Swimming facilities are great investments that we need to spend every coin we have to maintain them the best way possible. Most people have the idea that maintaining these facilities entails checking at the water and chlorine levels. However, this not the only mean of maintaining your pool; there are several other aspects should be looked at to ensure everything is in the best way possible.
Testing alkalinity level in a pool is also another crucial thing that contributes to its maintenance. You need to regularly test your water’s alkalinity to ensure they are maintained at the required levels. But then, before we proceed, what do we refer to total alkalinity?
It is the measure of the amount of alkaline substance in your pool. The ideal measure of alkalinity ranges between 80 and 120 ppm. If your water measures anything higher or lower than this, you need to ensure the levels are returned to the normal range.
Substance in water that affects alkalinity in a pool includes hydroxides, carbonates, and bicarbonates. These substances tend to reduce the amount of acids that are vital for the safety of the pool. Therefore, to ensure the chemicals are working optimum, you need to maintain them balanced to destroy any substance built up in the water.
The substances that increase alkalinity results from foreign materials like human sweat, lotions, makeup, and other waste materials. Before we can move to our main topic, let’s learn the problems associated with low or high alkalinity in our swimming facilities.
The problems associated with high or low alkalinity levels
A normal alkalinity range stabilizes the pH levels of water in the pool. You will achieve this by preventing rapid changes in pH. Below are a few problems that will arise if the level of alkalinity is too low;
- Plaster and marbelite walls become etched
- Staining the walls and floor
- Corrodes metals
- Eyes burns
- Turning your pool water green
- A rapid change in pH either up or down
- Water becomes cloudy
- Lowers the efficiency of chlorine
- The pool will need acids consistently
As you can see, unbalance alkalinity levels in your pool has several effects at large. Therefore, you always need to prevent such a situation from happening to maintain your pool safe. But then, how can you ensure normal alkalinity levels are maintained?
Experts recommend pool owners to test the total alkalinity of their pool regularly. The levels change very little over time if you maintain your pool as required.
In the market, there exist several products designed purposely to ensure total alkalinity levels are maintained normal. Sodium bicarbonate and Muriatic acid are the best products for this purpose. Sodium bicarbonate helps to raise alkalinity or pH of water. Muriatic acid, on the other hand, is responsible to lower the total alkalinity and pH levels. Below, you will learn how Muriatic acid is used to reduce the total alkalinity of your pool.
The necessary equipment for the project
Any project will be accomplished once all equipment for use are in place. For this project, you need to look for equipment that doesn’t react with Muriatic acid. Metal parts corrode after they get into contact with acids. Therefore, you need to ensure everything you use is not made of metal.
- Muriatic acid
- A basin
- A stirrer
- Safety goggles
- An apron (It should be chemical resistant)
- Test strips (or a digital test kit)
Since Muriatic acid is dangerous, you need to wear protective gear to avoid getting in contact with it. Also, always pay attention during the process to prevent the splashing of the acid. Additionally, use a stirrer and basin made of plastic.
You will start the project by testing the pH and total alkalinity of your pool. This is essential to determine the amount of Muriatic acid you will use to bring the pH and alkalinity levels normal. You can either use the digital test kits or the test strips to determine this. However, the digital test kits are the preferred choice by experts.
Note: You will not add concentrated Muriatic acid into the pool; you need to dilute it. Mix water and Muriatic acid in the ratio of 10:1.
Once you have learned to handle everything, wear your safety gear, and set everything ready. Start by pouring water into your basin and follow by adding Muriatic acid.
Use your plastic stirrer to mix your content for about three minutes. Once the mixture is ready, pour the content at one dip end of the pool. You will follow to open your pump for some minutes to prevent the acid from settling on the floor. You will do this for about half an hour awaiting the acid to mix with your pool water evenly.
Lowering the total alkalinity of pool water is slower compared to increasing it. You also need to do the project while the filter is on. Pour the mixture slowly into the pool. Additionally, to allow it to mix easily in the pool, you will pour it nest to the pool’s return line. If you plan to do the exercise often, you will allow about three days in each application.
Since the process of lowering the levels is a bit slow, it might take time for it to return into its normal range. If the level is too high, it might take even weeks to get back into normal. You need to stay patient enough to get back the total alkalinity into normal.
The process is as easy as such. You will wait for about five hours before you can test the total alkalinity level of the pool. Rinse your equipment and store them far from children and pets. After five hours, you will test to determine how much change has occurred. If the required levels have not been attained, you will repeat the process until normal levels are attained.
The ideal time to wait before you use the pool
As we have learned, we should wear protective gear when handling Muriatic acid. This acid can irritate your body if it gets into contact with the skin. Additionally, you will experience the burning of the eyes if you swim immediately after applying the acid in water.
Now a question arises, what is the best time should you start swimming after this exercise? Most people will begin even immediately; however, this is not recommended if you need to avoid the problems associated when getting into contact with the acid. After applying Muriatic acid, you will need to wait up to five hours before using the pool.
Tips for maintaining your pool
We need to maintain our swimming facilities to ensure their alkalinity levels remain normal. Apart from checking the pool’s pH and alkaline levels, there are other aspects you need to look at to ensure you maintain a clean pool. Below are some of them;
1. Water flow
Proper circulation in your pool is vital for a sparkling blue pool to swim. There should be enough water movement to ensure the chemicals you add to your pool are evenly distributed to the entire pool. Ensure the pool runs up to eight hours a day. This way, you will prevent the buildup of algae and other pathogens.
2. Shock your pool
Shocking the pool frequently is essential, especially if the pool is heavily used. This is a way of preventing the buildup of wastes and bacteria. Through shocking, chlorine levels will go high to battle with any contaminant in the pool.
3. Clean the filters
These components play a significant role in maintaining a safe swimming pool for you and your family. Cleaning the filters ensures only clean water is allowed into the pool. You also need to replace its sand after about three years. Use either a manual brush or a pool vacuum to clean the filters. Clean all other components and change them when necessary for them to always function effectively.
4. Prevent the growth of algae.
Pool owners yearn to maintain their swimming facilities always clear. However, water plantations can make your pool to turn green. If this is the situation in your pool, then you have given algae room to grow. You can get the best algae inhibitor to ensure they are prevented from thriving in your pool in the market.
Alkalinity in swimming facilities is an important aspect when we talk about maintaining them safe for our families. However, controlling or managing a pool is not an easy task. You need to do everything as recommended by experts to have it safe. High and low alkalinity levels occur due to its poor maintenance of these facilities. You need to use available products in your pool to ensure it is maintained to serve you and your loved ones the best. Look at the pH levels, water levels, total alkalinity, and everything contributing to proper pool maintenance. This way, you would have invested in a clean and safe swimming pool for your family. Always keep your alkaline levels between 80 and 120 ppm.