Is It Safe to Swim in My Pool if the pH Levels Are Low?

A swimming pool with a low pH level definitely poses risks to swimmers and should be avoided until the pH level is brought up to its normal, appropriate level. Aside from bodily harm, the low pH level also has adverse effects on the pool equipment and accessories, which only increase if the problem is not remedied.

What Low pH Means

The pH level is basically a measure of a water-based solution's acidity or alkalinity. If the pool's pH level swings too far either way, either too high or too low, the water is thrown out of whack. If the pH level in a swimming pool is too low, it means that the water is too acidic. Because bodies have their own pH levels, if you expose your body to water with a low pH level, it will have effects.

Eye Problems

The proper range for the pH level in pool water is between 7.0 and 7.6. This range is compatible to the normal pH range of the human eye, which is approximately between 7.2 and 7.4. If the pool's pH level drops under its normal range, below 7.0, it causes irritation to the eyes of swimmers who are in the water. Their eyes likely will burn.

Other Physical Problems

In addition to the eyes burning, the noses of swimmers in a pool with a low pH level will also burn. With the pH level dropped below the normal pH level of a human body, the water will cause irritation to swimmers' skin. The skin, and also the scalp, will become dry and itchy. Whatever swimwear a swimmer has on will also fade because of the high acidity. The chlorine that is added to the pool water as a disinfectant will dissipate quickly into the atmosphere, and the chlorine therefore has less effect against germs that will harm your health if you are in the water.

Additional Pool Problems

Outside of the problems that a low pH level poses to you as a swimmer, it also affects the pool itself. Metal swimming pool equipment and accessories, including pipe fittings, stairs, pump connections, and other parts, will corrode. If the pool is made of plaster, the water will start to dissolve and erode the plaster surface, leaving it rough. A similar effect will occur to the grout in tiled pools.