Balancing pH and Total Alkalinity Is Vital For Your Swimming Pool

Owning a swimming pool can be a lot of funespecially when you can jump into beautiful blue and clear water! The keyfactor in this though is making sure you have a balanced water chemistry. Inthe past, we’ve talked about chlorine, Calcium Hardness, Cyanuric Acid (CYA)but today we want to focus on pH and Total Alkalinity (TA). These two valuesare vital to your water chemistry and making sure your water remains blue andclear. They are also often misunderstood in regard to their important and wewant to make sure you understand why they are key factors in keeping your poollooking great!


pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the pool water is. pH is measured on a scale from 0-14, with 7.0 being neutral. Below 7.0 is defined as being acidic, while levels above 7.0 are said to bebasic or alkaline. To have pH in balance we must adjust the water withadditions of pH decreasers (acid) or pH increases (bases) to help youobtain an optimal range of 7.4 – 7.8 which is standard optimal level in theswimming pool industry. If your testing shows a pH value below 7.0; the wateris in a corrosive (acidic) condition and you will need to add a base to bringthe pH up. (This is only common if you add too much acid to your pool) Pleasenote, a low pH will weaken vinyl, strip heat exchangers and erode theinterior finish. Whereas, if the pH is above 7.8, the water is considered basicand you must add acid to bring down the pH to prevent the formationof scale or calcium deposits on your tile, the filter, and the possibilityof cloudy water. Another issue with a high pH is chlorine becomes lesseffective. This is much more common of the two!

Total Alkalinity

Alkalinity is a pH buffer, meaning it helps to keep the pH from drastically moving up and down the pH scale by absorbing major changes to the waters before affecting the pH. Total Alkalinity (TA) is a close relative to pH and is a measure of how much of the alkaline substances that are in the water. In the swimming pool water, we are concerned with bicarbonatealkalinity, which should be between 80 parts per million (ppm) and120ppm. When the TA is within this range, it prevents rapid pH changes andultimately stabilizes the pH level.

When you want to achieve a swimming pool with balanced water chemistry, adjusting your pH levels is critical. Please note if your salt levels are high that will cause your pH to increase more rapidly. If you should have any questions about pH or TA, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Why is Swimming Pool Water Chemistry So Important?

Weekly pool service Dallas

One of the biggest challenges for most swimming pool owners is to manage their swimming pools in the off-season. Let’s face it whether you hire a weekly pool service company in the Dallas area or if you take care of it yourself managing the water chemistry in the summertime can be challenging with how warm the water is and the number of storms we have. That’s why swimming pool owners get a little lazier in the winter or what we consider the non-swim season. This is normally when the swimming pool is an afterthought or when dropping a chlorine tab in the floater is all most want to do. But, trust us when we say, there’s more to be done and we hope this blog post helps you to understand why water chemistry is just as important during the winter time too!

Whether you have plaster, Pebble Tec, Fiberglass, or vinyl taking care of the water in the pool should always be important because you still need to manage chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Cyanuric Acid (CYA) even when you aren’t swimming. Not to mention emptying out the skimmer and pump basket and brushing the steps, benches and interior finish to prevent staining. We totally understand that the swimming pool can be an afterthought at this point but please keep in mind if you want your pool to last, for the interior finish to keep looking great and to keep scaling off of the tile and filtration equipment we highly recommend following these simple tests.

Instead of testing your water weekly it should be okay to do it every other week but make sure your levels are within the following:

Chlorine 1-3ppm

pH – 7.4-7.8

TA – 80-120ppm

Calcium Hardness – less than 600ppm

CYA – 30-50ppm (unless you have a salt chlorinator)

When necessary we highly recommend adding acid to your swimming pool to keep the pH within normal levels to prevent potential cloudiness and scaling from occurring and please keep in mind because it will rise in the winter time too. Adding chlorine to prevent algae from growing in your swimming pool and if your Calcium Hardness is above 600ppm contacting us to lower the following without draining the swimming pool:

  • Calcium Hardness
  • TDS
  • CYA
  • Waterborne diseases
  • So much more

At Weber Pools, we are committed to you and your swimming pool. Our goal is to always give you the best water quality possible. We specialize in working with commercial and residential swimming pools. To learn more about our service, contact us today!