Adding an alkalinity increase to your pool is a result of low pool water alkalinity which can cause severe damage to your pool. When the pH and alkalinity level of your pool becomes low, the pool surfaces and walls become cracked or pitted and every metal surface loses color and corrodes before dissolving which causes your pool to become stained.
With such low alkalinity, the pool water is no longer stable and such fluctuations can lead to a change in the pool’s chemistry which would damage the pool’s surfaces or any equipment that enters the pool. Even the chlorine level of the pool will reduce making the pool unhealthy for anyone to inhabit. Before we know how to increase the alkalinity of the pool, let’s understand the meaning of this alkalinity.
What is Alkalinity?
Alkalinity often gets confused with the pH level of water or gets linked to words like alkaline or alkali. But do any of those words explain the alkalinity of your pool? This subject is least understood when it comes to pool maintenance and most pool owners only know how to test for the alkalinity level of their pools but don’t know what it stands for and why it is important. Let’s explain this further for you.
The Alkalinity of your pool has to do with the measurement of the dissolved quantity of alkaline substances in your pool. This measurement is usually higher than 7.0 pH and indicates the level of acidity of your pool. It is of three types namely; Carbonate, Bicarbonate, and Hydroxide and can be calculated using this formula Alk = [HCO3−] + 2[CO32-] + [OH-] – [H+]. You can also determine the level of alkalinity in your pool water by knowing the pH level of the pool.
How does alkalinity of your pool work?
When the pH level of a pool is rather high or low, pool owners stabilize the pH level of the pool by increasing or decreasing the alkalinity level. By adding the required chemical, the pH level of the pool finds it difficult to fluctuate or change because the alkalinity stabilizes the pH level by providing a Hydrogen ion. The alkalinity of your pool is important because it helps keep the pH level and saturation index of your pool balanced.
Why the alkalinity of your pool is low?
There are different causes to the low level of alkalinity in your pool and you need to examine each to know which is the cause of your pool’s low level and put an end to it. The following can be the cause of your pool’s low alkalinity level.
You may want to reduce the alkalinity level of your pool and use too much alkalinity reducer in your pool. This can cause your pool’s alkalinity level to reduce beyond normal and make the pool harmful.
You may have also backwashed your pool during its usual maintenance period and drained a large part of the pool’s water. When you add fresh water to the pool without stabilizing the alkalinity level, this can reduce the total alkalinity level of your pool.
Another cause of this can be when your pool has mixed with a local source of water such as rain, flood, or snow that has melted into your pool. Now remember that the local source of water is already low in alkalinity and when it mixes with your pool it reduces the alkalinity level also and as a local source of water can reduce the alkalinity level of your pool, so can any water source with low alkalinity level.
Is it safe to swim in a pool with low alkalinity?
It isn’t safe to swim in a pool with low alkalinity levels because of the side effects it can have on swimmers such as eye nasal and skin irritations. Apart from affecting the skin, this low alkalinity can corrode the surface of the pool and the insides of the pool making it hard to maintain a standard level of chlorine in the pool. These side effects are caused by a reduction in the quantity of chlorine and calcium hardness in your pool. When the chlorine and calcium hardness level reduces, the water becomes corrosive which damages the pool’s surface and equipment and begins to eat up the pool’s walls and floors.
How to raise pH and alkalinity in pool?
When you confirm that your pool’s alkalinity level is low, you have to raise the standard to avoid harming the pool’s users or its equipment and walls. Before you begin, you have to ensure that you know the size of your pool and the target range of the alkalinity you want to increase. Most pool maintainers say your alkalinity level should rest between 80-120ppm so always listen to the advice of pool contractors in your area.
To improve your pool’s alkalinity, ensure you use a product made with Sodium bicarbonate as they’re the key substance to raising alkalinity. To increase the pool’s alkalinity, follow these steps;
Test Alkalinity level: test the alkalinity level of your pool to determine the pool’s range. If the level is lower than 80 ppm, you need to raise the alkalinity level.
Dilute Sodium Bicarbonate with water: ensure your purchase enough sodium bicarbonate that would get your pool to its desired level. Dilute the mixture if indicate in the product instructions otherwise, you can apply it directly to the pool.
Add Sodium Bicarbonate to the pool: spread the diluted mixture or the powdered mixture in the pool directly and try not to do it in the win to avoid it getting blown away. To ensure that you didn’t pour more mixture in one place above the other, pour the mixture in light arching motions.
Allow pool rest: Wait for six hours at least before retesting the pool’s alkalinity. In all your waiting time, try not to wait longer than 24 hours.
Retest alkalinity level if necessary: if after six hours, the alkalinity level didn’t rise, apply the sodium bicarbonate mixture again till the level rises to the standard.
Having balanced pool alkalinity is important to keep your pool functional and the overall water balance. Test your pool’s alkalinity regularly to avoid low alkalinity levels in your pool.