Help me decipher my PH level please

Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
3EFFAD08-7E92-4B3A-9A02-57562679C732.jpeg
Not sure why but it seems as though the colors have changed or my eyes have. Would you say this is a 7.7 since it looks bright orange with no pink tint?
 

Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
Try again & add an extra drop of reagent & see if that makes it easier to read
Thanks for the link. I did learn that I should be rinsing with pool water, not tap water before testing. I retested and used the extra drop of reagent and the results look the same to me. I might use pool math and add acid to reduce from 7.7 to 7.4 and see what happens. My pool was filled on October 4th last year and I started TFP procedures March, 2020. I have had to add acid every 2-3 days ever since. Does this seem normal? We only have a small bubbler and it is usually just me and my husband casually in the pool.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
Try again & add an extra drop of reagent & see if that makes it easier to read
Oops, @Mdragger88, wrong way.* One less drop. Use four drops and the color will be much easier to judge. Put a white card behind the comparator and sort of reflect an overhead light through the back of it. I use an under-counter LED light strip for this, as it is a natural temperature (not too yellow, not too blue).

*The article does say that, but that's not what Marty taught me when I was having the same trouble reading the colors.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
Thanks for the link. I did learn that I should be rinsing with pool water, not tap water before testing. I retested and used the extra drop of reagent and the results look the same to me. I might use pool math and add acid to reduce from 7.7 to 7.4 and see what happens. My pool was filled on October 4th last year and I started TFP procedures March, 2020. I have had to add acid every 2-3 days ever since. Does this seem normal? We only have a small bubbler and it is usually just me and my husband casually in the pool.
New plaster will use acid. Mine still does almost three years later. My SWG might be causing some of the pH-rise. Your bubbler most certainly is, but it's the plaster, too. Number of people don't make all that much difference to pH.

Plaster pool pH likes to live in the upper 7s. Forcing it down will just make it rise that much faster, and use that much more acid. Keep it within range, yes, but don't force it lower than need be.

I got tired of dealing with chlorine and acid and automated both. Now pool maintenance is substantially easier.
 

Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
Oops, @Mdragger88, wrong way.* One less drop. Use four drops and the color will be much easier to judge. Put a white card behind the comparator and sort of reflect an overhead light through the back of it. I use an under-counter LED light strip for this, as it is a natural temperature (not too yellow, not too blue).

*The article does say that, but that's not what Marty taught me when I was having the same trouble reading the colors.
Wow! That made all the difference! The amount of drops doesn't affect the accuracy of the results? I would totally agree with JamesW that this is a 7.55 (jussst shy of 7.6). That's pretty cool. It does make me wonder if I should only be using 4 drops from now on? or only when I have trouble reading with 5 drops? Thanks so much!
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
I always use only four drops. Many of us here do the same, including some of our experts. I had a conversation with Taylor's head tech support guy about this, who insisted that I use 5 drops. One of our chemist experts here insisted it doesn't matter. I'm going with our expert, because (1) I believe he would know, and (2) it's the only way I can get the test to work for me!
 

Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
New plaster will use acid. Mine still does almost three years later. My SWG might be causing some of the pH-rise. Your bubbler most certainly is, but it's the plaster, too. Number of people don't make all that much difference to pH.

Pool pH likes to live in the upper 7s. Forcing it down will just make it rise that much faster, and use that much more acid. Keep it within range, yes, but don't force it lower than need be.

I got tired of dealing with chlorine and acid and automated both. Now pool maintenance is substantially easier.
Thanks for the reply! An automatic chlorinator is on my wish list for sure! Once my PH reaches 8, I lower it to 7.4-7.5 and it usually takes 2-3 days to bounce back to 8. Is it inefficient to keep lowering that far? My CH is over 400 so I have to be careful to keep the PH in line to prevent calcium build up. I am obsessed with monitoring my CSI number :) I really like to chase the -.0? to +.0? -.1? - +.1? I can live with, but when it hits the 2's in either direction, I feel the need to correct quickly. Too paranoid?
 

Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
I always use only four drops. Many of us here do the same, including some of our experts. I had a conversation with Taylor's head tech support guy about this, who insisted that I use 5 drops. One of our chemist experts here insisted it doesn't matter. I'm going with our expert, because (1) I believe he would know, and (2) it's the only way I can get the test to work for me!
Thank you, Dirk. You really did make my day. I really need to find time to hang out here more to learn allllll the tips and tricks!
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
Thanks for the reply! An automatic chlorinator is on my wish list for sure! Once my PH reaches 8, I lower it to 7.4-7.5 and it usually takes 2-3 days to bounce back to 8. Is it inefficient to keep lowering that far? My CH is over 400 so I have to be careful to keep the PH in line to prevent calcium build up. I am obsessed with monitoring my CSI number :) I really like to chase the -.0? to +.0? -.1? - +.1? I can live with, but when it hits the 2's in either direction, I feel the need to correct quickly. Too paranoid?
A little. -0.3 to +0.3 is acceptable for a plaster finish. But I'm obsessed with CSI, too, so I get it. I think you'll find that if you don't push pH down so far it won't come back much faster, if any. It's not a linear scale. It'll go from 7.4 to 7.5 really fast, then 7.5 to 7.6 more slowly, 7.6 to 7.7 slower still, etc. Try going to 7.7 next time, and see how long it takes to go up to 8. As long as you stay below +0.3, you're not harming your pool.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
The other tip you can use, though this is not technically sanctioned by TFP. You'll probably have a fairly constant rise of pH. So constant, that you can pretty reliably count on it. So say you're dosing two cups every three days, to go from 8 to 7.4. But dosing down to only 7.7 means you have to go every two days, but you only need one cup (these are just example numbers, you understand). So test every other time. Test and dose one cup. Two days later just go out and pour in one cup (skip the test). Two days later you test and dose again. You'll eventually find the rhythm, to not have to test every single time, and what you add each time will pretty much be the same (give or take an ounce or two). This accomplishes two things: your maintenance tasks will take less overall time, and your pH will actually be more stable, because you're now only bouncing between 7.7 and 8, instead of the much wider swing of 7.4 to 8. And the stability of your CSI will follow suit.

It's pretty much what my automation is doing. I test only once a week. If FC and pH are not perfect (for my perfect CSI!), then I tweak the automation controls a little. Much like you'll add or subtract an once or two.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,202
Central California
And if you're head is not exploding yet... I had the same CH and pH and CSI issues you're working through. In addition to the acid injector system, I plumbed my auto-filler to my water softener and solved my high-CH fill water, and high CH-pool water problems forever. For the past three years my CH has remained between 350 – 400, without exchanging water manually.

And because my acid injector squirts a tiny bit of acid into my pool every hour, I have virtually no pH swing. Same for FC, because of my SWG. As I said, I test once a week, and always find all the levels near-perfect, including CSI...

When you're ready, we can give you some more details about all that.
 
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Homebrewale

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
308
Apex, NC
Well, one can definitely get too obsessed with pH, but a vinyl pool owner in NC has a different set of pH and CH concerns than does a plaster pool owner in TX...
I'm an engineer. Engineers are concerned about significant figures. If you are working with numbers to two significant figures, you don't express an answer to six significant figures. While I know that James was just joking with his 7.5589 answer, we still need to look at the precision of the test. The vial is expressed as two significant figures - 7.0, 7.2, 7.4...... Then there is the issue of getting the right sample size and right drop size. So while my answer was more meant to be a joke, just saying it's 7.5 is probably good enough considering the testing procedures. If you want to make pH adjustments, just put 7.5 in PoolMath and get the needed chemical additions. Since you are right that pH isn't a huge deal to me, I'd do nothing since I know it is more likely my pH will go up than down and I may be 7.6 the next time I test.
 
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Sandi DC

Bronze Supporter
Dec 16, 2019
42
South TX
And if you're head is not exploding yet... I had the same CH and pH and CSI issues you're working through. In addition to the acid injector system, I plumbed my auto-filler to my water softener and solved my high-CH fill water, and high CH-pool water problems forever. For the past three years my CH has remained between 350 – 400, without exchanging water manually.

And because my acid injector squirts a tiny bit of acid into my pool every hour, I have virtually no pH swing. Same for FC, because of my SWG. As I said, I test once a week, and always find all the levels near-perfect, including CSI...

When you're ready, we can give you some more details about all that.
that's really awesome! Thankfully, our high calcium level isn't due to our fill water. When I started with TFP, I believe the cause was narrowed down to pool store products and was over 600 back then. I dumped some water but was nervous because the pool was sooo new so didn't dump "enough" to put in the "normal" range. That is also when TFP taught me about CSI and that my CH of 450ish was ok if I kept tabs on my PH and alkalinity. Our pool was clear and comfortable alllll summer long. I am definitely a fan and I keep trying to recruit friends who pay for pool care. I was hoping the need to add acid would slow down by now since the pool is a year old. I guess I will add an injector for that to my wish list also. :) When the time comes, I will certainly ask here for advice.