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How to Add Soda Ash or Sodium Bicarb to a Swimming Pool

Do you need to raise alkalinity or pH in your swimming pool? If so, there are two dry chemicals that you can choose from. One is sodium bicarbonate (bicarb), and the other is a higher pH substance called soda ash.

This article will walk you through how to safely and properly add either of these chemicals. And yes, bicarb and soda ash are different! The procedure for adding them, however, is identical. We just dose them differently. Adding dry chemicals like soda ash and sodium bicarb is not as simple as it sounds...you don't just throw them in the pool. Like any other dry chemical, we should pre-dissolve sodium bicarb or soda ash in a bucket prior to adding to the pool. Let's explain.

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What is a Hot Start?

A "hot start" is a method for starting up a new or resurfaced pool using a lot of acid. It is extremely aggressive–by design–so it etches calcium off the surface, hopefully evenly. The objective of a hot start is to "burn up" plaster dust and any imperfections left behind by the plaster application process, so that the customer is left with a beautiful looking pool. A hot start may also be called a "zero alkalinity startup" or an "acid startup". This article will discuss what hot starts are, why they are used, how they are done, and the chemistry behind the process.

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What Causes a High pH in a Swimming Pool?

It happens all the time. Swimming pool pH climbs, or sometimes spikes, and all sorts of problems like calcium dust and carbonate scale can occur. But what causes high pH in pools? Why does the pH sometimes climb, and other times stay relatively steady? In this article, we will discuss pH and how it shifts, and offer some remedies to correct the pH, based on each situation.

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The Orenda Purge

When first using Orenda products like SC-1000 and CV-600/700, the initial dose is what we call the purge dose.  So what is a purge? And why is it necessary? This article will explain.

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Minimal CYA | Pillar 4

Our Fourth and final Pillar is to minimize cyanuric acid (CYA). Maintaining CYA at a manageable level can be a struggle, and we realize that. But CYA has a major impact on chlorine efficiency. It can be summarized in two words: avoid over-stabilization. This article will explain what CYA is, why we use it, how it gets into our water, and how to manage it to prevent over-stabilization.

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Phosphate Removal | Pillar 3

Phosphates. The invisible common denominator behind many pool problems, elevated chlorine demand, and sometimes even cloudy water. Removing phosphates is the third of Orenda's Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care. This third pillar is an easy one to master. The action step is simple: keep your water's phosphate levels as low as possible; ideally below 500 parts per billion (ppb). In this article, we will explain why phosphate removal is so beneficial and important, even if it's not always mandatory.

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Organic Waste and Carbon Management | Pillar 2

Bather waste. Non-Living Organics. Body Butter. Grease and oils. Whatever you want to call the organic waste products that contaminate swimming pools, managing them is the second of Orenda's Four Pillars. So what do we know about non-living organics? We know that swimmers and animals that use the pool leave behind oils and other carbon-based waste, and chlorine will try to oxidize these contaminants. Unfortunately, oxidation is not chlorine's specialty. Chlorine–or more specifically, the strong form of chlorine in water, Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)–is primarily a sanitizer and disinfectant.

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LSI Balance and Calcium Management | Pillar 1

LSI Balance and Calcium Management is the first of Orenda's Four Pillars. This is arguably the most important of the Four Pillars because it is about understanding water and how it behaves. This article aims to simplify chemistry, so it can be more easily understood. If you are a chemist (who is not already familiar with this subject) and you would like to get more in depth on the science of this topic, this is one of our primary sources. We will link to other external sources in this article as well. So let's get into it.

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The Four Pillars of Proactive Pool Care

Are you proactive in your approach to pool management and water chemistry, or are you reactive? Based on the types (and amounts) of products sold in the pool business, it is clear that plenty of pool people are reactive. According to Dr. Charles Bens, less than 10% of healthcare costs go toward proactive measures...which means over 90% is spent reacting to diseases and illness. In other words, over 90% of the medical industry is treating symptoms and consequences, not preventing them. Amazingly, the same argument could be made in the swimming pool industry.

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Wildfires and Swimming Pools

Once again, wildfires rage with devastating fury. To say they are a disruption would be an understatement. We sincerely hope your homes and communities are safe. But even if you are not in eyesight of the flames or smoke, there is a good chance swimming pools will be affected in the region. A good rule of thumb is if you can smell it, it is impacting your swimming pool. Debris can travel many miles, and smoke can travel hundreds of miles. Even if a home is not touched by the flames, there is likely to be a recovery and clean-up process once the flames are finally snuffed out.

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