To have a crystal clear swimming pool you may need to add some amounts of baking soda to your pool. But the problem lies when you become lazy and refuse to go with the recommended amount for your pool. Of course, adding excess chemicals of any kind to your pool is not good and baking soda isn’t an exception.
When you do not test your pool to know the quantity of baking soda that should be used for your pool, you might end up adding an excess amount of it. Doing this may lead to calcium buildup in your pool and increased alkalinity and pH levels.
Baking soda for pools is otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate. This chemical is an alkaline substance that has a pH of 8. The basic need of using baking soda in a pool is to raise both the alkalinity and pH of the pool. A lot of commercial pools adopt baking soda as their main active ingredient for raising both the pH and total alkalinity (TA).
So, how much baking soda can I add to my pool at a time?
The rule of thumb is to add 1.5Ib of baking soda to every 10,000 gallons. But you have to be careful because one of the side effects of having too much baking soda in your pool is that it can raise alkalinity or pH to a very high and unsafe level. With this level, it will raise the alkalinity by about 10ppm.
For a pool with a pH below 7.2, it will be good to add up to 3.4lb of baking soda. That amount will help increase the pH to a safe level between 7.2 and 7.4. But it will be good to start by adding only one-half or three-fourths of the recommended amount if you are new to pool chemistry.
Can you put too much baking soda in your pool? Yes, as earlier stated, if you are adding a lot to your pool without using the recommended dose for your pool, you might add the amount that is too much for the quantity of water in your pool.
How long does it take baking soda to clear up a pool?
The clearing up will depend on the size of the pool, but generally, it takes about 6-10 hours for the water to be fully circulated. But always retest your pool water after the initial addition of baking soda.
What are the side effects of too much baking soda in the pool?
- Raises the pH level of your pool to a very high level
Just like anything good using excess of it can be a disaster. In as much you can use baking soda to increase the pH level of your pool to an ideal level if it is too low, it doesn’t mean you can use any quantity of it. If you have an excess amount of it in your pool it will raise the pH level to a point that is too high, and of course, a high pH level can affect your pool components and your health as well.
- Too much baking soda can cause a build-up of calcium
Another side effect of adding too much baking soda to your pool is that it may lead to the calcium build-up. And in turn, the calcium build-up will make the water cloudy. It is advisable to avoid swimming in cloudy water because of the health effects it poses.
- Building up scales on the surface of the pool
Another consequence of adding too much baking soda to your pool is that there will be the formation of scales on the surface of the pool. These scales will sometimes fall off into the pool contaminating the water in the process. Once there are contaminants in the water, the water is no longer safe to take a swim in it. You will risk having red eyes, irritation, and rashes on the skin.
- It can aid the clogging of the filtration system
The filters of your pool need to always be to filter out contaminants to help keep the water clean and clear. But it may not be so if the filters are clogged. With excess baking soda in the water and helping to scale the surfaces of the pool, these scales fall into the pool and tend to block the filters of the pool. When this happens the filters are clogged and become ineffective to filter out bacteria and other organisms that might be contaminating the pool.
- Raises the alkalinity of your pool to a very high level
We are of the view that only the right quantity of baking soda should be added to the swimming pool. Raising the total alkalinity of the pool to an unacceptable level will occur if too much baking soda is added. Baking soda in a reasonable amount will only help to raise your pool alkalinity to its optimum level but if you use an excess of it, then you would be throwing your alkalinity off balance and make it too high which isn’t good for your pool.
Does baking soda hurt your pool?
Baking soda wouldn’t hurt your pool if used in the right proportion. Baking soda is naturally safe for your pool. It has an extremely low risk of being harmful to the swimmers or the pool. This is the main reason why it is used for the adjustment of either pool pH or alkalinity level.
But like everything that is good and doesn’t need to be used in excess, the same applies to baking soda in the pool. If you use too much of it in your pool it will hurt your pool. If you use too little of it, it won’t be effective and your pH level will remain low. So the best practice is to find out the right quantity for your pool and stick to it.
How baking soda works when used rightly
When the water in the pool becomes too acidic because of low pH, it becomes irritating to the skin and corrosive to the pool components. So the work of baking soda is to calm the acids in the pool and restore it to a safe level. Baking soda has a pH of about 8.3 and the bicarbonate ions in baking soda act as pH buffers.
So it has both the positive and negative end which means that it can act as either an acid or a base. With this property, it can raise pH to 8.3 or lower it to 8.3 though depending on the environment of operation. This helps to stabilize water and also buffer it for fast changes.
So baking soda when used in the right dose for a pool can help to clear cloudy water and makes it crystal clear. Moreover, it can aid in making the pool water to be softer on the skin. It can prevent corrosion and damages to the pool equipment and also helps in complementing the effectiveness of chlorine.
Does baking soda raise or lower pH?
Baking soda also known as sodium bicarbonate is a natural alkaline, so when it is added to the pool it will naturally raise both the pool pH and alkalinity. But if you can’t easily get baking soda, you can as well use soda ash i.e. sodium carbonate to raise the pH. It does it as quickly as baking soda too.
How to add baking soda to your pool
As state earlier, adding too much baking soda to your pool will badly affect your pool. So it is pertinent to know the proper way to use your baking soda to avoid adding too much of it in your pool. If you want to avoid the consequences listed above, then you must follow the below steps. They are steps on how to apply your baking soda effectively. It will help you to maintain clear and clean water in the pool.
You have to first test your pool water using the test kit. Go ahead to test the alkalinity and pH of your pool water. Now, check if the water pH and alkalinity are below 7.2 and 80 respectively. If they are below the range, you will need to add baking soda.
Use your online calculator or use the recommended dose of the baking soda as instructed. If you add about 1.25 pounds of it to a capacity of 10,000 gallons you should have increased your alkalinity by 10ppm. But generally, the measurement for pool chemicals is always per 10,000 gallons of water.
- Then there will be adjustment by you if your pool is either bigger or smaller. But the calculation that works for me is to add about 1.5 lbs of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water. Doing this will help raise the alkalinity of a pool by 110ppm. For the pH level, if your pH level is below the ideal range of 7.2 then it will be better to add about 3-4 pounds of your baking powder.
- Now, if you are new to working with chemicals as a pool owner, you would need to start by adding only half or 3/4th of the recommended doses of chemicals to your pool. You don’t need to stop there if you are not satisfied with the outcome after the addition, which is usually the case.
- You would need to retest, you can still add more when the level of the chemicals is still very low. So you keep adding until the alkalinity and pH level are at the appropriate levels for your pool.
- Remember never to apply your baking soda on a windy day since it is in powder form. It will help you prevent wasting your soda from the air blowing a lot away and them not getting into the pool.
- So all you need to do is to get the right amount and sprinkle it directly into your pool and avoid dumping it into a spot. You just need to spread in wide arcs across your pool surface.
- After adding your baking powder to your pool, you would need to wait for about 6 hours so that your baking soda gets completely dissolved in your pool water. At this point, you can turn on your pool circulation system to aid in circulating it.
Finally, retest the water to know if you still need to repeat the process. But you must do this between 6-24 hours after you had added the first baking soda. Check to see if your pH is still below 7.2 and your alkalinity below 110ppm. You just have to repeat the process to bring them to the ideal levels.
When you own a swimming pool, you need to be aware of the different chemicals you need to use in your pool. But the most important thing to know is the quantities of these chemicals to use. Using too much or too little of the substances comes with their consequences. Baking soda is one of the chemicals that are used for pool care and its maintenance. So you need to use them sparingly to get the benefits they offer. Using the right amount will maintain water quality in your pool and your water will be sparkling clean.