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pouring muriatic acid in a pool

Muriatic Acid in Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

As you probably already know, maintaining a beautiful swimming pool is all about water balance. If your pools pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and calcium hardness are not balanced, a myriad of complications are possible. There are many different types of swimming pool chemicals and conditioners that can assist you in maintaining your pool's water balance. 

pH Scale

Muriatic acid is one of those chemicals that can come in handy when you are trying to reduce your pool's pH level. pH is a measurement of the acidic or basic (alkali) characteristics of your pool's water. pH is measured on a scale from 0 - 14, values under 7 are acidic and values above 7 are basic. The lower the pH the more acidic the water and higher pH levels are basic. So, you have your strong acids like hydrochloric acid at the lower end of the scale and strong bases like sodium hydroxide at the higher end of the pH scale. Your pool water's ideal pH is right in the middle, between 7.2 - 7.6. 

How Does Muriatic Acid Work

Muriatic acid can be used to lower pH, clean filters, and can be effective at removing some stains from some pool surfaces. 

Muriatic Acid to Lower pH

Muriatic acid is commonly used by pool owners to lower the pool's pH. If your pool's pH is too high the efficiency of your sanitizer (chlorine) will decrease. In addition your water could become cloudy and scaling along the waterline could occur. Adding a pH lowering agent like muriatic acid is probably the quickest way to reduce your pool's pH. 

The muriatic acid sold for pool owners is typically liquid or powder (that need to be pre-mixed). It can be poured directly into the pool. As a precautionary measure, you might want to dilute the recommended quantity of muriatic acid in a bucket of water before you add it to the pool. Turn your pump on a few minutes after adding the muriatic acid to mix the water. 

Muriatic Acid for Stain Removal

scale on pool tile

Muriatic acid is the same thing as hydrochloric acid but occurring in a diluted solution. It is a strong acid and can cause skin and eye irritation. Gloves and goggles should be worn when handling muriatic acid. As a strong acid, muriatic acid is good for stain removal on concrete and grout. With a little elbow grease it can even remove waterline scaling on tile. Do not use muriatic acid on vinyl liners. A light muriatic acid solution can also be a very effective cleaner for your cartridge filters.

Muriatic acid is a good chemical to have in your pool cabinet. It can be used as part of your pool's regular maintenance in a few ways. Just remember, muriatic acid is a strong acid and an irritant (liquid and dry). Take precautions and follow the manufacturers instructions when using muriatic acid. 

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