High PH and High TA

by Arctic Frost

I see many questions about high pH and low TA but what about high pH and high TA? I've added pH minus to our pool in the suggested amount to lower TA. I haven't seen any results yet but I only added the Minus pH about 5 hours ago.

This is my first pool as we've just bought a house in Arizona. The last owners left the place in exquisite condition and the pool goes without saying. The pump always reads 10 PSI so I haven't backwashed yet. I brush every other day and am just now adding chemicals.

Everyone has a different opinion as to what's best, from "just brush and add chlorine" to "test everyday and add those chemicals". The pool is always clear and pretty, not much scaling but some.

I believe it's getting a slightly green tinge but so slight I'm not even sure. I got those water bugs so I'm laying odds algae is growing.

That's why I opted to start to mess with the chemicals.

Arctic Frost

PS - We're from Alaska so this pool stuff is all new to us

Thanks for your question

The very first thing I would recommend is getting a Taylor Reagent FAS-DPD K-2006 pool water test kit. It's the best and will give you the most accurate pool chemical readings.

Pool Water Testing Kit

I'll start with the first paragraph of your question and move down. When adding any chemicals you need to wait for one full turn-over of the pool water to re-test. This means that all of the water has gone through the filter and back into the pool through the returns. This normally is about 8 - 10 hours.

Example: The GPM (gallons per minute) for a pool pump is 40 and we have a 20,000 gallon pool. 40 X 60 minutes = 2,400 gallons per hour
20,000 gallon pool divided by 2,400 GPM = 8.3 hours. So it would take 8 hours for one turn-over and then re-test the water.

With the FAS-DPD test kit you'll be testing for chlorine, combined chlorine, pH, TA, calcium hardness, and cyacuric acid (CYA). Chlorine is the sanitizer for the pool and you'll want to keep that between 1.5ppm - 3.5ppm

is 7.6 - 7.8

TA is 80 - 100 (you can go up to 120)

Calcium Hardness is 150 - 250. I know in many parts of Arizona the hardness level of the water can be 300 or more, so you might have an issue with scaling. That's why it's important to keep the TA in check. CYA is 30 - 50ppm.

This is the stabilizer for the chlorine and can be found in Tri-chlor pool chlorine tablets. You can go to these links for more information:

Swimming Pool Chlorine

Chlorine Tablets

Swimming Pool Chemistry

You'll be o.k. in testing a couple of times per week and any chemical additions or adjustments should be done in the evening. This way the pool has the best chance against the hot sun.
If you have a light green tinge to the water, it's safe to say you might be getting pool algae. I would suggest you shock the pool. There's a chart on the chlorine link above to tell you how much pool chlorine to add.

Don't worry too much about a slightly high pH. The main thing is to get the TA down. You can go to this link to learn how to do that:

Pool Alkalinity

You'll want to add the acid with the pool pump off. Very gently sweep the bottom to break up and hot spots. Allow it to sit for 2 - 3 hours, turn the pump motor back on and allow for one full turn-over, then re-test. When making any pool chemical adjustments the main thing is to be patient. It might take a few applications before you get the water balanced.

The most important aspect is to stay on top of it and be proactive be testing twice per week. If the pH does come down by adding the acid, don't worry. Through filtering, swimming and splashing around, the pool will be burning off the CO2 (carbon dioxide) and the pH should come up on it's own.

You can use simple muriatic acid to lower both the TA and pool pH levels. Get a tab floater and keep it full of chlorine tabs, but also keep an eye on the CYA. Hope this helps and good luck with your pool


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New Gunite/Plaster Salt H2O Pool..Low pH & Total Alkalinity..Black Plaster..

by Kris

I have a new gunite/plaster salt H2O pool. Water looks great however our black plaster is turning white. How can I loosen it up to brush it off?

I added a gallon of muratic acid yesterday because the pH was above 8.5. Now pH and alkalinity are low but I cant brush it still. It was doing this right when they installed the pool and they put acid in it and the white stuff would roll right off.

Do I need more acid?

What do you think?

Thank you for your time.

Thanks for the question Kris

Normally with new pools or newly plastered pools you're going to have some residual plaster coming off until it fully cures. The pool water might become cloudy and/or dull, but not to worry. This will go away with normal filtration.

I think what your pool might be going through could be either high salt or calcium hardness, or a combination of both. I would suggest getting a Myron salt meter from TMI Salt Pure. This is the one I use at the YMCA pool and it's very accurate. A little on the spendy side, but it's worth it. TMI can walk you through on how to use it. They're very knowledgeable and helpful.

Don't simply rely on the computer reading or the salt cell chlorinator. You need to have that calibrated correctly with a manual reading.

Salt Water Swimming Pools..Chlorinator..Maintenance Guide

Next, be sure to keep your swimming pool calcium hardness between 150 - 250ppm. This is especially true with concrete/gunite salt pools. To high calcium and the salt chlorinator cell might calcify up, too little calcium and you'll get pitting on the gunite.

Calcium Hardness..Cloudy Pool Water..Test

I suggest getting a Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 test pool water kit. It's the best on the market.

Pool Water Testing Kit..Balance..Chemistry

You can get a nice wire swimming pool brush and pool test kit from Amazon. The brush might help with loosening up the white build-up on the gunite surface.

Swimming Pool Supplies

You said the pH and alkalinity was low. You can add sodium bicarb. to raise the total alkalinity using the technique found here:

Pool Alkalinity..Adjust Pool Chemistry..Pool Water Balance

If the pH isn't too low, say below 7.0 - 7.2, I personally wouldn't worry about raising it. Through aeration, splashing around, etc...the pH will rise on it's own through the burning off of the CO2. If it's lower than that, you can raise it be using this page:

Swimming Pool pH Levels..Lowering..Raising

Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out for you

All the best


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Total Alkalinity Too High..pH Too Low..Swimming Pool..

by Virginia

We have not been able to get our vinyl lined, 20,000 gal., in-ground pool water to clear up this Summer. The total alkalinity is too high (around 130ppm). The pH is too low - 6.8ppm.

How can I lower the alkalinity without lowering the pH at the same time? Also, 12 hours after chlorine is added, there is no free chlorine indicated by the chlorine test.

We changed the sand in the sand filter hoping it would help clear the cloudiness.

We have added clarifier with no result.


Thanks for your question Virginia

I would encourage you to get, if you already don't have one, a Reagent FAS-DPD K-2006 pool water test kit. It's the best one on the market.

Water Testing Kit

You're not completely out of range for your total alkalinity and pool pH level. Just some simple adjustments are needed.

You lower both alkalinity (TA) and pH level with muriatic acid, but you need to "tell" the pool which one needs to be lowered, and here are the links to do it:

Swimming Pool pH Levels

Swimming Pool Alkalinity

It's basically this for the TA: With the pump off, pour the acid in the deep end of the pool. Very gently sweep the bottom of the pool to break up any "hot spots" of acid.

Allow this to sit for about 2 - 3 hours, turn the pump back on and allow the pool water to circulate for one full turn-over, about 10 - 12 hours, then re-test the TA.

This will lower the TA without much happening to the pH level.

To raise the pool pH level, you can use sodium bicarbonate. It's just normal baking soda, or 20 Mule Team Borax works as well.

With the pump on, pour the bicarb. around the perimeter of the pool, starting in the deep-end. Allow for one full turn-over of the water, then re-test.

Once you get the TA at 80ppm - 100pm and the pH between 7.6 - 7.8, you'll be fine.

Concerning your pool chlorine level, normally your pool will lose chlorine because there's a lack of cyanuric acid (CYA).

What you're using right now is an unstabilized form of pool chlorine, probably liquid or granules. CYA is the stabilizer for the chlorine. You need to get some CYA into your system.

Chlorine Tablets

Get it between 30ppm - 50ppm using the above link. Your Reagent K-2006 test kit will have a test for CYA and it's very easy to take this reading.

You might get residual dirt and sand back into the pool because of the recent sand change. This is normal and will decrease in time as the sand settles and gets a little more debris in it.

Your swimming pool sand filter needs a little bit of pressure to work correctly.

If sand does come back through the returns, just vacuum it up.

You're pretty close to having a great pool. Just a few easy corrections should do it. It will take a little time and patience, but it will be worth it.

Good luck and have a great Summer


Follow Up Comment
By: Virginia

More On TA High & pH Low For Our Swimming Pool

Thank you for your answers to our many problems. We actually use a chlorine that contains a stabilizer. That is a reading I failed to give you. It is now at 120. I have the test kit you suggest.

Follow Up Comment
By: Robert

Your cyanuric acid or Total Dissolved Solids might be too high.

The most effective way to reduce these is to drain some of the pool water, about 1/3 - 1/2, then refill with fresh water and re-balance the pool chemicals.

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