If you own a pool, you know how important it is to keep the water balanced and clear. However, sometimes the pool water can become too acidic or too alkaline, which can cause problems such as corrosion, scaling, algae growth, and cloudy water. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to fix these issues is to use baking soda in your pool.
What is Baking Soda and How Does It Work?
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a common household product that has many uses, from baking to cleaning. It is also a useful pool chemical that can help you maintain the pH and total alkalinity levels of your pool water.
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a solution is, on a scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, while a pH below 7 is acidic and a pH above 7 is alkaline. Total alkalinity is a measure of how well the water can resist changes in pH. It acts as a buffer that stabilizes the pH level and prevents it from fluctuating too much.
The ideal pH range for pool water is between 7.2 and 7.8, while the ideal total alkalinity range is between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm). If the pH or total alkalinity levels are too low or too high, they can cause various problems for your pool, such as:
- Low pH: Corrosion of metal parts, staining of surfaces, irritation of eyes and skin, chlorine inefficiency
- High pH: Scaling of surfaces, cloudy water, reduced chlorine effectiveness, algae growth
- Low total alkalinity: pH instability, corrosion, staining
- High total alkalinity: pH resistance, scaling, cloudy water
Baking soda can help you raise the total alkalinity of your pool water, which in turn will stabilize the pH level and prevent it from dropping too low. Baking soda has a pH of around 8, which means it will slightly increase the pH level as well. However, it is not very effective at raising the pH level compared to other chemicals such as soda ash or borax.
How to Use Baking Soda in Your Pool
Before you add baking soda to your pool, you need to test the water using a titration test kit or test strips. You can buy these from any pool store or online. You need to measure the current pH and total alkalinity levels of your pool water and compare them to the ideal ranges.
If your total alkalinity is below 80 ppm, you need to add baking soda to raise it. A safe rule of thumb is to add 1.5 pounds of baking soda for every 10,000 gallons of water. If your pH is below 7.2, you can also add baking soda to raise it slightly. However, if your pH is above 7.8, you should not add baking soda as it will make it even higher. Instead, you should use muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate to lower it.
To add baking soda to your pool, follow these steps:
- Turn off the pump and filter system.
- Measure the amount of baking soda you need according to your pool size and water test results.
- Dissolve the baking soda in a bucket of warm water.
- Pour the solution into the pool slowly and evenly around the edges.
- Turn on the pump and filter system and run it for at least 6 hours.
- Test the water again after 24 hours and adjust if needed.
Benefits of Using Baking Soda in Your Pool
Using baking soda in your pool has several benefits, such as:
- It is cheap and easy to find in any grocery store or online.
- It is safe and gentle for your skin and eyes.
- It can help prevent corrosion and staining of your pool equipment and surfaces.
- It can help keep your water clear and sparkling by preventing algae growth and cloudy water.
- It can help improve the efficiency and longevity of your chlorine sanitizer by keeping the pH level optimal.
Drawbacks of Using Baking Soda in Your Pool
While baking soda is a great product for stabilizing your pool water, it also has some drawbacks, such as:
- It can only raise the total alkalinity and pH level slightly. If you need to raise them significantly, you will need to use other chemicals such as soda ash or borax.
- It can cause scaling and cloudy water if you add too much or if your total alkalinity or pH level is already too high.
- It can increase the hardness of your water by adding more calcium carbonate to it. This can make your water feel rougher on your skin and hair.
Baking soda is a simple and effective way to stabilize your pool water by raising the total alkalinity and preventing the pH level from dropping too low. However, it is not a substitute for regular testing and balancing of your pool water. You should always monitor the pH and total alkalinity levels of your pool water and adjust them as needed using the appropriate chemicals.