How to Balance a Chemical Equation
Part of the Chemistry Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet
When you balance equations in chemistry, you change only the coefficients in front of the chemical symbols. Never ever change the subscripts in the chemical compounds. The following steps show the balancing process:
Add up the number of each kind of atom on the reactants side and the products side of the chemical equation.
Use coefficients in front of each compound to balance the number of each kind of atom or polyatomic ion, one at a time.
This may take some trial and error, going back and forth from the reactants side to the products side. For simplicity, start by balancing the kind of atoms or polyatomic ions of which there are the fewest number.
Check the equation to make sure each kind of atom or polyatomic ion is balanced.
Put the balanced equation into lowest terms.
In other words, if you can divide all the coefficients evenly by the same positive integer, then do so.