The Industry standard for lowering the pH in a Pool is to use Muriatic Acid. It is readily available at your local pool store, hardware store, and many grocery stores. There are two other alternate and safer ways to lower the pH in your pool and that is by using Dry Acid (Sodium Bisulfate) or Acid Magic (Hydrochloric Acid). I will cover all three methods here for you so you can make an informed decision.
Since the use of Muriatic Acid is well known I will only touch on it briefly here. They sell it in different strengths, but the Industry Standard is 31.45% and you can readily find this strength at your local pool store. Since this is a very strong acid, I suggest wearing gloves when handling it and also you need to be aware of the fumes when you pour it. Also, be careful not to get any on the pool deck as it can stain the surface.
Acid Magic is Hydrochloric Acid with the same strength as 31.45% Muriatic Acid but it has some great benefits over Muriatic Acid. Acid Magic has 90% fewer fumes than Muriatic Acid and it has a buffering agent that will protect your skin from getting burned. It also won’t etch the surface like Muriatic Acid and it is a safe alternative or as they say, a user-friendly form of Muriatic Acid.
Here is more about the product from the manufacturer Certol:
ACID Magic is a full-strength muriatic-based product formulated to ship, use, and store easier than standard muriatic acid. This revolutionary blend of proprietary ingredients offers the cleaning and pH reduction of powerful acids while providing increased usability.
POOL AND SPA:
• Tested safe in all heated/unheated pools.
• ACID Magic is certified by NSF to NSF/ANSI Standard 50.
• Adjusts pool and spa water chemistry.
• Extremely effective acid wash.
• Cleans filters, chlorine generators, and meter electrodes.
DRINKING WATER TREATMENT:
• ACID Magic is certified by NSF to NSF/ANSI Standard 60.
• Corrosion and scale control.
• pH adjustment.
Sodium Bisulfate (Dry Acid) Sodium Bisulfate is a dry, granular form of acid. This makes it safer for handling, and it is far less corrosive in a pump room or other space as it is not a strong oxidizer like muriatic acid. Sodium bisulfate needs to be stored in a dry place, without moisture getting into the container. Sodium bisulfate must be pre-dissolved before being added to the pool, just like any other dry chemical. But if you spill it or get any of it on the pool deck it won’t burn your skin or stain your deck.
Does not burn your skin
Longer shelf life
Easy to store
No toxic fumes
It won’t rust everything around your house or equipment room
Strong as muriatic acid with proper dosage
Easy to use
Adjusting the pH in your pool is critical for proper water balance and to make sure that the water in your pool is not scale forming nor is it being corrosive. The pH is one important element in this. Note also that when you adjust the pH you are also adjusting the Alkalinity. And that the higher the Alkalinity is over the baseline of 80-120 ppm the more dry acid you will need to lower the pH. This is because Alkalinity is a buffer in the water and will slow down the effect of any acid you add if the water is very alkaline.
Dry acid is a bit more expensive than muriatic acid if you are comparing pound for pound which is a bit more difficult because one is in a dry form and the other in a liquid form. But if you measure the dosage of the dry acid correctly it is just as strong as 31.45% muriatic acid. I think for the safety and storage benefits dry acid is hands-down better for homeowner use as well as some service pro use. I like to carry 50 lbs. bucket in the back of my truck and find it very handy as it gives me more space to carry my other chemicals and equipment. It is also good for adding acid to those service accounts were pets are present or the homeowner is next to the pool. The last thing you want to do is pour in a quart of muriatic acid and have them overcome by fumes.
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