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Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/03/2009 7:49 AM

Every year we start up our above ground pool. And every year we have the absolute hardest time getting the water clear because all the pool chemicals state that they need a 7.5 PH to work well. Ours starts out at around 5.50

Every year we order chemicals to raise the ph and every year they take forever to work.

The pool is 32x18 and has about 18,000 gallons.

Our water comes from a 300' underground well ( Chicot Aquifer) it is heavy in iron.

QUESTION:

Any "simple fixes" or other ways could we raise the PH in a swimming pool full of well water that has this high iron content (hard water)?

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#1

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/03/2009 10:30 AM

pH 5.5 is acidic, not hard. A high Fe content does not cause hardness; hardness is caused by a high Ca or Mg concentration, and it has a pH level of not less than 7.5 usually.

What chemicals do you use? A very effective way to raise water pH quickly to to use NaOH. You can also use Ca(OH)2 to increase your pH level. Using lime WILL increase your water hardness, so you'll need to use the caustic soda if this is an issue.

Another way is to add NaOCl to your water: the bleach will oxidize and precipitate out the iron as a brownish sludge if you're trying to get rid of it.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/03/2009 10:50 AM

Add a gallon of HCL :D

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/03/2009 9:27 PM

That would work too, except that it will also lower the water pH level further .

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#11
In reply to #2

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 8:54 AM

Adding HCl will go other direction. Who ever is asking question appears to be incorrect in his or her pH measurements. Hard water is known to be because of alkali or alkaline ions like sodium, potassium, Magnesium, calcium etc. and this causes pH to be above 7 and in general around 8. This can be bring down using HCl you are correct to level guy needs.

Any acid will do and HCl is strong one but is also very effective if he can get in market for house hold use. if not they can also try acetic acid or any other available in market organic or inorganic type.

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#18
In reply to #11

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 11:59 AM

Sodium and Potassium actually do not add to water hardness, though Iron will. Typically, it is Magnesium and Calcium that are the primary causes of water hardness. These are hard water cations that precipitate and cause water spots and soap scum. Just the cations will not equate to any effect on the pH. However, dissolution of these cations is usually associated with dissolution of anions like carbonate rocks, which does increase pH. In order to get a pH of 5.5 in natural water, which are usually in the 7.5 to 8.5 pH range, you would need a lot of organic acids, from decaying plants, infiltrating the aquifer, or anthropogenic acidic pollutants. I would not use acetic acid in a pool. HCl has negligible effects on humans besides increased salinity and the acidity, which will be neutralized. Other acids would likely irritate human tissues when exposed through submersion and contact for long periods. FYI, A solution to removing hardness is to add NaHCO3, or because of cost industrial scale uses CaCO3, and drive the pH up with NaOHjust past the point you want, then acidify the pH back to the point you want it with HCl.

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#3

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/03/2009 12:29 PM

Every year we would have the same problem. We would add liquid chlorine to shock the water and then it would turn cloudy. We had the damnedest time getting it clear. Then we found (i think) aqua-clear? This causes all the sediment and suspended particles to bind together and allow the filter to clean them out. After backwashing twice, the water would be crystal clear. You have to calculate how much you actually need because if you put in too much it works as a dispersant. If cloudiness is your issue, talk to your local pool distributor about what to use. We haven't had a pool for about 5 years, so I'm not sure of the name anymore.

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#12
In reply to #3

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 9:26 AM

We use the same stuff and yes you go the name right.

It works very well.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 10:01 AM

Mechanic,

When I tried to find Aqua Clear I kept getting names of just companies with that name.

Can you maybe direct me to the right site?

Everything else is Ok with the water, except the dang ph.

Thank you.

Smitty

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#4

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/03/2009 8:47 PM

Thank you all.

Smitty

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#6

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 3:43 AM

Any major drinking water facility has problems with initial too high iron content.

This is removed by simply pumping finely bubbled air through shallow pools of water, converting the soluble Fe++ to insoluble Fe+++.

Fe+++ (rust) is precipitating and going into the sand-bed filter there removed by reflow.

Acidity or pH is another problem not related to Fe! Can be set to alkaline by simply adding chalk (CaCO3) , the finer the better. In some areas dust from the landscape will do the job. But chalk will make considerable hardness. CaO (Calcium-Oxide) or Ca-OH (Calcium-Hydroxide) are sold for building purpose - cheap, effective but a little bit dangerous to work with as very aggressive to your skin, necessary to protect your eyes! This will regulate pH with lower amount of Ca or hardness added.

At filling let the water run through a fluid bed of particles of CaCO3?

Do you know what ions are responsible for low pH?

If you don't want to work with Ca... then try ammonia or sodium-hydroxide. Get an indicator strip (pH indication by color) to prevent oscillating between too high and too low pH.

RHABE

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#7

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 7:48 AM

I too fill my pool from a well (325 ft.). I had the darndest time getting the pH right and had an Iron problem as well. After using many different chemicals to precipitate out or bind the iron, A chemist friend of mine recommended using a white athletic sock on the end of the hose during the fill. At first I was skeptical but believe it or not it worked. (make sure that it's a sock you are not going to use again.).

Having high iron does not mean hard water. Having hard water is due to having a high Calcium content. Before you tackle the problem with pH, you need to bring your calcium content down. One way is during your fill process, run your water through a water softener. This might be expensive, another is to precipitate out the calcium. Now for people with in ground pools with a plaster coating, some calcium is needed. There are products that will take care of that for you.

I hope this helps and good luck.

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#8

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 7:59 AM

We have the same problem with our pool. What we have to do is put in scale inhibitor first to reduce the hardness of our water. Then we have to put in the PH up chemical. Then you have to make sure to keep a close eye on it and continuously monitor it. We take our water and get it tested for free at a local pool supply store. They tell us what we need and it works out great.

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#9

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 8:11 AM

Just something that hit my head when I read this thread - cheers

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 8:20 AM

That's Awesome!!! Made me laugh out loud at work. Caused people to come over.

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#17
In reply to #9

Re: Raising the PH in hard water

05/04/2009 11:55 AM

All right! Where did you get that picture of me as a baby from?!

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#13

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/04/2009 9:43 AM

I know you have an above ground but here is a simple fix for the in-ground pool owners. Run a pipe from your down spout to the pool in the early spring after there is no chance of any freezing weather. Then each time it rains your pool is filling up with clean fresh free water.

If you want to try this with an above ground pool I suppose you could use a sump pump and a rain barrel arrangement.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/04/2009 10:12 AM

That's a great idea. Very Green. I would still use a sock on the end to filter out leaves and dirt though.

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/06/2009 7:36 AM

So long as your gutters are clean the sock would work to keep the sand from the shingles from getting in to the pool. If you have very many leaves then it may become clogged. I use a mesh safety cover during the winter to prevent the problem of pumping off water from a solid cover. The draw back is we live in the woods and during winter winds we always get a few leaves blown under the cover because it is not weight down. We could use water tubes to keep the edges down but the few leaves that do get in are easily removed during the first cleaning. I purchased a leaf net to use on the sweeper pole instead of the standard flat skimmer net that most people use. Not only is it a breeze to get the leaves out but it works great on bull frogs, toads, and lizards. Fortunately, I have not had to use it on snakes yet. One slight of hand when using the leaf net on frogs. Once they are in the net pull the pole straight toward you. This seals the opening preventing them from swimming out.

Also as a side note, I use an aquarium fish net to skim off the floating debris like maple tree seeds and more frogs out of the skimmers. This is working better for me than trying to catch the stuff as I raise the skimmer basket while the pump is running. I clean the pump filter less now by using this trick.

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#16

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/04/2009 10:27 AM

And there are services now (at least in Phoenix) that start you off with clean, balanced water at the beginning of the season. This is in response to hardness build-up through the rest of the year as water evaps off. Come about spring getting the water to balance is near impossible.

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#19

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/04/2009 12:06 PM

I lived with an in-ground pool for 10 years and, after some of your experience, I engaged a local water hauler to provide the 60,000 gallons of water that it took to fill my pool. The water came from a municipal system, so it was treated and clean, and cost about $0.02 per gallon, so it was well worth that versus the chemical cost and aggravation. You may find truckers who have suitable tank trailers in your area who make pool water hauling a seasonal activity.

God Luck!

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#20

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/04/2009 2:25 PM

Thank you all. Will consider all options.

Smitty

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#21
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Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/06/2009 1:45 AM

If a creamery is in your area and you could get some cow water to infuse to the pool water it would produce a beneficial result.

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#23

Re: Raising the ph in Hard Water

05/07/2009 1:47 AM

You could use a diatomaceous earth filter.

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