What Causes High Pool Alkalinity
One of the main reasons pool alkalinity can get too high is when you have added too much sodium bicarbonate when you were trying to raise it.
Yes, alkalinity that is too low is also a problem, but we will save that discussion for another day!
To keep this from happening too often, use smaller increments of the chemical when adjusting alkalinity levels and test the water every 24 hours until it reaches its ideal conditions.
Another factor that often causes alkalinity levels to get too high is your water source.
Water companies are required to disclose their water testing results to its consumers, so a quick call to the company will help you determine what chemicals you regularly need to keep your water balanced.
How Does Baking Soda Work With Chlorine To Clean A Pool
Due to the versatile nature of chlorine, it can also be used to clean an acidic pool with a low PH level. But, to get the best out of chlorine in cleaning your pool, your pool water needs to be slightly alkaline. However, keeping the chlorine level of your pool in check does not necessarily guarantee a comfortable swimming pool. Your pool can still feel cloudy and uncomfortable to swim in because an acidic pool would most likely have too much chloramine present in it, which will end up stinging the eyes while also producing some pool smell. So, it is essential to keep the PH level and chlorine level of your pool water in check to achieve a comfortable swimming pool.
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How Much Baking Soda Do I Add To My Pool
As a rule of thumb, use 1.5 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of pool water. This should raise the alkalinity by about 10 parts per million . Or you can use the chart below.
If youre not sure how much water your pool holds, check out our pool calculator.
Once you know your pools volume, and youve measured out the baking soda, dont add it all at once! If you adjust the alkalinity too much in either direction, it can affect the pH as well.
First Put Your Alkalinity To The Test
Hey, this isnt expensive bottled water at your local grocery store. When it comes to pool water, a higher alkalinity does not mean better .;
But you do want your pool water to be as healthy as it can be. And although there are many other factors that keep pool water balanced, none of them make up for wonky alkalinity.
Your pools alkalinity should always be within a tight window of 100 and 150 parts per million .;
But how does anyone know theyve achieved that magic number?
Just use a comprehensive test strip, preferably one that is intended for pool water. It just takes a few minutes and will give you a ton of necessary information about other chemicals. You should be testing your pool water weekly.;
Trust me: a few minutes now will save you the headache later.
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Determine If The Alkalinity Is High Or Low
If your total alkalinity is low, you need to raise the alkalinity. So, how to raise alkalinity in the pool?
You can add sodium bicarbonate into the water. The amount of sodium bicarbonate will depend on the chart attached to the pool test kit.
Meanwhile, if the alkalinity is high, you can apply diluted muriatic acid. You can calculate the amount of muriatic acid that you need by using a pool calculator. You need to know the amount of water in your pool to know how much chemical to use.
Take Readings Again After 24 Hours
The next day, a full 24 hours since I started my test, the total alkalinity had gone down to 120 ppm. This is not the 100 ppm target value I set, but I was still impressed since 120 ppm is already within the recommended value for a standard swimming pool.
On the other hand, pH was lower, reading 7.1. I didn’t worry too much about this because according to my digital pool water test kit and pool calculator, the lowest it pH can go is 6.8 and still be okay and non-destructive. Plus, the aeration process wasn’t finished.
Since both chemicals were within a reasonable range, all was fine for me. So I waited to take my next reading in the evening, approximately 5 to 6 hours later. At that time, TA was ranging at 106 ppm, and pH had dropped to 6.9.
This means that total alkalinity was inching closer to my target value of 100, despite pH going down.
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Is It Safe To Swim In A Pool With Low Alkalinity
It isnt safe to swim in a pool with low alkalinity levels because of the side effects it can have on swimmers such as eye nasal and skin irritations. Apart from affecting the skin, this low alkalinity can corrode the surface of the pool and the insides of the pool making it hard to maintain a standard level of chlorine in the pool. These side effects are caused by a reduction in the quantity of chlorine and calcium hardness in your pool. When the chlorine and calcium hardness level reduces, the water becomes corrosive which damages the pools surface and equipment and begins to eat up the pools walls and floors.;
How To Add Soda Ash Or Sodium Bicarb To A Swimming Pool
Do you need to raise alkalinity or pH in your swimming pool? If so, there are two dry chemicals that you can choose from. One is sodium bicarbonate , and the other is a higher pH substance called soda ash.
This article will walk you through how to safely and properly add either of these chemicals. And yes, bicarb and soda ash are different! The procedure for adding them, however, is identical. We just dose them differently. Adding dry chemicals like soda ash and sodium bicarb is not as simple as it sounds…you don’t just throw them in the pool. Like any other dry chemical, we should pre-dissolve sodium bicarb or soda ash in a bucket prior to adding to the pool. Let’s explain.
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Add The Muriatic Acid
Pouring the muriatic acid directly into your pool water can be done, but it is not recommended. It is best to dilute it first, so it is easier to handle, and the risk of the occurrence of dangerous splashes is avoided.
The recommended ratio of water to muriatic acid is 10:1. In your bucket, carefully pour the calculated amount of acid into the water, then using the wooden or plastic stick to stir the solution gently.
Warning: You should pour the water first to your bucket then add the acid. Adding the acid first can cause a chemical reaction.
Then, pour the solution into the deep end of the pool. For a pool with high pH, it is best to pour the solution while walking around the pool slowly. This will add some air to the water and let the chemical circulate as you add it.
Warning: Do not forget to rinse the bucket after using it. Also, never use it for any other chemicals as it could cause an explosion.
Pool Ph And Alkalinity Issues
It is not uncommon to have unusual variations in relation to the pH or total alkalinity in your swimming pool. With such a great diversity in water types from region to region, and even within individual communities, achieving a proper balance can be challenging. While its always better to have pH and alkalinity levels on the high end than the low end, there are steps you can take to achieve a better balance.
Here are some of the most common issues with pool pH and alkalinity and how to fix them:
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How To Lower Alkalinity With Muriatic Acid
There are a few chemicals you can use to lower your pools alkalinity level, but muriatic acid is the most common.
In order to lower the alkalinity levels, just follow these easy steps:
- 1Turn off your pools pump and wait about an hour for the water to stop moving completely.
- 2Read the directions on the bottle to determine how much acid needs to be added to your pool in order to lower it to under 120 ppm.
- 3Follow the manufacturers directions on how to add it to your pool. Muriatic acid is always somewhat diluted, but certain brands require further dilution before adding it to the water.
- 4Pour the product into the deepest part of your pool and allow to sit in still water for about an hour.
- Test the pH levels.
The problem with unbalanced alkalinity levels is mainly how it affects the pH levels.
If your pools pH levels are still low , you may have to use an aeration process along with adding muriatic acid.
I only recommend this process in extreme situations where you are unable to lower the pH levels naturally after using the muriatic acid process more than once.
Usually, leaving the pools pump running on high is enough of an aeration process, but if an extra process is necessary, you can use a compressor at the surface of the water or use a special aerator to insert into the pool.
If you attempt this process, do it slowly and carefully as you can also risk over-aerating.;
Lowering your pools alkalinity levels is sometimes a slow process.
What Causes Low Ph Levels
Low pH levels lead to a number of issues from maintenance headaches like premature erosion of grout and corroded fixtures like ladders and diving boards. Low pH causes pool liners to become brittle and crack. It also causes discomfort for swimmers like burning eyes and itchy skins.
In most cases, low pH levels are caused by natural factors like a heavy rainstorm, overuse, and improper use of chemicals. Natural rainwater has a pH of 5 5.5, so it is naturally acidic. A substantial amount of rainfall can alter the pH of pool water to become more acidic. pH levels might also be low after a large party.
Dissolved bodily fluids can lower pH levels, so if you have had a lot of swimmers in your pool recently, overuse could be the culprit. And, sometimes, despite our best intentions, all of the concoctions on the market to try and manage pH levels can do more harm than good. It is easy to get pH levels out of balance when you are trying to DIY a solution to a pool water problem.
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Testing For The Basics: Ph Alkalinity Chlorine Cyanuric Acid And Calcium Hardness
Testing for chlorine, pH, and alkalinity are very similar actions. Here, well cover how to test for everything you should.
Testing for Alkalinity
Alkalinity testing measures buffers, your pools ability to maintain a steady pH level. Too much, its really hard to change pH, and too low, pH will change very often; people can change the pH simply by going into the water if theres no buffer.
Testing alkalinity first is the best practice, as it affects your ability to change pH. However, if your pH is below a 7.0, you want to raise it first, and then test alkalinity again.
If you use test strips, then the chances are that they test for this. Follow the instructions for how to use test strips above. If you purchase a liquid testing kit, its more complex.
After taking the water sample, as explained above, you will use three testing liquids at different times.
Adjusting Pool Ph And Alkalinity
Alkalinity first! Your pool waters alkalinity is a buffer for the pH level, so it is important to correct alkalinity imbalances before you attempt to correct pH; this will save you a lot of frustration, time and money spent on chemicals.
If your alkalinity levels are too low , you will need to add Alkalinity Increaser, which is chemically known as sodium bicarbonate. Be sure to carefully follow dosing instructions and increase the level gradually into the proper range of 80-120ppm.
If your alkalinity levels are too high, you will actually add pH reducer, which we sell in a granular form chemically known as sodium bisulfate. There is no product as of right now that is packaged with the label Alkalinity Reducer.
Lowering alkalinity levels can be a lengthy, sometimes frustrating process, as sodium bisulfate will also have the effect of reducing your pH at the same time as it lowers your alkalinity. You may need to make repeated adjustments of lowering alkalinity and then raising pH until both come into proper range.
Fixing issues with pH is usually a little easier than alkalinity adjustments, but be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully and make gradual adjustments.
Questions about how to get your water in proper balance? Leave us a comment below or give us a call at 1-800-288-7946.
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How To Lower Ph And Alkalinity
There are primarily three types of acid that are used for pH and alkalinity reduction in swimming pools. There are other acids in the pool business, such as cyanuric acid and citric acid, but they are not used for adjusting pH or alkalinity levels. The three acids used for pH and alkalinity management are;Muriatic Acid , Sulfuric Acid , and a dry acid called;Sodium Bisulfate .; There is also;Cyanuric Acid , but it is not used for pH or alkalinity control. We just mention it here for the procedure of how to safely use it.
Allow The Chemicals To Work
There are two ways to allow the chemical work on the pool water. If you want, you can turn on the pump for at least half an hour to allow the muriatic acid to circulate. This method will prevent the acid from settling into the bottom of your pool.
Or you can let the acid work on the pools alkalinity, keeping the pump off. This method is known as pooling. However, the acid might damage the pool floor since the chemical is very caustic.
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Tips On Raising Swimming Pool Alkalinity
- You need to rely on the product label to determine how much to add, based on the ppm you want to raise and the size of your pool. Some manufacturers will recommend adding differing amounts, suggest only adding a certain amount at a time, and some will suggest to first dilute the baking soda in water before adding to the pool.
- The type of pool you have also matters in terms of the ppm range you need to adhere to, but if you maintain a 100-120 ppm range, this will be sufficient for concrete, vinyl, fiberglass, gunite, or shotcrete pools.
- After months and years of testing, you may notice patterns in your alkalinity, such as adding water tends to raise or lower alkalinity. ;You may want to adjust the amount of alkalinity increaser based on this knowledge.
Testing The Alkalinity Level Of Your Pool Water
If you re unsure if the alkalinity level of your pool water is much too high, then youll want to invest in a pool testing kit. These kits are usually affordable and typically can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
One popular brand is the Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Chlorine test kit. It costs about $60 and can be used multiple times. This is just one of the several brands sold today. Theres many more to choose from. However, many people warn against using test strips due to their inaccuracy. Its essential that you spend the money and get a good kit, and Taylor makes very accurate kits recommended by many professionals.
The instructions listed below are based on using the Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Chlorine test kit. If youre using a different brand, follow the steps listed below with the instructions provided in your kit. Most kits are used about the same, so there shouldnt be a huge difference.
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