High Pool Alkalinity - What's Causing it and How to Get it Back to Normal

by Pool Builders on 07-13-2009 in Articles

When talking about swimming pools, a common topic is its alkalinity. Many pool owners fight with trying to keep these levels balanced, when really it doesn't need to be that difficult. In this article we'll be looking at high pool alkalinity, what it is, what's causing it, and how to get it back to normal.

Alkalinity is a measurement of how much alkaline substances are found in the pool. These are bicarbonates, carbonates and hydroxides. The basic gist of it is, the more of this stuff there is in a pool, the less acidic it is. With swimming pools there is a careful balance that needs to take place in order for sanitizers to work properly, and other problems which can arise from having too high or too low alkalinity.

In most cases a swimming pool's alkalinity will have a tendency to rise. This is because of foreign substances that are brought into the water like, human sweat, make up and lotions, and so on. The most common problems associated with high pool alkalinity include: cloudy water, chlorine inefficiencies, pH difficulties.

So how do we get it back to normal?

With high pool alkalinity, we have too much alkaline, which means not enough acid, so that's what we'll be using. The most common forms of acid are dry acid, and muratic acid. Both are just as effective in my opinion, so go with whichever you feel is best.

Next, we make sure our pool filter is off. At the deepest end of the pool start adding the acid following instructions found with the chemical. This is because the amount needed will depend on how big the pool is, and what the company that makes the product recommends.

While doing this process, you need to keep checking your water's chemistry. At first, add enough acid to bring the water's pH down to a neutral 7.0. Then, let the pool sit until the pH climbs back up to 7.2. The longer it takes for the pH level to get back to 7.2 the better, as this means the alkaline substances have thinned out considerably.

Repeat this process until you're confident that the pH levels in your pool are stable, and aren't rising or falling too quickly.

Taking care of a swimming pool doesn't have to be difficult, but it's made that way because in general people are given poor advice by pool "experts" who are really trying to get you to buy more of their chemicals and equipment that can be pretty useless.

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