Why Is Spa Alkalinity Higher Than Pool Water? [Expert Review!]

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People who are into their hobbies and luxuries love nothing more than to spend their spare time relaxing at a resort. Resorts around the world have recognized this desire and have created special pools just for their patrons. The saltwater in these pools is of a higher alkalinity than regular pool water. Why is that? Let’s examine the chemistry behind it.

Different Compounds In Each Kind Of Water

Chemistry isn’t one of our strong suits, but the process of breaking down raw materials into useful compounds is. When you get down to the simplest elements, you have hydrogen (H2), oxygen (O2), and sodium (Na)—the three elements that make up water. Each of these elements is highly reactive and can form numerous compounds with other elements. Therefore, the different compounds that are made from these three elements are abundant in each kind of water.

Why Do I Need To Know About Chemistry?

You might not, but if you’re planning on becoming a pool manager, chemical engineer, or spa technician, you will need to familiarize yourself with the chemistry behind it. Let’s say you’re cleaning a pool. You’ll need to identify the elements in the water and know how to remove them. You’ll also need to know how to control the pH of the water and whether or not the water needs to be sanitized before you drink it or use it for fish or amphibians.

What Is The Difference Between The pH And Alkalinity?

pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. If you’re not familiar, think of the pH scale as a color wheel with the colors ranging from blue (low pH) to red (high pH). Imagine that the solutions are the colors and are located on the color wheel with their pH level. When the pH of a solution is between 7.0 and 9.0, it is considered acidic and when it’s between 4.0 and 6.0, it is considered alkaline. Alkalinity is the measure of the total amount of alkaline compounds (such as Na+ and K+) in a solution, while pH measures the balance of acidity and alkalinity (the difference between the quantity of acidic and alkaline compounds).

The reason why the pH and alkalinity levels of a solution are important is that the compounds in water are extremely unstable and can be damaged by exposure to water at the wrong pH or alkalinity level. For example, if the pH of a solution is 7.0 but it contains mostly potassium ions (K+), then the solution is considered to be highly alkaline and can cause significant damage to plants and animal cells if the pH is left unchanged for a long time. In contrast, if the pH of a solution is 5.0 but it contains mostly calcium ions (Ca+), then the solution is considered to be highly acidic and can cause significant damage to metal surfaces and equipment if not properly neutralized beforehand.

Why Is The pH Level Of Pool Water Important?

The pH level of the water in your pool is going to be dependant on many factors. The total amount of oxygen in your drinking water and the type of water feeder you use are two major factors that determine the acidity (or alkalinity) of the water. Additionally, temperature will influence the pH level of the water as well. Water at room temperature will be more acidic than water that is at a warmer temperature. When you combine all of these factors, you get a pool with a pH that is all over the place. Think of the pH scale as a color wheel with the colors ranging from blue (low pH) to red (high pH). Imagine that the water in your pool is the color and located on the color wheel with its pH level. When the pH of a solution is between 7.0 and 9.0, it is considered acidic and when it’s between 4.0 and 6.0, it is considered alkaline. The overall pH level of your pool will be dependant on the proportions of the various chemicals that make up the freshwater you use to fill it. The more alkaline (or acid) chemicals you have in your pool, the more the pH will vary. This factor can make for interesting conversation pieces when guests see this color variation for the first time.

Why Is The Ca And Mg Levels Of Pool Water Important?

The chemical compositions of your pool water are going to be dependant on many factors. Again, the total amount of oxygen in your drinking water and the type of water feeder you use are two major factors that determine the acidity (or alkalinity) of the water. The amount of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) in your pool water is also going to be dependant on these two factors. Typically, the more alkaline (or acid) the water is, the higher the calcium (and magnesium) levels will be.

How Does The Dosage Of Chlorine And Bromine Influence The pH Level Of Pool Water?

Chlorine and bromine are commonly used in pool water to kill living organisms. These chemicals are considered powerful oxidizing agents and are extremely reactive toward metal surfaces. When you add chlorine or bromine to your pool water, you’ll notice that the pH level of the water drops—which is not good. A good rule of thumb is to always add chlorine or bromine in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of calcium in your pool water. For example, if you have a calcium level of 40 ppm, then you should add 40 ppm of chlorine or bromine to your pool. If your calcium level is higher than 40 ppm, then you should add 50 ppm of chlorine or bromine.

Why Is The Level Of Iron In Pool Water Important?

Iron is another chemical that is highly reactive toward metal surfaces and forms ferric (Fe3+) ions that can cause severe damage when they react with oxygen in the air. Your pool water is going to have a significant amount of iron in it if you add any material to improve the taste of the water, as many pool owners do. The major problem is that the iron in your pool water is going to react with oxygen in the air to form ferric ions, which are going to cause serious chemical damage to your pool. A good rule of thumb is to avoid adding any materials that contain iron to your pool water, as iron is going to make your pool a magnet for algae and other microbes.

Why Is The Level Of Total Phosphorus In Pool Water Important?

Phosphorus is another chemical that is highly reactive toward metal surfaces and forms phosphoric (PO43-) ions that are going to cause chemical damage to your pool water if not removed by frequent cleaning. Just like iron, phosphorus is also going to form scales on the surface of your pool that are going to clog up your filter systems and damage the look of your pool. A good rule of thumb is to avoid adding any materials that contain phosphorus to your pool water, as this element is going to make your pool susceptible to scaling and other chemical damage.

How Do I Decide On The pH Of My Pool?

For a long time, people used to rely on trial and error to find the right pH for their pools. This technique was considered to be rather tedious and it was quite common to test numerous times before finding the right combination. Fortunately, modern science has provided us with the pH meter, which is a tool that can greatly help any pool owner find the right pH level for their pool. The major advantage of having a pH meter in your pool is that it allows you to change the pH level of your pool with relative ease. For example, if you have a pH meter and you notice that your pool water is a little on the acidic side, then all you need to do is drop the pH level by 0.5 or 1.0 and see if this changes the color of the water. If it doesn’t, then you’ll need to make the adjustment bigger if you want to see a difference.

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