Baquacil Pool Chemistry 101: The Complete Guide

Chlorine isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people just can’t swim in a pool sanitized with chlorine. Luckily, products such as Baquacil give us a great alternative to chlorine.

The Baquacil sanitizer, along with a few other products, can do just as good a job on your pool water as chlorine can. And you won’t have to deal with the irritated eyes and skin like you do with chlorine.

Let’s go over what you need to do to keep your water in the best shape it can be with this chlorine alternative.

What Is Baquacil?

Baquacil is a brand name line of pool chemicals. It’s a chemical system that contains its own line of sanitizer, oxidizer, algaecides, balancers, and more.

While most of the product line is the same as other pool chemical brands (like pH and Alkalinity increaser), the biggest difference is their main liquid-based sanitizer that replaces the need for chlorine.

The BAQUACIL® Swimming Pool Sanitizer, otherwise known as PHMB, is a “non-chlorine” sanitizer. It’s classified as a Biguanide, which is a “non-bleach/halogenic product whose main oxidizing component is hydrogen peroxide.”

NOTE: If you want to use Baquacil instead of chlorine, you must use their line of oxidizers and algaecides. They work specifically with the main sanitizer and you cannot use other brands of regular pool chemicals. On the other hand, you can use balancers like pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium from other brands.

Baquacil Pool Chemistry

The overall process is similar to using chlorine with the only difference being the sanitizer and oxidizer (shocking process). Check out the table below for an overview of your water’s chemistry when using Baquacil.

Here is a list of the ideal chemical ranges for each product (ppm = parts per million):

Also, check out our article on Basic Pool Chemistry 101.

1. pH

pH measures the amount of acidity in your pool water. Your pH level needs to be between 7.4 and 7.6.

Your Baquacil sanitizer will have the most impact on your pH levels, so make sure it is well balanced before you add more to the water. Always re-test after you have added sanitizer to keep it at the proper level.

2. Total Alkalinity (TA)

TA is the measure of how much alkaline substances are in the water. This will help you manage your pH levels. If your TA levels dip below 100 ppm, the water can cause the pH level to spike up or down.

When your TA levels rise above 150 ppm, the water can become cloudy and scale can form causing your pH levels to drop.

If you need to raise your TA levels, you can add sodium bicarbonate to the water (or Alkalinity Increaser).

NOTE: To lower alkalinity, you would just use pH decreaser or muriatic acid. However, this is very uncommon as you’ll mostly have low alkalinity. You can also just wait for it to come down on its own.

3. Calcium Hardness

This is the sum of all the calcium that is dissolved in your pool’s water. If your water is too hard, it can make your pH levels unstable and cause your water to become cloudy. When your calcium levels are too high, the only thing you can do is remove some of the water to dilute the calcium.

If your water source is also high, you may need to look at a filter on the hose you use to reduce your levels.

If your calcium levels are too low, calcium chloride can be added to the water to increase the levels. Baquacil even sells a product that is completely compatible with their systems.

4. Total Dissolved Solids

This is the measure of all material dissolved in your pool’s water. Overall, it is the one you have to worry about the least. There is no real limit here that could cause damage, but if it rises above 1500ppm then your water could get cloudy.

Your best defense is to dilute the water by draining some of the water from your pool and replacing it with new water.

5. Oxidizers and Algaecides

In addition to the Baquacil sanitizer, you will need an oxidizer and an algicide as well. That’s because Baquacil doesn’t oxidize contaminants like chlorine and it won’t break down algae without a little help.

Baquacil has products that you purchase along with your sanitizer that you add to the water with the Baquacil to take care of this for you.

Baquacil CDX System

The total package you get from Baquacil is known as the Baquacil CDS System. This system includes the sanitizer and algistat, the oxidizer, and a water clarity product. It’s billed as a total system to help you keep your pool water clean.

However, I would also consider picking up the necessary water chemistry products to help keep it in perfect condition.

The Problems of Using Baquacil

Our friend’s at River Pools and Spas in Virginia wrote an article about why they don’t recommend using Baqacil. Here are a few key excerpts from their article:

With peroxide being the main oxidizer, the problem with the system is that waste builds up in the pool water over time and eventually a pink sludge build up results in the pool’s plumbing. This is also why most Baquacil users have good success with the product the first year or two, and then have to use more and more ‘Shock’ to keep the water clear. Again, this phenomenon is due to the un-oxidized waste build up.

…after a few years of selling Baquacil, we stopped recommending it to our customers. Because the goal of our business is to promote low-maintenance swimming pool ownership experiences, Baquacil clearly didn’t fit the bill.

Baquacil is notorious for allowing algae to grow in the pool and it’s incredibly expensive to remove the algae once it has started to grow with Baquacil’s weak oxidizing components.

If chlorine isn’t right for you, then you should consider Baquacil in your pool. It’s safe, effective, and easy to use. However, it is a little more expensive. Still, if you are looking for ways to avoid chlorine, then Baquacil is the way to do it. By following the guidelines on water chemistry above, you can create a safe pool that is ready to be enjoyed by your friends and family without ever using one drop of chlorine.

Still, if you are looking for ways to avoid chlorine, then Baquacil is the way to do it. By following the guidelines on water chemistry above, you can create a safe pool that is ready to be enjoyed by your friends and family without ever using one drop of chlorine.

Happy Swimming!

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