Quick Definition:

Adding a base to pool water will cause the water to become more basic. Pools that contain too much of a base can cause cloudy water and pool surface scaling.

What is a Base?

A base is a substance that reacts in the presence of an acid, as a base can be considered the reverse of an acid in chemistry.  This chemical reaction effectively neutralizes an acid by adding an equivalent base.

A base readily accepts protons, or hydrogen ions.  A base can also be considered an alkali if it also releases hydroxide ions  If a substance is a base, contains a base, or behaves like a base, then the substance can be called basic.

In terms of swimming pools, the properties of bases are important.  The ideal pool water pH is 7.5, which is slightly basic.  If the pH drops below this level, sodium carbonate (soda ash), a base, can be used to raise the pH.  If the alkalinity is low, then another base, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), can be used to raise the alkalinity.

If the water is too basic, the water is essentially saturated with bases. Any additional base will stay out of solution, causing the pool water to be hazy, murky, or cloudy.  Left untreated, pool water in this condition will cause scaling to pool surfaces and equipment.

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