DIY Guide: How to Lower Alkalinity in a Pool

Enjoying a dip in the swimming pool on a hot summer day is one of the most common pastimes for many people. When everything is working properly, it’s easy to enjoy a dip. But what happens when your alkalinity is off?

The best way to lower the alkalinity in the pool is to add chemicals like muriatic acid or a pH reducer. But before you start adding at random, you’ll need to test the water and choose the right chemical. There are also specific steps to take to properly add these chemicals to your pool.

Do you want to know how to lower the alkalinity of your pool? Let’s look at some of the methods for doing so and why your pool may have a higher level of alkalinity.

How to Lower Alkalinity in a Pool 

Modern backyard with swimming pool

When it comes to lowering the alkalinity in your pool, there are a couple of products you can use to make it happen. These chemicals can be added to your swimming pool to bring down the high levels of alkalinity in the water.

Since high alkaline levels in your swimming pool can wreak havoc on not only the various parts of it but also on people who swim in them, it is important to lower the levels as soon as possible. Because chemicals can be dangerous, if you own a pool, you need to familiarize yourself with the two chemicals that can help to lower the alkaline levels before adding them to the water

Using Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is a solution that has a low concentration of hydrogen chloride that aids in lowering the alkalinity of the water in your pool. While it is extremely effective in lowering alkaline levels, there are certain precautions that you should take when using this chemical. 

Experts warn about using muriatic acid since it tends to cause more damage to the various parts of your pool. Since it is an acid, it is recommended that you wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, a mask, and protective clothing when in contact with it.

Additionally, when using muriatic acid, you will need to ensure that you are following the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations. This is because while many types of the acid you purchase can be diluted, others require that you dilute it yourself before adding it to the pool.

It is also important to note that when using muriatic acid, you may not reach neutral levels of alkalinity instantly. In some cases, you may even need to repeat the process of adding them to your pool to ensure that the levels are reduced properly.

Using a pH Reducer

Another method of lowering the alkaline level in your swimming pool is by using Sodium Bisulfate. This is also known as a pH reducer that is considered much safer than muriatic acid overall. PH reducer or decreaser, as it is often called, works in much the same way that other chemicals do. What makes this product different is that it is typically much more expensive than muriatic acid.

Because it is an acid, it should be stored in a cool, dry environment and away from other types of chemicals. Sodium bisulfate is known as a dry acid or acid salt, which will help to bring down the alkalinity in your swimming pool.

Process for Lowering Alkalinity 

The process of keeping your swimming pool balanced with both pH and alkalinity can be an overwhelming task. This is because some of the chemicals used to raise or lower each of these numbers can have the opposite effect on the other.

Since most experts agree that two main chemicals can be used to lower alkalinity in your pool, it is important to also understand the process of applying them. Following the procedures completely can help you to ensure that the alkalinity in your pool is lowered.

Check out these steps to follow in the process of lowering alkalinity in your swimming pool:

  • Turn the pump to the pool off and give it time to settle down before adding in your chemicals

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the chemical you choose to use to lower the alkaline levels

  • Use protective equipment such as gloves, masks, goggles, and protective clothing when applying chemicals

  • Add the chemical to the deepest area of your swimming pool and let it go to work for about an hour

  • Once the chemical has had time to take effect, turn your pool pump back on to allow it to spread throughout the pool

  • After a few hours, retest the alkalinity and pH levels of the swimming pool

Keep in mind, for best results, you should follow the instructions on the bottle of the chemical to ensure that it is applied correctly. 

What Exactly is Total Alkalinity?

Before you begin the process of adjusting the levels in your swimming pool, you should take the time to understand what the various levels of alkalinity mean.

One of the most important terms you should be aware of is what total alkalinity means and how it affects the overall balance of the pool. While many different factors go into making sure your pool water is in good shape, keeping a check on the total alkalinity is vital.

Total alkalinity refers to the amount of buffer provided for the pH level in your swimming pool’s water. This means that the alkaline levels keep the pH from raising and lowering at extreme levels. Think of alkalinity as a guard for the pH to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

pH Explained

Swimming pool Ph checking

While most people who have a swimming pool in their backyard know the importance of ensuring that the water stays balanced, they often do not understand why. Because of this, homeowners with a pool often are playing the game of raising and lowering their levels.

When it comes to pH levels, it is important to understand that this refers to the potential for hydrogen ions in the water. The measurement of pH lets you know whether your pool is acidic, neutral, or basic overall.

Most experts recommend that the pH levels should be between 7.2 and 7.8 to be considered neutral. The numbers when measuring pH levels in your swimming pool should fall between 0 and 14, with anything below 7 making the water more acidic and above that mark being more basic.

The alkalinity levels of the pool help the pH to be maintained and stay at a somewhat constant level. , Whether or not your pool will stay at a constant pH depends entirely on factors like how often you clean and treat your swimming pool.

What Are Ideal Alkalinity Levels?

Similar to the pH levels of a swimming pool, it is important to understand what the ideal alkalinity levels are when it comes to water. This level can often trigger or balance the level of pH and, therefore, should be maintained.

Most experts suggest that the alkaline levels in your swimming pool should be between 80 to 120 parts per million, or ppm. The ideal levels fall somewhere in between these numbers and allow the pH levels more overall balance.

What Happens if Total Alkalinity is Too High?

When the total alkalinity is higher than it should be, while not quite as detrimental as low alkalinity, can still wreak havoc on your swimming pool and system. This is because various particles can make their way out and float around the pool itself.

When this occurs, several parts of the swimming pool system can be affected negatively as a result. For example, when the water becomes cloudy due to particles floating around, it can affect the overall functioning of the water pump more.

Since a higher alkalinity level means there are often particles floating in the water, these pieces can make their way into the water pump and pipes. When this occurs, the pipes and other parts of the system can become clogged and stop working as efficiently.

Another issue that occurs when the total alkalinity is too high is the scaling that is left behind on the surface of the pool. This scaling leads to further clogs and build-up that can be detrimental to the overall operation of the water pump.

What Causes High Alkalinity Levels?

As you begin to sift through the information about lowering the alkalinity levels in your swimming pool, it is essential to understand the cause of the fluctuations. Knowing the reasons behind the differences can help you to be able to prevent them from happening in the future.

One cause of the fluctuation of alkalinity levels in your pool is the swimmers who enter the pool regularly. It is most likely that these people are entering the pool with various products that can cause your water to have higher levels of alkalinity.

Another reason you may face a higher alkaline level than normal is due to whether or if you recently shocked your pool. While shocking your pool’s water from time to time is recommended, you should be aware that it can cause your alkalinity to rise.

One of the most common reasons for high alkaline levels in a swimming pool is not properly taking care of it with routine maintenance. When this occurs, it is typically due to not frequently checking and testing both the pH and alkaline levels in your pool.

Overall, while the causes of high alkalinity levels can vary, it is important to make sure you understand why your pool has a higher level than usual. You will need to pay close attention to what goes on in and around your pool at all times to get to the bottom of sudden changes in alkalinity levels.

How to Maintain Proper Total Alkalinity Levels 

Measurement of pH and chlorine in swimming pools

As with most things, the key to maintaining proper total alkalinity levels in your swimming pool is to make sure you are testing it regularly. This is especially important when you are in prime swimming time so that the water stays in the best shape possible.

The process of maintaining proper levels of alkalinity may seem somewhat daunting to someone new to owning a pool. Unless you go out and hire a regular maintenance person where you work, you will be responsible for making sure that the alkalinity levels stay neutral.

Two suggested ways tell you how to maintain proper total alkalinity levels for your swimming pool. Both of these suggestions can make your swimming pool ownership much more pleasant overall.

Here are the best ways for you to maintain proper total alkalinity in your swimming pool:

  • From the moment you fill your swimming pool, you should begin testing the water for both the pH and the alkalinity level. This will ensure that the pool is ready to go when your family is ready to swim.

  • When adding chemicals to your pool to create balance in the water, you should always begin slowly and follow the instructions of the manufacturer and the directions on the bottle of the product.

While these are only two ways for you to maintain proper total alkalinity in your swimming pool, you must follow them to keep the balance properly. Knowing what the levels are before something goes wrong can go a long way to making sure that your swimming pool is fit for those who choose to swim.

Final Thoughts on How to Lower Alkalinity in a Pool

Overall, when it comes to lowering the alkalinity in your swimming pool, there are several ways to make that happen. The most important step, however, is to ensure that you are testing your swimming pool regularly to avoid dangerous levels of either pH or alkalinity.

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