What is soda ash for pools

Soda ash is a chemical compound that is commonly used in swimming pools to adjust the pH and alkalinity levels of the water. It is also known as sodium carbonate or washing soda. Soda ash is typically available in powder or granular form and is easily soluble in water.

Here are some key points to understand about soda ash and its role in pool maintenance:

  1. pH Adjustment: One of the primary uses of soda ash in pools is to raise the pH level of the water. pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the pool water. The ideal pH range for swimming pools is typically between 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH level falls below this range, the water becomes acidic, which can cause eye and skin irritation, corrosion of pool equipment, and reduced effectiveness of chlorine. By adding soda ash, the pH level can be increased to the desired range [1].
  2. Alkalinity Increase: Soda ash also helps to increase the total alkalinity (TA) of the pool water. Alkalinity acts as a buffer, helping to stabilize the pH level and prevent rapid fluctuations. Maintaining the proper alkalinity level (usually between 80 and 120 parts per million) is important for water balance and overall water quality. Soda ash raises alkalinity, although the effect is relatively small compared to sodium bicarbonate, another commonly used chemical for alkalinity adjustment [1].
  3. Compatibility with Chlorine Generators: It is worth noting that soda ash is not typically added to pools with saltwater chlorine generators (SWG). This is because the pH tends to rise naturally in SWG pools, and adding soda ash can further increase the pH, leading to potential scaling issues. In SWG pools, muriatic acid is often used to lower the pH when necessary [2].
  4. Proper Application: When adding soda ash to a pool, it is important to follow the recommended dosage instructions based on the pool size and current water chemistry. It is typically recommended to pre-dissolve soda ash in a bucket of water before adding it to the pool. This helps to prevent clouding of the water and ensures even distribution of the chemical. It is also advisable to add soda ash to the pool water away from the skimmer and in areas with good water circulation [3].
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