I hope I've not been posting too much but you folks here have been super helpful. I've learned from Pool School that raising TA will also raise the PH. Right now my TA is at 0 and my PH is very low (test results below). To get TA up to 60 ppm, Pool Math says to put in 11 pounds of baking soda. I'm planning on doing that in a few steps, testing PH and TA in between as the Pool School suggests. However, I'm looking for the best strategy to do this - should I deal with PH or TA first?
The reason I'm asking is because in Pool Math, it says I need a lot more borax to raise the PH once my TA is up to 60 ppm (19 oz if TA is 0 and 99 oz if TA is 60). Why does that make a difference? Is it simply that TA buffers against changes in PH so it takes much more to change it if TA is higher? Given that, would it be better to raise PH first and then deal with raising TA?
If I do add baking soda to raise the TA first, how much can I expect this much baking soda to to affect my PH? I'm hoping it will raise it to normal levels, but I have borax on hand to finish the job if it doesn't.
After adding borax and baking soda, how long should I filter the water before testing?
Latest Test Results:
FC = 0
PH = <6.8, my test was light yellow. It's likely lower than that.
TA = 0
CH = 110 ppm
CYA = 80 ppm - Working on lowering that now by replacing half the water. Got some good advice in another post on this.
For the record, I'm working on opening a pool for the first time that's not been well-maintained in the past.
Thank you all for your help. I just finished replacing water to bring my CYA level down and I retested as you all suggested. I found that my PH and TA did not change. Test results below:
CYA = 40 ppm
PH = <6.8 - probably much lower
TA = 0 ppm
CH = 110 ppm
I'll be adding baking soda to raise TA. Pool Math says to add 11 pounds to get it up to 60 ppm. I'll add half that now, test and then add more. Hopefully that will bring the PH up some too and then I'll add borax to bring that up the rest of the way.
I added Baking Soda which raised my TA to 70 ppm. PH is now readable and is at around 7.0 (probably more like 6.9). Pool Math says to add 80 oz by weight of borax to raise the PH to 7.6. I will try to do that tonight or tomorrow and retest. My main concern is that borax will raise my TA by about 12 ppm, which I know isn't the end of the world, but I was hoping to keep it a bit lower.
I realize now I misunderstood some of your advice and I should have used less baking soda to get the TA to around 50 or 60 ppm and then go the rest of the way for PH with borax, but I guess you just live and learn. I understand if the PH drifts up due to the high TA, Muriatic Acid will lower PH and TA as well, so I suppose it's not a big deal.
I don't think I mentioned above either that my pool currently has algae in it, which is why I'm trying to get the water balanced so I can SLAM it. I've heard that getting rid of the algae may also raise PH. Is that true?
Please let me know if you see any red flags with this plan. Thanks!
UPDATE 5/13 -
After adding borax, TA is up to around 80 ppm, but PH is at 7.2 and I'm ready to SLAM. Spent the evening brushing and vacuuming algae and I'll be adding my initial shock tonight. Thank you all for your help and I'll know in future to be a little more careful with the baking soda.
UPDATE 5/15 -
My SLAM has gone surprisingly well. I think I was able to vacuum most of my algae out to waste and the rest was taken care of within the first night and day after adding shock. I passed a OCLT test last night, my CC is at or near 0, and the water is quite clear. Thank you all so much for your advice and encouragement. I'm so glad to have found such kind people on this great forum!