How to Raise Alkalinity in Pool: Read this First

close up of a pool water


Did you know that the lower the alkalinity of your swimming pool, the higher its acidity? Consequentially, an acidic swimming pool is corrosive and unsafe for both swimmers and the lifespan of the swimming pool and if you have such, it is time to repair and remodel the pool. The issue is, that it is hard to know the alkaline level of your swimming pool water in one glance. It may appear bright and clean but with unsafe alkaline levels.

Why Is It Paramount to Raise Your Pool’s Alkalinity Level?

Your swimming pool can come to immeasurable harm if it contains water with low alkalinity. You risk your pool walls becoming etched, delaminated or cracked. Some metal surfaces will give way and melt under the corrosive water, which aftereffect is a stained pool wall.

Even the slightest alterations in pool water chemical composition can cause severe fluctuations in the pH levels. When the pH level becomes unbalanced, the phenomenon is called pH bounce and can cause low alkalinity in the pool, as the case may be.

With low alkalinity, the standard amount of chlorine added to your pool would be useless. It would only be useful when more than the usual amount is added for standard results. This means you buy more chlorine and waste more time trying to get to an adequate concentration level with the substance. Aside from its effects on your pool, a low-alkalinity swimming pool is unsafe for swimmers as the acidic water can cause nasal, eye, and skin irritations.

What Causes Low Pool Alkalinity?

The following points are to be considered as culprits for pool alkalinity:

  • Use of dry acid or muriatic acid. These chemicals, although useful in treating swimming pool water, are notorious for reducing pH concentration in water. A way of fixing this is by applying only a prescribed dose of the chemical in case there is a need to lower your pool’s pH. Then you can test your pool’s alkalinity level after 6 hours.
  • It probably rained hard. Rainwater might be low in alkaline levels, and when it rains hard, your pool may become flooded, and this will affect the average alkalinity of your pool.
  • If you drain or backwash your pool, adding freshwater with a low alkalinity level is bound to deplete the overall pH of your pool.

So How Exactly Can I Increase My Swimming Pool’s Alkalinity?

Bear these two things in mind – your target range and your swimming pool size. Ideally, your pool should be between 80-120 parts per million. However, depending on the area, your swimming pool is located, experts might require you to stay in the 100 – 120 ppm range.

Your Swimming Pool Alkalinity Can Be Improved By The Following Methods:

Use Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, is one of the most useful compounds in the pool industry. Substances like alka-plus, aka-buffer, or alkaline increases are all products used to increase the alkalinity of a swimming pool. The deal is finding the ones that are made of sodium bicarbonate.

No substance increases alkalinity like baking soda, and the fact that it is readily available and cheap makes it irreplaceable.

You can get sodium bicarb from a retail store or a pool supplier – it is the same compound. The only difference is that buying from your pool supplier comes with perks like instructions on how to use it. Buying from a retail shop, you may not be given such instructions.

Procedures for Using Sodium Bicarbonate to Increase Pool Alkalinity

  • Check The Overall Pool Alkalinity: Finding out the total alkalinity level of your pool will determine if you need to increase or decrease it. If, after testing, your pool alkalinity is below 80 ppm, it is time to add up the pH concentration.
  • Purchase Enough Sodium Bicarbonate: If your pool alkalinity is severely low, chances are a five-pound container of baking soda will not do the trick. It would be best if you had more than that. You should consult your pool supplier or talk with the retailer as to how much you can buy or what the size of the most massive container is.
  • Know The Right Quantity To Add: Too low an alkaline level in your pool would make the water acidic. Too high? Just as many troubles. Knowing just the right amount of baking soda to add to your low-alkaline pool is the deal. Half or three-quarters of the recommended amount should do the trick. If, after adding this amount your pool alkalinity is still low, you can add more baking soda.
  • Dilute the Baking Soda: Every container of sodium bicarbonate comes with instructions for diluting. Do not forget to dilute!
  • Pour It In The Pool: Baking soda is a soluble powder and dissolves quickly in water. You can add a recommended amount into the pool to increase alkalinity. Avoid pouring all in one place and also avoid doing this where the wind is much because the powder particles might be blown into your eyes and mouth.
  • Retest After Some Time: After adding all the treatments to your pool for increasing alkalinity, you can then retest to know the results after six hours. Even if you cannot recheck in six hours, it should not exceed 24 hours.

If, after going through these processes, your pool alkalinity is still depleted, you can repeat the process and retest until the alkaline level becomes stable.


A balanced alkaline level leads to a good swimming pool. Low alkalinity speaks doom for your swimming pool and the swimmers and can be managed by regular checks and tests. This will save you the expenses of purchasing new swimming pool equipment or chemicals.
Your swimming pool type also determines the healthy ppm range for the water. If you have concrete, glass, gunite, vinyl, or shotcrete pool surfaces, then a ppm of 100 – 120 would be healthy enough.

Water chemistry is a delicate subject and must be strictly adhered to, to keep your pool healthy during peak swimming seasons and beyond.