What Happens if You Swim in Water With High Alkalinity?

Alkalinity refers to a pool’s ability to resist acids. Carbonate, bicarbonate, and hydroxides are all alkaline compounds, and are responsible for neutralizing pH changes. Alkalinity levels in your pool water is a crucial factor when it comes to maintaining a clean environment for swimmers. 

If your alkalinity levels are off, it can cause problems with pH levels, chlorine effectiveness, and the pool’s functioning system. If it is too low, water will become too acidic and it will cause corrosion in the pool’s walls, ladders, and filters. 

If you want to know how to reduce alkalinity in the pool, keep reading to learn the best ways to maintain a healthy environment for everyone to enjoy. 

Unbalanced Alkalinity

Low alkaline levels can lead to an increase in chlorine usage in order to balance alkaline percentage, which can cause skin irritation, red eyes, and other health issues for swimmers. High alkaline levels can also be a problem, as it can lead to corrosion of objects like ladders, filters, and pumps. 

It can also cause scale build-up on the pool’s walls. In both cases, unbalanced alkaline levels can significantly reduce the longevity of your swimming pool equipment and make maintenance more difficult. 

Alkaline in water is measured in parts-per-million (PPM) and the ideal alkalinity for your pool ranges between eighty and 120 PPM. Checking your pool regularly is essential to maintaining healthy water.

High Alkalinity

If the total alkalinity in your pool is too high, it means there is an excess of bicarbonates in the water. This means that it is very resistant to changes in pH. This can also cause scaling on walls as well as cloudy, discolored water, due to calcium deposits. It also creates an environment where chlorine struggles to work because its effectiveness decreases as alkalinity levels increase. 

Low Alkalinity 

On the other hand, low alkaline levels create instability in pH balance and chlorine levels, both of which require a certain amount of alkalinity for proper functioning. Without adequate alkalinity levels, chlorine will not be effective and sudden pH changes can occur, resulting in acidic water. 

This will corrode metal surfaces like ladders, filters, and pumps. Low alkaline can also result in an accumulation of phosphates and nitrates, which cause algae growth and cloudy water.  

Correcting Unbalanced Alkaline Levels 

Correcting unbalanced alkaline levels requires understanding what alkalinity levels in a pool are safe to swim in. Is there heavy use of chemicals? Has the same chemical been used over a long period of time? What are the pH levels? Answering these questions is essential before you act. Then, you can use either chemicals or non-chemical alternatives to restore balance to your pool. 

To raise alkaline levels using chemicals, you can add sodium bicarbonate directly into the pool filter or use muriatic acid to lower alkalinity. Always consult a professional before attempting any chemical treatment yourself. 

There are also non-chemical solutions, such as installing a distilled water pump that detects alkaline levels and adds rainwater if the levels are too low. However, these methods may take longer than chemical options, so be sure to plan ahead.

Making a Splash

Maintaining balanced alkaline levels is essential for preserving a healthy swimming environment. This way, you’ll prevent corrosion and algae growth while also providing the perfect chlorine state and pH stability. 

Be sure to measure your alkalinity periodically with test strips or kits, especially after using chemicals. With some knowledge about how alkaline affects your pool, you should be able to easily maintain balanced alkaline levels all season long, so swimmers can enjoy a healthy and clean environment!

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