Maintaining the integrity of your swimming pool or hot tub is not always easy.
You need to keep track of certain chemicals as here, you will see the effects of high alkalinity in your pool- is it dangerous.
Cleaning the swimming pool regularly is a great habit as you can keep the water clear from debris.
You can use the most powerful pool cleaners or scrub the pool liner yourself.
However, this alone can be dangerous to your pool because it is insufficient.
There are spots that any pool cleaner will miss and some tight areas that even you cannot reach to clean.
These areas are the perfect hiding spots for small debris on a micro-level.
They put as many dangerous threats to the pool and the swimmers’ health as the bigger debris.
When these microorganisms build up, they can put small damages in the pool that will worsen if you do not take action.
That is why you need another defense for them.
Chemicals are great in doing this as they can clean anything that the water in your pool touches.
That means they can go inside pipes and tight corners to eliminate the threats.
The issue with adding chemicals to the swimming pool is that you need to monitor and measure everything correctly to get the job done right.
There are specific chemicals and amounts for each chemical to keep them safe to swim in.
Alkalinity or total alkalinity is one of the important chemicals in water.
They help neutralize the acids like sodium bicarbonates and sodium carbonate so that the pool continues to clean itself while also being safe to swim in.
There are a lot of damages that high alkalinity can do to the swimming pool, the water in it, and the pieces of equipment around it.
So we will discuss what those damages are and more in this post.
What Is Total Alkalinity?
Before we get to the damages, we need to know and understand the terms. Total alkalinity, for instance, is the total amount of concentration of alkaline substances in the water.
It is often called the buffer or the neutralizer of the swimming pool’s water. It deals with acids and keeps them at a safe level so that they continue safely cleaning the water.
So total alkalinity directly affects the pool’s pH levels since it is also about acids. This means that once you change the total alkalinity, you can hardly avoid it without affecting pH levels.
You need to consider things before you even decide on changing the alkalinity in your water. This is to make sure that the water stays safe for the swimmers.
Total alkalinity is measured in larger numbers with parts per million. The normal or safe level of total alkalinity is 80 to 120 parts per million.
You need to act fast if your total alkalinity goes over or under that range. It can cause a lot of damage in the long run if you leave the water’s total alkalinity at a high or low level.
Natural causes like rain or carelessness with adding muriatic acid, hydrochloric acid, or cyanuric acid into the water can be dangerous and alkalines help a lot with this.
This can also be observed with your faucet or drinking water so it is always great to purify it before drinking.
Now, to understand the damages of what high alkalinity can do, you also need to know some of the chemical reactions and levels that involve total alkalinity in the water.
pH level or pH scale is the measurement of all acidic substances in the water. It is read at much lower numbers with the normal or safe reading between 7.2 and 7.8 to make it properly work.
Once you go lower than that, it will translate to weak water that cannot kill microorganisms in it.
If the reading goes higher than 8, it will also cause a lot of damage to the pool.
The swimmers might also get some irritations on the skin or their eyes if there is a high pH level reading.
That is why you need to neutralize it and keep it at safe levels.
The alkaline substances in the pool are responsible for lowering or neutralizing the acids.
However, you can make the pool to get more damage if you let the alkalinity take over.
So balance is the keyword to this kind of chemical reaction.
To keep the swimmers and the pool safe, you need to keep both the acids and the alkaline substances at the safest levels.
The basic reading of these two chemicals is just their opposites.
So the higher the total alkalinity is, the lower the pH or acidic levels, the lower the alkalinity, the higher the pH and acidic levels.
It is almost impossible to change the alkalinity without affecting the pH levels.
There are no other ways to raise the alkalinity without affecting the pH levels and other chemicals.
Now that we know that both high and low levels of pH and total alkalinity damage the pool and the health of the swimmers, let us concentrate on the effects of high alkalinity in the pool.
High Alkalinity And Its Effects On The Pool
As you can imagine, there is more than one effect when the alkalinity is too high in the pool’s water.
We listed down the most common effects of high alkalinity in the pool. There can be different causes for high alkalinity in pool and some of the causes are just out of our control.
On this list, you will see the indicators of what high alkalinity is in the water.
So you can also use them as markers to know that the pool water’s total alkalinity needs to be balanced right away.
Again, high alkalinity means that there are not enough acid parts in the pool to clean the water. This can cause a high production of bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms in the pool.
When that happens, the water will become cloudy or murky. This is when you need to shock a pool.
Since bacteria and other debris flourishes on stagnant water, you will see the water become less clear every day.
Once you see this, it will not be long before you notice the other effects. Cloudy pool means the pool is no longer self cleaning.
You need to add something like muriatic acid or just shock the pool to get rid of the cloudy water and stabalise the pool chemistry again.
This can be corrected easier so if the only sign you see is cloudy water, then quickly take action.
One of the most common effects of high alkalinity or other imbalanced chemicals is the scaling on the pool liner.
This creates a rough pool liner that has hidden, more threatening effects.
See, when there is not enough acid in the swimming pool’s water.
Other chemicals such as calcium will flourish causing the water to dump the excess chemicals in the pool liner causing calcium hardness.
Not only that, but the scales can also build up inside the pipes.
So once you see scales on the surface of the pool liner, do not wait any longer before it gets inside the hard-to-reach areas.
Scales might not seem that threatening and, to be honest, they will not affect your health that much.
But aside from being not-so-aesthetically pleasing, they can damage your pool.
The high alkaline levels in the water will cause a lot of chemical imbalances.
The one thing that is often observed when this happens is the weakened effect of chlorine in the water.
When the water’s total alkalinity gets too high, the chlorine in the water will cease to work.
It lowers its concentration and capability to keep the water clean and clear, making it unsafe to swim.
Without sanitizing the water in the swimming pool, the swimmers can get more diseases from swimming in it.
This can also cause tears and holes on the pool liner that causes leaks.
While dirt, debris, and bacteria build up in the pool liner, they scrape off some of its materials.
This will eventually be worsened by the pressure of the water and make larger cracks on it.
So before the water leaks out of the pool, you need to keep the total alkalinity at a safe level to swim.
This will be much cheaper than replacing your pool liner or even the pool walls.
Malfunctions On The Equipment
Since your swimming pool needs to be filtered and the water needs to be circulated, you will need some equipment around the pool so you do not have to do it manually.
Pool pumps and pool filters are two of the basic equipment that needs to be in the pool.
They help eliminate larger debris and keep the pool clean without you doing most of the work.
If the pool’s total alkalinity is too high, the scale can reach the pipes that connect the pool to these pieces of equipment.
If that happens, the mechanical parts may malfunction.
Due to the hardened parts, the equipment will stop working, which translates to a faster build-up of the bacteria in the water.
This will also require a lot of time and money to fix.
So before any of these effects or damages happen, you will need to act fast.
Get the best Alkaline balancing chemicals and put the right amount into the pool water.
You need to take specific amounts and steps to get your water back to its normal chemical balance.
So if you want to know more, read on as we get into the process.
How To Lower Total Alkalinity
Once you see either one of the effects of high alkalinity listed above, do not waste time and get your water balanced right away with common home remedies, which will prevent more damage to your pool and health.
Before adding any alkaline balancer or acid to the pool, make sure that it is the total alkalinity causing the damage.
So make sure that the total alkalinity is the real culprit and then add the right amount.
Here, we will briefly discuss each step you need to take to lower the alkalinity in the water with this simple home remedy.
Step 1: Test Your Pool Water
To know the real cause of the effects you have observed, always test the water first.
Here, you will see what makes the water murky or what is causing the walls to scale.
Get your testing kit and find the brightest area around your swimming pool.
Dip the test strips as deep as 1 foot in the water and then test it right away to avoid getting other chemicals.
Compare the colors of the test strips to the guide on the kit and then see if the alkalinity is too high.
If so, you can proceed to the next step or get other chemicals.
Step 2: Add The Right Amount
Measure the amount of water in your pool and then see how much acid it takes to lower the alkalinity.
This measurement will usually be read by 10,000 gallons of water.
So to lower the total alkalinity of the pool to 100 parts, you might need around 1 or 3 gallons of acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.
There will be specific instructions on the bottle.
You will need to put the acid carefully and evenly by going around the pool and pouring the chemical.
You can pour the extra acid into the deepest part of the swimming pool.
Step 3: Aerate And Test Again
To properly distribute the acid in the water, do not speed up the home remedy by turning the pool pump on.
Leave the acid to dissolve in the water for at least a day.
This will take time but natural aeration will be more beneficial.
If you do this, the pH levels will not fluctuate or rise abruptly and cause other damage in the pool.
The following day, test the water and see if the alkalinity will lower.
If so, leave it there again, it acts slowly so some home remedies may take around a week to see the difference.
After you have set your swimming pool to the right chemical balance, you can then go ahead and enjoy your swim.
This might take a lot of time, but it is better than damaging the pool.
Once you see the effects of high alkalinity in the pool, act quickly. You can add muriatic acid or just shock the pool.
You are not going to get affect by high alkalinity if you swim in the water as much as you would if the pool water had lower pH levels/was acidic.
You will avoid getting the pool damaged and you get to keep safe to swim anytime.
Follow the simple instructions above if your swimming pool has high alkalinity.
Within a day or two, the pool will go back to normal, and you can get back to your normal swimming routine.
If you have any questions or experiences with this, leave them in the comments below, as it would help our readers!
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