Most people know that it’s crucial to maintain the pH level in their swimming pool. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping the pH level between 7.2 and 7.8 for optimal safety and performance. However, many pool owners don’t know why they need to keep their pool at the right pH level and how to do it properly. They often use acids to lower the pool’s pH level, but this can harm swimmers and the pool itself.
What Is Pool Acid Made Of?
Most swimming pool owners add hydrochloric acid to pool water. It is also known as muriatic acid. It raises the water’s acidity and lowers the pH to reach the recommended level.
Hydrochloric acid is the product of hydrogen chloride gas combined with water. The resulting liquid is colorless but has a strong and irritating smell and vapor.
Why Liquid Acid is Used in Pools
Pool water needs to have the recommended pH level. If the water acidity is too high, it will result in the corrosion of metal pool equipment and etching on various surfaces. It can cause skin irritation or burns, eye irritation, hair damage, and harm to swimmers’ health. If the water alkalinity is too high, the water becomes cloudy, and scales will develop in plumbing equipment and the pool floor and walls.
The wrong pH balance also affects the action of pool chlorine. It will dissolve more quickly if the water acidity is too high. If the alkalinity is too elevated, the chlorine will not be able to eliminate pathogens effectively, and algae may grow in the pool. This creates an unhealthy environment for swimmers.
Dangers of Muriatic or Hydrochloric Acid in Pools
The liquid acid used in pools is dangerous. While its purpose is to prevent the harmful effects of acidic water, it causes even more problems.
Hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive. As mentioned previously, it can irritate the eyes and skin of swimmers. Pool owners or maintenance staff who add chemicals to pool water are at even greater risk.
Constant exposure to hydrochloric acid can mean inhalation of its toxic fumes. This can result in coughing, choking, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and chronic bronchitis. In some cases, it can be fatal. Skin contact through splashes can also result in a chemical burn, dermatitis, or photosensitization.
Mixing hydrochloric acid directly with chlorine produces a toxic gas. That is why these chemicals are added separately to the pool water. For this reason, handlers must wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles.
The Safer Pool Maintenance Alternative: CO2 Gas
Compared with hydrochloric acid, carbon dioxide is a far safer alternative. You can use it to adjust your pool’s pH balance more accurately. It gives more precise pH readings so that you will not inadvertently add excessive chemicals to your pool. You also do not need to use as much chlorine.
CO2 is a natural substance that will not react with other pool chemicals such as chlorine. It has no fumes that pollute the air, and it is not dangerous to either the people handling it or swimmers. Additionally, CO2 is more cost-effective in the long run. A bonus is that using CO2 reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of your pool, making it more environmentally friendly.
At Poolsmith Technologies in Phoenix, we provide the Organic pH™ pool stabilizer system using CO2. It is a product of 20 years of research, development, and testing, and now you can benefit from it. Fill out our online form or call 480-570-5716.