Keeping your pool’s chemistry in perfect balance requires you to use several chemical types. However, if the main problem is high acidity in the pool water, soda ash is always your best bet, given its high effectiveness at raising pool pH levels.
As a pool owner, knowing that you need soda ash to keep your pool chemistry in perfect balance is not enough. It is even more critical to understand why you need it and how to use it correctly. This guide explains all this in more detail.
Why Do You Use Soda Ash?
Soda ash or sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) will affect both the pool water pH and alkalinity. Technically, you can use it when you want to raise either, but its effectiveness varies.
With a pH of between 11 and 12, soda ash has more effect on the water’s pH than alkalinity. Hence, if you have water with low pH, it can help you restore it to the ideal level.
Just adding 6 ounces of soda ash to 10,000 gallons of pool water will raise the pH by at least 0.2. The same amount of soda ash will hardly raise the alkalinity level by more than 5 ppm, which is insignificant.
Therefore, you can use soda ash to raise the pool’s pH level without significantly altering the total Alkalinity.
Sodium carbonate can also be handy when you want to soften your pool water. This soluble compound will remove both permanent and temporary water hardness.
It will effectively eliminate elements that cause water hardness, such as magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate. Hence, besides stabilizing the pH, soda ash makes the water gentler on the skin and eyes.
How to Use Soda Ash
Adding soda ash to your water should be a straightforward and quick job if you know what to do. Here is a breakdown of all you need to know about using the compound.
What You Need
- Soda ash
- pH and alkalinity test kit
- 5-gallon bucket
- Goggles and gloves
- Wooden stirring stick
Step 1: Test pH and Alkalinity
Although you will be using soda ash to raise pH, it also has a minor impact on the alkalinity level. Therefore, it is crucial to test both before you add this compound to your pool.
Here you can use a test kit like the Taylor K-1003 pH Alkalinity Test Kit or test strips such as Health Metric 4 Way Testing Strip Kit. Test kits provide more accurate results, but they are harder to use and also more expensive. With test strips, you get a quick and inexpensive option.
If the pH is lower than the 7.2 to 8.0 optimal range, you will need to add soda ash to your water.
Step 2: Measure Amount of Soda Ash You Need
Next, you have to measure the amount of soda ash to add to the pool. What you need depends on how low your pH is and also the size of your pool. Overall, you need at least 6 ounces of soda ash to raise your pool pH by 0.2 if it has 10,000 gallons of water.
However, note that regardless of how low your pH level might be, you should avoid adding more than 16 ounces of soda ash to the water in a single day as this causes cloudiness.
Step 3: Mix Soda Ash with Water
Once you figure out how much soda ash you need, the next step is to dissolve it in water. Although you can still pour it directly into the pool, it is always better to pre-mix dry pool chemicals as this speeds up the circulation.
Fill a 5-gallon bucket to about three quarters using water from the pool, and then add the soda ash gradually while stirring continuously. Keep stirring until all the soda ash dissolves completely. If you leave some soda ash undissolved, you are more likely to cloud the water.
Step 4: Add Mixture to the Pool
Now you can add the solution to your pool. Some people will pour everything at the deepest end of the pool, but it is even better to add it around the pool’s perimeter.
Also, make sure that you do not pour the soda ash solution close to the skimmer as it will only go into the filtration system and not the rest of the pool. However, you can pou it closer to return jest for faster and more even distribution.
Step 5: Retest pH and Alkalinity
You need to give the soda ash at least 6 hours to work. Leave the pump running during this time and also avoid using the pool. After the 6 hours, you should retest the pH to see if it is optimal. Also, check whether the soda ash alters the alkalinity significantly.
Soda ash is a valuable compound for restoring pool pH to optimal levels. With just a few ounces of it and 6 hours to spare, you can have the pH back to the correct range.
Additionally, it will also help soften your water, which further helps make it safe for swimmers. However, you have to use it correctly for the best results, but this only requires you to follow the 5 simple steps above.