There is an ongoing debate among pool experts about whether to use baking soda to raise pool ph or whether to use soda ash. The debate is still going to this day because both methods have their pros and cons.
Another common topic is the actual difference between the two balancers. A lot of people have cause to ask the question, is baking soda the same as soda ash? Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. The good news though is that it can in fact be answered so long as you have a little background on the ingredients.
In the following article we’re going to tell you about the most important differences between soda ash and baking soda as well as their properties. First though, let’s take a look at why both are used.
What’s The Point?
The point of using either baking soda or soda ash is to keep the chemical balance in your pool water stable. You want the pH level in your pool to be as close to perfect as possible to make sure the water stays clean and swimmable.
Adding soda ash or baking soda can help balance the pH levels. Ideally, you want a pH level between 7.4 and 7.6. Anything under this threshold will make the water too acidic and anything above will make it too basic. It’s really a balance between alkalinity and acidity.
Both baking soda and soda ash are viable balancers to maintain the ideal pH levels. However, both have their pros and cons…
The Case for Soda Ash
To understand the case for using soda ash you first have to know the pH of soda ash. Soda ash has a pH content of about 11% as opposed to it’s much higher alkalinity levels. However, soda ash doesn’t jack up alkalinity by very much. It does however have a more significant effect on pH due to the high pH content.
So why is this important? Because the properties of soda ash make it the best option – under certain conditions. The conditions being that your pool is already close to the ideal balance but needs high pH levels.
Using soda ash is a good idea when the alkalinity of your pool is near perfect but still needs a bit of a boost in pH. If you are maintaining your pool’s chemicals properly, this is the situation you will most often find yourself in.
So at the end of the day, you really want to only have to use soda ash because that will mean your pool is almost balanced as it is.
Drawbacks of Using Soda Ash
- It can make your pool water cloudy if it’s not added properly
- Adding too much will cause the alkaline levels to get too high
- You need to dissolve it in water before adding it to your pool water
The Case for Baking Soda
Baking soda can also be used to balance pool water in certain conditions. It also has a high alkaline content; but with a significantly lower pH level. In fact, baking soda typically has a pH level of about 8 as opposed to the 11 or higher of soda ash.
So what does this mean for your pool? It means that when you add baking soda to your pool, it will increase both the pH and the alkalinity by a significant margin. Whereas soda ash has a significant effect on pH, baking soda will cause a sizable increase in both pH and alkaline levels.
Due to this dual effect, using baking soda is best when both the pH and alkaline levels of your pool need to be increased. You may also need to use this balancer if you need to raise the water’s alkalinity more than the pH since it will always have more of an effect on alkalinity than pH.
If you have not been maintaining your chemicals very well then chances are you’ll need to use baking soda to balance it. That’s why it’s generally a good sign when you have to use soda ash instead of baking soda to even things out.
Drawbacks of Using Baking Soda
- Having to use it means that your chemical balance is way off
- Using too much baking soda may cause stains on the pool surface due to the high pH levels
- It can cause calcium scales or deposits on your pool surface
Soda ash and baking soda both have their place in general pool maintenance. One isn’t necessarily better than the other – you just have to know when to use them. No one wants to have to use baking soda because that means their pool needs more work.
So in general, soda ash is looked at more favorably even though both methods work to balance pool water.