How Does Soda Ash Work
To raise the pH of water, a substance must take away a hydrogen . Soda Ash works by stealing a hydrogen atom to become bicarbonate. When Soda Ash snags a H+, the reaction looks like this:
Na2CO3 + H+ 2Na+ + HCO3-
Soda Ash + Hydrogen yields Sodium and Bicarbonate
This all ties into the broader discussion about alkalinity and pH. We know in the pool business that alkalinity is a pH buffer, but do we know why? In a less-than-scientific explanation, alkalinity buffers pH by either donating a Hydrogen or absorbing one. Alkalinity makes it more difficult for pH to fluctuate quickly.
Specifically, carbonate ions like to become bicarbonate, and vice versa. When you add Soda Ash to the pool, the carbonate anion wants to become bicarbonate . To do so, it needs to get a Hydrogen from somewhere. When carbonate takes its Hydrogen atom, the pH goes up. This pH and alkalinity chemistry is about equilibrium, so the opposite is also true. When you add acid to the pool, a Hydrogen is released and the pH goes down. Its all about the hydrogen ions.
Now that we know what Soda Ash is and how it reacts in water, lets talk about why it sometimes clouds up a pool.
Sodium Bicarb Vs Soda Ash
Many people think bicarb and soda ash are the same thing. They are not. The pH difference between them is substantial soda ash is approximately 1000-1200 times more basic than sodium bicarb. Let’s look at the pH scale below.
This massive difference in pH is why we recommend neutralizing acid washes with soda ash, not bicarb. It is also why such a small amount of Soda Ash can have more of an impact on pH and alkalinity than a much larger amount of sodium bicarb. For example, if you throw in soda ash without pre-dissolving it first, it tends to cloud up the pool. This clouding phenomenon is explained in detail here.
What Is Soda Ash Used For In A Pool
Soda AshpoolsSoda Ashused Soda Ashpool
. Regarding this, how much soda ash should I put in my pool?
See if the pH is in the range you need it to be. Add more soda ash as needed. You generally don’t want to add more than one pound total of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water. If you add more than that, the water starts to become cloudy.
Secondly, what is soda ash used for? Soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, has the following uses: Industrial applications Being a highly soluble substance, soda ash is used for numerous chemical reactions. It’s mostly used as an ingredient in the manufacture of dyes and coloring agents, synthetic detergents and fertilizers.
Likewise, is baking soda the same as soda ash for pools?
The industry standard has always been to use sodium bicarbonate to raise total alkalinity and sodium carbonate to raise pH the exception being if both total alkalinity and pH are low. Sodium carbonate will actually have a dramatic effect on both pH and total alkalinity.
How do I add soda ash to my pool?
How to Add Soda Ash or Bicarb
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Adding Baking Soda To A Pool
Baking soda is easy to add to the pool and can be poured straight into the pool after mixing it with water.
Wed recommend not doing this on a windy day , and youll have to test the water first so you can calculate how much baking soda is needed.
Also, adding baking soda in front of the return jets will distribute it faster, but you should still wait 6 hours for it to fully disperse. After this time, retest the pool and add more if needed.
Check The Total Alkalinity Then Add Some Baking Soda
Total alkalinity is used to illustrate the sum of all the waters materials.
If total alkalinity is low, this can bring about random fluctuations in your pH levels. If you find that you still get low pH readings even after youve added soda ash, low total alkalinity could be the underlying issue.
To raise total alkalinity in your pool, you can use sodium bicarbonate baking soda which is quite similar to soda ash. By adding 1.4 pounds of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of pool water and then allowing it to recirculate, you should find this fixes the problem.
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Test Your Chemistry Levels
If you think your pH levels are off, chances are youve already checked the pool chemistry to make sure. If not, go ahead and check them now to see exactly how far off the pH is.
Ideal pH levels are between 7.2 and 7.6, with 7.4 being optimum.
So if your pH measures anything below 7.2, you need to take the steps to raise it.
Reasons To Use Soda Ash In Your Pool
Between the available chemicals and aeration, there are more than a few options for keeping your pools pH at the level its supposed to be. What makes soda ash a good choice for treating your particular pool?
One major advantage to using soda ash for keeping your pool clean and clear is that it affects the pH but has a minimal effect on the overall alkalinity level, making it a helpful tool for clearing up acidity without that cloudiness that comes from high alkalinity.
Its important to keep in mind that the best pH range you can have for your pool is between 7.4 and 7.6, while the total alkalinity should be around 80 to 120 ppm. A pH of over 7.6 is too basic and anything under 7.4 is too acidic, which is one thing that soda ash is very effective at resolving. Soda ash itself has a pH level of between 11.3 and 11.7, making it a powerful combatant for low pH levels.
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Is It Ok To Put Baking Soda In Your Pool
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.
Test The Pool Water Again
Wait about an hour and then test your pH and alkalinity again. If theyre back in balance, then your job is done.
But if theyre still off, youll have to repeat the process, adding as much soda ash as you need in order to get it in normal range.
The water will be a little cloudy, but it should clear within a few hours or so.
> > Read: How to clear cloudy pool water
If youre still having problems getting the pH balanced, you could have other issues that are throwing it off.
Test all the levels to see if there is another problem. Correct chlorine and calcium hardness levels if needed and test the pH again.
Also, make sure your pool is as clean as you can get it, since leaves and debris will cause it to be unbalanced.
How Do You Add Soda Ash To A Pool
How to Add Soda Ash or Bicarb
How To Add Baking Soda To Your Pool
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Why Does Soda Ash Cloud Up Pool Water
Sodium carbonate , more commonly known as Soda Ash, is an additive to raise the pH and alkalinity in swimming pools. Soda Ash has a high pH, somewhere between 11.3-11.7. Those of you reading this who have used Soda Ash may have had it cloud up a pool. This article will explain why that happens, but first lets explain how Soda Ash impacts pH and alkalinity in water.
Side Effects Of Using Soda Ash
When adding any chemical to your pool, adding it improperly can cause unwanted effects on your pool chemistry.
It is important to know what your chemical levels are before adding any other chemicals to your pool. If soda ash is incorrectly added into your pool, cloudy water can result.
Cloudy water as a result of soda ash can be caused by not fully dissolving it into a bucket of water before adding it to the pool. Undissolved soda ash will sit in your water as there is not enough circulation to dissolve once its added it.
If soda ash and calcium chloride are added into your pool at the same time, your pool will become cloudy. This is caused by a chemical reaction. Remember to never mix chemicals in your pool and follow manufacturers directions when adding and storing chemicals.
If too much soda ash is added to the pool, the total alkalinity of your pool with rise to the point where there is cloudy water. When this happens, you will then have to add muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to lower your alkalinity in your pool.
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Will Baking Soda Clear Up A Cloudy Pool
Not directly, but it can help. If your water is under-sanitized and causing cloudiness, then you want to make sure your pH and alkalinity are balanced before adding sanitizer.
That said, adding too much baking soda at once can cause your pool water to be cloudy. Usually, you just have to wait for it to fully dissolve, so dont panic. High alkalinity can also cause cloudy water. Check out our guide to fixing cloudy pool water.
What To Do If Your Pool Is Cloudy After Adding Soda Ash
Unfortunately, cloudiness is one of the main side effects of using soda ash to balance the pH pool, but it should only happen if the soda ash was added incorrectly or if the alkalinity reaches over 120 ppm. If the cloudiness is due to high alkaline levels, you can use muriatic acid to lower alkalinity.
Here are some tips for introducing soda ash into your pool that will help you reduce the after-treatment cloudiness:
- Make sure that you completely dissolve the soda ash with water before mixing it into the pool.
- Dont add the soda ash while you are also adding calcium chloride. The same is true when using baking soda. Different chemicals should be added separately or a reaction could occur.
- Measure carefully to make sure you are adding the recommended amount of soda ash to get your pH to the right level. Adding too much soda ash will spike the alkalinity and require further rebalancing to fix.
These preventative measures should help your pool stay clean, clear, and balanced with its soda ash solution.
As always, your pool will need to be retested and have its chemical composition adjusted frequently to maintain the best clarity for safety and enjoyment. Luckily, whenever you discover that your pools acidity is too high, soda ash is a convenient and simple solution to get that water swim-worthy again.
Have questions? Drop me a line, always happy to lend a hand.
Aerate The Pool Water
Sometimes, adding alkalines to your water still doesnt raise the levels sufficiently.
In this case, its time to aerate the water thoroughly. This is a lengthy process that could stretch out over a few days. One method of achieving it is to activate water features so that jets hit the surface of the water. An alternative method is to go all-in and add some aeration pipes.
If you follow this guidance, low pH levels in your pool should be no further cause for concern.
What causes this situation to happen in the first place, though?
Washing Soda For Pool
Washing soda is good to use for the pool, especially when you need to increase your Total Alkalinity , which is the accurate measurement of the concentration of the entire alkaline substance dissolution in the water.
You can use borax if you dont want to raise your TA. When you want to add washing soda to your pool, the best approach to this process is to pre-dissolve the powder in a bucket of pool water and then gradually add the mixture to your pool skimmer.
You can also spread the chemical across your pool surface, but this process poses a risk of the powder settling to the pool basement undissolved.
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How Long After Adding Soda Ash To Pool Can You Swim
20 minutes2-4 hours
Sodium carbonate , more commonly known as Soda Ash, is an additive to raise the pH and alkalinity in swimming pools. Soda Ash has a high pH, somewhere between 11.3-11.7.
Beside above, can you mix chlorine and soda ash? By adding soda ash to the chlorine bleach solution the bleach will be adversely affected and not last as long and some sludge can form, which can cause problems with the chlorinator pump. So it is far better to have a separate properly sized soda ash pump!
Similarly, how long after adding pH up Can you swim?
about 20 minutes
How fast does soda ash raise pH?
After one hour, grab another test strip and dip it into the water. See if the pH is in the range you need it to be. Add more soda ash as needed. You generally don’t want to add more than one pound total of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water.
How To Lower Alkalinity And Ph Levels
If you happen to add to much soda ash or baking soda, or you add the wrong product, you may realize that you need to lower your pH and alkalinity.
To do this, you will need to add sodium bisulphate or muriatic acid into your pool. Muriatic Acid is the most common product to lower alkalinity and pH.
With a 10,000 gallon pool, if your pH levels were 8 and you wanted to lower them, you should add 32-48 fluid ounces of muriatic acid. If your pH was 8.8 or higher you would add 55-87 fluid ounces of muriatic acid to your pool to return it to normal levels.
Further Read: How to Lower the pH in your Pool
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How To Fix ‘milky’ Pool Water
Many of us may have had the unfortunate experience of adding soda ash “wrong” to pool water, resulting in a pool that looks like it is filled with milk. In fact, we refer to it as “milking” a pool. Why does that happen?
When we decide, for example, to raise the pH of a pool from 7.2 to 7.6, we calculate how much soda ash is required for that size pool to achieve a 0.4 pH unit increase. A solution of soda ash has a pH of above 11, so when added to pool water the pH goes up and raises the alkalinity too. But when we figured a dose, that pitcher full of powder is ideally supposed to be immediately distributed throughout the entire pool. When we walk to the shallow end and just dump the entire pitcher-full in a single slug, we may temporarily have a small amount of water, 20 or 30 gallons worth, with a pH in the 10 range.
What does that do to the water? Well, the soda ash is normally very soluble in the water. It goes into solution almost immediately, but it also raises the pH and the saturation index high enough to cause calcium bicarbonate to precipitate. The white cloud you see is not actually the soda ash, but precipitated calcium carbonate.
When we dump a large slug of soda ash into the pool, we temporarily create a small area of high pH, perhaps in the 10 range, which causes precipitation of calcium carbonate.
When a pool is milked, we explain the situation to the customer and lay out two choices: We can either re-dissolve the calcium or filter out the precipitate.
When To Use Soda Ash In Your Pool
Soda ash should be used in your pool when you need to raise your pH levels and raise alkalinity at the same time. If you are needing to raise your pH, chances are that your alkalinity levels have fallen significantly as well.
- Raise pH AND Alkalinity
- Large pH changes
The desired alkalinity levels in your pool should be in the range of 80-150 ppm. If you have low alkalinity and a pH that isnt between 7.2-7.6, soda ash is your best option, or if you simply need to raise your pH, soda ash will be used.
Soda ash will have a big effect on your pools pH level, much more than baking soda. As a result you need much less soda ash to raise your pH level when compared to baking soda.
If your pH is below desired range such as 7.0 and you have a pool that is 10,000 gallons, adding 12.2 ounces or 0.7 pounds of soda ash will bring the pH back to 7.4. This amount of soda ash needed will vary depending on the other chemical levels.
While boosting pH back up to a desired range, 12.2 ounces of soda ash will also raise the alkalinity levels by about 8.5 PPM.
To properly add soda ash into your pool, measure the amount needed and dump into a bucket of water. Be sure to stir the soda ash until it is fully dissolved to avoid cloudy water in your pool.
Once dissolved into a bucket, pour the solution into your pool as you walk around the perimeter. Avoid pouring near the filter because if the solution goes into the filter the filter will dilute it and make it useless.
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