What Is Alkalinity In A Pool
Alkalinity in a pool is a measurement of the waters ability to neutralize or resist an acid to maintain a stable pH. Alkalinity is closely related to pH in that when one goes down, the other follows close behind. This is why low alkalinity is associated with a low or acidic pH .
As alkalinity drops, the water pH is no longer stable. This can result in large fluctuations of the pH with only minor changes in the pools chemistry.
How Do Alkalinity And Ph Relate To Water Chemistry
Have you ever wondered what pH stands for? Its actually the power of Hydrogen, or the measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.
When this goes up, pH levels go down. And when it goes down, pH goes up.
But the reason its all so important is because pH levels are what determines how effective the chlorine will be in the water.
When pH levels are on the low side, the chlorine is very strong, so you might think the lower, the better, right? Not necessarily!
If the chlorine is too strong, it will burn off too quickly, but cause a lot of damage in the process . Its also very uncomfortable for swimmers.
And of course, when pH is too high, the chlorine can be rendered almost useless.
How Much Baking Soda Should I Use
One of the potential drawbacks of using baking soda instead of a specially-packaged alkalinity increaser is that baking soda doesn’t come with pool use instructions. But don’t let that stop you from using it.
To calculate how much baking soda you should add, first determine the amount of gallons of water in your pool. Then add 1.5 pounds of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water to increase the pool’s total alkalinity by 10 ppm.
For example: If your pool holds 20,000 gallons of water and your test kit is showing you a total alkalinity of 50 ppm, you will want to raise your alkalinity a minimum of 30 ppm . Since the pool in this example is 20,000 gallons, every three pounds of baking soda should raise alkalinity roughly 10 ppm, which is only a third of the level you need. This means you will need to add roughly nine pounds of baking soda to a 20,000 gallon pool to raise the alkalinity by 30 ppm and achieve the minimum alkalinity goal of 80 ppm.
Add the baking soda directly to the pool, let it dissolve and give it time to distribute through your pool’s water , test, and add more baking soda if needed.
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I’m Not Sure That’s Going To Be Much Of A Problem
How to raise alkalinity in pool without affecting ph. Sodium carbonate has a very big impact on increasing ph levels because it comes with high ph of 11.3 to 11.6, which is too high if you only wanted to raise your ta levels and not ph. Check the overall pool alkalinity: Dont worry about the ph here since you will raise it later.
Dilute muriatic acid/ add it to your hot tub or pool. Note that it is the alkalinity that directly determines how much acid is required to reduce ph levels, not the ph itself. Fortunately, there is a way you can raise your ph without affecting the alkalinity of the water, using aeration.
Adding 48oz of baking soda will raise your ta by 16 and your ph by only.03. Baking soda has a ph level of. If you have high or low alkalinity, but your ph is balanced, then you need to raise or lower your alkalinity without affecting your ph.
If, after testing, your pool alkalinity is below 80 ppm, it is time to add up on the ph concentration. If the alkalinity is high, the ph will be hard to change. Ph and alkalinity are closely related and that means the same methods of increasing or decreasing ph also affect alkalinity.
Assume our pool can hold 20k gallons of water. Per 10,000 gallons at one time would lower alkalinity by 40 ppm, and the ph would not drop below 6.5. Adding 48oz of baking soda will raise your ta by 16 and your ph by only.03.
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How To Raise Ph And Alkalinity In Pool
When you confirm that your pools alkalinity level is low, you have to raise the standard to avoid harming the pools users or its equipment and walls. Before you begin, you have to ensure that you know the size of your pool and the target range of the alkalinity you want to increase. Most pool maintainers say your alkalinity level should rest between 80-120ppm so always listen to the advice of pool contractors in your area.
To improve your pools alkalinity, ensure you use a product made with Sodium bicarbonate as theyre the key substance to raising alkalinity. To increase the pools alkalinity, follow these steps
Test Alkalinity level: test the alkalinity level of your pool to determine the pools range. If the level is lower than 80 ppm, you need to raise the alkalinity level.
Dilute Sodium Bicarbonate with water: ensure your purchase enough sodium bicarbonate that would get your pool to its desired level. Dilute the mixture if indicate in the product instructions otherwise, you can apply it directly to the pool.
Add Sodium Bicarbonate to the pool: spread the diluted mixture or the powdered mixture in the pool directly and try not to do it in the win to avoid it getting blown away. To ensure that you didnt pour more mixture in one place above the other, pour the mixture in light arching motions.
Allow pool rest: Wait for six hours at least before retesting the pools alkalinity. In all your waiting time, try not to wait longer than 24 hours.
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What Ph Balance Is So Important
As you can tell, off-balance pH levels can cause some issues. For example:
- Low pH irritates the skin and eyes. It can also irritate the mucous membranes in your nasal cavity. This is because acidic water will strip away your bodys natural oils.
- Low pH corrodes equipment. Everything in contact with acidic water is basically being worn away, which is why if left unchecked, it will corrode your plumbing, accessories, liners and other equipment.
- Unbalanced pH kills chlorines power. Whether its low or high, unbalanced pH is the super-villain of your pools germ-fighting hero. In this scenario, you can add all the chlorine you want and your pH levels will render it useless.
- High pH clouds the water. While cloudy water in and of itself is not necessarily unsafe, it does usually signal an underlying issue. And besides, no one wants to swim in murky water!
For Example If Your Pool Houses 20000 Gallons Of Water And Your Test Kit Has Indicated An Alkalinity Of 50 Ppm You Need To Raise Your Alkalinity By At Least 30 Ppm
How to adjust alkalinity in pool. Determine if the alkalinity is high or low. Turn off the swimming pool pump and any water features you may have running. When you need to raise the ph, you can add sodium bicarbonate, but only if the total alkalinity of the water is also low.
For instance, you can get skin and eyes irritations when swimming in a pool that has high ta. Turn on the water pump and make sure it is running at the maximum level. Raise ph level with aeration
An easy and safe way to give your pool an alkalinity boost is to use sodium bicarbonate. If the ph value or alkalinity is high, the best way to lower it is by using muriatic acid. You can add sodium bicarbonate into the water.
Many commercial pool products for raising alkalinity utilize baking soda as their main active. Minimal adjustments in alkalinity generally have minimal effects of ph but large changes can drastically affect ph readings in the days after an adjustment. Sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, is one of the most useful compounds in the pool industry.
This will increase the pools total alkalinity by 10 ppm. This amount will also raise the ph level by 0.2. Heres how to use muriatic acid:
If your goal is to raise only alkalinity in your pool, use baking soda. How to lower total alkalinity although not as common as low total alkalinity, high ta can affect your pool water. Finding out the total alkalinity level of your pool will determine if you need to increase or decrease it.
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Common Problems With Pool Ph And Total Alkalinity
Now that you have a basic understanding of how Total Alkalinity and pH work together, lets take a closer look at how to resolve specific balance issues in your pool. Weve said it before, but well say it again when making any adjustments to your waters chemistry, ALWAYS read and follow product label instructions, and only add balancing chemicals to the pool if the pump is running. Start with an accurate pool water test to ensure youre dosing the pool correctly. And remember: its far better to make small, gradual adjustments than it is to make large changes. Keep on top of pool water chemistry with regular testing 2-3 times per week.
Getting An Accurate Water Test
One more tip! For correct pH and Total Alkalinity testing, a titration test is generally much more accurate than test strips. We like to recommend the Taylor K-2005, but if the price tag is too much, take a look at the less expensive Swimline 4-in-1 for a reliable pool pH and Alkalinity test kit.
If you have any other questions about pool pH or Total Alkalinity chemicals that we didnt cover, let us know. You can also check out our handy dosage charts for more information about how to reach specific levels with water balancing chemicals.
Class is adjourned. Happy swimming!
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Dilute Muriatic Acid As Directed And Add It To The Water
The pool in my example holds 20,000 gallons. To get my target value of 100 ppm, I needed to add about 2 quarts of muriatic acid.
I usually distribute the muriatic acid solution slowly around the pool while the pump is running high to increase the effect.
Some pool managers prefer adding the muriatic acid solution in one spot. Personally, I don’t like to do this because acid can damage pool parts when it is concentrated in one region.
The natural process of aeration begins after you add the muriatic acid and the levels of pH and TA have fallen and settled. During the aeration process, the levels of pH alone will rise gradually until it reaches the recommended level.
Alkalinity In Pools Whys It So Important And How To Control
Alkalinity in pools is an extremely important topic as its what helps prevent sudden pH changes. Total alkalinity is a measure of alkaline substances in this case, ionic compounds, that act as buffers that resist pH change.
Dont worry, this is just a bunch of chemistry and scientific mumbo jumbo that you really dont need to know. What is important to understand is that alkalinity helps stabilize the pH balance in your pool, and keeping it within normal range can save you a lot of headaches as well as solve a lot of problems.
The recommended range for a swimming pools total alkalinity is between 80 and 120 parts per million. Any good pool testing kit will let you determine the range, and its important to test often.
So, when it comes to alkalinity there are really only 3 states in can be in: Too High, Too Low and Just Right.
Low Alkalinity With low alkalinity your pH levels can swing back and forth between too high, and too low. Its not uncommon for these numbers to shift drastically causing an unbalance in your pools pH.
Some problems that are associated with this include: -Chlorine inefficiency -Metal Corrosion -Pool Staining -Scale
You can easily raise a pools alkalinity by using a chemical called sodium bicarbonate which is, baking soda. The recommended dosage is 1.5 pounds of sodium bicarbonate per 10,000 gallons of water. If youre unsure how much water you have you can find a good estimate by using this formula:
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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 10ppm . 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.
Note: It doesnt matter which type of baking soda you use. The most popular brand is Arm & Hammer, which is a good choice. Any grocery store brand will do as long as the main and only ingredient is Sodium Bicarbonate.
What Causes Rise In Ph And Total Alkalinity In A Swimming Pool
One of the major reasons why pH rises above the recommended level for a swimming pool is high alkalinity.
To avoid high alkalinity, add Alkalinity Increaser slowly by slowly while measuring its level and always ensure that your Total Alkalinity is within the recommended range of 80 – 120ppm because if it goes above 120ppm, your pH will definitely rise high.
The second cause of high pH in a pool is using Calcium Hypochlorite pool shock to sanitize pool water. Cal hypo comes with high pH and Calcium level and will significantly increase pH in pool if you don’t take prior measures to balance your pH.
Also, abnormal rise in TA might be caused by the water source. It could be possible that your pool fillwater is already high in alkalinity and will therefore increase your TA once it mixes with more Alkalinity Increaser you are using. Test your water source for alkalinity and use a different source if it has high TA because you’ll need to use too much dry acid more often to lower both pH and TA in your swimming pool.
Getting a perfect balance of pH and alkalinity is a little tricky since acid will lower both but not at the same rate. If you have high pH and TA in your pool, here is the easiest way to lower and balance pH and TA in your pool without using any extra equipment like aerator.
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Why The Alkalinity Of Your Pool Is Low
There are different causes to the low level of alkalinity in your pool and you need to examine each to know which is the cause of your pools low level and put an end to it. The following can be the cause of your pools low alkalinity level.
You may want to reduce the alkalinity level of your pool and use too much alkalinity reducer in your pool. This can cause your pools alkalinity level to reduce beyond normal and make the pool harmful.
You may have also backwashed your pool during its usual maintenance period and drained a large part of the pools water. When you add fresh water to the pool without stabilizing the alkalinity level, this can reduce the total alkalinity level of your pool.
Another cause of this can be when your pool has mixed with a local source of water such as rain, flood, or snow that has melted into your pool. Now remember that the local source of water is already low in alkalinity and when it mixes with your pool it reduces the alkalinity level also and as a local source of water can reduce the alkalinity level of your pool, so can any water source with low alkalinity level.
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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Baking Soda Vs Soda Ash
Baking Soda is used to raise alkalinity and also slightly raise pH. And Soda Ash is used to raise pH and slightly raise alkalinity.
For example, getting a pH reading around 7.2 to 7.6 in 10,000 gallons of pool water would take roughly 21 pounds of baking soda. This would also increase the Total Alkalinity by roughly 150 ppm . And thats way too much!
But if we wanted to increase the pH of the pool by 0.5, we could use roughly 12 ounces of soda ash. That would only increase the total alkalinity by roughly 8 ppm.
In other words, use baking soda to increase alkalinity and soda ash to increase pH.
Alkalinity Or Ph: Different Task Different Chemical
Lets clear yet another misconception that stems from pH and alkalinitys buddy system: baking soda is not the same as soda ash .
As we know now, baking soda is used to raise alkalinity, which also slightly raises pH. Soda ash is used to raise pH, which coincidentally also slightly raises alkalinity.
If your pH is low, use soda ash. If your alkalinity is low, use baking soda.
And let that sink in. Unfortunately, many pool owners waste a lot of chemicals and time because they use the two interchangeably.
Now you wont be that guy!
One major wrecker of pH and alkalinity? That would be algae, no question. Use the BLACK+DECKER 360-Degree Bristles Pool Brush to keep microspores from attaching to your pool walls and floors. It was developed by longtime pool maintenance experts to prevent aches and pains associated with getting hard-to-reach corners.
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