How and Why to Increase the Alkalinity in Your Pool
Hot tubs and pools are a great way to relax after a long day or to soothe aches and pains. But in order to enjoy them, you need to perform regular maintenance. That includes ensuring the alkalinity level is in the ideal range.
But what exactly is alkalinity, and how do you know if you need to increase the alkalinity in your water? Total alkalinity is often referred to as a “buffer” to pH, as it keeps pH levels and water chemistry balanced. The ideal alkalinity range is between 80 and 120 parts per million.
What happens when total alkalinity is too low?
Corrosion. Corrosion of the tub’s metal surfaces and equipment (i.e. filter and pump) is a common effect of a low alkaline level.
Damage to the tub. Low alkalinity can cause cracking, etching, staining, and delamination of the tub’s material, including the vinyl cover.
pH Issues. When the alkalinity level drops below 80 ppm, it usually causes the pH levels to drop, causing the water to become acidic.
Less-effective sanitizers. A low alkalinity level creates imbalance among pH which can cause your chlorine to be drastically less effective. Less effective chlorine causes viruses, organic contaminants, and the formation of algae, which can cause the water to turn green.
How to raise alkalinity in your pool.
Supplies: Sodium bicarbonate, also referred to as baking soda. Or you may use another alkalinity product that can be found at most pool or spa stores to raise the alkalinity level.
First, test the water level to check the alkalinity level. The ideal level is between 80 to 120 ppm. You can use a digital tester, test strips, a liquid testing kit, or Amano to verify your water level.
Next, measure out the right amount of alkaline increaser. If you’re using baking soda, measure out one tablespoon per 100 gallons of water.
Turn on the jets to the highest setting to circulate the water. This will ensure that the increaser mixes quickly and more efficiently.
Add the increaser to the water. Keep the jets running for about 20 minutes, and don’t use the hot tub for at least six hours.
After six hours, retest the water and make any necessary adjustments if the alkalinity level is not within the 80 to 120 ppm range.
Expert Tip: Amano will automatically test the alkalinity level and with any imbalance, it will alert you of any necessary changes (with exact instructions of what and how much to use) that should be made to resolve the imbalance.