There are quite a number of chemicals that you add to your pool for effective maintenance. You must get their proportions right, as this is essential for proper chemical balance. This is very essential for maintaining the sanitary level of a pool.
Two such chemicals are baking soda and chlorine. As a rule, you shouldn’t add them both at the same time.
Follow me in this article as I will answer that question.
Can I shock my pool and add baking soda at the same time?
As a general rule, you should avoid mixing pool chemicals. This is because some pool chemicals can react adversely when mixed together. In addition, mixing some chemicals together could lead to undesired effects on your pool. Your pool’s chemistry could be off the charts, and it could cause more harm than good.
With regards to adding baking soda and shock at the same time, it’s good to first understand what baking soda does. Baking soda doesn’t just have its uses limited to the kitchen. It is a popular leavening agent, but that isn’t where its use stops. Baking soda, also called an alkalinity increaser in swimming pool circles, can be used to raise the alkalinity of your pool.
The alkalinity of your pool is what determines the buffering power of your pool. That is to say, how much acidity your pool water can resist or neutralize. The total alkalinity of your pool is what helps to keep your pH in the right range.
The recommended range is 80 to 120 parts per million. If it is higher or below this average, your pH could be all over the place, and this could affect the efficacy of your pool shock.
On the other hand, shock is added to the pool to raise the level of free chlorine in the pool. And interestingly, the efficacy of your shock is tied to your alkalinity levels. If your alkalinity is too high, the chlorine in your shock will become ineffective.
As already established, baking soda can raise alkalinity levels. This means that if you add too much at the same time as pool shock, you risk making your shock ineffective. In a case where you suspect that your alkalinity levels are low and you need to raise them, the best course of action is to always add the baking soda first.
After that, test the water to ascertain the alkalinity levels. Then you can go ahead and add the pool shock.
So to answer the question, don’t add shock and baking soda at the same time. You could make your shock ineffective if you do that.
Can you mix baking soda and bleach in a pool?
Bleach is a good sanitizing agent for pools. This is because it also contains chlorine. However, the concentration of chlorine in bleach is not as high as that found in a typical pool shock. Where your pool shock has up to 65% chlorine, most bleach products contain between 5–10% chlorine.
These levels of chlorine still make bleach an option for your day-to-day pool sanitizing. However, the same effects that baking soda could have on your pool shock would still apply here. If the baking soda raises your alkalinity way above normal, the bleach’s sanitizing power will be rendered useless.
So to be on the safe side, don’t mix bleach and baking soda together. Add the baking soda first, and then, after checking the alkalinity levels, you can proceed to administer the bleach.
In what order should I add pool chemicals?
Pool chemistry is so pivotal to you enjoying your pool, and this is why you must get it right. One thing you don’t want as a pool owner is to have your water imbalanced, because the consequences can be dire. Algae and bacteria build up are just two of the few things that can occur if you fail to get your chemicals balanced and in the right order.
There are steps you must follow when adding pool chemicals. These steps will guarantee that you don’t mess up your pool. Let’s dive right in.
- Test the water first: Before you proceed to add any chemicals, the first thing to do is to test the water. This will give you an idea of the pool’s alkalinity, pH, chlorine levels, and calcium hardness.
Pool experts recommend testing your pool 1-2 times a week. Carrying out tests on your water will let you know what pool chemicals you need and in what quantity you need them. There are specialized test strips you can make use of for the different chemical levels.
- Adjust Alkalinity: The next thing is to adjust your alkalinity levels. Alkalinity levels are very important as they act as a buffer for your pool. As a result of this, they help maintain your pH level. Based on your previous test, you should have knowledge of what the levels are so you can adjust accordingly. As mentioned above, the ideal range for alkalinity is 80-120 parts per million. If the alkalinity is lower or above that, there are chemicals to add.
To increase your alkalinity, you add baking soda. As a general rule, 1.5 pounds of baking soda added to 10,000 gallons of water will raise the alkalinity by 10 parts per million. Do this in proportion to the size of your pool.
To reduce the alkalinity, you can make use of muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. The general rule for adding such is that you add 1.6 pounds of sodium bisulfate or 0.3 gallons of muriatic acid for every 10,000 gallons of water. This dosage will reduce the alkalinity of that volume of water by 10 parts per million.
- Adjust pH: The pH must then be adjusted. As mentioned earlier, the pH range is important for the efficacy of your chlorine sanitizer. If it is not in the right range, your chlorine treatment will go to waste. The acceptable pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8. After your tests, you must adjust the pH if it isn’t within this range.
To increase pH, add 1.4 pounds of soda ash to every 10,000 gallons of water and then test again. Do this until the pH is at the right pH.
On the other hand, if your pH is too high and you want to reduce it, you can make use of either muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. They are very effective pH reducers. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Adjust calcium hardness: Adjusting calcium hardness is next up. Calcium hardness can cause damage to pool equipment by the formation of scales and depositing of calcium carbonate. Thus, it’s essential to keep an eye on it. The ideal range is 200–400 parts per million.
To reduce calcium hardness, you partially drain the pool and then drain the pool. On the other hand, if you intend to increase the calcium hardness, you add calcium chloride. Just ensure that you follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
- Add stabilizer: The addition of stabilizers is important before you add chlorine. When UV rays hit your pool, it causes the chlorine to degrade faster. Stabilizers such as cyanuric acid help to keep the chlorine in your pool for longer. But before adding, just be sure to check whether your chlorine already has stabilizers incorporated into it. It is best to use chlorine without stabilizers. This will help you manage their levels separately and easily.
The ideal range for stabilizers is 30–50 parts per million.
- Add chlorine: The last chemical to add is chlorine. Chlorine is the sanitizer you use to keep your pool free from bacteria and algae. It comes in different forms, such as tablets, sticks, liquid chlorine, or granules. Chlorine also comes in pool shock, when you need to raise the chlorine levels of your pool very quickly.
The recommended concentration of chlorine in your pool is 1-3 parts per million.
What chemicals should I balance first in my pool?
Like mentioned above, the first chemical to balance is your total alkalinity.
The order is: total alkalinity > pH > calcium hardness > stabilizer > chlorine.
Will baking soda clear a green pool?
No, it won’t. The function of baking soda is primarily to increase the alkalinity of your pool. Baking soda doesn’t kill algae or bacteria.
Does baking soda raise the pH in a pool?
Baking soda has a pH of about 8.3. Baking soda will increase alkalinity primarily and increase pH minimally. If you want to significantly increase the pH of your pool, you can make use of soda ash. Soda ash has a high pH of about 11.3. This is the better option.
Does baking soda lower alkalinity in a pool?
No, it doesn’t. Because of its nature as an alkalinity enhancer, baking soda can’t neutralize excess alkalinity.
Does chlorine raise pH?
When used in appropriate quantities, chlorine won’t affect the pH of your pool. This is because chlorine comes combined, in most cases, with calcium or sodium . When it dissolves in water, it dissociates into NaOH and HOCl (hypochlorous acid).
When UV rays degrade the HOCl, the HCl that is left reacts with the NaOH. This is a neutralization reaction, so the net change in pH becomes zero.
Do I add chlorine or stabilizer first?
You add the stabilizers before you add the chlorine. Just be careful not to add too much, as too much stabilizer can make your chlorine not work as it should.
What happens if I add baking soda to my pool?
When you add baking soda to your pool, you end up increasing the alkalinity of your pool and raising the pH slightly.
Where do I put baking soda in my pool?
To add baking soda, you can simply broadcast it over the entire surface of your pool. Avoid dumping it in one particular spot to avoid it clumping together. Then you can run the pumps to guarantee proper mixing and circulation.