How to Increase Total Alkalinity in a Swimming Pool

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Keep your swimming pool chemically balanced and sanitized by maintaining the water at the proper pH level and monitoring total alkalinity, chlorine and other variables. When the total alkalinity is too low, increase it to the recommended levels.

  • Note that total alkalinity (T.A.) measures the alkaline material levels in the pool water. These alkalines include carbonates and bicarbonates. The total alkalinity in a pool should be in the 80 to 120 ppm (parts per million) range.

  • Understand that when the total alkalinity is too low, the pH levels change quickly (pH bounce) and can cause etching or corrosion within the pool.

  • Check the pool water with a testing kit for total alkalinity levels. To adjust the T.A. levels if they are too low, continue to Step 4.

  • Increase the total alkalinity in a swimming pool by adding sodium bicarbonate. The pH level remains relatively unaffected when you use this chemical instead of others, such as soda ash.

  • Add sodium bicarbonate to the water every four days at the rate of 1 kg. per 50,000 liters of water. Stop when the pool reaches the required range. There are online calculators that you can use to determine how much sodium bicarbonate you need to raise the T.A. level (see Resources below). Test the water after the treatment and repeat the treatment if necessary.

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