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Thread: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

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    Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    I am a new pool owner and trying to learn the chemicals. We have a local pool store that tests the water for free and sells you what you need.

    This week they told me to put in sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sulfuric acid. My pH was 7.6 which is pretty close to what we want. Why would I want to add in one chemical which raises pH and another chemical that lowers pH? Wouldn't the net effect of the 2 chemicals be neutral?

    I'm wondering if they are just trying to just sell me extra chemicals that cancel each other out????? I have spent over $100 in the last month on pool chemicals. This seems excessive, especially since it only costs about $60 to have someone do it for you.

    Here were my test results and what they told me to put in this week. My pool is 10,000 gallon concrete and is located in SW Florida.

    chlorine: 5.0 ppm They said don't add any this week.

    pH: 7.6 - was told to add 2 cups of sulfuric acid.

    Alkalinity test: 70 - was told to add 5lbs of baking soda. Also, What exactly is an "alkalinity" test. I remember from chemistry class that acidity/alkalinity was "pH".

    Stabilizer test: 50 - was told to add in 3 lbs of cyanuric acid. We've had to add in 2 lbs every week for the last month and the number have stayed at 50. From what I have read, 50 is the high side and you don't want to go over that. They said they want to get this number above 70.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Welcome to TFP.

    While they probably don't know why they want you to buy Baking Soda and Acid, there is some science behind it. Baking soda raises TA a good bit and pH a little. Acid lowers pH and a TA. Pool Stores like to play the YoYo game. They get to sell you more stuff that way.

    Having said that. First and foremost we do not believe most pool stores test results. Especially CYA.

    I would suggest that you get a good test kit and do your own testing. If we believe the TA number, it doesn't need changing so adjusting it makes no sense.

    It would help if you'd put your equipment in your sig.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Welcome to TFP! You have just learned the pool store lesson, they try anything to sell you something. That is their goal, sales.

    Check out the ABC's of Pool Water Chemestry
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...ater-chemistry

    The testing they do is usually worth what you paid for it. We recommend folks,have their own quality test kit and just do things themselves. Most of us never go in a pool store anymore, we buy what we need at WalMart and Lowes. WM supplies bleach which in most cases is the least expensive chlorine to add to your pool and Lowes sells muratic acid to lower pH. Should you actually NEED the baking soda it is also available at WM much cheaper than the fancy stuff at the pool store.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Without doing the math, I don't think that the advice on the TA and pH is egregious. I think the idea here is to raise the TA but keep the pH about the same. You should check the numbers, though, and I recommend using PoolMath to do so.

    The advice on CYA is not good. I don't see any reason why 50 is not enough.
    16x40 Lazy L Vinyl Inground, Hayward Pump & Sand Filter

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Welcome! A newbie here myself I will tell you that you came to the right place. Some hard studying on this website for the past week and I actually knew the answer to your question (though someone beat me to it.) My point is, don't get discouraged the people here are great- I was completely overwhelmed with all of this a few weeks ago and it's already starting to come together. My basic advice; (1) read the Pool school topics (2) make a quick link to the pool calculator on your computer (3) get your own test kit- there is great advice on which one on this site (4) Stop being a slave to the pool store. Once you get to understand this, I found out that I already know more than the people at the store trying to sell you this stuff. When I went to the store yesterday, they tried to sell me something to raise my TA and when I pushed why (as it didn't make sense to me) they stammered and backed off. Good luck!
    Inground Pool Completed April 2015
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Thanks for all of the replies. It only took me 1 month to figure out the pool store game so I don't feel too bad I will for sure get my own test kit.

    The interesting thing is that the CYA numbers keep staying at 50. From what I read, this should never drop on it's own without draining some water. Therefore, if I keep adding some every week then I would think this should keep going up, correct? However, it stays at 50 every week and they tell me to add more every week which I have done. I've only had to add in 2 1/2 gallons of chlorine in 3 weeks. From what I've read, that seems really low in SW Florida where it have been over 90 degrees with direct sunlight every day.

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Quote Originally Posted by ddbell View Post
    I am a new pool owner and trying to learn the chemicals. We have a local pool store that tests the water for free and sells you what you need.

    The testing is worth what you paid for it. They are selling you what you don't need. Your numbers, if believable, are good and nothing needs adjusting.

    Recommend you get the TF100 test kit from tftestkits.net

    Then post your complete set of test results here and you will get good advice from the forum.
    27,500 gallon in ground gunite/plaster (1995). Attached Spa with fountain, spillway, and 2 lion heads streaming into the pool. Hayward pump and AO Smith UST1152 1.5 hp motor (single speed). Hayward 60 sq ft DE Filter (Model DE-6000). Kreepy Krauly cleaner.

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Quote Originally Posted by epro05 View Post
    The testing is worth what you paid for it. They are selling you what you don't need. Your numbers, if believable, are good and nothing needs adjusting.

    Recommend you get the TF100 test kit from tftestkits.net

    Then post your complete set of test results here and you will get good advice from the forum.
    THIS
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    The CYA test is the one that the pool stores seem to do the worst with.

    It would definitely be in your best interest to get one of the recommended kits so you can test it yourself. I would definitely not add any more stabilizer until you've done your own testing.

    Unless you've had a lot of water replacement or you have a leak and an autofill that is continuously refilling the pool it really shouldn't be going down.

    You might be getting sky high with the CYA which could maybe account for not losing much chlorine but then...their tests could just be wildly wrong and who knows for sure what's happening.

    Best thing to do if you want to know for sure is to get a proper test kit and find out for yourself. Otherwise you'll always be chained to the pool store and their results and their high dollar suggestions that most times just have you coming back in for more $$$.

    The TF-100 ships from North Carolina and would probably get to you pretty quickly! Then...no more guessing games. It's your call...

    Welcome to TFP!
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    I'm for sure getting a test kit. The TF-100 showed as out of stock at the suggested website. I'll google it and try to find it elsewhere if I can.

    There was a leak but I fixed the leak a month ago. I've only added 1 inch of water total in the last month when we had a dry period. Over the last month, the pool averaged 1/8"/day for loss which I think is about normal for evaporation. We've had some rain that has pushed another couple of inches out the overflow this week. So in total, maybe 3" of total water loss/replacement in 1 month.

    The leak would explain the CYA being low a month ago. We added 4 lbs of CYA after fixing the leak and keep adding 2 pounds and the numbers don't change. I didn't add what they told me to this week. I'll wait until I test it myself. If it's way too high then I guess I will pump some water out.

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    I think the light bulb just turned on for me.

    The first question they ask everyone in line is "does your pool have algae?" Anyone who says yes gets special chemical treatment because the chlorine isn't doing a good enough job.

    I think this is the sequence of treatment-

    1. They raise the CYA to the point where chlorine is less effective. The CYA is the most expensive chemical so they can sell the customer a bunch of that.

    2. Then algae will start to grow because the chlorine is not very effective with too much CYA. Once that happens, they you can sell you other "special chemicals" to fix it!

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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Check again the TF100 is in stock. the K2006 is backordered.
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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    epro05's Avatar
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    Yes, you want the TF100 anyway. It has more of the reagents you use most.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ddbell View Post
    I think the light bulb just turned on for me.

    The first question they ask everyone in line is "does your pool have algae?" Anyone who says yes gets special chemical treatment because the chlorine isn't doing a good enough job.

    I think this is the sequence of treatment-

    1. They raise the CYA to the point where chlorine is less effective. The CYA is the most expensive chemical so they can sell the customer a bunch of that.

    2. Then algae will start to grow because the chlorine is not very effective with too much CYA. Once that happens, they you can sell you other "special chemicals" to fix it!

    You nailed it right on the head.
    27,500 gallon in ground gunite/plaster (1995). Attached Spa with fountain, spillway, and 2 lion heads streaming into the pool. Hayward pump and AO Smith UST1152 1.5 hp motor (single speed). Hayward 60 sq ft DE Filter (Model DE-6000). Kreepy Krauly cleaner.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Why would I add both acid and Baking Soda?

    This is correct.

    I personally dont think the people in the pool store know any better than the average guy on the street corner. They just work there
    All they know about pool chemistry, is what the sharp talking chemical salesman who will tell every fib in the book to get the pool stores business.

    And I agree with others, their testing is usually horrible.

    To be fair though, there are some pool stores who do the right thing and know their stuff, but they are very few and far between.


    Quote Originally Posted by ddbell View Post
    I think the light bulb just turned on for me.

    The first question they ask everyone in line is "does your pool have algae?" Anyone who says yes gets special chemical treatment because the chlorine isn't doing a good enough job.

    I think this is the sequence of treatment-

    1. They raise the CYA to the point where chlorine is less effective. The CYA is the most expensive chemical so they can sell the customer a bunch of that.

    2. Then algae will start to grow because the chlorine is not very effective with too much CYA. Once that happens, they you can sell you other "special chemicals" to fix it!
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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