best way to raise pH. That raises your pH gradually while not affecting your TA. It is free and requires no chemicals.

When pool water is aerated, it creates turbulence. The turbulence then causes the aqueous CO(carbon dioxide) to outgas. Outgassing of COfrom water results in an increase in pH. Aeration is the only means of increasing pH that will not increase the Total Alkalinity. This is both beneficial and problematic.

If you want to keep your pH stable you should eliminate as much aeration as possible. Turn off any water features in the pool and point return jets down pointing the pool return pointed up will gas off the chlorine from the pool. Run the spa spillover only as needed to keep the spa water chlorinated.

As for why the pH rises, the easiest way to explain it is that some of the carbon dioxides in water is carbonic acid — that is, carbon dioxide plus water makes carbonic acid — so removing carbon dioxide is like removing carbonic acid. Removing an acid from the water makes the pH rise. Saltwater pool’s pH can skyrocket at times even above 8.4 where most testing kits don’t go.



Why is My pH Always High in My Saltwater Pool?

The reason why saltwater pools usually have elevated pH levels is that the generation of chlorine with the electrolysis process tends to create byproducts like Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye and caustic soda that have a very high pH, Sodium Hydroxide has a 13 pH and is extremely high .…………………………………………………… Read more

Using Muriatic Acid to Balance pH in Saltwater Pool Water


Using muriatic acid to balance pH in saltwater pool water is a common practice. Begin by testing the pool water’s pH level using a reliable test kit. If the pH is below the recommended range, carefully add muriatic acid in small increments, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Muriatic Acid At Your Pool: Safe Guide for Beneficial Use - Peter Rossi
Muriatic Acid At Your Pool

It’s crucial to wear protective gear, including gloves and goggles, while handling muriatic acid due to its corrosive nature. After adding the acid, retest the water periodically until the desired pH level is achieved, ensuring a properly balanced and safe swimming pool environment in your saltwater pool.

Certainly, here is a list of steps for using muriatic acid to balance pH in saltwater pool water:

  1. Test pH Levels: Begin by using a reliable pH test kit to determine the current pH level of the saltwater pool.
  2. Wear Protective Gear: Prior to handling muriatic acid, ensure you are wearing appropriate protective gear, including gloves and goggles, due to its corrosive nature.
  3. Calculate Amount Needed: Use pool chemistry calculations or guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of muriatic acid needed to adjust the pH to the desired level.
  4. Add Acid in Increments: Carefully add the calculated amount of muriatic acid to the pool water in small increments, spreading the additions around the pool to promote even distribution.
  5. Retest and Adjust: After allowing some time for the acid to mix thoroughly, retest the pH. If needed, make further adjustments until the desired pH level is achieved, maintaining a balanced pool environment.

Remember to follow the specific instructions on the muriatic acid product you’re using and exercise caution to ensure safety during the water’s temperament can be fickle, and balance is key to sustained enjoyment. Use Muriatic Acid slow and carefully adding small amounts wait and test.


Chlorine and Salt Systems: Impact on Pool’s pH Levels


3 Things To Consider Buying INSTEAD Of A Salt Water Chlorinator
Salt Water Chlorinator

Chlorine and salt systems can have distinct impacts on a pool’s pH levels. In the case of traditional chlorine systems, the addition of chlorine can lower the pool’s pH over time as it is acidic.   Regular monitoring and adjustment of pH become essential to maintain a balanced pool environment.

On the other hand, salt pools, which use a chlorine generator to produce chlorine from salt, tend to have a more stable pool pH as the process is less likely to cause significant pH fluctuations.

Salt pools generate chlorine gas through a process called electrolysis. When water passes through the salt cell, an electrical charge is applied, which splits the salt molecules into sodium and chlorine.

This chlorine gas dissolves in the water and becomes hypochlorous acid, which is the active sanitizer in the pool water. However, the process of generating chlorine gas can also increase the pH levels in the water. This is because chlorine gas is basic, and when it dissolves in water, it can raise the pool pH levels.

However, factors such as rain, debris, and the introduction of acidic substances can still influence pH levels in both types of pools. Regular testing and appropriate adjustments are crucial for ensuring optimal water quality and swimmer comfort in any pool system.

When it comes to the pool’s pH, the salt systems play a pivotal role. It’s an intricate balance, every grain of salt and drop of chlorine weaving an impact that’s felt across the entire pool water ecosystem.

Regular testing will keep your chlorine in harmony, with other chemicals ensuring water quality? In the pool, chlorine, and salt systems aren’t the only players, but they orchestrate a considerable impact on the pool water’s narrative.

Products to Increase pH and Ensure Safe Saltwater Pool Conditions


Safe and stable saltwater pool conditions are important, and hinge on the stability chemical levels for balance. When the pH levels dip too low, your pool water demands products adept at increasing the pH which is the basis for chemical reactions.

How To Raise pH And Alkalinity In A Pool | Atlas Scientific
How To Raise pH And Alkalinity In A Pool 

Achieving this balance is necessary and is the standard for all pool water, fresh or salt and requires daily attention, and and it all starts with raise the pH of your pool water.

Here is a small list of pool products commonly used to increase pH and ensure safe saltwater pool conditions:

  1. Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda): Baking soda is a widely used and readily available product that can effectively raise pH levels in saltwater pools without significantly affecting total alkalinity.
  2. Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate): Soda ash is another option to raise pH, and it also contributes to raising total alkalinity. It should be added cautiously, as it has a more potent impact on pH compared to baking soda.
  3. pH Increaser (Sodium Carbonate or Sodium Hydroxide): Specific pH increaser products are available, often containing sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide. These are designed to safely raise pH levels in pool water.
  4. Aeration: Increasing aeration in the pool, such as through water features or air jets, can help raise pH levels naturally by promoting the outgassing of carbon dioxide.

Remember to follow the product instructions carefully and test the water regularly to avoid overcorrecting pH levels. It’s essential

Pool products such as pH increasers are specifically designed to raise the pool’s pH, guarding against the notorious acidity that disrupts the serene blue of pool water. Drifting along, we encounter chlorine and salt systems that cast a significant impact on pool’s pH levels. These systems, while adept at sanitizing, can sometimes tip the scales necessitating adjustments to your pool’s pH.

When it comes to the pool’s pH level, pool owners must recognize the essentiality of maintaining these levels no matter what size and freshwater or saltwater. Ph levels are not just numbers; they’re the numerical representation of your water’s mood, swinging between acidic and alkaline states. When it’s time to raise those pool water pH levels, we reach for products like baking soda – an effective way to raise pool pH, or even muriatic acid to balance pH in saltwater pool water.

If you own a salt pool, it’s important to be aware of how chlorine gas can increase pH levels in the water. High pH levels can negatively impact the sanitizing power of chlorine, as well as cause other water quality issues


What Causes High pH in Pools?

  • Sudden rise in water temperature
  • Water features that take water out of the pool aerating it
  • Release of Carbon Dioxide(CO2)
  • Swimmers using sunblock or lotions
  • Liquid bleach, such as Clorox has a pH level of around 11-13
  • New pool surface and walls leaching in H2O
  •  Off-gassing ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. Read more


JimGalloway Author/Editor



Clearwater Pool Systems-How Salt Pools Increase pH and Why pH Control is Important for Sanitization




Q: Why is it important to maintain the pH in my saltwater pool?

A: Proper pH levels ensure water comfort, equipment longevity, and effective chlorine function.

Q: How can I test the pH in my saltwater pool?

A: Use a reliable pH test kit designed for pool water and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Q: What is a safe pH range for a saltwater pool?

A: The recommended pH range is typically between 7.4 and 7.8 for saltwater pools.

Q: What products can I use to raise pH in my saltwater pool?

A: Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and pH increaser products containing sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide are commonly used.

Q: How do I add baking soda to my pool to raise pH?

A: Add baking soda gradually around the pool perimeter, allowing it to dissolve and retest before adding more.

Q: Can I use soda ash to raise pH in a saltwater pool?

A: Yes, soda ash (sodium carbonate) is effective, but it should be added cautiously as it also increases total alkalinity.

Q: How often should I test and adjust the pH in my saltwater pool?

A: Test at least twice a week and make adjustments as needed to maintain a balanced pool environment.

Q: Are there natural methods to raise pH in a saltwater pool?

A: Increasing aeration by using water features or air jets can help raise pH naturally by promoting carbon dioxide outgassing.




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