Did you know that a swimming pool with low alkalinity is highly acid? Inevitably, an acidic pool is corrosive and unsafe for the lifespan of the facility and the swimmer.
Hence, if you have such a pool, it might be the right time to add an alkalinity increaser. Here I have looked at everything you would need to know to make your pool safe using these products.
What is Pool Alkalinity?
Alkalinity or total alkalinity (TA) is the concentration of dissolved hydroxides, cyanurates, bicarbonates, and carbonates in your swimming pool. These are alkaline substances that measure at least seven on a pH scale.
You can measure your pool’s alkalinity using most of the pool testing kits on the market today in parts per million (PPM). PPM is equal to a milligram per liter of water.
Some experts talk of “pool alkalinity,” and that should not get you worried as it means the same as TA. Pool alkalinity relates specifically to a swimming pool water.
Why Should You Add an Alkalinity Increase to Pool?
There are several reasons why you should add an alkalinity increaser to your swimming pool. They include:
Your facility can suffer harm if its water is highly acidic. The walls can begin to crack, become delaminated, or even etched.
Some of the metal parts might melt under the acidic condition and give way, which is a result of a stained pool.
Maintain Chlorine Effectiveness
Even the slightest change in your pool chemical composition can lead to high fluctuation in its pH level. If the pH is unbalanced, experts say you have a pH bounce and result in low alkalinity in your pool.
With low alkalinity, the chlorine starts to become ineffective unless you add more than you would typically add. That means you purchase more chlorine and thus waste more money and time trying to balance your pool.
Besides the effect low alkalinity can bring to your swimming pool, it can make it to be unsafe for swimmers. Acidic water can lead to skin, eye, and nasal irritations.
How Much Alkalinity Increase to Add to Pool?
You need to remember two things when determining the amount of alkalinity increaser to add to your pool: your pool’s size and your target range. Ideally, you should target a figure of between 80-120 PPM.
However, some professionals might recommend you maintain a reading of between 100-120 PPM due to different reasons. Below is a simple guide of how you should add the alkalinity increaser:
- For a 10 PPM increase, add 1.4 pounds to 10,000 gallons of water
- For a 20 PPM rise, add 2.8 pounds to 10,000 gallons of water
- For a 30 PPM increase, add 4.2 pounds to 10,000 gallons of water
You should not add more than 10 pounds per 10,000 gallons of water at any moment.
Increasing Alkalinity with Sodium Bicarbonate
In the pool world, pool products intended to increase the alkalinity have different names like alkalinity increase, alka-plus, alka-buffer, and others. The important thing is to ensure that you choose a product made of sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is the primary substance used to increase the alkalinity. It is readily available and cheap, so you do not need to buy any other product.
The sodium bicarbonate you get from a pool supplier is the same as the one you get from retail or online stores. However, retail store products are not labeled for use in a pool and have no user’s manual direction on how to add them.
For that reason, I would recommend you buy an alkalinity increaser that is meant for swimming pools. You can also add the retail store products if you follow the steps I have listed below.
How Do You Add Alkalinity Increaser?
Always follow the manufacturer instructions when adding an alkalinity increaser to your pool. They often include:
- Test your pool’s TA
The first thing is to test your pool’s TA to determine how acidic your pool is and how much alkalinity to add. If it is below 80 PPM, you will need to add the increaser.
- Ensure you buy enough alkalinity increaser
Ensure that you buy a massive container of sodium bicarbonate to avoid visiting the market soon. Get advice from the retailer by informing him/her about your pool’s size and TA reading.
- Read the user’s instructions
Find out how the increaser should be added to your pool. Unless you love chemical, consider adding about ½ or ¾ of the recommended amount.
You can add more later if the TA level is still low. That removes the need for lowering the alkalinity if the reading goes above 120 PPM.
- Dilute if necessary
Depending on the product you buy, the instructions might require you to dilute the alkalinity increaser before you add it.
- Add to your pool
Sodium bicarbonate often comes in powder form. You can add it to your pool that way but avoid the wind as it can get blown away.
Spread it into your swimming pool and pour it lightly to prevent excessive powder from entering your pool in one place.
- Let your pool settle
Wait for 6-hour before you retest the TA level – no longer than 24-hour.
- Repeat if necessary
Keep on adding the powder until you get a TA level of between 80-120 PPM.
A balanced TA level results in a good swimming pool for swimmers. Low alkalinity can mean a damaged pool, and swimmers can get nose, eyes, and skin irritation.
You can manage that by regularly testing the water balance to maintain a TA level of 80-120 PPM. If you have gunite, glass, vinyl, shotcrete, or concrete pool, then consider maintaining a TA level of100-120 PPM.
It is straightforward to add an alkalinity increaser when you follow the manufacturer’s instruction or the steps I have listed above. I hope you can know to maintain a well-balanced pool to guarantee the safety of your pool and swimmers.
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