Muriatic Acid Alternatives

I guess we can add muriatic acid to the list of pool products that are becoming impossible to find this year. The truth is it’s been kind of scarce for the past month, but like everything we can’t find this season, the out of stocks seem to be spotty across the nation. This has left a few wondering if talk of the shortages is straight talk at all. Muriatic acid alternatives.

Similar Article The Addition of Muriatic Acid

Sadly, it looks as though things are going to get worse before they get better. In the middle of last week, another chemical manufacturer closed the doors at one of its factories. Olin Corporation has declared a force majeure for the supply of products produced at their McIntosh, Alabama facility due to an unplanned equipment failure. This affects all products produced at this facility to include chlorine, caustic soda, sodium hypochlorite, and muriatic acid, to name a few.

hydrochloric acid solution in glass

Sulfuric Acid (H₂SO₄)

You do have other options if you cannot locate any muriatic acid (HCl) to use for pH control in your pools. Sulfuric acid is an option available but may have hiccups in supply due to the increase in demand caused by the shortage of HCl. The product may come at a slightly higher price point than the normal cost of muriatic acid, but the dose will be similar. 25.5 fluid ounces of muriatic acid (31.45% hydrochloric acid) or 26 fluid ounces of 38.5% sulfuric acid in 10,000 gallons will lower the Total Alkalinity (TA) by 10 ppm and the pH by an equal amount (the actual drop in pH is dependent upon both the starting TA and pH).

Sodium Bisulfate (NaHSO₄)

Dry acid (sodium bisulfate) is another option you may find available This product is even more costly to purchase than sulfuric acid and requires a much heftier dose. It will take 34.4 ounces by weight of dry acid (93.2% Sodium Bisulfate) in 10,000 gallons to lower the Total Alkalinity (TA) by 10 ppm and the pH by an equal amount as the 25.5 fluid ounces of muriatic acid or 26 fluid ounces of sulfuric acid (again, the actual drop in pH is dependent upon both the starting TA and pH).

The downfall to using sulfuric acid or sodium bisulfate (dry acid) is in adding sulfates to the pool water. There are two problems with this. The first is that the presence of such will shorten the life of a salt cell in a saltwater pool.

Similar Article How Borates in Swimming Pools Buffer pH

Sulfates

We do have the ability to test for sulfates in water. Unfortunately, we do not know what level of sulfates is actually problematic. We do know that all saltwater system manufacturers advise against the use of sulfide-containing chemicals. None have given a maximum ppm that would be considered safe. So, it is recommended that with a saltwater pool, we stay away from these products altogether.

Carbon Dioxide

CO2 Injection is another option. It is not often used in a residential application or even with average size commercial swimming pools. But, for large aquatic centers, it is often the go-to method of pH control.

When carbon dioxide is added to water it forms carbonic acid (H2CO3) which dissociates to form bicarbonate (HCO3) and hydrogen ions (H+). As pH is the measure of hydrogen ion activity in the water measured in the converse (The greater the H+ activity, the lower the pH), the hydrogen from the carbonic acid lowers the pH. However, as we also got bicarbonate (HCO3) from this uncoupling, the injection of CO2 ultimately increases the Total Alkalinity (The measure of carbonates, bicarbonates, hydroxides, and cyanurates) as well. In fact, carbon dioxide injection is the only means of lowering the pH that will result in the increase of Total Alkalinity.

In using this method you will reach a point where adding an acid is required. Not for pH – we have that taken care of with the CO2 alone. The acid will be needed to adjust the climbing Total Alkalinity, but the dose will not be near as often or in as large a quantity.

Muriatic Acid Alternatives

The second issue is in the potential for damage to stonework. However, the level of concern here has been thoroughly researched. Sulfate levels of 300 ppm or more are problematic. At least this gives us something measurable.

The way this season has been going, it is highly possible that you may find your distributor or pool store completely out of any acid. Vinegar is just one example of an alternative that will get the job done in a pinch. Not the 5% table vinegar, I mean you could, but it would take ten times as much. At $5.79 per gallon, that would be a little over eleven bucks to drop the TA by 10 ppm in 10K gallons of water.

Acetic Acid (C₂H₄O₂)

A 45% acetic acid could be a suitable addition to the list of muriatic acid alternatives. It would take 32.385 fluid ounces of this concentrated vinegar to equal our 25.5 fluid ounces of muriatic acid or 26 fluid ounces of sulfuric acid, lowering the Total Alkalinity of 10K gallons by 10 ppm and the pH by an equal amount. At $19.99 per gallon, $5.06 would be the cost of this dose. Still, extra precautions would need to be taken. Significant fuming and more severe skin burning than muriatic acid is a concern. Nitrile gloves would be required since a 25%, or higher acetic acid will penetrate ordinary latex.

El mito del ácido de la piscina

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¿Puede el ácido ‘Slug’ reducir la alcalinidad total sin afectar el pH? 

La capacidad de controlar si se reduce la alcalinidad total o el pH mediante el método en el que se agrega una dosis de ácido a una piscina sin duda sería de gran valor para los operadores de piscinas. El mito del ácido de la piscina

“Para reducir la alcalinidad total drásticamente con solo un ligero efecto en el pH, simplemente tome su dosis de ácido y viértala lentamente en un punto en el extremo profundo de la piscina. De hecho, verá las burbujas que se forman alrededor de donde se agrega la “babosa”, es decir, el bicarbonato se quema y burbujea. Si desea bajar el pH sin reducir también la alcalinidad total, simplemente vierta la dosis de ácido muriático sobre la piscina “.

Todo esto sería maravilloso si fuera exacto. Aún así, al igual que el mitológico “Cloro Lock”, los cuentos folclóricos dentro de la industria de las piscinas persisten. Pero, ¿reducir la alcalinidad total sin afectar el pH?

El mito del ácido de la piscina

Cuando se agrega ácido clorhídrico (HCl) al agua, las moléculas se disocian en iones de hidrógeno (H +) e iones de cloruro (Cl-). Esto sucede, no importa cómo se agregue. Para simplificar, cuando aumenta la cantidad de iones de hidrógeno en una solución, el agua se vuelve cada vez más ácida. Recuerde, pH significa Potenz Hydrogen, que se puede interpretar del alemán original como “Concentración de hidrógeno”. Entonces, si agregar ácido al agua aumenta la concentración de iones de hidrógeno sin importar cómo lo agregue y el pH (Potenz Hydrogen) es la “Concentración de hidrógeno” … ¿Hmmm?

Todo preparado para realizar mis propios experimentos para este artículo para poder ofrecer una prueba definitiva a aquellos firmes creyentes de la eslugología ácida, me topé con una investigación que había sido realizada por la gente (Kim Skinner, Que Hales y Doug Latta) en onBalance . Su estudio, Poner en reposo el mito de la columna de ácido, involucró un experimento que describe con precisión lo que sucede, adónde va el ácido y el peligro potencial en la “babosa” y / o la “columna”. En lugar de replicar los experimentos, me acerqué a mi amigo y socio Que Hales, quien dio su bendición al compartir sus resultados.

Para llevar a cabo la investigación, Que y la pandilla agregaron polvo rojo de fenol al ácido para darle un poco de color (el ácido es claro, no lo habría visto de otra manera). El ácido es más pesado que el agua, por lo que solo tiene sentido que se hunda hasta el fondo de la piscina después de agregarlo. Luego, con una cámara subacuática, tomaron instantáneas en una cuenta jugada por jugada de lo que realmente ocurre.

una medida de la actividad de los iones de hidrógeno

Lo que se observó fue una dosis de ácido posada en el suelo de la piscina durante horas …? Considere el daño potencial que podría ocurrir con una “gota” de ácido (pH de 2.5) en un lugar, sobre el yeso, durante horas. ? Mejor aún, ¿qué pasaría si esta dosis se hubiera deslizado junto con el fondo marcando un rastro mientras se acercaba al drenaje principal? ¿Cómo afectaría esto al equipo?

rojo de fenol es el químico que usamos para probar el pH; algo fácil de recordar porque el rojo fenol comienza con pH

“El hecho simple y llano del asunto es que una determinada cantidad (o” dosis “) de ácido agregada a un volumen fijo de agua (la piscina) resultará en una reducción idéntica tanto del pH como de la alcalinidad. Siempre. No importa cómo se agrega. Esa es la regla, eso es ciencia … “- onBalance

Sí señalan en su investigación que la gota de ácido finalmente se diluyó y que si se agrega a una piscina mientras el sistema de circulación está funcionando, la dilución ocurrirá a un ritmo más rápido. Cepillar la piscina después de la dosis también acelerará la adulteración. Pero esto derrota la teoría del mito. ¿No es así? Vierta lentamente y revuelva.

progresión de un vertido ácido

La realidad es que no se puede subir ni bajar uno sin afectar al otro, con muy pocas excepciones. Si agrega ácido a la piscina para reducir el pH, también reducirá la alcalinidad total. Si agrega ácido a la piscina para reducir la alcalinidad total, también bajará el pH. Esto es cierto, no importa cómo lo agregue.

Lo mismo ocurre cuando se agrega una sustancia química para aumentar el pH o el TA. Tanto el bicarbonato de sodio (bicarbonato de sodio) como el carbonato de sodio (carbonato de sodio), cuando se agregan al agua, aumentarán tanto el pH como la alcalinidad total (aunque tiene un poco más de control sobre los concomitantes de la intención real cuando se ajusta hacia arriba) .

Escala logarítmica

Mencioné que hay algunas excepciones. Puede disminuir el pH sin disminuir la alcalinidad total utilizando una inyección de dióxido de carbono (CO₂) para controlar el pH. Aún así, esto no disminuye uno sin afectar al otro. Cuando se inyecta CO₂ en el agua, se forma ácido carbónico (H₂CO₃), que reducirá el pH.

Aún así, la dosis finalmente aumentará la alcalinidad total, requiriendo que se agregue una dosis de ácido para el control de la TA en algún momento. El único método para aumentar el pH sin aumentar o disminuir la alcalinidad total es a través de la aireación, como se explica en nuestro artículo: Aumento del pH con aire

Laying to Rest the Acid Column Myth, onBalance – Kim Skinner, Que Hales y Doug Latta, Fotos y extractos compartidos con permiso: Que Hales, onBalance. onBalance Technical Research Doc de The Journal of the Swimming Pool and Spa Industry: The Addition of Muriatic Acid

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Simon Says No To CyA!

Subject: A Topic Idea for Pool Operator Talk News  

The following represents the thoughts of a dedicated Pool Operator Talk News reader and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoint of Pool Operator Talk News. Simon Spragg of Tech Pools Costa Blanca, Spain.

Simon Spragg of Tech Pools Costa Blanca, Spain.

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Having read your posts on CyA/chlorine lock, I have some data from this summer that may be beneficial—agreeing with Ben and Robert re CYA effect. The more CYA, the worse the water becomes (for more reasons than chlorine inefficiency). So adjust water to 30ppm (Taylor turbidity test

With water at its max temperature in summer (30°c), add a minimum of 10% (sodium hypochlorite) to CYA = 3ppm at 20.00 every 24 hours (use a programmable peristaltic pump).

For heavy bather use (holiday renters families etc.) add 4ppm (or as necessary. Test Taylor FAS / DPD, at midday, aiming for 1.5-2ppm)
Maintain pH at 7.2-7.4 (again use peristaltic pump add in advance of chlorine injection)

Calculate pH demand using the Taylor acid demand test and work out % of acid to chlorine (typically between 15-25%). To keep the water balanced and non-corrosive, adjust LSI to be positive of zero (Orenda tech app is most natural or Taylor water wheel). The answer or key here is calcium at 350/400 ppm, then TA at approx 90. Cal at these levels creates more excellent stability.

This creates sparkling algae-free pools. Add UV and varispeed pump (running 24/7), then the contaminants get better filtered, and you know bacteria/virus, etc., are continually being destroyed… Adding FC at night (sodium hypo) means no sun effect and at a level way above CYA demand = effective Oxidation.

Simon Spragg of Tech Pools Costa Blanca, Spain

Understanding pH demand ensures clarity.

Keeping LSI just positive makes comfortable non-corrosive water. The industry is best advised to find a way of banning the manufacture of “so-called chlorine tablets.” Tablet abuse.

Manufacturers have worked out CYA/chlorine inefficiency. This is why the trichlor chemistry includes additives such as copper sulfate (to kill algae) and aluminum sulfate to coagulate algae. Therefore ease of use and a clear looking pool (until the end of summer). For the DIY bod and low-value pool cleaners, they can measure high chlorine levels from small quantities of tabs = more profit.

But the trade-off is rubbish quality water unsafe water, corrosive water, un warrantied pump heaters, etc. The problem is pool shops and supermarkets who frankly don’t care or know this stuff, and they want the bottom line in cash.

Look forward to hearing your comments

Pentair R151226 79 Cyanuric Acid Test Kit

Lowering Total Alkalinity Without Affecting pH

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Can the Acid Slug Lower Total Alkalinity Without Affecting pH?

Lowering Total Alkalinity Without Affecting pH

The ability to control whether you lower Total Alkalinity or pH by the method in which a dose of acid is added to a swimming pool would certainly be of great value to the Pool Operators.

To lower Total Alkalinity drastically with only a slight effect on pH, simply take your dose of acid and pour it slowly into one spot in the deep end of the pool. You’ll actually see the bubbles forming around where the “slug” is added – that is, the bicarb burning off and bubbling up. If you wish to lower the pH without also reducing the Total Alkalinity, simply pour the dose of muriatic acid about the pool.

This would all be wonderful if it was only accurate. Still, just like the mythological “Chlorine Lock,” folkloric tales within the swimming pool industry do persist. But, Lowering Total Alkalinity Without Affecting pH?

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When hydrochloric acid (HCl) is added to water, the molecules disassociate into both hydrogen ions (H+) and chloride ions (Cl). This happens, no matter how it is added. To keep it simple, when you increase the number of hydrogen ions in a solution, the water becomes increasingly acidic. Remember, pH stands for Potenz Hydrogen, which can be interpreted from the original German to “Hydrogen Concentration.” So, if adding acid to water increases the hydrogen ion concentration no matter how you add it and pH (Potenz Hydrogen) is the “Hydrogen Concentration”… Hmmm?

progression of an acid pour

All prepared to conduct my own experiments for this article so that I could offer definitive proof to those firm believers of Acid Slugology, I stumbled across some research that had been conducted by the folks (Kim Skinner, Que Hales, and Doug Latta) at onBalance. Their study, Laying to Rest the Acid Column Myth, involved an experiment which depicts precisely what happens, where the acid goes, and the potential danger in the “Slug” and/or “column.” Instead of replicating the experiments, I reached out to my friend and associate Que Hales, who gave his blessing in our sharing their results.

progression of an acid pour

To conduct the research, Que and the gang added phenol red powder to the acid to give it a bit of color (acid is clear, you wouldn’t have seen it otherwise). Acid is heavier than water, so it only makes sense that it would sink to the bottom of the pool after you add it. Then, with an underwater camera, they snapped shots in a play-by-play account of what actually occurs.

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What was observed was a dose of acid sitting at the floor of the pool for hours…? Consider the potential damage that could occur with a “slug” of acid (pH of 2.5) sitting in one spot, on the plaster, for hours. ? Better yet, what if this dose had crept along with the bottom etching a trail as it approached the main drain. How would this affect the equipment?

phenol red is the chemical we use to test pH; kind of easy to remember because phenol red starts with pH

progression of an acid pour

“The plain and simple fact of the matter is that a given amount (or “dose”) of acid added to a fixed volume of water (the pool) will result in an identical reduction of both pH and alkalinity. Every time. No matter how it is added. That’s the rule, that’s science…” – onBalance

progression of an acid pour

They do point out in their research that the blob of acid did eventually dilute and that if added to a swimming pool while the circulation system is running, the dilution will occur at a quicker pace. Brushing the pool following the dose will also expedite the adulteration. But, this defeats the theory in the myth. Doesn’t it? Pour it in slowly and stir ??

progression of an acid pour

The reality of it is that you can not raise or lower one without affecting the other, with very few exceptions. If you add acid to the pool to reduce the pH, you will also reduce the Total Alkalinity. If you add acid to the pool to reduce the Total Alkalinity, you will also lower the pH. This is true, no matter how you add it.

The same holds true when a chemical is added to increase pH or TA. Both sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium carbonate (soda ash), when added to water, will increase both the pH and the Total Alkalinity (though you do have a bit more control over the concomitants of the actual intent when adjusting either upward).

I did mention that there are some exceptions. You can decrease pH without lowering the Total Alkalinity using Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) injection for pH control. Still, this does not lessen one without an effect on the other. When CO₂ is injected into water, it forms carbonic acid (H₂CO₃), which will reduce the pH.

Still, the dose will ultimately increase the Total Alkalinity, requiring a dose of acid to be added for TA control at some point. The only method of increasing pH without increasing or lowering the Total Alkalinity is through aeration as discussed in our article: Raising pH with Air

Laying to Rest the Acid Column Myth, onBalance – Kim Skinner, Que Hales, and Doug Latta, Photos and excerpts shared with permission: Que Hales, onBalance. onBalance Technical Research Doc from The Journal of the Swimming Pool and Spa Industry: The Addition of Muriatic Acid

 

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