Swimming pool water chemistry can seem intimidating at times but knowing a few basic principles can foster confidence in caring for your pool and ensure a safe and fun swimming pool season. One term that pool owners need to understand as part of their regular maintenance routine is Total Alkalinity or TA. This is the measure of the pool or spa water’s ability to resist changes in pH. The TA acts as a buffer, or control to keep the pH of your water at industry recommended levels. If the TA is too low (low alkalinity), the pH can “bounce” and this can adversely affect the water chemistry balance and cause other problems with your pool. If the TA is too high, this can result in scale formation and difficulty in altering your pH level if necessary.
Therefore, it is very important that water testing is a part of your weekly maintenance routine. This is easily accomplished with our AquaCheck Test Strips, supplemented by an occasional visit to our professional water testing lab at either store location. Please do check the expiration date on your test strip bottle however. They really do expire, and results are not accurate past their expiration date.
The industry recommended level for TA is 80-120 ppm (parts per million). After testing the water, if you discover that your water chemistry is out of balance, it is very important to adjust the TA first, and then adjust the pH if necessary.
For TA that is too low, you will want to use poolife® Alkalinity Plus to raise the TA level. If the TA is too high, you will need poolife® pH Minus, which will lower both pH and TA. It is also important that TA be lowered no more than 10 ppm per day.
Unbalanced alkalinity can lead to serious consequences that could possibly damage your pool.
Symptoms or problems relating to low TA are:
- pH bounce
- Etching or staining of pool/spa surfaces
- Corrosion of metal parts in your pool or mechanical system
- Wrinkles in liner
Symptoms or problems relating to high TA are:
- Cloudy water
- Scale formation
- pH resistant to change/drifts upward
A season of fun and enjoyment with family and friends is why you purchased a pool in the first place. Don’t let these plans be interrupted by ignoring this very important aspect of pool maintenance.
As always, we are here to help!