Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), also known as "baking soda" or "bicarb," is a chemical compound in white powder form used to raise the total alkalinity of pool water with only a slight effect on the water's pH.
Bicarb has been recommended for use in the water of plaster pools during the initial start-up, in light of lab tests which have shown that it protects calcium from dissolving off the plaster. This method is particularly championed by the group onBalance, but its complexity has drawn criticism from other groups, such as the National Plasterers Council.
- Plaster Analyzed in Chemical Start-Up Tests — Pool & Spa News — 5.27.2010
- Defending Your Balance — Pool & Spa News — 5.15.2009
- Pool Chemistry Start-Ups (PDF)
- onBalance Technical Articles on Start-Ups
- UC Davis Article on ORP and Water Disinfection (PDF)