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What is Alkalinity?

Swimming Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs
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The alkalinity or baseness of pool water refers to pH level of the water in your swimming pool. pH is measured on a scale of 0-14, with 0 being a pure acid and 14 being a pure base or alkaline. Pure water will have a pH level of exactly 7.0, while a level of 7.2-7.6 is the ideal range for a pool. If the pH level of your pool is higher than 7.6 then it is too alkaline. A pH level lower than 7.0 would be acidic.

The alkalinity or acidity of pool water or any other solution is determined by the concentration of hydronium (h3O) ions. A higher concentration of hydronium ions will create a more acidic solution and a lower pH number, while a low concentration will give an alkaline solution with a higher pH number. Testing the pH level of your pool twice a week will help you make sure you keep the pH level correct.

Excessive alkalinity, or a high pH level, in a pool can cause numerous problems. For starters, pool users can experience dry, itchy skin and burning in their noses and mouths. People often think that chlorine causes these things, but it actually happens when the pH level is off, either too acidic or too alkaline.

Another problem is the waste and ineffectiveness of the chlorine. As the alkalinity level rises, more and more of the chlorine’s ability to attack particles and bacteria is lost. This means you would have to add more and more chlorine to your pool to get the amount of disinfection you need for a safe pool. If you have a sand filter in your pool, high alkalinity can cause calcium carbonate in the water to essentially combine with the sand in your filter to form a type of concrete. When that happens it will not be able to filter dirt out of your pool.

To lower the alkalinity of your pool, all you have to do is add an alkaline decreaser according to the instructions on the package. Sodium bisulfate and muriatic acid are both commonly used chemicals to lower the alkalinity level of pools, and neither will need to be diluted before use. Both are available at pool supply stores and will include instructions regarding how much to use based on the volume of your pool and how to safely and effectively disperse it throughout your pool.

Regular testing can keep you in tune with your pool’s pH level so you can keep it in the right range for maximum enjoyment.

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