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 highness of alkaline levels in the pool.