What Should I Do First, Treat High pH Level, Add Salt or Add Conditioner(cya)?

by Sandra H
(Sanger, CA)

Chlorine: 0/0 reads really low

pH: 8.4
alkalinity: 18-240
Hardness: 1000
Cyanuric acid: 30-50
Salt: 1900 ideal is 2700-3400

I would like to know what I should address first, lower pH, add salt or what order is best.

Thank you

Thanks for the question Sandra

I want to address the readings to be sure I have them correct. The total alkalinity (TA) range is between 18 - 240ppm. That seems to be a very large spread. Can I assume it's 180 - 240ppm. If it's this, then obviously it's very high and needs to come down.

I will also assume you have a salt pool. The thing that stuck out at me was the very high hardness level. This can't be good for your salt chlorine cell. Normal range is between 150 - 250ppm, but mostly for plaster pools. Vinyl pools can get away with 80 - 100ppm hardness and anything more is a waste of money.

If you do have a chlorine generator I would recommend decreasing the hardness now. You're running the chance of it calcifying and burning up. The best way to reduce the hardness is a partial drain and refill. There's no quick or fast way to do it, a drain and refill is needed if the hardness is at 1000ppm. I will assume the readings in the question are correct.

Even if you drain 3/4 of the water you're hardness is still going to be at 250ppm which is the top of the safe range. If you have hard fill water it will only increase. If not, your best bet is to do a full drain and refill. The salt cell at the Y pool where I was the pool operator burned up when the guards used too much calcium chloride. You can also have pool water delivered to you.

Pool Water Delivery

You can balance the chemicals perfectly but if you don't get the hardness down to an acceptable level you're going to keep buying expensive chlorine cells.

Again, my advice is to do a full drain and refill, then take the readings for the fill water, and we can go from there.

If you would like personal assistance, I do phone consultations for a donation of your choice. It makes things go much faster. If you choose to not go that route, we can correspond by email.

Contact Me


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Aug 03, 2014
Test Strip Reading
by: Robert

Thanks for the question Angela

You have much more going on here than simply swimming. Your readings, according to the strips, are way off.

First you need to get the Taylor K-2006 kit and stop using strips. The Taylor kit is the most accurate.

Next is the high FC and low TA, pH and CYA. You need to get those adjusted. You can use 20 Mule Team Borax to raise the pH. It's 30 oz. of borax to raise the pH 0.2 per 10k gallons. Or you can use bicarb to raise both the pH and TA. It's 16 oz. of bicarb per 10k gallons to raise the TA 10ppm and the pH 0.2.

Next is the CYA. It's 1 lb. to raise it 10ppm per 10k gallons. The range is 30 - 50ppm. When you get to 30ppm stop and shock the pool with liquid chlorine. It's 1 gallon per 10k gallons.

Broadcast these around the perimeter of the pool with the filter on. Wait 2 hours between different applications and sweep very well. FILTER for 10 hours, retest everything and make another adjustment if needed.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone consultations for a donation of your choice. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias.

Pool Consultation

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


Aug 03, 2014
Unsure Of Reading On My Test Strip
by: Angela

Chlorine 10
Alkalinity 40
Ph 6.2
Cyan uric acid 0

We had lots of rain. I shocked it like always and this is what the test strip read. The pool looks fine. Can we swim in it.

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