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I am told you can use baking soda in the swimming pool to keep the water clean and not use chlorine. Does anyone know how to use just the baking soda?
Diane from Columbus, GA
You MUST use a sanitizer in your pool. For most people, that means Chlorine. You can reduce the amount of chlorine you use by keeping evaporation down and ultraviolet light from the pool (which breaks down the chlorine) with a solar blanket. Having enough stabilizer also helps to reduce the Chlorine need.
You really need a decent test kit to determine how much of anything to add to a pool. If you have an above ground pool and drain it every year, you may be able to get by with the test strips that come 50 in a bottle from the local *-mart store. As indicated by the Arm & Hammer tip others posted, you can use baking soda to bring up the PH (reduce acidity) OR to increase alkalinity, but if you don't know where you are starting, you may only make things worse.
If you have an in-ground pool or don't drain your pool yearly, then a good, full test kit is essential for keeping the pool from growing things.
Personally, in my indoor pool (about 25000 gallons), I use a Bromine/Ozone sanitizing system and it is much less expensive and easier to deal with than the typical Chlorine regimen, once it is set up properly. I keep my pool in the high 80's most of the time, and the Bromine cycle makes it much easier to keep it properly sanitized.
Unfortunately, just calling a pool guy won't necessarily get you what you want either, because most of them are poorly trained and follow rules of thumb that just may not apply to your situation, depending on the type of pool, temperature, type of filter, amount of pool usage and pollutants added by the users (suntan oils, etc). Besides improper or insufficient training, many are in the business of selling the chemicals they use, so often want to put in a lot more than really needed.
If the reason you don't like Chlorine is because of the smell and eye irritation, the problem is probably not chlorine itself, but the Chloramines that result when Chlorine breaks down as it does it's job. The only ways to get rid of Chloramines is to super-chlorinate (super shock) the pool on a periodic basis, or by changing out a significant portion of the water. If your pool is outdoors and not covered, you may be increasing the residual chemicals because of evaporation. As water evaporates, only pure water goes away, not the residual chemicals. Adding more water only makes the level better, it doesn't reduce the residuals in the water. On the other hand, emptying the pool yearly (or making periodic, partial water changes) can reduce these chemicals, making the pool more comfortable. Of course, after any major water change, the water balance needs to be tested and adjusted as necessary. Typically, most people need to monitor at least Hardness (Calcium level), Alkalinity (buffering capacity) and PH (acid/base level). If you use stabilized chlorine, you should also check fur cyanates (CYA) to make sure it isn't getting too high, or it's water change time...
If any of the major items are out of balance, the comfort of the pool will be affected, and quite possibly the life of the pool and/or equipment as well.
I know it sounds like a lot to be aware of, but with a little reading you can get take care of your pool without needing a lot of support or spending a lot of money, and have a much more comfortable pool as well.
rickf (at) rickfrazier (dot) com
That sounds a little bogus to me. Years ago, I followed instructions on how to supposedly keep a pool clean by using lemon leave and garlic. Guess who's pool turned green? Chlorine is used for a reason. If you use too much powder, it may become too alkaline.
Will ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda help keep my pool water clearer?
It can! Use our waterproof 12 lb. Resealable Pouch with the enclosed scoop to keep ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda handy at poolside.
Here's how it works: ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda helps maintain the pH of the water in your pool in the desired range and provide necessary alkalinity (mineral salts found in water). Recommended pH control by ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda and a disinfecting agent will keep your pool water sparkling clear, and your eyes from burning.
How To Use:
For those who monitor pH only: Every week during the swimming pool season, measure the pH and add
ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda as indicated below:
If pH is: Add per 10,000 Gallons of Water
Less than 7.2
Between 7.2 and 7.5
Don't add baking soda. To prevent clouding, especially in hard water areas (250 ppm or more) or when using a calcium chlorinating agent, keep the pH below 7.8 by adding sodium bisulfate or acid if necessary.
For those who monitor pH and alkalinity: Pool professionals advise that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) be used to provide alkalinity (proper range 80-100 ppm) and that alkalinity and pH be controlled independently.
Every week during the season, measure the alkalinity and add ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda as indicated below:
If Alkalinity is: Add per 10,000 Gallons of Water
110 ppm or higher
Don't add baking soda.
By controlling alkalinity at the proper range of 80-100 ppm, the pH will usually stabilize in its desired range. However, occasional pH adjustment may be necessary. Therefore, pH also should be measured every week. If pH is high, add sodium bisulfate or acid in moderation to reduce pH. If pH is low, but the alkalinity is in the proper range, don't add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Adjust pH by adding a chemical with high pH such as soda ash (sodium carbonate) to raise pH rapidly without significantly increasing alkalinity. Remember to check disinfectant level, and add disinfecting agent as recommended by the manufacturer.
Refer to the 12 lb. ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda packages for detailed instructions before using.