The Pool – Total Alkalinity

The Pool – Total Alkalinity

Posted By: Gavin Published: 23/11/2018 Times Read: 327 Comments: 0

In this post, we move on from pH to Total Alkalinity – the backbone of the Water Balancing Triad.

Total Alkalinity is the key to balancing your pH readings. You should have readings of between 80 – 120ppm (part per million) whenever you test your pool, spa or hot tub. By maintaining these level readings, you will maintain a stable pH and buffer out swings outside of the optimal 7.2 and 7.8 pH.

Total Alkalinity determines how well your water will neutralize acids and therefore, how comfortable your water is for swimmers. We recommend that you perform a test at least once a week, along with testing for your pH readings. We have a range of SpaChem ™ testing equipment available online to support you with this maintenance. If your pH is outside of the optimal range, pause for a moment and test your Total Alkalinity before adding any altering chemicals. The products that affect pH will also have an effect on your Total Alkalinity.

There are a number of visual signs that you have an unbalanced Total Alkalinity. See the most common below:
Signs of High Total Alkalinity: 

      Cloudy water – Pool water with high alkalinity allows for a calcium and other minerals to come out. They will float freely causing the water to appear murky.

      Scale – Scale will begin to form everywhere including the pool walls, floors and even on the water surface. This scale can affect your pipes, filters, and equipment.

      Reduced water circulation – A symptom of scale, reduced water circulation has trouble filtering out contaminants and gives algae a chance to gain a foothold.

      Consistently high water pressure – With lower water circulation, you get high water pressure. This could lead to increased wear on your pumps, seals, and gaskets. They will have a reduced lifespan and are at a higher risk of cracks.

      pH level hard to alter – High alkaline levels can prevent a high pH from being easily changed. When there isn't enough of an alkalinity buffer, the changes in the acidity of the water you get bounces. From drastic drops and sudden peaks, these changes can happen in cycles over a 24 hour period.

      Staining of etching of pool walls – Concrete walls are greatly affected by staining and etching. Acidic water will start to break down masonries like grout or stone surfaces.

      Corrodes metal surfaces: Acidic water also can cause damage to metal fixtures, pump motors, pipe valves, and heat exchangers. It also releases chemicals like copper and iron into the water – chemicals of which can cause staining.

      Poor biocide efficiency: Chlorine is especially affected by low alkalinity. However, this instability causes all biocides to be less effective.

As you can see, Total Alkalinity is extremely important to your pool's health and your bather's comfort.

If you have any further questions regarding Total Alkalinity and Water Balancing, contact us today. Our friendly and experienced team are happy to answer any questions that you may have.

For our commercial and trade contacts, please contact us for a personalized quote. 

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