UPDATED: May 19, 2019.
DIY pool maintenance is a hectic job.
And you know that.
One important but often ignored thing to ensure is that it has the right pH levels. Both high and low pH levels can cause a variety of problems.
With high pH levels, you will notice scaling to appear on the surface of your pool and equipment. On the other hand, low pH levels leave you with highly acidic water. This increases the risk of corrosion in the pool surface. It can also damage your pool equipment.
To solve this issue, you can find different types of acids and solutions.
For instance, you can use cyanuric acid granule or liquid to protect chlorine from being damaged in the sun. You may use concentrated vitamin C or ascorbic acid to remove metal stains.
Likewise, you will need use some type of acids to restore the pH balance in your pool.
When the pH levels are high, certain acids can help control the alkalinity. The most common choice here is hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid.
Sulfuric acid may also be used, but it’s not the safest choice. So, make ensure it is suitable for your pool before going any further.
- 1 Why Your Pool Needs Muriatic Acid?
- 2 What to Consider When Choosing Muriatic Acid?
- 3 The Best Muriatic Acids for Pool Reviews
- 4 What is pH and why it needs to be balanced?
- 5 How Much Acid to Add?
- 6 Muriatic acid vs. hydrochloric acid
- 7 Muriatic acid vs. sulfuric acid
- 8 The proper way to add Muriatic acid to any pool
- 9 Muriatic acid FAQs
- 10 Conclusion
Why Your Pool Needs Muriatic Acid?
Most people think of only chlorine when it comes to keeping their pool safe for their loved ones. Muriatic acid is just as if not more important.
Not using the acid when your pool’s pH levels are on the higher side could lead to problems like cloudy water, scaling, and chlorine insufficiency. Swimming in the pool when the water has not been treated with muriatic acid can lead to irritation on the skin and eyes.
If you have recently started experiencing any skin irritation after a swimming session, you might want to have its pH levels checked.
What to Consider When Choosing Muriatic Acid?
You can easily find many great brands selling muriatic acid, but do not base your decision on price alone. It is a good idea to check the percentage of hydrochloric acid in any product to know its potency. Getting it in granular form may be a better choice if you are not sure about using liquid muriatic acid.
The Best Muriatic Acids for Pool Reviews
Muriatic acid simply works great to maintain the pool chemistry. The good thing is that you can find many commercial products to help maintain your pool correctly.
Pool pH Reducer
Offered by EcoClean Solutions, it is made of granular sodium bisulfate. It acts quickly to re-establish the right pH level. You just need to use 15 to 30oz of this product to your pool of up to 10,000 gallons to get quick results.
It corrects water chemistry whenever the pH levels go above 7.6. It is quite safe to use because it is a diluted form of muriatic acid. To match 1 gallon of muriatic acid, you have to use 10lbs of this pH reducer. This highly efficient pH reducer is extremely easy to store too.
SunnySide Green Envy
It is among the best muriatic acid products designed to maintain the right water chemistry in your pool. It is extremely easy to use it in your pools, but it works equally well to clean patios. It makes it easier to clean up efflorescence.
The only thing you need to remember is that it is not as potent as muriatic acid, but it still works reasonably well. It is also a great choice for anyone looking for a rather affordable way to treat pool water.
In the Swim Pool pH Reducer
To correct your pool’s water pH level, you can always rely on this product from In the Swim. It is a granular pH reduce, which is why you will find it much easier to store. Handling liquid muriatic acid may become a bit tricky for new pool owners.
That is where this granular sodium bisulfate pH reducer comes into play. It is enough to use 15-30 oz of granular sodium bisulfate to treat 10,000 gallons of water. You can also find it in different quantities and use according to the size of your pool.
No Mor pH Reducer
This 2.5-pound container from No Mor serves as one of the best pH reducers. It lets you take advantage of granular chemical that lowers pH slowly. It dissolves quickly and is much safer to use as compared to liquid muriatic acid.
If your pool uses a chlorine generator, you can always use No Mor pH reducer to get good results. Just ensure that you do not swim for at least 60-75 minutes after treating the water.
What is pH and why it needs to be balanced?
Maintaining the right water balance is the key in pool maintenance.
For new pool owners, it can be confusing to understand the concept. It often stops them from keeping their pool water comfortable and corrosion free.
Water balance is all about maintaining the right pH levels in your pool. “Power of Hydrogen” or simply ‘pH’ refers to the measurement of the hydrogen ion in water.
Pool water contains hydrogen ions because water is a good conductor of electricity. Upon measuring, if the pH number is high, your pool water is more alkaline.
The smaller the pH value, the more acidic your pool water is.
It is important to maintain a balanced pH level because it can damage your pool equipment and make swimming uncomfortable too. Keeping the pH of your swimming pool close to 7.5 is advisable. That is also the pH of teardrops from your eye.
Things like source water, disinfectants, evaporation, swimmer waste, airborne debris, and aeration can affect the pH balance of your pool. If your eyes hurt after swimming, it may be the result of an unbalanced pH level.
The imbalanced chlorine level may not always be the culprit here. Also, remember that the pH needs to be correct for the chlorine sanitizer to work for your pool.
How Much Acid to Add?
There is no single answer to this question because it depends heavily on the current pH level of your pool. Also, the size of your pool matters as well.
You should know the exact pH level of your pool water. It can be difficult though when you are using standard test strips. They just tell that the pH levels are high.
In most cases, you may have to add a quart of muriatic acid in an average size (15,000 gallons) in-ground pool if the pH level is higher than 7.8. Do not forget to check the pH level after allowing the water to circulate for an hour.
For smaller above ground pools, using a cup of acid is usually a good starting point. Re-testing will help you determine how much more to add. Introduce acid carefully because low pH levels would lead to chlorine loss, metal corrosion, wrinkles in vinyl liners, and chlorine loss.
Muriatic acid vs. hydrochloric acid
Many new pool owners think that hydrochloric acid and muriatic acid are two different things. They are essentially the same with very little difference. Speaking of muriatic acid vs. hydrochloric acid, the main difference is the presence of contaminants.
Muriatic acid has a lower Baume rating and is usually the less pure form of hydrochloric acid. Sometimes, more contaminants are added to increase the aggressiveness of muriatic acid.
Moreover, muriatic acid is generally less expensive as compared to the reagent grade. Hydrochloric acid is purer and is generally used for laboratory applications.
Muriatic acid vs. sulfuric acid
Many people use sulfuric acid in place of muriatic acid to lower the pH in the pool. When comparing muriatic acid vs. sulfuric acid, both can be used to get the desired results.
However, you will be better off using muriatic acid because its use does not lead to any side effects. It is comparatively inexpensive, which is an added advantage.
Sulfuric acid is more harmful than muriatic acid, so it is difficult to come by and costs more too.
On the downside, muriatic acid is known for creating more fumes, but sulfuric acid can burn your skin in no time.
While making the comparison, keep in mind that sulfuric acid can increase the concentration of the total dissolved solids in your pool water. It adds sulfate to the water and increases the risk of stainless steel corrosion.
The proper way to add Muriatic acid to any pool
When you know that your irritated eyes are the result of imbalanced pH levels, be prepared to use some muriatic acid. Here is how to add it to your pool:
- Start by Testing the Pool: For this, you can make use of a pool test kit. Standard kits work fine to tell you that the pH levels are high. Some more advanced kits can find the ‘acid demand’ to help you know how much muriatic acid to use. You should at least keep a standard test kit home to check the pH levels daily. This way, you can take desired steps to ensure the pH levels do not get too high or too low. Ideally, you should keep it close to 7.0.
- Prepare the Muriatic Acid: Take a bucket and fill it up with clean water. Now, add muriatic acid to it and mix well. Do not forget to wear protective gear. Under no circumstances should you be adding more than a pint of acid to your pool. Always use less than 1-10 per bucket of water.
- Add the Acid to the Pool Water: Before introducing the acid to the pool water, ensure that the pool filter is turned on. Add only a small amount of acid at a time and never stick to one area of the pool. Ideally, you should add it over the deep end return jets to ensure it spreads evenly.
- Re-Test the Pool Water: once you have added the acid, you should give it time to do its job. Wait for at least 4 hours and re-test the pH levels. You may have to add more in case the pH is higher than 7.0.
When adding the muriatic acid, never forget to wear acid resistant gloves and proper eye protection. You should also consider the wind direction and humidity when adding the acid to be on the safe side.
Muriatic acid FAQs
Can you use muriatic acid in the skimmer?
Avoid it. It is better to add the acid directly to the pool.
How much acid should you use in 62,000 gallons of water?
You may need around 2.6quart of muriatic acid if the pH is around 7.8.
Is muriatic acid as powerful as sulfuric acid?
No, it is not, but it can still work great to lower the alkalinity of your pool water.
Can you use muriatic acid to dissolve concrete in a ceramic pot?
Yes, you can, if of course, the product offers the stronger version of muriatic acid.
How long do I have to wait to swim after adding muriatic acid to the pool?
You should wait for at least an hour, but sometimes, it is better to wait for 3-4 hours before swimming.
Is there a way to raise the alkalinity of the pool?
Yes, you can get good results by adding sodium bicarbonate to your pool.
Due to the ease of use and potency, most experts recommend using muriatic acid for getting the ideal pH balance.
It is safer than sulfuric acid, more affordable, and easier to use.
Read More: Robotic Pool Cleaner
You can find many products that offer a diluted and granulated form of muriatic acid. These products work efficiently and treat your water in a short time. In most cases, you can start using your pool in a couple of hours of adding the acid.
Just keep in mind that it is still an acid, so wear protective gear when handling it.