Understanding Total AlkalinityFor Your Pool Or Spa
Total Alkalinity is the water’s buffer against wide pH swings.
When pools are operated in the recommended pH range, the main constituent of total alkalinity is the bicarbonate ion.
The cyanuric acid treatment – often labeled stabilizer or conditioner – is used to protect chlorine in outdoor pools from rapid degradation by sunlight also contributes to the TA level.
The proper range for TA is between 80 and 120 parts per million – ppm.
Low TA in your pool or spa can result in pH that bounces up and down, as well as pitted concrete, surface staining, and ravaged metal fixtures.
With high TA, pH tends to drift upward. Over time you will also see crusty deposits, cloudy water, or plugged pipes..
TA increasers are a white powder, similar to baking soda, that is sold in bottles and pails at local pool stores everywhere. TA decreasers are dry acid or muriatic acid (same as pH decreasers).
Before making any changes to pH, test the water’s TA. Get the TA level right first. Then adjust the pH if necessary. When TA is in the proper range, pH most likely will be, too.