Balancing your pool water will keep your family and pool safe. It’s important to regularly check your pool to ensure your pool water has the proper alkalinity levels.
Why lower the pool water alkalinity level?
Although high total alkalinity does not cause severe damage to your pool equipment and surfaces as low alkalinity, alkalinity levels need to remain balanced so as to reduce any unexpected maintenance costs that occur due to wear and tear of pool equipment, for instance reducing the pool pump efficiency because of plugged filters and decreased pipe flow from scale build up.
When swimming in a pool that has high alkalinity levels, you will often get skin irritations. The skin and hair will become sticky and your eyes may burn to some degree.
Controlling the pH level in a pool that has high alkalinity is difficult, as the cushioning properties of the water to withstand alterations in acidity increases. This means that if you want to adjust the pH levels in the water, you will have to use higher amounts of chemicals.
Maintaining well balanced total alkalinity levels in your pool is a crucial step in ensuring your pool water is healthy. Balancing the total alkalinity is one of the three different adjustments you need to also do so that you can balance your swimming pool water. The rest are calcium hardness and pH. Always adjust the total alkalinity first, except in situations where the pH is way below 7.0. If it’s below 7.0, get it to that level and then adjust the total alkalinity.
How To Lower Alkalinity In Pool Water
First things first….
Ensure you get the right pool size, more so the volume, as this is necessary in establishing the amount of chemical you need to add to your swimming pool. You want it to be in the mid range of about 80-120ppm (parts per million) for the total alkalinity off your pool.
There are two main chemicals that are available in lowering pool alkalinity. They are Muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate or dry acid.
How to lower total alkalinity with Muriatic Acid
NOTE: Muriatic acid is hydrochloric acid that’s slightly diluted. This acid burns the skin and eyes so you will need to wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves, goggles and an apron that’s long sleeved when working with this chemical.
1. Begin by testing your swimming pool water alkalinity level. You need to establish if the level is high and by what percentage
2. Switch off your swimming pool pump. Give your pool an hour so that the water stops circulating. You want your water to be totally still.
3. Carefully read the product label f you had not done that before. Establish how much you need to add according to the amount your level is over (in ppm) and the total volume of your swimming pool.
4. For Muriatic acid, you can either dilute it or pour it directly into the water. If you have a diving pool, do it at the deep end. Alternatively, you can pour portions in different sports especially if you have an above ground pool or a shallow pool. Ensure the stream is tight so that the acid flows deep into the water. You want it to get to the floor of your swimming pool.
5. Allow the swimming pool to sit for an hour and then turn your pool pump back on again.
6. Test your total alkalinity levels after about 6 hours or before 24 hours are over after adding the Muriatic acid to give the pool time to adjust to the chemical you have added.
7. If you check after two to three days and you realize your alkalinity levels have not dropped to the required levels, you can repeat the entire process. Sometimes, it may take several days for the total alkalinity to re-balance.
8. Ensure you also test your pH levels and adjust it if necessary. Sometimes it may drop.
How to lower total alkalinity using sodium bisulfate or dry acid
1. Start by first testing the pool water total alkalinity levels. By all means avoid strips as they may not give you accurate results. Instead use Taylor Lamotte drops based Total Alkalinity test if it’s possible. You may get this at your local home depot.
2. Switch off the swimming pool pump and give it about an hour so that the pool circulation stops.
3. After an hour get back to work. I hope by now you have read carefully the products label. If you have not, then you had better do so before you get started. If your level is more than 120ppm, then you will have to decrease the level to approximately 100ppm. Carefully read the label at the back of the product to establish how much of the product you need to add. In most cases, sodium bilsufate is usually 93.2% pure, so watch out for that percentage on the package you buy.
4. In a bucket of water, dilute the dry acid. Ensure the substance completely dissolves.
5. Go to the deep end of the pool and pour the dilute acid into the water ensuring the stream is as narrow as possible. A narrow stream penetrates both the upper part of the water and gets as deep as possible. This will help in preventing any disruptions of the pH level in the water.
6. Allow the pool to sit still for about an hour. Switch the pool pump on again after one hour.
7. After 6 hours, you can test again the total alkalinity level.
8. If you realize you need to bring down the level of alkalinity, dilute and add more dry acid. However, you should wait for about two to three days before doing this as the total alkalinity may decrease on its own somehow.
Maintaining the right levels of total alkalinity in your pool is one of the vital three water balancing procedures. As a pool owner, you should be able to test your total alkalinity and know how to decrease the level if it’s on the higher side. You should also know what chemicals are available to lower total alkalinity and how much to add into your pool depending on your pool size and the alkaline levels in the pool.
Reprinted with the kind permission of PoolUniversity.org, a good source of information on proper swimming pool care.
The TOP Pool Professionals use the Myron L PS9, which measures 9 Parameters: Conductivity, Mineral/Salts, TDS, Alkalinity, Hardness, LSI, pH, ORP/Free Chlorine, Temperature.
How To Lower Swimming pool pH
Ensuring your swimming pool pH level is balanced is a vital part in swimming pool ownership. pH is what determines the water acidity. pH numbers range from 0 to 14 with the right swimming pool water pH being between 7.2 and 7.8. If the water goes above 7.0, then it’s an indication that the water is becoming more alkaline.
What is the importance of an ideal pH level?
If the pH levels of your swimming pool water are too high, the water becomes too alkaline and it starts to form scale on the surface of the swimming pool and equipment. If the pH level is too low, then the swimming pool water is acidic. This causes corrosion on the swimming pool surfaces and the equipment in your swimming pool thus damaging them. To maintain a well balanced pH level in the swimming pool and avert some costly damages to the swimming pool surfaces and equipment, you will need to use chemicals to lower pH in swimming pool.
-How to lower the pH in your swimming pool
The first thing you need to do if you think that your pH levels are high is to test the swimming swimming pool PH. After you have determined the pH level, then you can start looking for ways on how to lower pH in swimming pool. High pH levels in swimming pool can be reduced with an acid. Some of the most common swimming pool acids are:
• liquid hydrochloric (muriatic acid)
• Dry acid (sodium bisulphate)
Sometimes they may be referred to as pH minus, pH decreaser and pH reducer. It’s important to know what chemical you are purchasing because the way you mix the chemicals is critical.
How to lower pH in swimming pool with dry acid (Sodium Bisulfate)
• Carefully read the instructions in the label since different manufactures have different percentages for sodium bisulfate. The most common percentage is 93.2%.
• How much acid do you need to add? This will depend on the results you got after testing you swimming pool water. We recommend that you add three quarters of what is recommended and then test later until you feel comfortable. The most important thing is that you do not add too much of it.
• Sodium Bisulfate often comes in powder form so you will want to avoid working with it on a windy day. If you live in an area that’s breezy, then you have no option. But you can try and add it downwind from you since you don’t want to spill the acid on your clothes or worse the skin.
• Get close to the level of water as you possibly can because the wind will easily blow the powder into the air instead of into the swimming pool.
• Pour the powder into your swimming pool at the water return jet sites. This is where the water will come into the swimming pool. Do not add the powder to the water at the inlet sights like the skimmer area. It’s important that the dry acid is evenly spread around the swimming pool so that it reaches all the corners.
• Give it about 5 to 15 minutes as it dissolves on its own completely. You will not need to spread the powder with your hands in the water.
• Allow the chemical to mix before you retest, but do not wait for more than 24 hours after you have added your last portion of dry acid.
Note: If you are lowering pH levels of above ground swimming pools, place the Sodium Bisulfate over the swimming pool wall. Since above ground swimming pools are often shallow than inground swimming pools, you may have to use your hands to spread the powder in the swimming pool so that it can dissolve faster.
If the manufacturer has recommended that the Sodium Bisulfate is first dissolved, follow that advice. This could be that the product may react quickly in the water reducing alkalinity levels thus affecting both the alkalinity and pH levels. Sodium Bisulfate will likely decrease your pH and alkalinity as well. You will need to test for both after you are done.
How To Lower Ph In Swimming pool With Muriatic Acid
• Always read the manufactures’ instructions first. This is one dangerous acid that can burn your skin and ruin your swimming pool surfaces if it’s not used properly. Ensure you also have the correct protective wear.
• Establish the needed amount of muriatic acid to add to your swimming pool based on the pH levels you have tested. You can add three quarters of what is recommended and then test the pH later on until you get the desired results of adding the chemicals to your swimming pool.
• The manufactures’ instructions may recommend that you dilute the muriatic acid first. Please follow these instructions.
• Although muriatic acid is liquid, you still don’t want to pour it into the swimming pool while facing the wind. Further, avoid pouring the acid into the filter basket or skimmer.
• There are two ways of adding muriatic acid into the swimming pool. Both of them are effective so it’s up to you to choose the one that you feel comfortable with. You can pour the muriatic acid in one continuous stream on one spot into the swimming pool.
While doing this, turn off the pump so that the acid hits right at the bottom and lowers the swimming pool pH without affecting the water at the top. You can turn on the pump after you have finished pouring the muriatic acid. The other way is to pour it into the water near the water return jets so that it’s evenly spread into the swimming pool. If you do not have a deep end, then you can pour on different areas of the swimming pool. You do not want to concentrate all the acid on one area of the swimming pool.
When adding any type of acid into the swimming pool, extreme care must be taken as ignorance can lead to serious burns. Before you can add the acid, ensure there is nobody swimming in the swimming pool or will use the swimming pool before four hours are over.
Make sure you first add acid to water, never add water to acid! If you plan to add large amounts of acid, do it slowly. Don’t add high acid amounts in the swimming pool all at once. If you pour in too much acid into the swimming pool at once, you may risk damaging the walls, corroding the pump fittings and pipes and lowering the total alkalinity of the water.
For accurate, reliable pH measurement, try the Myron L Ultrapen PT2 pH tester.
Reprinted with the kind permission of PoolUniversity.org, a good source of information on proper swimming pool care