Pool maintenance requires you to keep the pH and alkalinity at optimal levels. However, you do not always need to buy expensive chemicals like alkalinity increasers because even baking soda can be helpful.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate contributes to keeping your swimming pool clean and clear, making it safer for swimmers. That said, like everything else you use in your pool, you need to know when and how to use baking soda.
Why Should You Use Baking Soda in Pools?
Baking soda is one of those things that you need to keep around if you are serious about keeping your pool in greats shape, and here is how you can use it.
1. Raise Pool Alkalinity: Baking soda is a highly alkaline compound that will raise pool alkalinity levels significantly. Adding just 1.5 pounds of baking soda to your 10,000-gallon pool will help increase the alkalinity level by at least 10 ppm (parts per million).
2. Clear Cloudy Water: In many instances, cloudy pool water indicates that your water alkalinity is lower than the optimal level. Adding baking soda to the water will raise the alkalinity and hence clear out the water. However, it is crucial to ensure you do not add too much baking soda, as high alkalinity can make the water even cloudier.
3. Slightly Raise Pool pH: Typical pool baking soda will have a pH of around 8 to 9, and so you will need to add lots of it to have any significant impact on the pH. However, it can still be helpful when you want to raise the pH slightly.
How to Use Baking Soda in Pool
Step 1 – Test Pool Alkalinity and pH
You need to test the pool alkalinity before adding baking soda. Also, it makes sense to test the pH because the compound has a slight effect on the pH level. Some simple and inexpensive test strips like the Easytest Pool Test Strips can be handy here.
If the alkalinity is below the optimal 80 to 120 ppm mark, you should proceed with the steps below to add baking soda.
Step 2 – Calculate How Much Baking Soda to Add
The next step is calculating the amount of baking soda you will need to add to the pool water to get the alkalinity back to the optimal levels. The size of your pool and the actual total alkalinity levels should guide you here.
If you buy baking soda specifically meant for swimming pools, the manufacturer should provide clear directions on how much to use. However, in most instances, you will need between 1.25 and 1.5 pounds of baking soda to raise the alkalinity level in a 10,000-gallon pool by around 10 ppm.
Step 3 – Add the Baking Soda
Once you measure the baking soda you need, you can pour it directly into the pool. A good idea here will be to start by adding around 1/2 or at most 3/4 of the amount you measure, as it is not a good idea to add a lot of it to pool water in a single day. Make sure you do not add more than 2.5 pounds per day.
Another essential point to note is that you do not need to dissolve the baking soda in water before use. Instead, it would be best if you broadcast or sprinkle it over the pool’s surface. Also, you can pour it into the skimmer, but this is not always good for a pool’s filtration system. Regardless of which method you choose, make sure the pump remains running to keep the water in motion, as this prevents cloudiness.
Step 4 – Give it Time to Circulate
Give the baking soda enough time to circulate and dissolve in the pool. The amount of time you need depends on the pool size and how much baking soda you add, but around 6 hours should be enough in most situations.
Step 5 – Retest the Alkalinity Level
The last step is to retest the alkalinity levels. If you use the right amount of baking soda, you should see some change in the alkalinity levels. However, if it is still below 80 ppm, repeat the steps above until you raise it enough.
Baking soda provides an inexpensive but still highly effective way of raising the total alkalinity level in your pool water. Also, it can help clear cloudy water that occurs due to low alkalinity levels.
However, as useful as baking soda might be for pool maintenance, it is essential to know how to use it correctly, especially when determining the right amount to use.