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Understanding Total Alkalinity in Your Pool or Spa

Total alkalinity (TA) is a crucial parameter in maintaining the balance of your pool or spa water. It measures the concentration of alkaline substances, primarily bicarbonate alkalinity, which should ideally be between 80 ppm and 120 ppm.

When TA is within this range, it acts as a buffer for the pH level, preventing rapid fluctuations and stabilizing the water chemistry. This stability is essential for the effectiveness of disinfectants and the comfort of swimmers.

Consequences of Low Total Alkalinity:

  • Etching of Marbelite and plaster surfaces.
  • Corrosion of metal components.
  • Staining of pool walls and floor.
  • Green water due to algae growth.
  • Eye irritation and discomfort.
  • pH bounce, causing erratic pH changes.

Consequences of High Total Alkalinity:

  • Difficulty in adjusting pH levels.
  • Cloudy water.
  • Frequent need for acid addition.
  • Reduced efficiency of chlorine as a disinfectant.

To maintain proper TA levels, regular testing is recommended, although well-maintained pools typically experience minimal changes. To increase TA, sodium bicarbonate is used, as it raises alkalinity without significantly affecting pH. However, this process is gradual, with a maximum addition rate of 1 kg per 50,000 liters of water every four days.

Lowering TA is also a slow process, involving the careful addition of acid to the deepest part of the pool with the filter turned off. Dilute the acid before pouring and wait three days between applications. For high TA levels, consulting a pool professional or seeking advice from online forums may be necessary.

Maintaining the right total alkalinity level is crucial for a healthy and enjoyable swimming experience. Regular monitoring and adjustments will ensure your pool or spa remains in perfect balance.

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