How to add Muriatic Acid to your pool water

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How to add Muriatic Acid to your pool water

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If you are a fan of music from the 70’s, you will easily recall the song by Deep Purple entitled “Smoke On The Water”. The song tells of the true events surrounding a fire at a concert in Switzerland, where an audience member shot off a flair gun and set the casino on fire.  The fire’s smoke drifted out over Lake Geneva, thus giving the band the song title. (It wasn’t a Deep Purple concert, as they saw the fire and smoke from their hotel room…..not their fault!)  Now that you’re wondering why the song background, I want to tell about my own “smoke on the water” ordeal, and the resulting “fire in the sky”.  The smoke I’m talking about is from muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid. Muriatic acid, when used in swimming pools, is used to reduce the pH and alkalinity when their parts per million (ppm) become too high.

There are a couple of methods used to introduce the acid into your pool water.  First, take note of the humidity level in the air;  the more humid the air, the closer the fumes from the acid will stay to the surface of the water.  Also check to see which way the wind is blowing; you will want to be upwind of the muriatic acid fumes. The day I experienced “smoke on the water” was a day of high humidity, which is typical here in Florida during the warmer months.  There was no wind to move the fumes away from me and the cloud stayed localized over the area where I added the muriatic acid to the water.  Not thinking, I was breathing normally and inhaled a slight amount of the fumes.  That’s when the “fire” occurred……in my nose!  The coughing started immediately and I quickly got up from where I was kneeling and began walking around breathing in the fresh air.


So you learn from my mistakes, here are some guidelines when adding muriatic acid to your swimming pool water:

  1. Wear eye protection and acid resistant gloves (the gloves’ package will list the chemicals it is resistant to).
  2. Make sure the pool pump is on and the water is circulating in the pool.
  3. Take note of the humidity and wind direction.
  4. Do not add the muriatic acid where you added chlorine.
  5. Take a deep breath and hold it! Add the acid directly over one of the deep end return jets so it will quickly become diluted and mixed. You can also fill a bucket halfway with water and add the acid to that, stir slowly, then pour it around the perimeter of the pool.

How much acid required can be calculated based on the number of gallons of water your pool holds.  Although you cannot prevent “smoke on the water”, hopefully this information will keep you from having “fire in the sky”; or in this case “fire in the nostrils”! Like us on Facebook!

Happy Swimming!

1 Comment

  1. Jud says:

    When undiluted was added to my health club indoor warm water pool I started choking. I was about 6 ft from the place they put it in. My swimming suit on that side rotted over a week’s time.

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