Swimming Pool Chemistry: Total Alkalinity

Swimming Pool Chemistry: Total Alkalinity

Swimming pool water chemistry can seem intimidating at times, but knowing a few basic principles can foster confidence and ensure a safe and fun swimming pool season. One term that pool owners need to understand as part of their regular maintenance routine is Total Alkalinity or TA. This is the measure of the pool or spa water’s ability to resist changes in pH.  The TA acts as a buffer, or control, to keep the pH of your water at recommended levels. If the TA is too low (low alkalinity), the pH can fluctuate or “bounce” and this can adversely affect the water chemistry balance and cause other problems with your pool.

Therefore, water testing is an important part of the weekly maintenance routine for a swimming pool. The recommended level for TA is 80-120 ppm (parts per million). After testing the water, if you discover that your water chemistry is out of balance, it is very important to adjust the TA first, and then adjust the pH if necessary.

For TA that is too low, pool owners can rely on poolife® Alkalinity Plus or BAQUACIL® Total Alkalinity Increaser to raise the TA level. If the TA is too high, a great choice is poolife® pH Minus or BAQUACIL® pH Decreaser, which will lower both pH and TA. It is also important that TA be lowered no more than 10 ppm per day.

Unbalanced alkalinity can lead to serious consequences that could possibly damage your pool.

Symptoms or problems relating to low TA are:

  • pH bounce
  • Etching or staining of pool/spa surfaces
  • Corrosion of metal parts in your pool or mechanical system
  • Wrinkles in liner

Symptoms or problems relating to high TA are:

  • Cloudy water
  • Scale formation
  • pH resistant to change/drifts upward

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Or, just stop by the store for free computerized water testing. Don’t let your fun in the sun plans be interrupted by ignoring this very important aspect of pool maintenance.

Adapted from original article by Carole Hicks, Lonza Customer Care Center.



Aloha Pools and Spas, located in Union City, Jonesboro, and Cape Girardeau, is part of a family of companies that started in 1969. Aloha Pools and Spas has built thousands of inground pools and above ground pools for customers across seven states. They are dedicated to superior quality, professional service, and giving each and every pool and hot tub customer an unsurpassed level of satisfaction.

For over 40 years, families have trusted Aloha Pools and Spas to provide the highest quality and affordable prices on swimming pool chemicals and service, inground pool installation, hot tub sales and service, above ground pools, robotic pool cleaners, and much more. And all with the most up-to-date knowledge and technology. They have an expert staff of friendly swimming pool professionals and swimming pool service technicians that make pool ownership a breeze. If you’ve been thinking about an inground pool or an above ground pool, hot tub or spa, or anything backyard living related, Aloha Pools and Spas in Union City, Jonesboro, and Cape Girardeau is where you’ll find the best deals, service, and quality.

If you live in Union City, Poplar Bluff, Clarksville, Marion, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Jonesboro, Cape Girardeau or anywhere in Northwest Tennessee, Southern Illinois or Southwest Kentucky, give Aloha Pools and Spas a call at 731-885-2020 or stop by your nearest location for the best in swimming pool chemicals and service, swimming pool construction, hot tub sales, and hot tub chemicals and accessories.

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