Sometimes, the only new thing you did was to own a pool. Not got admitted into a school or earned a chemistry degree, but now you are basically almost a chemist.
Having a healthy pool will require cleaning as well as maintaining and balancing both the pool water pH levels and alkalinity.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, a naturally alkaline substance, is one very important substance used in maintaining clean and safe swimming pool water.
Though baking soda is not that harmful like some pool chemicals, it is advisable to still allow it to dissolve completely and circulate properly before you can use the pool. You should wait for at least 4-6 hours after adding baking soda to the pool water.
Considering the enormous size of an average swimming pool, this is enough time for baking soda to dissolve into the water from its powder form.
The time can be more and can be less depending on different factors. But you can hasten the time by running your pool pumps and jets. Basically, anything that will stir a disturbance in the pool water to mix it quickly. With that, you can start using the pool after 2-4 hours.
What Does Baking Soda Do For a Pool?
Having a pH of 8, Baking soda is alkaline. Though not the strongest, it is just the right amount of alkaline that can be considered safe. Usually, baking soda is common as a major active ingredient alongside others in commercial pool treatment products.
But you can still use just pure baking soda for your pool treatment, and a lower price of course.
When added to pool water, pure baking soda reacts to increase the existing pH and alkalinity values of the pool. Thus very important in keeping your pool water chemical level balanced and your water healthy and clean for users.
By adding baking soda to your pool, you can get rid of and prevent cloudy water, scale build-up, and corrosion which are effects of low alkalinity.
Is it important to add baking soda to pool water?
Having low alkalinity is like having a faulty foundation, everything falls no matter how nicely you do it. Low alkalinity makes it very difficult to maintain clean and healthy pool water.
Pool pH will fluctuate at the slightest addition of substances or organic fluids from the usage of the pool. That is to say, what would have been a slight change in pool pH will turn out to be something bigger, making it harder to keep it within the ideal range.
It is important to add baking soda to pool water, to maintain the alkalinity level. This will prevent sudden fluctuations in the pH level and increase the effectiveness of sanitizers.
Without doing this, low pH levels will lead to itchy skin and eyes, corrosion of pool equipment, and less effectiveness of pool sanitizing chemicals. Meaning you will have to add more than the usual amount of chemicals to try and keep your pool stable. That will be you incurring extra expenses.
How Do I Use Baking Soda to Increase Alkalinity in a Pool?
Having an Alkalinity level of less than 80 ppm (parts per million) is going to cause a lot of changes you will not like in your pool. You should maintain a pool alkalinity level of between 110 to 150 ppm to avoid any issues to your pool or endangerment to the pool users.
To increase the alkalinity of your pool using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), follow the following steps below:
- Test your pool’s alkalinity level first. You cannot just start adding baking soda without knowing if low alkalinity is the problem. Besides, you need to calculate how much baking soda you are going to need.
- Calculate how much baking soda you will need. On average, the capacity of a swimming pool is taken to contain 10,000 gallons of water, so calculations will be made on that. Adding 1.5 pounds of baking soda will raise the alkalinity of a pool by a value of about 10 ppm. If your pool is smaller or larger than the average pool capacity, you need to do the math based on what you are working with.
From the values earlier, you need to add 0.15 pounds of baking soda for every 1000 gallons of pool water, to increase alkalinity by 10ppm. So just multiply that by the number of 1000 gallons your pool contains.
- Proceed to add a calculated amount of baking soda to the pool water. Baking soda comes in powdered form. This makes it easier to apply and you do not have to worry about diluting or mixing it first. Sprinkling it directly across the pool surface is all you need to do. Try not to pour in one spot. Move around and sprinkle the baking soda in wide arcs. But you have to consider the wind while doing this. Choose a time when it is less windy to avoid having your baking soda blown away before it gets to the pool water.
- Run your pool pump and jets to create as much disturbance as possible and quicken the dissolving process of baking soda.
- Allow for a minimum of 6 hours and then test the alkalinity level again. If it is still below the ideal level, repeat the process with the needed quantity of baking soda to get the job done.
Do note that, while baking soda raises alkalinity, it also causes an increase in the pH of the pool too. While the alkalinity of your pool should preferably range between 80ppm and 120ppm, your pool pH should be within the ideal range of 7.2 to 7.8.
A very low pH will require you to add more baking soda. So consider testing for the pH level too will adjust pool alkalinity.
Can you swim after adding baking soda to a pool?
You can swim in the pool after adding baking soda. It is safe, but it is best if you allow it for some minutes with your pool run to fully achieve the reason why it was added in the first place.
Baking soda is not harmful to you or your skin. But some people are sensitive to it, so there can be some irritation when applied to the skin.
It is possible you can experience some irritation too when you swim immediately after adding baking soda to a pool. This does not mean you are sensitive to it or baking soda is irritating your skin.
This might be because your low pool pH has not increased to an ideal level yet. So the baking soda has not finished reacting. If your pH was low before you added baking soda, it is good to wait it out for a while so that it will increase to a safe level before you take a dip.
Will baking soda lower chlorine levels in a pool?
Chlorine is a popular chemical used in pool water for getting rid of germs, bacteria, and other harmful organisms, keeping the water hygienic. Just like every other term related to keeping a clean healthy pool, chlorine also has a healthy and harmful level.
Too much of it in the water can be bad for pool users. So it has to be kept in check too, and the level is reduced when it is too high.
Baking soda does not lower chlorine levels in a pool directly. It affects the pH and alkalinity levels which in turn affect the effectiveness and level of chlorine in a pool.
In water with a pH level within the range of 7.4 to 7.6, chlorine is very efficient and effective. Too much chlorine at this level will surely be harmful. Baking soda can be used to check the chlorine level by increasing the pH. Chlorine efficiency can drop by nearly 20% in high pH water of about 8.
The ideal amount of chlorine in pool water is between the ranges of 1-3 or 3-6 Parts Per Milliliter, depending on how heavily used the pool is per day. The more used, the more germs, the more chlorine you will need to sanitize the pool.
How long do I wait between adding pool chemicals?
In pool maintenance, there is no one-fits-all chemical. Achieving clean and clear water with safe chemical balance levels involves the use of multiple chemicals for different adjustment purposes.
There are cleaning agents and sanitizers for keeping the pool water clean and void of harmful microorganisms. Then there are those for adjusting pH and those for adjusting alkalinity.
Bottom line is, at the end of the day, you are going to use more than a single chemical for your pool maintenance.
For safety, you should never mix chemicals if you are using more than one. Always add them one after the other and not together.
You should wait for at least 1 hour between adding pool chemicals. This however is not general as wait times between adding chemicals in a pool can range from 1 hour to up to 24 hours, depending on what and what chemicals are in the sequence.
Two chemicals that can react with each other to create harmful substances should be given as much wait time as possible. Muriatic acid and chlorine react to form a very toxic gas that is harmful to health.
Wait times can be very short or long. You should wait for 24 hours after adding calcium hypochlorite before adding any pH or alkalinity adjustment chemicals. Adding them earlier will cause calcium scaling to occur in the pool, making your pool cloudy too.
You can lessen the time required for chemicals to mix properly. Pouring chemicals in front of the return pump, with the pump running at the maximum, will hasten the mixing process.
Do I really need to wait 4 hours between pool chemicals?
It is not a fact to wait for 4 hours between pool chemicals. Some can be 1 hour or less, others 4 hours, and some might require you to wait for 24 hours.
Some chemicals, however, like liquid chlorine, require you to wait for up to 4 hours to be on the safe side. Or as much time is needed for the chlorine level to drop below 6 ppm.
The most important thing to take into consideration is the dissolution of the chemicals. Ensure that the chemicals dissolve completely before you can add a different chemical.
That will help you to avoid unnecessary reactions in your pool.
Will adding baking soda to the pool raise pH?
Yes, adding baking soda to pool water will raise the pH. Baking soda, otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, has an upper pH scale value of 8. So adding it to acidic water will raise the pH level towards alkaline.
Aside from raising pool water pH, baking soda increases the alkalinity of the pool when added to it.
How often should I add baking soda to my pool?
Pool chemical balance is always fluctuating. It is used by many people, frequently, and it is open to the atmosphere.
This means many factors can lead to a fall in pH and alkalinity of the pool water. Rainfall, organic body fluids, and many others have different levels of acidity which they add to your pool.
So chemicals have to be added regularly to keep them in check. Pool water is always increasing in acidity and Baking soda does a good job in making the pool less acidic.
It does this by increasing the pH and also the alkalinity which acts as a buffer against acids. But then, you do not want to turn your pool into a chemical dump.
Allow at least a day after adding the right quantity of baking soda before testing to add again. Do everything in bits, you do not want to end up with an alkaline pool in a bid to fix an acidic one.
Keep it below 2.5 pounds of baking soda added to your pool in a day, when doing regular readjustments.
Too much baking soda in hard water will lead to calcium scaling in your pool as a result of too much calcium buildup. The pool water will become cloudy, and that is not a good sight to behold.
It does not stop there, calcium scales can block your pool filter over time and that will lead to another issue and then to another and another.