Everything You Need to Know About Alkalinity in Your Pool

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If your pool water is a little murky or your pool filters seem plugged with calcium deposits, then your pool may be suffering from high alkalinity levels. Pool owners envy professionally photographed swimming pools they see online and hope that once summer comes, their pool will look eye-catching, radiant, and appealing too. In reality, it’s easy to accomplish a resort looking pool. As simple as this, pool owners need to understand and maintain their swimming pool water. For those that try maintaining water quality, Shoreline Pools is here to help! Let’s get you up to speed on the importance of balancing alkalinity and pH levels in your swimming pool.

What is Alkalinity?

Alkalinity is the volume of water that fights against acidification. It measures your pool’s water ability to neutralize acids and bases while maintaining a pH level that allows the water quality to be precise. The recommended alkalinity level for a swimming pool is 80-120ppm, which is measured on the pH scale in parts per million.

How to alter the Total Alkalinity in your pool

Alkalinity can easily be measured with an inexpensive testing kit. When the time comes to view the results of the alkalinity level in your swimming pool, you want to make sure that total alkalinity is between 80-120ppm. You might come across scores lower than 80ppm. That is ok! Simply increase the levels by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). It is also ok if the score is higher than 120ppm. To efficiently decrease the levels, add sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid. The problem with high alkalinity is that it can cause problems to manifest in the pool and the circulation systems, so it’s important to balance out the levels in your swimming pool.

What About Your Pool’s pH Level?

By identifying your pH levels, you can measure your pool’s acidic (basic) levels. There is a scale of 0-14, 7 being neutral. More than 7 means the water is too basic; conversely, less than 7 means the water is too acidic. pH is a vital component to learning the chemical conditions in the water you are swimming in.

Examples of pH Levels:

Level 1: Gastric Acid (Very Acidic)

Level 4: Tomato Juice (Acidic)

Level 7: Water (Neutral)

Level 9: Baking Soda (Basic)

Level 14: Bleach (Very Basic)

What causes Alkalinity to Increase?

  1. If your pH levels are increasing, the alkalinity will raise with it
  2. pH and alkalinity levels tend to rise with substances such as sunblock, oils, alcohol, etc. causing the alkalinity levels to rise
  3. Pool owners often tend to over shock their pools after a crowded weekend. Because pool shock already has high alkaline in it, it naturally causes levels to increase

What causes Alkalinity to Decrease?

  1. If your pH levels are decreasing, the alkalinity will fall with it
  2. pH levels can dramatically drop due to a large amount of rainwater along with sweat and urine
  3. Confusingly enough, if you let too much chlorine disintegrate, it will lower the pH and alkalinity levels

What does low Alkalinity cause? – Below 80ppm

  • Low alkalinity can turn your pool water green
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Weathering pool surfaces and equipment

What does high alkalinity cause? – Above 120ppm

  • High alkalinity can turn the pool cloudy
  • The build-up of inorganic materials on pool surfaces and equipment
  • pH level rises or falls with alkalinity levels, but pH level is harder to lower when alkalinity is high rather than lower

Steps After Stabilizing your Pool’s Alkalinity Levels

Let’s face it; high school chemistry was a difficult subject for most of us. Pool chemistry is runner up and can be overwhelming to grasp. However, it is essential when owning a pool, so perfecting the sciences is wise. The pool professionals at Shoreline Pools have the experience necessary to balance the alkalinity levels in your pool water. Dial (203) 357-1544 to schedule a meeting with our pool servicing team.

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