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Is Sodium Bicarbonate Better Than Soda Ash for Pools?

Sep. 20, 2023

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and soda ash (sodium carbonate) are both chemicals used to adjust the pH levels in swimming pools, but they serve different purposes, and the choice between them depends on your pool's specific needs:


pH Adjustment:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda): Baking soda is used to raise the pH level of pool water when it is too acidic (below the ideal range of 7.2 to 7.6). It acts as a buffer, helping to stabilize pH levels and prevent excessive acidity.


  • Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate): Soda ash is used to increase the pH level of pool water when it is significantly below the recommended range. It is a stronger pH increaser compared to baking soda and is used when a more rapid pH adjustment is needed.

Soda Ash

 Soda Ash


Alkalinity Adjustment:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda): Baking soda is also used to raise the total alkalinity of pool water. It can help stabilize pH levels by acting as a buffer against pH fluctuations.


  • Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate): Soda ash primarily adjusts pH and has a minimal effect on total alkalinity.


Calcium Hardness:

Neither sodium bicarbonate nor soda ash directly affects calcium hardness levels in pool water.


Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Bicarbonate

Safety and Handling:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda): Baking soda is generally considered safe to handle, and it is a common household item. It is less caustic than soda ash.


  • Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate): Soda ash is more caustic and should be handled with care, including wearing appropriate protective equipment such as gloves and goggles.


Cost:

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is typically more cost-effective than soda ash (sodium carbonate), which is a stronger pH increaser.


In summary, the choice between sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and soda ash (sodium carbonate) for your pool depends on your specific needs. Baking soda is often used for routine pH and alkalinity adjustments and is a safer and more budget-friendly option. Soda ash is used when a rapid increase in pH is necessary. It's essential to test your pool water regularly, follow manufacturer recommendations, and adjust chemicals accordingly to maintain proper water balance and ensure the safety and comfort of swimmers.




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