If you own a swimming pool, you know how important it is to keep the water balanced and safe for swimming. One of the key factors that affect the quality of your pool water is the pH level, which measures how acidic or basic the water is. The ideal pH range for pool water is between 7.2 and 7.8, which is slightly basic and close to the natural pH of human tears.
However, many factors can lower the pH of your pool water, such as rain, debris, organic matter, and chlorine. When the pH drops below 7.2, the water becomes acidic and can cause problems such as:
- Corrosion of metal parts and surfaces
- Damage to pool equipment and liners
- Irritation of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes
- Reduced effectiveness of chlorine and other sanitizers
- Increased formation of chloramines, which cause unpleasant odors and eye irritation
To prevent these issues, you need to raise the pH of your pool water when it gets too low. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by using baking soda, which is also known as sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is a common household ingredient that can neutralize acids and raise the alkalinity of your pool water.
Alkalinity is a measure of how well the water can resist changes in pH, and it should be between 100 and 150 ppm (parts per million) for pool water. By increasing the alkalinity, you can also stabilize the pH and prevent it from fluctuating too much.
How Much Baking Soda Do You Need?
The amount of baking soda you need to add to your pool depends on several factors, such as:
- The size and volume of your pool
- The current pH and alkalinity levels of your pool water
- The desired pH and alkalinity levels for your pool water
You can use a pool test kit or strips to measure the pH and alkalinity of your pool water before and after adding baking soda. You can also use a pool calculator to estimate how much water your pool holds based on its shape, dimensions, and depth.
As a general rule of thumb, you can use 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of baking soda per 10,000 gallons (37,854 liters) of pool water to raise the alkalinity by about 10 ppm. This should also raise the pH by about 0.1 units. However, this is only an approximation and you may need more or less baking soda depending on your specific situation.
To avoid over-adjusting the pH and alkalinity, it is recommended that you add baking soda in small increments and test the water after each addition. You should also wait at least six hours between each addition to allow the baking soda to dissolve and circulate in the water.
How to Add Baking Soda to Your Pool
Adding baking soda to your pool is a simple process that involves the following steps:
- Turn off your pool pump and filter system.
- Measure out the required amount of baking soda using a kitchen scale or measuring cup.
- Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over the surface of your pool water, preferably near the return jets.
- Turn on your pool pump and filter system and run it for at least six hours to distribute the baking soda throughout the water.
- Test the pH and alkalinity of your pool water using a test kit or strips.
- Repeat steps 2 to 5 until you reach the desired levels.
Tips and Precautions
While baking soda is a safe and effective way to raise the pH and alkalinity of your pool water, there are some tips and precautions you should follow to ensure optimal results:
- Do not add more than 2 pounds (907 grams) of baking soda per 10,000 gallons (37,854 liters) of pool water at a time, as this may cause cloudiness or scaling in your pool.
- Do not add baking soda if your alkalinity is already above 150 ppm, as this may cause your pH to rise too high and create other problems such as scaling or algae growth.
- Do not confuse baking soda with baking powder, which contains other ingredients that may harm your pool water.
- Do not use baking soda as a substitute for other chemicals that are designed to balance your pool water, such as pH increaser or decreaser, alkalinity increaser or decreaser, or calcium hardness increaser or decreaser.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any chemicals for your pool.
- Always store baking soda in a cool, dry place away from moisture and sunlight.
- Always wear protective gloves, goggles, and clothing when handling baking soda or any other chemicals for your pool.
Baking soda is a cheap and easy way to raise the pH and alkalinity of your pool water when it gets too low. By keeping your pool water balanced, you can prevent corrosion, damage, irritation, and other problems that can affect your pool and your health.
However, you should always test your pool water before and after adding baking soda and follow the proper guidelines to avoid over-adjusting or under-adjusting your pool water. Baking soda is not a magic solution that can fix all your pool problems, but it can be a handy tool that can help you maintain your pool water in a safe and comfortable range.