As a pool owner, you know that high pH levels are bad news. But in your haste to reduce pH levels back to normal, you added too much pH reducer.
Unfortunately, it is possible to have too much of a good thing- in this case, too much sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid, aka pH Down, pH Reducer.
So what should you do if you add too much pH Reducer to your pool?
Understanding pH Reducer
Before we dive into the solution, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about pH reducer. pH reducers are substances used to lower water’s pH level. They are also known by various names, such as pH Decreaser, pH Down, pH Lower, and pH Minus. You can find these names on containers of common pH-reducing chemicals like sodium bisulfate or muriatic acid/hydrochloric acid.
In terms of chemistry, pH determines whether something is basic or acidic and has a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Ideally, your pool’s pH should be between 7.4 and 7.6, which is the neutral range.
However, factors such as dirt, debris, rain, or having a saltwater system can throw off the pH levels. This is why it’s crucial to routinely test your pool’s pH levels.
Sodium bisulfate, also known as dry acid, is the primary ingredient in most commercial pH reducers like pH Minus or pH Down. Alternatively, you can use muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid), but since it’s highly corrosive, extra precautions such as wearing safety gear should be taken.
Regardless of which pH reducer you use, it’s important to follow the instructions provided. However, mistakes can happen, and if you find yourself adding too much pH reducer, here’s what you should do next:
Next Steps After Adding Too Much pH Reducer to Your Pool
Adding excessive amounts of pH reducer to your pool can make the water too acidic. This can lead to various issues such as cloudy pool water, dry and itchy skin, stinging eyes and nasal passages, corrosion of metal components, and deterioration of concrete, stone, grout, and tiling. It can also result in algae buildup due to reduced amounts of working chlorine.
To address this problem, follow these steps:
1. Check the pH Level to Confirm
Use a reliable pool test kit to check the pH level of your pool water. Inaccurate test kits can contribute to pH imbalances. Ideally, the pH level should be between 7.4 and 7.6. If the reading is below this range, it indicates that you’ve added too much pH reducer.
2. Add Baking Soda
If the test reveals that you’ve added too much pH reducer, adding baking soda to the water can help raise the pH level. Baking soda is a natural alkaline substance that neutralizes acidity. The amount to add depends on the pool water’s alkalinity. As a general guideline, for every 10,000 gallons of water, you’ll want to add 1.5 lbs of baking soda to raise the alkalinity by around 10 ppm. Adjust the dosage accordingly if you have a larger pool or if the pH level is below 7.2. To ensure even distribution, spread the baking soda in arcs across the water’s surface. After waiting for at least four hours (but no more than 24), retest the pH and alkalinity levels. If the pH is between 7.2 and 7.8 and the alkalinity is above 110 ppm, your pool is ready for swimming. Repeat the process if the
pH is still below 7.2 and the alkalinity is below 110 ppm.
3. Add Soda Ash
If you’ve added a significant amount of pH reducer or pH down, soda ash can be used to increase the pH in larger steps without significantly affecting the alkalinity of the water. To add soda ash, use approximately 6 ounces per 10,000 gallons of pool water. It’s important not to add more than 1 lb of soda ash at one time to avoid cloudy water.
4. Add Borax
Another option to increase the pH level without affecting alkalinity is to add borax to your pool. Borax adds borates to the water, which helps stabilize the pH level. The amount of borax to add depends on the starting pH and total alkalinity of the water. You can use a pool chemical calculator to determine the precise amount. Start by adding 1-2 lbs of borax and test the water a few hours later. If needed, you can add more borax to achieve the desired pH level.
5. Call a Pro if Necessary
If you’re unsure about how to restore your pool’s pH balance or if the pH level is extremely low, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance. Reach out to the company that installed your pool or seek guidance from reputable sources. Professionals can provide expert advice and guidance to help you correct the pH imbalance effectively and safely.
Remember, maintaining the proper pH balance in your pool is essential for the overall health and enjoyment of your swimming experience. Regularly testing and adjusting the pH levels will ensure that your pool water remains clean, clear, and safe for everyone to enjoy.
In conclusion, if you find that you’ve added too much pH reducer to your pool, don’t panic. By following the steps outlined above and using appropriate chemicals like baking soda, soda ash, or borax, you can successfully raise the pH level back to the desired range. However, if you’re uncertain or uncomfortable addressing the issue yourself, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Taking the necessary steps to correct the pH imbalance will help keep your pool water balanced, clear, and inviting for all to enjoy.