How To Lower Alkalinity In Pool

Beginner Info, Pool

how to lower alkalinity in pool
As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. All the products recommendation links on will navigate to Amazon

So, here I come with one of the most in-demand topics, that is, how to lower alkalinity in your pool effortlessly.

But, before we dive deep into solutions, let’s understand what alkalinity means, and how can it impact your swimming pool health and ambiance.

Does it make sense?

What is alkalinity?

Alkalinity is an efficient way to measure the dissolved alkaline substances in your pool water.

Well, you need to use a pool testing kit to know the alkalinity of your pool’s water.

The reading would help you to understand the ability of the water to neutralize the acid.

Alkalinity is higher than 7.0 pH.

Primarily, there are three types of alkalinity, that is, bicarbonate, carbonate, and hydroxide.

Alkalinity = [HCO3] + 2[CO32-] + [OH] – [H+]

What is the role of alkalinity in pool chemistry?

The main role of alkalinity is to neutralize the acids present in pool water.

So, you might be inquisitive to know, how alkalinity balances acid, right?

Well, alkalinity buffers pH by either providing or absorbing a hydrogen ion (H+) as per the requirement.

So, when acid is added, bicarbonate ions are created after the absorption of hydrogen by carbonate ions.

Equilibrium: HCO3 + H+ ↔ H2CO3

What is the difference between pH and alkalinity?

Well, if you’ll ask me to define pH, then I would say that it is nothing but the power of hydrogen and is measured on a logarithmic scale of 0 to 14.

In simple words, pH measures the concentration of hydrogen to find out whether a substance is acidic or alkaline in nature.

pH < 7 is Acidic

pH = 7 is Neutral

pH>7 is Alkaline

However, just by knowing the pH of pool water, you wouldn’t be able to conclude, how much acid or alkali is dissolved in water.

On the other hand, alkalinity tells you the amount of dissolved alkali in water that can either make or release hydrogen.

Moreover, the higher the alkalinity, the harder it becomes for the pH to change.

I hope the aforementioned piece of information is more than enough to give you a rough idea about alkalinity, isn’t it?

So, let’s get back to the topic, how to lower the alkalinity in pool water?

In layman’s language, to lower the alkalinity in your pool, the best thing that you can do is to use a strong and effective acid such as muriatic acid, sodium bisulfate, or even a stronger one like sulfuric acid.

One of the most common reasons for the pool water to be alkaline is the improper functioning of the pool filter which might be the result of calcium deposits in the filter.

As per industry standards, the pool alkalinity should fall in the range of 80 and 120 ppm (parts per million).

Do I need to lower the alkalinity?

Definitely, you need to maintain the level of alkalinity.

A higher level of alkalinity can cause severe problems which might affect the swimming ambiance in an adverse way.

The main problem arises when the alkalinity level becomes too high in the pool water.

In fact, a very high level of alkalinity can give birth to a series of problems.

For example, you’ll face a problem of imbalance pH from a high level of alkalinity in your pool water which will further lead to high calcium levels.

Unfortunately, a high calcium levels would give birth to many problems including scaling, cloudy water, and clogged filters.

Moreover, it would also contribute significantly to worsen the swimming ambiance by creating problems such as itchy skin and irritated eyes for swimmers.

What causes high pool alkalinity?

One of the common causes of high pool alkalinity is the addition of sodium bicarbonate aka baking soda in abundance.

This error can be neutralized by taking proper precautions and industry-standard steps.

Rather than simply pouring baking soda into the pool water for raising the alkalinity level, I would suggest, you should follow the incremental method that I’ve been following over the years now.

All you need to do is to add soda in small increments and then test the pool water after 24 hours and repeat this process until it reaches the ideal condition.

Water source is another culprit that surges the alkalinity level tremendously.

Well, most of the water supply companies disclose the water testing result to their consumers so all you need to do is to give a quick call to the company in order to find out what all chemicals do you require to keep the water balanced.

Test Kit

To be honest, I follow the best practices as it hasn’t only given me superlative results but also prevented unprecedented problems including cloudy pool water, pool turning green overnight, etc.

In fact, I always test my pool’s alkalinity level whenever I test other chemical levels.

But, if you’re facing a high alkalinity problem on a regular basis then I would suggest you should increase the testing frequency.

Always prefer a high-quality pool testing kit like this one (check the current price on Amazon) as it also contains the reagents necessary for testing alkalinity levels.

The aforementioned kit is known to give you accurate readings and is also newbie-friendly.

Moreover, you can also use test strips but they might not be as accurate as the aforementioned test kit.

With the help of a test kit, you can easily find the alkalinity level.

Don’t worry, it’s completely doable and you don’t need professional help at all.

All you need to do is to collect the sample of pool water from 12″ below the pool surface, and then drop the reagent slowly into the water sample and follow the instructions mentioned in your testing kit to find the final reading.

Remember, the total alkalinity (TA) level should fall between 80 and 120 ppm.

Can I lower alkalinity with the help of muriatic acid?

Well, there are quite a few chemicals that you can use to lower the alkalinity level of your pool water.

And, definitely, you can use muriatic acid for lowering the alkalinity level of your pool water.

In fact, it is one of the most common methods to lower the alkalinity of your pool water.

All you need to do is to follow the below-mentioned steps to lower the alkalinity of your pool water with the help of muriatic acid.

  • First and foremost, you need to close the pump and wait until the water completely stops moving
  • Moving further, read the instructions mentioned on the bottle carefully to determine the amount of acid that needs to be added to your pool in order to lower it to under 120 ppm
  • Furthermore, follow the manufacturer’s instruction on how to add it to your pool
  • Well, many of you might not be aware of the fact that muriatic acid is always somewhat diluted, but at times, you need to further dilute it before adding to the water
  • Moreover, pour the product into the deepest part of your pool and allow it to sit in water for an hour or so
  • Now, most of your tasks have been completed and all you need to do is to turn your pool’s pump back on and let it run for at least 5 hours
  • Test the alkalinity again
  • And, also test the pH levels again

Out of many problems that unbalanced alkalinity brings with it, the main problem is how it affects the pH levels, isn’t it?

Even after adding an adequate amount of muriatic acid still, your pool’s pH level falls below 7 then definitely, you need to use an aeration process and simultaneously add muriatic acid.

However, you don’t need to use the aforementioned process every now and then.

It needs to be used in extreme situations wherein you’re unable to lower the pH level naturally after using the muriatic acid process more than once.

For the aeration process, you can simply leave your pool’s pump running on high.

But, if an extra process is needed, then you can use a compressor at the surface of the water or use a special aerator to insert into the pool.

While you’re expediting this process, you also need to make sure that you’re not overdoing it.

Always remember, if the alkalinity level is too high then lowering it would take time as lowering pool alkalinity is a slow and steady process.

Moreover, you also need to repeat this process after a couple of days if the levels haven’t dropped to the appropriate reading.

Last but not least, it is you who needs to make sure that your pool’s water pH and chlorine levels are tested on a regular basis so that you can balance them without any hassle.


As promised to the readers, I would be responding to the queries related to lowering alkalinity in pool water.

Can I lower alkalinity without affecting pool’s pH level?

Definitely, you can lower alkalinity without affecting the pool’s pH level, and if you’re a newbie then I highly recommend you to take the help of a professional because it’s a tricky process indeed and needs some expertise and experience.

Can I swim in a swimming pool with high alkalinity?

To be precise and honest, high alkalinity in itself isn’t a harmful or unsafe swimming condition.

However, it has the potential to cause some water issues that might make your swimming experience horrible.

  • It can lead to decreased chlorine effectiveness which might pave the way for both algae and bacteria growth at an alarming rate
  • Definitely, you can expect the pool water to turn green or cloudy due to the growth of bacteria and algae
  • Lastly, high alkalinity can cause fluctuation in pH leading to pool water chemical imbalance

So, my suggestion would be to give importance and priority to regular maintenance and pool water testing.

Can I use baking soda for lowering pool water alkalinity?

Well, baking soda is nothing but sodium bicarbonate.

Definitely, you can use sodium bicarbonate to raise the alkalinity of your pool water, I don’t find any potential harm in it.

But, definitely, I wouldn’t opt for baking soda if I’ve to choose the best.

As per my knowledge and experience, muriatic acid is the best chemical to use in order to lower the alkalinity levels.

It’s A Wrap

Well, I totally agree that alkalinity as a whole is a problem, but at the same time, low alkalinity is a more common problem than high alkalinity.

However, either of the two can cause a series of problems for your pool water.

And, the worst part is, to get rid of such problems you need to spend both time and money.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned player, I highly recommend you should use a good testing kit to test all your pool water levels at least once a week if NOT MORE.

Moreover, it is highly recommended that after events such as heavy rain, you should definitely test the water for pool chemistry imbalance.

Throughout the post, I was trying to tell you that you need to be patient when it comes to lowering pool water alkalinity because it will take time, and as per my knowledge there isn’t a shortcut to it.

Even though your pool water reaches the ideal condition, you need to carry out maintenance and testing in order to prevent any unprecedented event.

Last but not least, if you’ve liked this piece of information then please do share it with your friends, family, colleagues, and the ones who are searching for it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

[Also Read]