How Do I Add Muriatic Acid To A Pool To Lower Alkalinity
If the Alkalinity of your pool water is hovering above the ideal range of between 100 to 150 ppm , then you have to consider lowering it.
Alkalinity on its own will drop down over time. But, just in case you cannot afford to wait, then you have to do it yourself.
Muriatic acid is mainly used to lower pH while lowering alkalinity in the process. Both go up and down together. This is because, though pH and alkalinity naturally are affected by the same substances, pH gets the most changes in level between the two.
But if you are looking to lower alkalinity in a pool using muriatic acid, it involves a few simple tricks to ensure alkalinity drops with a slight effect on pH. You will be using a method commonly known as pooling.
Below are the steps on how to go about lowering pool alkalinity using muriatic acid.
- First of all, adjust your pool pH, if high, to any level between the range of 7.4 and 7.6. this will make it easier to readjust the pH later on after lowering the alkalinity. This should be done before now, gradual adjustments of a couple of days even.
- Ready to adjust alkalinity? Put on your safety gear. You do not want to get muriatic acid on you. Acid-resistant wear, shoes, gloves and goggles, and respiratory protection too.
- Test your pool water to determine how much muriatic acid you are going to need to add.
- Test and repeat until you get what you want. Sometimes a single dose might not get it fixed right away.
The Role Of Total Alkalinity In Water Chemistry
If youre a pool operator, you probably already know that pH can fluctuate up and down. And when it does, the pool is constantly fighting against you. Having the right level of total alkalinity is a good thing, because it helps to keep the pH stabilized. A simple way to think about alkalinity is that it insulates pH from changing too easily, especially going down.
Technically, alkalinity buffers pH by either releasing or absorbing a Hydrogen ion as needed. So when acid is added, carbonate ions can absorb Hydrogen to create bicarbonate ions. This is an equilibrium, just like pH, so it can go the other way too. The equilibrium looks like this:
HCO3- + H+ H2CO3
Since CO2 controls the pH of the water, you can either add CO2 directly to lower pH, or you can use acid to convert bicarbonate alkalinity into carbonic acid , which is just dissolved CO2: .
You could add several pounds of 8.3pH Sodium Bicarb and make the same pH impact if you added a much smaller amount of 11.6 pH soda ash. But the total alkalinity would be higher for the Sodium Bicarb, because theres simply more of it in the water.
Wear Protective Equipment Against Acid Splashes
An acid is required to lower the pool alkalinity.
It is therefore important to wear protective equipment before use.
That would be rubber gloves and safety glasses.
The acid is aggressive and very irritating. Splashes damage the skin and mucous membranes.
If you dont have safety glasses, at least protect your eyes from splashes with sunglasses.
Extra tip: It is best to put on old clothes, as the acid can damage the clothes.
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Take Final Water Test 48 Hours Later
After two days and two nights of keeping a close watch over the process, I took the reading in the morning. Total alkalinity in my example read 101 ppm, which is not bad at all. The pH was stable at 7.4. Remember that even if the natural aeration process is not complete, pH levels will not likely rise above the recommended levels because the alkalinity is within range and no pH increaser was used in this process.
Test The Pool Waters Alkalinity And Ph After 6 Hours
You will be watching for the changes in pH and alkalinity levels by doing a test after every 6 hours until it reaches the right range. If pH is within the normal range after adding muriatic acid, then you are done.
Taking the reading after six hours is just to help you know whether you are making any improvements in lowering the TA and pH. Amazingly, when I tested the water six hours later, total alkalinity read around 205 ppm and pH was at 7.6 . Your numbers may be different, but you should see a similar reduction in your process too.
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How To Lower Alkalinity In Pool Water
Owning a pool is a lot of fun, but it does take work. You have to keep the water clean and looking great, and part of that process involves testing the water. You have to balance the right chemicals and make sure the water is safe for people to enjoy. Unbalanced water can lead to health risks and even damage to your pool’s surfaces.
Part of this process is keeping your pool’s water at the right alkalinity. Alkalinity and pH go hand in hand, so you need to understand how each may affect the other. Learn everything you need to know about alkalinity and how to lower your pool’s alkalinity if it is too high.
Root Causes Of High Pool Alkalinity
There are several reasons why swimming pools have high total alkalinity.
It could be the water source of where your pool water is coming from. In some areas, waters innately have a high alkaline water level.
Another reason for high alkalinity is you might be using too many chemicals like sodium bicarbonate , in an attempt to increase the alkalinity range of your pools.
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What Is Total Alkalinity
Alkalinity acts as a buffer to your pool waters pH, helping keep your pH levels from fluctuating drastically. So balancing your total alkalinity is important in order to maintain consistent pH levels.
Your total alkalinity should be between 100 and 150 parts per million . And your pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6. Anything much higher or lower will disrupt your water chemistry, affect your pools ability to sanitize, and can damage your pool equipment in the long run.
Lowering Alkalinity Without Lowering Ph
High alkalinity can make it hard to adjust pH, along with the other problems we mentioned above. To lower alkalinity, you will need to add an acid, most commonly muriatic acid. The problem with adding acid is that it is almost impossible to lower alkalinity without lowering pH. If you add enough muriatic acid to lower total alkalinity to an acceptable level, you may lower your pH to an unsafe level. However, there is a way around this.
Adding acids to reduce total alkalinity will inevitably lower pH. To lower total alkalinity without lowering pH, you will need to follow a two-step process. First, add the acid until the alkalinity is at the level you want. Dont worry about the pH. Just make sure that the acid is diluted in water before you pour, and that you walk it around the pool instead of pouring it all in one place. This will avoid lowering the pH too much in one spot, which can damage a pool lining and etch plaster.
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Add Dry Acid Or Muriatic Acid
One of the best ways to decrease your pools alkalinity is to add acid. You can choose between dry acid and muriatic acid. Keep in mind that adding acid to the water will lower the pools pH level. However, you can make minor adjustments with baking soda or alkalinity increasers to raise the alkalinity if you drop it too low with the pH.
Below, Ill break down the pros and cons of dry acid vs. muriatic acid.
- Dry acid: Dry acid is the best choice for people with vinyl or fiberglass swimming pools because its not as harsh as muriatic acid. However, it needs to be mixed in a bucket, which takes a bit of time. You can get dry acid in much cheaper doses than liquid acid, making it a budget-friendly choice.
- Muriatic acid : Muriatic acid works quicker than any other acid in the pool industry. That being said, it needs to be thoroughly circulated, or itll stain and damage the swimming pool. Its also much more corrosive, so you have to pay close attention when adding it to the water.
If you prefer dry acid, try EcoClean pH Down. This powder uses sodium bisulfate to quickly drop your pools pH and alkalinity. One 25-pound tub should last you several years, saving much more than if you used liquid acid. It also includes a helpful scooper to measure and adjust your pools chemistry easily.
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
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What Causes High Ph In A Pool
When your pools pH is too high, you might wonder what caused it. High pool pH is caused by a wide variety of issues. Here are common causes of an alkaline pool:
- Algae can raise the pH.
- Adding strong liquid chlorine, calcium or lithium hypochlorite chlorine may raise it.
- Suddenly heating the water, whether from a pool heater or a string of sunny days, could up the pH.
- Saltwater pools tend to be alkaline.
- Adding water from the hose may raise it, depending on the content of your tap water.
- For a new pool, pebble or plaster finishes raise the pH. Fiberglass and vinyl wont see this initial pH spike.
- Time raises the pH in chlorinated pools. This happens naturally.
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Lowering Total Alkalinity With Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid, used to reduce the pH in swimming pools. Dont spill it on concrete!
Caution: Muriatic acid is slightly diluted hydrochloric acid. This acid will burn eyes and skin, so you need goggles, rubber gloves, and should wear a long sleeve shirt when working with this substance.
Allow Time For The Acid To Circulate
Wait about an hour for the muriatic acid to do its thing.
After that, go ahead and test your water again. You should see that your pH level is now very low and your alkalinity is about where it needs to be.
If your alkalinity is still too high, go ahead and add more acid until it falls in line with the recommended levels of 80ppm to 120ppm.
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What Is Pool Alkalinity
All water contains alkaline substances. Thats why total alkalinity refers to measuring alkaline substances within a body of water. A swimming pools total alkalinity should measure between 80 and 120 parts per million as a general rule of thumb.
So what happens when alkalinity levels go beyond 80-120?
High levels create an imbalanced pH level, which can create a calcium-rich environment. Too much calcium can damage the pool with side effects like scaling, clogged filters, and cloudy water. It can also irritate the skin and eyes of anyone who enters the pool.
On the other hand, low alkalinity will make it difficult to adjust the pH levels of the water, turning the water acidic. Acidic water can also damage the pools surfaces and your equipment. And swimmers in this environment will experience similar symptoms to entering a pool with high alkalinity levels, i.e., burning or itchy eyes and skin.
While keeping up with alkalinity levels can be tiresome, it can save your pools equipment and protect your family and friends. Every pool owner should check alkaline levels at least two to three times a week.
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To lower the alkalinity in your pool, try using a strong acid like muriatic acid, sodium bisulfate, or sulfuric acid all of which will lower the alkalinity. If your pool water is a little murky or your pool filters seem to be plugged with calcium deposits, then your pool may be suffering from high alkalinity levels.
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Use A Bucket To Lower Alkalinity More Than Ph
You cant lower Alkalinity without lowering pH, just as you cant raise Alkalinity without raising pH, but there is a method to favor one over the other. Use a bucket to raise or lower Alkalinity more than pH.
The pool Alkalinity Bucket Trick is really just a play on the maxim, to lower pH more walk your acid, to lower alkalinity more pool your acid, and it results in a more rapid exchange of hydro-carbons, in a smaller area with low circulation.
One more tip for correct pH and alkalinity testing, a titrant test is much more accurate than test strips. I always recommend the Taylor K-2005, but if the $75 price tag is too much, take a look at the $20 Taylor Troubleshooter, for a very reliable titrant pool pH and Alkalinity test kit.
If you have any other questions about pool pH or alkalinity chemicals that we didnt cover, or need to see our pH and alkalinity dosage charts or for any specific pH and alkalinity problems you are having, please leave me a comment below! I answer them personally!
Why Is My Pool Alkalinity High
There are many factors that can increase your pool water alkalinity. Some of the common factors responsible for the alkalinity increase include
Excess amount of alkalinity or pH increaser: if you recently increased the alkalinity of your pool water, then there is a higher probability that you might have added an excessive amount of the alkalinity increaser you used.
Many people use baking soda for this purpose. If you checked very well, you might have used too much baking soda.
It could also be that you tried to increase the pH. Remember, whatever affects pH will likely have a significant effect on the alkalinity because there is a correlation between the two.
Water source: Check the alkalinity of the water you get from your supplier. Sometimes, the water obtained from the local water supply is not chemically balanced as expected.
Its good to always test the water to be sure of what you are using. If the alkalinity of the water supplied to you is high, then the pool alkalinity will eventually go up when the water is added to the pool.
Debris and dissolved particles: Some debris and particles can get into your pool while using it. If you allow them to continue entering the pool at some point, they will get saturated and can alter the pH and alkalinity of the pool water.
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What Causes High Alkalinity In Pools
High alkalinity in pools is often caused by adding hose water, using a salt cell, pouring liquid chlorine into the pool, and natural debris. Plants, pets, people, and fertilizers have varying pHs and alkalinities that influence your pools chemistry. Its nearly impossible to prevent pH and alkalinity fluctuations.
Heres an in-depth breakdown of why your pools alkalinity consistently goes up:
Easily Manage Alkalinity And Ph
The easiest way to manage your pH and alkalinity is to bring in a professional. When you let the pros at The Pool Butler case for your pool, you can be confident that your pool water is well balanced. We take the worry and work out of pool maintenance, so all you have to do is enjoy your pool. Contact us today to learn more about all of the services we offer.
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Set A Target Value For Total Alkalinity
In the same example above, I set my target value of TA at 100 ppm. It is important to note that both the levels of TA and pH reduce when acid is added. A target value of 80 ppm or 90 ppm should be just fine, but I anticipated that the levels of pH would drop way below 7.0 when I add a strong acid, so my experience told me that 100 ppm was ideal for raising the level of pH later on through aeration.