Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Problems relating to pH and total alkalinity.
Increase ph, increase TA. Reduce pH, reduce TA.
pH chemistry advice and techniques for the pool.
doug

no chlorine reading

Postby doug » Fri 07 Oct, 2016 04:31

if you are putting loads of chlorine in and getting zero reading you have chlorine lock often caused by over high levels of stabiliser usually cyanuric acid will require a water change up to 75% and future monitoring of cyanuric levels 30-50 ppm is ideal range more will reduce percentage of free chlorine and eventually lead to chlorine lock also chlorine dosing should be carefully measured not dump in by the shed load hope this helps


SteveO

Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby SteveO » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 17:03

Thanks for all of this helpful info. I came up with a cool way to aerate the pool. It used parts that many pool owners will have and it has been helping, so I figured I would share. I read that rain was good for aeration as the drops splashed on the surface. So, along those lines, I placed my pool cover pump into my pool and connected the output hose to a sprinkler that is spraying the pumped water back into the pool. The pumped water is getting aerated as it is sprayed, and the surface water is getting aerated as the water splashed down. Its bee running about an hour now and I can already see the bottom of the pool :D Hope this helps others.
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby JillD » Wed 19 Jul, 2017 19:22

I Am jumping on this post As I can't figure out how to post a new post..... need help!!

I was suppose to put 4kg of alka plus in my pool and I put in 8kg! Was told by pool store to pt in whole bucket so I did then saw it was 8kg, I dumped in around pool all at once.... what can I do now? Just get it re-checked???
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby JillD » Wed 19 Jul, 2017 20:16

My initial reading TA was 77
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby Denniswiseman » Thu 20 Jul, 2017 16:52

If your pH is stable leave it alone
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby GloriaFl » Fri 15 May, 2020 03:44

Larry wrote:The acid slug method in this post has been discussed and disproved throughout this thread. Here is a safer and better method for reducing Total Alkalinity written by Richard aka chem geek. Quoted in this post for easy reference.

The following method assumes 6.8 is the lowest measurement on your pH test kit:

StepAction to TakepHTANotes
1Add AcidlowerslowersAdd enough acid to bring pH down to 7.0
2AerationraisesnoneAerate until pH rises to 7.2
3Add AcidlowerslowersAdd acid to bring pH down to 7.0 (continue to aerate)
4
Aeration & Acid
nonelowersRepeat steps 1 & 2 until TA reaches the target
then AFTER you have reached your target TA
5AerationraisesnoneAerate until pH rises to your target (say, 7.5)
Net resultnonelowers


chem geek wrote:Neither the acid ball slug method nor the drizzling method are the same thing as lowering the pH significantly and then adding aeration while adding acid to keep the pH low. Even if the acid ball slug method is somewhat more effective at lowering TA (and this is controversial), it is not nearly as effective as low pH with aeration. This is the fastest way to lower TA -- guaranteed. It is the following procedure. Note that you should use the next to lowest measurement on your pH test kit as the low-end -- so if your pH kit only goes to 7.0, then use 7.2 as the low-end target and 7.4 as the high-end trigger to add acid to get back to 7.2.

ACTIVITY .......... pH .... TA ... The following assumes 6.8 is the lowest measurement on the pH test kit
==================

Acid ..................... - ........ - ... Add enough acid to bring pH down to 7.0 (if it's already there, then just skip to the next step, aeration)

Aeration ............. + ....... 0 ... Aerate until pH rises to 7.2
Acid ..................... - ........ - ... Add enough acid to bring pH down from 7.2 to 7.0 (you may continue to aerate while you do this)
-----------------------------------
Aeration & Acid .. 0 ....... - ... Continue this combination (cycling of the two above) until TA is at the target you want

then AFTER you have reached your target TA,

Aeration .............. + ....... 0 ... Aerate until the pH rises to your target pH (say, 7.5).

==================
Net of Above ....... 0 ........ -

Note that there is NO addition of base (Borax or otherwise) in the above procedure. Aeration would include running your SWG, running your waterfall, adding any fountains or other aeration features, getting an air compressor with a nozzle or pipe with small holes that produces tiny bubbles and putting that in the deep end of the pool, etc. By the way, rain is an excellent aerator with splashing drops, but unless you can control the weather...

The above procedure works because the rate of outgassing of carbon dioxide from a pool varies with pH and TA level and with aeration. Pools are intentionally over-carbonated -- that's why you initially add sodium bicarbonate / baking soda / Alkalinity Up on pool startup (unless your fill water is already high in Total Alkalinity). Think of the pool as a carbonated beverage -- it will outgas carbon dioxide. Stirring up (aerating) your drink causes more carbon dioxide to release faster. If you blow bubbles through a straw, the drink goes flat (loses its dissolved carbon dioxide) quite quickly. If you measured the pH and TA of your drink, you would find that as carbon dioxide is released, the pH rises with no change in TA. The same happens in a pool (for technical reasons I won't get into here).

This chart shows the relative carbon dioxide outgassing rate at various pH and TA levels. This is a relative rate since it is also a function of aeration, wind, etc. and that is not easily quantifiable. You can see how lower pH significantly increases outgassing. That's what makes the above procedure go faster, along with aeration. The outgassing rate also determines the amount of acid you would need to add over time to restore (lower) the pH. So running your pool at lower TA and higher pH will lessen the need for acid addition over time.

This chart shows the relative rate of pH rise at various pH and TA levels. Though the lower TA has a lower outgassing rate, it also has a lower pH buffering effect and these tend to cancel each other out though the outgassing effect is slightly stronger. This is why you can see some lowering the the pH rise at lower TA though running at a higher pH target is more effective (so most people do both -- lower their TA level AND target a higher pH).

Richard


This was the classic method, now debunked:

Here is a step by step guide to reduce the Total Alk of swimming pool water:
  1. Turn off the pump and wait at least half an hour for the pool water to stop moving.
  2. Choose an open spot in the deep end of the pool and pour the required amount of pH reducer slowly into this one spot. If you are using granule or powder pH reducer, first dissolve it in a bucket of water.
  3. The water will become hazy (like the heat coming off a hot road) and may bubble. This is normal.
  4. Allow the pH reducer to do its work for 20 - 30 minutes, then turn on the pump and circulate the water for at least 4-6 hours.
  5. Test again after 48 hours and repeat as necessary.
To find out how much pH reducer you need, you can use these handy Total Alkalinity Calculators. The calculators are metric and the conversions are:
1 gallon = 3.8 litres
1kg = 2.2 pounds
1 litre = 34 ounces

After giving the pool an "acid shock" like this, it is usual for the pH to drop. The high Total Alk causes the pH to rise again naturally, so wait several days after correcting the TA before adjusting the pH up. It is usually not necessary after the wait.

There are some who suggest that this method can harm some pool surfaces and they warn not to add more than 2.5 pounds of pH reducer for 10,000 gallons of pool water every 3-4 days. I regularly use up to 20 pounds for 10,000 gallons in one go and I have yet to have a problem. As long as the hardness level is at least 200ppm there is no reason for problems.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Larry

Hello! Thank you very much for this advice, it very helpful!
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby bobmirror » Sat 21 Nov, 2020 10:32

After months of trying to understand chemical balancing and why my TA & pH values seem to fly about all over the place no matter what chemical advice I follow - suddenly things are starting to make sense!!

I am no chemist, but this all seems to make a hell of a lot more sense than anything I've been witnessing or following so far.

Here's the rub however.... I own a hottub, not a pool. So, can I assume for these reasons that my 'pool' is super aerated and therefore my pH will tend to rise? Also, when mixing in chemicals, typically the advice has been to leave the jets running for at least 15 minutes.... now this would explain why many times in the past when trying to lower my pH using a pH- product, I have retested the water, say half an hour later, only to find pH is right where it was previously... or perhaps sometimes even higher!!

Does all this map to hot tubs, or is there something I'm missing?

I tend to aim for the following levels in my hottub:
pH 7.5
TA 100ppm
Free Chlorine 4ppm

Any help or advice anyone can lend would be massively appreciated! Thanks!!
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby Denniswiseman » Sat 21 Nov, 2020 11:16

You are correct that aeration raises pH. Acid will lower pH and TA
How do you chlorinate?
Excessive CYA renders your chlorine ineffective and you have to use more to get the same sanitation
For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases Calcium Hardness (CH) by at least 7 ppm
To reduce your CYA you have to do a partial drain and refill
Continous use of Trichlor/Dichlor will raise your CYA which means you have to raise your chlorine level as well
Use these common products to balance your pool
Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite or plain bleach)
Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) to lower pH and TA
Bicarbonate of soda to raise TA
Aeration will raise pH only
Soda ash will raise pH and TA
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby Teapot » Sat 21 Nov, 2020 12:10

Bob can I ask what the TA is of the presumably tap water you fill the hot tub with ?
Can I also ask if the hot tub is plastic?
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby bobmirror » Sun 22 Nov, 2020 13:53

Denniswiseman wrote:You are correct that aeration raises pH. Acid will lower pH and TA
How do you chlorinate?
Excessive CYA renders your chlorine ineffective and you have to use more to get the same sanitation
For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases Calcium Hardness (CH) by at least 7 ppm
To reduce your CYA you have to do a partial drain and refill
Continous use of Trichlor/Dichlor will raise your CYA which means you have to raise your chlorine level as well
Use these common products to balance your pool
Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite or plain bleach)
Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) to lower pH and TA
Bicarbonate of soda to raise TA
Aeration will raise pH only
Soda ash will raise pH and TA


Thanks for your help Dennis, so this all applies to hottubs just the same, but presumably with aeration such an integral feature of a hottub, one can expect rising pH levels more regularly than not?

I do use dichlor and that was the reason for deciding upon my last full drain, the CYA level had gone through the roof!

As far as I know, most hottub salesrooms recommend using stabilised chlorine dichlor granules, presumably this is just for ease/safety? But equally these places commonly promote being able to keep the same water entirely for 3-4 months, which I just can't see how with the CYA in mind. Are there any major cons to using a liquid chlorine?

My pH-minus product is dry acid (sodium bisulphate) you mention using hydrochloric acid (this is liquid form right?) ...presumably most hottub owners favour the dry acid for safety purposes again? Are there any downsides to using dry acid instead of the muriatic/hydrochloric option?

Many thanks!!
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby bobmirror » Sun 22 Nov, 2020 13:55

Teapot wrote:Bob can I ask what the TA is of the presumably tap water you fill the hot tub with ?
Can I also ask if the hot tub is plastic?


Hi Teapot, yes the pH of the tap water here appears to be about 7.3pH when I tested it today (the water board claims an average figure closer to 7.5pH).

The hot tub has an acrylic shell.

Thanks!!
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby Teapot » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 03:18

Bob I actually asked for the TA so we can judge the alkalinity level you are using from the tap as that will have an effect on the pH
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby bobmirror » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 12:55

Teapot wrote:Bob I actually asked for the TA so we can judge the alkalinity level you are using from the tap as that will have an effect on the pH


Sorry, totally mis-read somehow! The TA reading for tap is 136 ppm
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby Teapot » Mon 23 Nov, 2020 16:18

Thanks Bob, easy done. Yes with that level of TA of 136 you will suffer pH rising with aeration. If you bring the TA down to 50 or below the water will stop rising in pH.
I run my pool at around TA of 40 and have not added any pH minus in two years. Be warned though it takes a fraction of pH + or - to alter it.
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Re: Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels

Postby bobmirror » Tue 24 Nov, 2020 05:16

Teapot wrote:Thanks Bob, easy done. Yes with that level of TA of 136 you will suffer pH rising with aeration. If you bring the TA down to 50 or below the water will stop rising in pH.
I run my pool at around TA of 40 and have not added any pH minus in two years. Be warned though it takes a fraction of pH + or - to alter it.


Thanks so much! All the hottub forums (& chemical/diptest bottles etc) seem to advise keeping hottub TA between 80-120 to 'fix' pH value, otherwise pH will fluctuate wildly supposedly. I must confess I find it all terribly confusing! But nowhere else have I seen it noted that pH will rise when the water is aerated, which seems to be pretty key information for a hottub owner since aeration is pretty much part and parcel with one!

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