Troubleshooting & Safety Understanding Total Alkalinity
TOTAL ALKALINITY is one of the most important yet overlooked parameters of your pool water. It is important to take the time to understand what it is and how it can affect your pool water and its equipment, because neglecting it CAN COST YOU LOTS OF MONEY!
What is total alkalinity?
Technically, Total Alkalinity represents the amount of bicarbonate materials present in pool water. In simpler terms, it measures the ability of the pool water to resist pH fluctuation when foreign materials are added to it.
The ideal range for TA is between 80 - 150 ppm (parts per million).
If you treat your water with Bromine you will want to keep the reading above 120 ppm as the reaction that takes place between Total Alkalinity and Bromine results in a continual decrease in the TA level; so always have some Alkajuster (TA raising product) on hand.
What effect can low or high total alkalinity have on your pool?
LOW TA can have the following serious damaging affects:
Heaters have copper piping which can literally dissolve necessitating costly replacement and also possibly cause staining of the liner.
Your liner can fade and wrinkle (a damaged vinyl surface allows vinyl to absorb water and wrinkle).
Solar blankets will suffer disintegrating bubbles and be prone to tearing.
Pool equipment will become brittle and discoloured.
Skimmer screws will rust and stain the face plates.
Spa heater elements, spa covers and pillows will deteriorate.
HIGH TA can have the following serious damaging affects:
Scaling - Resulting in higher heating and repair costs.
pH drift to 8.4 - resulting in higher chlorine consumption and algae.
A cloudy pool - resulting in an unsafe and unhealthy pool.
NOTE!!! - There is NO WARRANTY on heaters and other swimming pool or spa equipment damaged by low alkalinity!
What causes a low total alkalinity and what you can do about it?
Many pool chemicals are acid-based, but the largest contributor to the problem of low TA is ACID RAIN. Sulphur dioxide mixed in rain water can lower TA very quickly.
Testing your pool water at least twice a week and adjusting the TA level regularly as required with Alkajuster will help avoid the aforementioned problems.