Total Alkalinity: Your Swimming Pool & Chemistry Made Easy 

Total alkalinity and weekly pool water maintenance.  Simply add sodium bicarbonate or pool acid to make adjustments.  Common mistakes to avoid.

Total alkalinity and weekly pool water maintenance.  Simply add sodium bicarbonate or pool acid to make adjustments.  Common mistakes to avoid.

Do you have shock absorbers on your car?  Hopefully you do!!    Your pool needs this kind of "shock absorber" and it's name is total alkalinity.  You can learn how to easily increase and decrease your total alkalinity (TA) with no "pH bounce" in your inground and above ground swimming pool.  Here are the few simple steps you need to know.  They're not difficult steps, but they do require a bit of patience.

Your TA is just that, how much alkaline substance is in the water.  Levels that are too high or low will cause your pool water quality to become compromised.  When your total alkalinity is in check, all of the other chemicals will be much easier to maintain.  This saves you time and money now, and in the long run.  If the TA is high, your pool will experience an increased demand for muriatic acid.  You can also increase the chances of a cloudy swimming pool.  Too low will cause problems with pH “bounce” and possible green pool water.  I recommend testing your water alkalinity levels at least once per week.  Once you have it in range, it should change very little.

If and/or when you do need to make any adjustments to your TA you can go to this page to learn how to make the proper adjustments.

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Problems With High or Low Pool Total Alkalinity

With high or low TA your pool can experience:

  • Decreased effectiveness of your sanitizer
  • Swimming pool stains
  • Scaling or etching of your pool plaster
  • Swimming pool pH bounce
  • Calcium deposits on the water line
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Unusual wear on filtration components
  • Increase demand for pool acid or Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Wasted money and time

When a pool is unbalanced and out of control, it can be the most frustrating time for a pool owner.  Take the time to educate yourself on the proper way to balance your pool.  You need to have both the knowledge and understanding of how all the elements work together to give you the spa and pool perfect for you.

Pool Total Alkalinity

Ideal Range For Alkalinity

The ideal range of your TA for pools is between 80-120 ppm.  At the proper level, you will find the:

  • Pool chlorine will continue to sanitize properly
  • The pool pH will be stable
  • Less need for a calcium hardness increaser

If you have contaminated well water it will make this process a little more difficult.

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Please remember these are ideal ranges, but we don’t live in an ideal world.  If you have a plaster pool (including salt water swimming pools) and the total alkalinity is 110 ppm or 75 ppm, don’t sweat it.  Allow yourself and your pool a little grace.

Happy Swimming!!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Lowering TA  
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I have been working on this pool for a month, never had an issue with not having clear water. I have shocked multiple, multiple times, added at least …

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I have an above ground vinyl pool 12' x 30" approx. 2000 gallons with a 600 gallon per hr cartridge filter pump. I run the pump about 12hrs/ day and unplug …