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he Impact of Total Alkalinity on Your Pool or Spa

Total alkalinity (TA) is a crucial aspect of pool water chemistry, representing the concentration of alkaline substances in the water. Specifically, in swimming pools, we focus on bicarbonate alkalinity, which should ideally be maintained between 80 ppm and 120 ppm.

Maintaining TA within this range is vital for several reasons:

PH Stability: Proper TA levels help prevent rapid fluctuations in pH, ensuring a more stable and balanced water environment.

Surface Protection: If TA is too low, it can lead to etching of Marbelite and plaster surfaces, corrosion of metal components, staining of pool walls and floor, and even green water. Additionally, low TA can cause “pH bounce,” where the pH level unpredictably fluctuates.

Disinfection Efficiency: High TA levels can make it challenging to adjust pH, leading to cloudy water and reduced effectiveness of chlorine as a disinfectant.

Regular testing of TA is recommended, although it typically remains relatively stable in a well-maintained pool.

To adjust TA levels:

Increasing TA: Sodium bicarbonate is used to raise TA without significantly affecting pH. However, it should be added gradually, at a rate of 1 kg per 50,000 liters of water every 4 days, as raising TA is a slow process.
Decreasing TA: Lowering TA involves adding acid (either liquid or dry) to the deepest part of the pool with the filter turned off. The acid should be diluted and added slowly, with a waiting period of 3 days between applications. Reducing high TA levels can take days or even weeks.
If you’re struggling with high TA levels, consulting a pool professional or seeking advice on the Total Alkalinity forum is recommended. Our pool calculators can help you determine the necessary quantities of hydrochloric acid and dry acid to adjust TA levels effectively.

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