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Thread: Just how dangerous is Muriatic acid?

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    Just how dangerous is Muriatic acid?

    Having a SWCG I need to add muriatic (Hydrochloric) acid to my pool once a week (I should probably do it more often but that's another argument). I was originally given a couple of gallons of 30% strength acid when my PB started up my pool, but I can only find 15% strength in nearby stores. My question is exactly how dangerous is the stuff? Beyond high school science experiments I don't have much experience dealing with strong acids. If I spill a couple of drops on my hands or feet am I going to get immediate burns or is it acceptable to simply dip my hands/feet into the pool to rinse off? Is there any safety benefit of using 15% acid over 30%? Does anybody have any horror stories of pool related (or otherwise I suppose) muriatic acid accidents?

    Thanks!
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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Lot's of opinions on that subject....here's mine:

    31% - (most common)

    a few drops on your clothes will put holes in your clothes (although you may not see that at first) and will give you that "warm, fuzzy" feeling if you didn't notice you spilled it.

    a little directly on your skin.....get it in the water ASAP! In fact, if you spilled a bunch on you and dove in the pool right away, you would be fine...if you wait 10 seconds....it'll get warm fast. DO NOT wait thirty seconds...you'll get burned.

    I never open mine until I'm very close to the pool and prepared to use it.....I think having the pool as a dilution source is the best safety factor you can have. You probably have quite a bit more time with 15% (I've never used it) but the key, IMO, is to get it diluted just as soon as you realize you've spilled it.

    I've put my bare hand in 5% (inadvertently) and it took quite a few seconds to get warm. I diluted it off within 10 seconds of noticing the sensation and had no further affect.

    If you pour it into a container with a large surface area and bend over and get a whiff, the fumes will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!. As long as you don't jerk back and throw the acid on yourself, I don't think you are capable of suffering any damage from inhalation.....your body reacts too quickly.

    So, it's pretty frisky stuff, but if you handle it with caution and confidence, it's not a big deal. I have never been burned or had any holes in my clothes for five years...using it maybe 4-6 times yearly.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The main issue is the fumes. They can be quite nasty, you don't want to breathe them. Muriatic acid can easily damage clothing but it won't do much to skin (assuming you wash it right off), sting badly if you have a cut. You do not want to get it in your eyes. The more dilute acid is noticeably easier to handle, the fumes are not nearly as bad. But dilute acid means twice the carrying and often is twice as expensive (though that varies).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    I've used muriatic acid to clean some of the sea shells we get from the rigs offshore. It works great to get some of the calcium deposits off. I'd mix the acid 50/50 in a bucket of water and dip the shells in with my bare hands for 10 seconds at a time and pull them out and hose the shell off (and my hand) with a garden hose. You could definately tell if you had cuts on your hand, but I never had any kind of burns. Now I'm not recommending anyone bathe in the stuff and definately don't get it in your eyes, but your foot won't fall off if you get a few drops on it. Just rinse it off. It will also etch your concrete decking quickly if you don't rinse it thoroughly. Definately don't leave it around for kids to get into...but that applies to all pool supplies. Here's a link to a MSDS sheet on it. (Material Safety Data Sheet) It's in PDF form so you might want to save it to your computer for future informaton.

    http://www.advancechemicals.ca/pdf/msds ... id10.4.pdf
    Fortune favors the well prepared

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    First time I used it, I smelled some fumes and was blown away.. I got some drops on my hands and rinsed - no problems.. A few mins later the tip of my tongue felt a little sensation and it was like that most of the day.. Didn't hurt and I kept drinking water (I was pretty scared admittedly) and kept moving my tongue around throughout the day when I remembered to, and it went away after a few hours...

    So DO NOT get it in your mouth or eyes or open wounds..

    I also spilled a little on my kooldeck the other day. The ****ed bottle literally slipped out of my hands (all by itself of course) and splashed onto the deck.. I heard it sizzle immediately and began splashing water.. I was scared.. The kooldeck was slghtly marred after, but you don't really notice even if you look right there.. Thankfully..

    WON'T DO ANY OF THAT AGAIN!!

    So now I don't open the Acid until I'm AT the poolside and I only do it by my scupper (waterfall) now - this way I can refill my plastic 1cup measuring cup and splash it somewhere on the deck if I need to, and can also easily wash my hands on the waterfall and also use the waterfall to disperse the acid in the pool - some people opt for their returns but my waterfalls usually get all the power, not my returns, so I chose that instead... Close your eyes when you pour if you need to to avoid fumes, but just go slow and steady and you'll be fine..

    Someone could make a lot of money building some kidn of acid pouring system, huh?

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    Guest
    if you eat it you die. plane and simple. just dont eat it.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    As other posters have said, the fumes are the worst part. There are two alternatives. One is a product called Acid Magic that has an inhibitor added to it that makes it fume free. I believe it is sold at most Ace Hardware stores. The only downside I'm aware of is that it's a bit more expensive. http://www.certol.com/AcidMagicHome.ASPX


    35% sulfuric is also an option. This is used in pools mostly in the SE of the US more than muriatic. It is also non-fuming. The downsides are that it's much more corrosive to metals if you spill it and over time it can build up sulfides in the water. I doubt you'll be able to find it cut and packed for consumer use outside of FL and Ga though.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaman95
    As other posters have said, the fumes are the worst part. There are two alternatives. One is a product called Acid Magic that has an inhibitor added to it that makes it fume free. I believe it is sold at most Ace Hardware stores. The only downside I'm aware of is that it's a bit more expensive. http://www.certol.com/AcidMagicHome.ASPX
    I work at an Ace in the pool dept. and we have never carried it! It is significantly more expensive than plain muriatic.

    35% sulfuric is also an option. This is used in pools mostly in the SE of the US more than muriatic. It is also non-fuming. The downsides are that it's much more corrosive to metals if you spill it and over time it can build up sulfides in the water. I doubt you'll be able to find it cut and packed for consumer use outside of FL and Ga though.
    The only place I have ever seen sufuric acid for sale for pool use in Florida was in a Kmart pool department (Kem-Tech brand) and they had it on closeout!

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Waterbear, don't you have a story about damage to your cornea and some kind of acid?..and safety issues with, etc?? Thought I read that somewhere! Please correct me if I am mistaken.


    Joyce
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    I have some minor corneal damage from airplane glue when I was a kid, not from acid. (No I was NOt sniffing it! I was building a model!)

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    I have some minor corneal damage from airplane glue when I was a kid, not from acid. (No I was NOt sniffing it! I was building a model!)
    Thanks for the correction! Building a model, huh?

    Sure would like to hear more stories about "just how dangerous is muratic acid?". It worries me more than any other chem we use.

    Thanks for all your help on this site!


    Joyce
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  12. Back To Top    #12
    No P in my ool's Avatar
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    I unload 40,000 gallons of 35% 5 days a week. My suggestion is to wear rubber gloves and some eye protection when handling muriatic. Also,stand upwind when pouring it.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

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