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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
What exactly does baking soda do for a pool? I have a 16X48 above ground pool and I'm new to this world. There's so much to learn.
You can use it if the PH is low.
Here is a guide for pool use from Arm & Hammer.
U can use the bakingsoda if the pH of the water is below 6.5b(basic)
Pool maintenance is important to be sure your pool is safe for your family and friends to use.
ThriftyFun has a lot of information from past questions that will probably be a big help. here is a link to their past postings and a link to information on using baking soda.