Have you seen all of those expensive products that claim to help you to raise the alkalinity of your swimming pool? Well, you don’t need them. Want to know how you can raise the alkalinity in the same way for a whole lot less cash? Well, read on!
If you look at any of the expensive products on the market, you will see that they all contain an ingredient called one of the following:
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate
- Bicarbonate of Soda
Any of those names seem familiar to you? Well, it is just plain old baking soda. This is the main ingredient in all of those countless alkalinity-raising products on the market. Sure, they may include a few other ingredients which claim to make the product work ‘better’ but, at their heart, it is all about the baking soda. So, this means that you can just throw baking soda into your pool and it is pretty much going to have the same effect.
What does baking soda in the pool do?
Baking soda is alkaline. 8 PH, in fact. As you may well know, the optimal PH should sit somewhere between 7.2 PH and 7.8 PH. This is going to be dependent on whether you use bromine, chlorine, or a pool mineral system to sanitize your water. This makes baking soda perfect to be added to the water to make it more alkaline. We are going to go into a bit more depth on how to use baking soda in your pool shortly, but for now, all you need to know is that the baking soda will help to balance the PH of your pool.
Raising the PH level of your pool is absolutely vital. If your pool is too acidic, then the sanitizer that you add to the water isn’t going to work as effectively. Acidic water is also going to harm all of the gear that you have to run the pool (ladders, pool filters, pumps etc.) This is before you even consider the fact that you will need to add a ton of extra sanitizer to the pool to counter the lower alkaline level which, of course, is going to cause damage to skin and clothing. It really isn’t a pleasant experience to be swimming in more chlorine than you actually need to be swimming in!
What baking soda should you buy?
Honestly. It doesn’t matter. Although, we don’t recommend that you head to the baking goods aisle of your local store and pick it up there. You are going to need to have pounds and pounds of the stuff. It is also something that you will need to be using fairly regularly. So, it is probably going to be better to buy your baking soda in bulk. You can always buy it online. Some pool retailers will also have it in stock but, for obvious reasons, they are going to try and point you towards the more ‘professional’ products. You know, the expensive products which are pretty much just baking soda anyway.
No brand performs better than the other. Baking soda is baking soda. So, no need to buy anything too expensive here. It is also going to work in exactly the same way.
Adding baking soda to your pool
As you may know, you should be testing the alkalinity of your pool at least once per day. It should have these stats:
- The pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.8. Of course, adjust this based on the sanitizer that you are using. The range shouldn’t be as broad as this.
- Alkalinity should be 110 and 150 ppm in your pool. The lower this number, the more acidic your pool is, and you need to change things up a little bit.
Generally speaking, if you keep your pool chemical levels in check, your pool shouldn’t change that much in pH on a day to day basis. In fact, it is rare that you will need to add baking soda to the pool.
Working Out How Much Baking Soda to Add to the Pool
You are going to need to do a little bit of math here but, don’t worry, it isn’t that difficult! You also do not need to be completely accurate with your calculations. You have a pretty wide range to hit when it comes to alkalinity levels.
Once you have the alkalinity number in hand (your parts per million), and the size of your pool, you can work out how much baking soda to add to it to bring alkalinity up to normal levels.
For the sake of simplicity (and to explain the math a little easier for you), we are going to go with a pool that is 10,000 gallons. We can also tell you that to raise the alkalinity levels by 10ppm, you need 1.5lbs of baking soda for a pool of this size. So, if your pool was 20,000 gallons, you would need 3lbs of baking soda. If it was 5,000 gallons, it would be 0.75 lbs. It is not going to be exactly 10ppm, but it is going to be close enough.
So, let’s say we have a pool with this information:
- 10,000 Gallons
- 90 ppm
We would know that to bring it up to normal levels of at least 110pm, we would need to get ourselves at least 3lbs of baking soda. You may need a little bit more later on, but 3lbs is a good place to start.
Hopefully, this gives you enough information to know exactly how much to add to your pool. If you are unsure, start by adding a little, wait a few hours, and then seeing the effect you had on the pool.
Adding the Baking Soda to the Pool
Once you know how much baking soda to add to the pool, throw it in.
We recommend that you evenly distribute the baking soda across the entirety of the pool. You could throw it all in the same location, but it will take a lot longer to circulate through the water. This means that it is going to be a lot longer before you can test the alkalinity of the pool.
This part is pretty easy to do. You are just throwing baking soda into the pool. You can then switch on the circulation system for the pool. This will allow the baking soda to spread throughout it.
Now you need to play the waiting game. It should take at least six hours for the baking soda to work its way through the pool system. We recommend that you wait a bit longer than this. In fact, putting the baking soda in, and letting it circulate overnight seems to be the safest bet for you. If the alkalinity of the pool was really low and you had to add a ton of baking soda, then waiting for 24-hours may be even better.
Check alkaline levels
Once you have waited a while (at least 6-hours), you can check the alkalinity levels of the pool. If you have done everything correctly, then the alkalinity of your pool should be:
- Between 7.2 and 7.8 pH
- Between 110ppm and 150ppm
If you are a little bit under, then that is fine. You can just add a small amount of baking soda more (it will probably only require a pound or so) and then test things again. If you are a little bit over (but not too far over), then this is also fine. The pH levels should balance out pretty quickly. It is unlikely, unless you made incorrect calculations, that you would be drastically over the required limits.
If you are over the limit by a huge amount (20-30ppm), then you may need to take immediate action. This means adding muriatic acid to the pool. If your pool is too alkaline, then there will be pool scaling. Not only is this going to be tough to clean up, but it is also going to be ridiculously hard on your pool equipment.
How often do you need to add baking soda to the pool?
Not that often. You will only need to add it if you notice that the pool is starting to get a little bit acidic. You should, of course, be testing your pH levels every single day, but you won’t need to add baking soda every single day. In fact, you may not need to add it for weeks on end. If you find that you are adding baking soda to your pool fairly regularly, then this may indicate an underlying problem. It may actually be better for you to completely drain your pool and start again.
So there you have it. There is no need to buy expensive chemicals to bring your pool to a decent pH and alkaline level. You just need to buy baking soda in bulk. If you do that, you will save so much money on the costs of keeping your pool running.