Low pH and High Alkalinity

Causes and cures for cloudy swimming pool water.
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Ed

Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby Ed » Mon 28 May, 2007 10:23

My pool water is cloudy. The pH is low, but total alkalinity is very high - almost off the charts. If I add soda ash to increase the pH, the alkalinity will also go up. If I reduce the alkalinity by adding acid, the pH will go even lower. Any suggestions?


Buggsw
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Postby Buggsw » Mon 28 May, 2007 15:10

Yes, you can correct this.

It would have been better if you posted your actual pH and TA readings.

Don't add any more soda ash (which is the same thing as Arm & Hammer Laundry Washing Soda).
You need to raise your pH by aerating - any waterfall, fountain or even turning the return jets upward to get some bubbling action or droplets of water.

You can also raise your pH without affecting TA by using some 20 Mule Team Borax. Aeration is the preferred method rather than adding any more chemicals to your pool.

The quickest way to lower TA is by using muriatic acid and pouring it in one spot in the deepest part of your pool and at least foot away from the side walls. Not knowing what your actual readings are and what your pool volume is I cannot tell you how much you need. Just, never add more than 2 cups at a time. When I do it, I even pour some of the 2 cups in one spot, then move a few feet over and pour a bit in another spot. Let your water be still for about 20 minutes and then turn your pump on to circulate for a few hours. Check your TA level after a few hours and repeat if necessary. I wouldn't do more than 2 treatments in one day.

Then run your pump 24/7 with aeration techiques described above, if possible.

Do not use tablets or pool store shock, as they contribute to low pH - while you are doing this, treatment.

If you need to adjust your chlorine up or shock, use liquid chlorine only while trying to adjust your pH & TA.
This can be laundry bleach or pool store chlorine. I've posted several times in the last few days about using chlorine, so you can look for those posts for more info on that.

If you post your readings and pool volume, I can tell you more accurately how much acid you will probably need over all.
relse

Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby relse » Mon 06 Jun, 2011 12:52

Why liquid chlorine vs granular? Just curious as I am fighting this phenomenon of high T/A and low pH. Happens every year I open! I generally have to add quite a bit of water in the winter...

On a side note, I live in Minnesnowta! My 30+ year old concrete pool is limping along accommodating our summertime pleasure. I must insist your pool company should not drain your pool during home reconstruction over the winter even if they supposedly blows the existing lines. By the way, the duct tape used to cover the exposed plumbing didn't do the trick! Yes, the main drain cracked along with one supply. Naturally, it would be too appropriate to stand behind that blunder. So, I now have a new pool company that I love and they help me get along with 22K gallons of water, a skimmer return and two supplies. Hmpf. I've been waiting 8 years to get that off my chest. PS. if your pool company is hired to repaint your pool surface and paints little worm fossils into the paint, FIRE THEM! Before they winterize your pool!

Thanks!
9904dmiller
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Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby 9904dmiller » Fri 21 Jun, 2013 11:01

How much borax to raise the ph from 7.2 in a 18 round pool??
chem geek
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Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby chem geek » Fri 21 Jun, 2013 15:41

The answer depends on your other water chemistry parameters, especially the Total Alkalinity (TA) level but also if you have 50 ppm Borates in the pool. Assuming you have no borates and that your TA is 80 ppm, you can use The Pool Calculator to calculate that your 18 foot round pool if 4.5 feet deep on average would be 8600 gallons and raising the pH from 7.2 to 7.5 would take 13 ounces weight (11 ounces volume) of pH Up / soda ash / washing soda or 25 ounces weight (24 ounces volume) of 20 Mule Team Borax.
9904dmiller
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My Pool: 18 round, hayward de filter, auto clorinator, heater
Location: Wisconsin

Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby 9904dmiller » Fri 21 Jun, 2013 21:07

I'm not sure what borates are?? My alkalinity is 211. I added 2 cups of acid as you suggested and it brought it down from the highest color on the strip to the second highest color on the strip. (I had the water tested at the pool store and they told me it was 211, otherwise I can only tell you the color on the strip). Tomorrow I will add 2 more cups and see what happens. The ph went down a bit after I added the acid. I have been running my fountain to generate aeration as you suggested. I have a 4 lb box of dry powder borax, could you tell me in cups how much I should add to raise the ph and do I add it directly or dilute it with water? Also, how much liquid chlorine do I need to add to raise my level from .22?
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Low pH and High Alkalinity

Postby chem geek » Sat 22 Jun, 2013 01:38

You are not following the procedure to Reduce Total Alkalinity Levels. You do NOT use a chemical product to raise the pH during this procedure otherwise you'll just be see-sawing or even raising the TA instead of lowering it (depending on the product you use). Note that you only use acid and you aerate the water. You do NOT add pH Up or borax to raise the pH. You aerate the water to raise the pH. And you make the procedure go faster by keeping the pH low at 7.0 by adding sufficient acid.

Also, test strips are useless so I wouldn't even try doing the procedure with them unless you want to risk damaging your pool. Get yourself a proper test kit, either the Taylor K-2006 or the TFTestkits TF-100 .

Borates are what you get when you use 20 Mule Team Borax or similar products such as Proteam Supreme or Bioguard Optimizer Plus though these latter products have different water (hydrate) content so you use more weight of them -- in The Pool Calculator these are pentahydrate while 20 Mule Team Borax is decahydrate (borax in the calculator).

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