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The Pool – Total Alkalinity

The Pool – Total Alkalinity

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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