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Thread: pH creep

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    pH creep

    Aloha,
    Crystal clear pool!!! Thanks experts. CYA 40, FC 4-6. Easy to maintain. Haven't added anything since the water replacement. No nothing, but calhypo tabs. pH has been in the 7.4-7.5 range. CH 250. TA 50. Seems low, so I add 40# baking soda (over 4 days). Now TA 80, but pH has risen steadily to this am's 7.8.

    What could be causing this? I don't want it to go higher and it's been 3 days since the baking soda treatment.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    90,000 gallon, in-ground, 3 pumps / sand filters, in-line chlorinator on #2. Learning on the job!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: pH creep

    Sorry to tell you the baking soda is causing it. TA combined with aeration (includes swimmers splashing) makes pH rise. When you add acid to lower pH, you'll also lower the TA you just raised. The way to stop the vicious cycle is to let the TA find the level where pH holds steady for a week or so at a time, and it's different for every pool. That number, whatever it is -- and it sounds like yours was in the 50's -- is what you should target for TA.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: pH creep

    A self inflicted wound? How can that be? I went to pool school!

    My inclination is to let time heal the wound. Is there a downside to this?

    Where is the, 'pH is now x.x, I need to add acid to bring it down,' line in the sand?

    Thanks.
    90,000 gallon, in-ground, 3 pumps / sand filters, in-line chlorinator on #2. Learning on the job!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: pH creep

    Quote Originally Posted by msachen View Post
    A self inflicted wound? How can that be? I went to pool school!

    My inclination is to let time heal the wound. Is there a downside to this?

    Where is the, 'pH is now x.x, I need to add acid to bring it down,' line in the sand?

    Thanks.
    You have a public pool, so you're bound by regulations. If they specify the limits, you're stuck. Otherwise, when pH hits 7.8, lower it to 7.2. If the pH stays in range for a week or more, you've found the TA target.

    You'll get the hang of what affects what and how far you want to nudge things soon enough. You chose 80 TA as the target because it was square in the middle of recommended. I would have shot for 70 because it would take less Baking Soda. But if it left some odd amount of baking soda in the bag, I'd probably just dump it in, too.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: pH creep

    You might be interested in seeing the short TED-talk type of presentation I gave at last year's World Aquatic Health Conference (WAHC) entitled Reduce Facilities Chemical Costs By Proper Management of Total Alkalinity (TA) and pH. As noted in the swimming pool rules for Hawaii, the pH must be from 7.2 to 7.8 and the FC must be at least 0.6 ppm. There are no rules regarding Cyanuric Acid (CYA), Calcium Hardness (CH), nor Total Alkalinity (TA).

    However, with a plaster pool if you decide to go lower in TA and you target a pH near 7.8, then you might need to raise your CH to protect your plaster.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: pH creep

    Thanks guys. The pH of the water coming out of the tap is 7.5. I want that to be my goal for logistical reasons. It's not plaster, just concrete. So the question is, add acid or let it settle back on its own over time?

    Chem question: Everything I've read here says that baking soda will raise pH a little, unless the pH is really low. I don't think 7.4 is really low. Is a little raise .4? If this is an exception, what made my pool special?

    Thanks again.
    90,000 gallon, in-ground, 3 pumps / sand filters, in-line chlorinator on #2. Learning on the job!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: pH creep

    Quote Originally Posted by msachen View Post
    Thanks guys. The pH of the water coming out of the tap is 7.5. I want that to be my goal for logistical reasons. It's not plaster, just concrete. So the question is, add acid or let it settle back on its own over time?

    Chem question: Everything I've read here says that baking soda will raise pH a little, unless the pH is really low. I don't think 7.4 is really low. Is a little raise .4? If this is an exception, what made my pool special?

    Thanks again.
    If you plug your numbers into poolmath, you'll see that the CSI - Calcium Saturation Index - shows it to be corrosive to plaster at the low pH. If you change each parameter individually, you'll see for yourself how each affects the CSI. So... if you take pH all the way down to 7.2, something else needs to be higher, which could be CH. Or TA. Or pH. You have a limited range for pH and if you find the sweet spot for TA where the pH holds stable, that leaves you with raising CH. Play with the numbers a bit, including water temp. It's enlightening.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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