Does the order of balancing water matter?

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
You may have misunderstood me .... I'm not saying everyone says not to use bleach. I'm saying there are lots of posts that tell you what to avoid in bleach, but not a lot of posts that tell you what to look for in bleach. If I'm switching to bleach I want to be sure I get the right stuff, and I'm not entirely sure what that is (per, lots of advice about what to avoid, but not a lot about what to actually get).

Clear as mud? :-D
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,794
Northern NJ
Colorado is a big state. If you put a more local area in your profile maybe others in your area may say what pure bleach brands they find locally. Or ask the question in one of the bleach threads.

Look for Pool Essentials Chlorinating Liquid 10%. 2 gallon pack or "Great Value Cleaning Bleach" at Walmart .
 
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joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Interestingly, after adding the second 1/4 cup of Alkaline Increaser to my spa, the TA jumped from 30 to 80. Based on the dosage I would have expected 70. Nothing on the bottle said anything about needing to wait so long for the test to show the change - I waited 12 hours after the first 1/4 cup dose and saw no change so added the second 1/4 cup, then waited another 12 hours, then saw the jump. I guess next time I'll wait longer before doing the first check.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,592
Stuart/FL
Joe, Allen is right on the money with the bleach approach. He's been here advising people for a long time and he knows exactly how to do the TFP method. There are other ways to do this which may explain why you see other posts but we at TFP are proponents of the bleach system taught in Pool School (see link to the left). It is based on sound science, and many years of proven low-cost success with spa's and pools. You will see some people that use trichlor or dichlor tablets and even other systems. But they all have drawbacks like build up of CYA that interferes with disinfection or has other drawbacks like requiring change out of water. We also recognize that people have to make their own choices so you will see posts from people that don't use TFP methodology. I've been on this site for about 4 years using TFP. Pure sparkling pool with no excursions at less that $10/mo for my pool so I'm a strong proponent of what works great.

I hope this helps explain what you are seeing on the posts.

Chris
 

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Understood, I'm sure I will take the plunge, so to speak, at some point. Since I just converted my spa to SWG I am hoping I will need minimal additional chems but it sounds like I will probably need to dose w/something extra occasionally, especially after heavy usage, since the SWG won't be able to keep up all the time. Once I use up the chlorine granules I already paid for I'll make the switch. I definitely suffered from CYA build up in my first tub of water and really struggled to keep the water clear over time. Thanks for the encouragement!
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,179
Fresno, CA
Any chance you purged your plumbing system before refilling your spa? If your spa had sanitation issues in the past you may have biofilm deposits in your system that will drive up your CC levels in no time.
 

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Yes, I did the ahhsome purge. Got the weird yellowish scum around the water line. Is this something I will need to do w/every water dump? As the water drained it left scum kind of all over everything and was a real hassle to clean out - no good way to wipe it down as it drained because I couldn't reach a lot of the spots w/out getting in the tub, which I really didn't want to do until all that contaminated water was out!
 

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Follow-up re/my TA level ... in the sticky that describes how to use chlorine in a hot tub, it mentions a target TA of 50 ... per above I overshot and now I'm at 80. My pH is running a bit high ... wants to go to 8-8.2 it seems like. I added some pH decreaser (spapure brand) and temporarily got it down to 7.8 yesterday but today it was up in the 8-8.2 range again. The water feels OK tho. Should I try to get my TA down, or am I OK w/a TA of 80 and a pH around 8? If I keep adding the pH decreaser will that eventually get the TA to drop? I don't really want to buy a jug of muriatic acid when I probably only need a couple of ounces, this one time!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,447
Laughlin, NV
Each time you add acid to lower your pH you consume a small amount of TA. So when your pH hits 8, lower it to 7.6.

The pH decreaser you are using is Sodium Bisulfate. Not recommended as it adds sulfates to your water and they will destroy metals (heater). Muriatic acid is far better for your spa.
 
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joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Hmm. Def. don't want to mess up my heater. Can I also use the muriatic acid to lower the pH in general? Or do you only use that to lower the TA? Sorry if that's a dumb question ... I am still a bit confused on the relationship between TA and pH. Or if you get the TA right, will the pH be stable? And for that matter, what should my target for TA and pH be? The water feels and looks fine right now w/a TA of 80 and pH around 8.
 

Mr Bruce

TFP Guide
Mar 24, 2014
2,438
Greenville, SC
MA lowers both pH and TA. If/when the pH goes up, add more acid and eventually your TA/pH relationship will become (more) stable. Don't target for a specific TA, let the knocking down of acid find it. Your TA is fine. Your pH should be in the 7s. I always try to add a little less acid than I think I need, better "only" get down to 7.5 rather than overshoot to 6.8 and have to aerate.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,495
Tucson, AZ
Bruce has a good reply - to clarify further muriatic acid is primarily a pH decreaser, it also happens to decrease the TA. You wouldn't use it to just decrease TA - you'd use it to reduce pH and, as a result of that pH reduction, also reduce TA over time.

Spas aerate A LOT (those jets), so you can expect to have to keep an eye on your TA over time.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,495
Tucson, AZ
Awesome, thanks, I will stop worrying about it then! Spa is outside and covered so I have been assuming CYA was not something I needed to worry about. I will probably test it tonight just to see what it is. I'm thinking it may be 0, since I just filled the tub on Sunday and haven't added any chlorine products to it - just salt for the SWG.

Re/the CC, I have noticed that it fluctuates .... what makes it drop? And if it's 1 or higher, what can you do about it? Just shock, and/or add more chlorine?
In a covered spa, the primary benefit of CYA is that it "softens" the chlorine, making it less harsh. Maintaining at least 20-30ppm CYA is a good idea.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,794
Northern NJ
Hmm. Def. don't want to mess up my heater. Can I also use the muriatic acid to lower the pH in general?
Yes, MA lowers both pH and TA at the same time. It has more of an effect on pH than TA.

Or do you only use that to lower the TA?
MA lowers both.

I am still a bit confused on the relationship between TA and pH.
I suggest you review ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

pH is a measure of if your water is acid (lower than 7) or alkaline (greater than 8). pH is what you want to manage since acid water damages metals and is bad for skin. Normal pH of tears in eyes is 7.4 for reference. Better to be on the high side of 7.4 as water being too alkaline has less damaging effects than water too acid.

TA measures the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the water that can be released. Higher TA causes pH to rise quicker. High TA itself does no damaging effects. But higher TA causes more pH rise over time.

Or if you get the TA right, will the pH be stable?
You can't focus on TA. It is too unstable to hit a number. Better to manage your pH between the 7's and let your TA find a natural equilibrium.

And for that matter, what should my target for TA and pH be?
Target for your pH should be 7.6 - 7.8. Any TA 50 or above is ok.

The water feels and looks fine right now w/a TA of 80 and pH around 8.
Add a bit of MA to get your pH down to 7.6.
 

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
OK, so to summarize, my TA is fine, but since my pH is at or maybe a little bit above 8, I should add acid (a little bit at a time!) until it is stable somewhere in the 7's (and probably high 7's since I would prefer to add as little chems as possible)? Are you also saying that over time it will creep back up (thanks to aeration), so I should check periodically and will probably need to add more acid in the future to bring it back down?

Is the pH decreaser really that bad? I have a bottle of the stuff, I'd at least like to use it before switching to MA.
 

joecooler

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2019
116
Longmont, CO
Lots of good info here, I was writing my last reply while ajw was replying. I think I get it - add MA to get my pH down and don't worry about the TA. Re the CYA, I haven't actually checked it yet so no idea where it's at. I will do that this weekend.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,495
Tucson, AZ
OK, so to summarize, my TA is fine, but since my pH is at or maybe a little bit above 8, I should add acid (a little bit at a time!) until it is stable somewhere in the 7's (and probably high 7's since I would prefer to add as little chems as possible)? Are you also saying that over time it will creep back up (thanks to aeration), so I should check periodically and will probably need to add more acid in the future to bring it back down?

Is the pH decreaser really that bad? I have a bottle of the stuff, I'd at least like to use it before switching to MA.
Yes, gun for a pH adjustment to 7.6 or so. It's a logarithmic function, so it requires less acid to get it to 7.6 and keep it there than it does to get it to 7.2. Aeration will raise pH over time, so you'll want to monitor it, especially after using the spa (next day is fine).

How much of that decreaser do you have left?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,794
Northern NJ
OK, so to summarize, my TA is fine, but since my pH is at or maybe a little bit above 8, I should add acid (a little bit at a time!) until it is stable somewhere in the 7's (and probably high 7's since I would prefer to add as little chems as possible)? Are you also saying that over time it will creep back up (thanks to aeration), so I should check periodically and will probably need to add more acid in the future to bring it back down?
Yes, you need to constantly check both your FC and your pH. Those are the two important chemicals to test regularly. Bad things can happen when either of those gets too low.

Is the pH decreaser really that bad? I have a bottle of the stuff, I'd at least like to use it before switching to MA.
You can use up the pH decreaser and then switch to MA without a problem.