First time opening pool- alkalinity very low and ph is high

MSL82

Member
Aug 22, 2018
7
Canada
Hi all,

We’re in Canada and we’ve just moved in to a new house and I’m planning to open the existing ~16x32 (~19000 gallons/ ~72000 liters) winterized concrete pool. I haven’t bought a the recommended test kit yet but I have used a test strip as to get a general idea of the current water chemistry.

Chlorine values are zero since I haven’t added anything to the pool yet but the two values that I’m wondering about, that are completely off, are the total alkalinity and the pH. The total alkalinity is near zero and the PH is high...over 8.4.

From what I’ve read I should be adjusting the alkalinity and then the pH before SLAMing the pool. I believe adding baking soda will raise the total alkalinity...any idea how much I will need to buy to raise the total alkalinity so much?

Also, will adding baking soda increase the pH even more? Is that ok for the pool? Then when I lower the pH, will the total alkalinity just go down again right away? I’m worried I’ll add in a lot of baking soda only to reverse its effects by lowering the pH right after.

Any insight would be appreciated!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,404
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
Check your testing. It would be very odd to have a very high pH and 0 TA.
Use PoolMath to determine the volumes of chemicals you need.
Baking soda will raise your pH a little, then when you drop the pH it will consume some of the TA. But, it is very difficult chemically to have what you have. So check your testing.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry and consider reviewing the entire Pool School eBook.
 

MSL82

Member
Aug 22, 2018
7
Canada
Welcome to the forum!
Check your testing. It would be very odd to have a very high pH and 0 TA.
Use PoolMath to determine the volumes of chemicals you need.
Baking soda will raise your pH a little, then when you drop the pH it will consume some of the TA. But, it is very difficult chemically to have what you have. So check your testing.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry and consider reviewing the entire Pool School eBook.
Thanks for your reply. That’s what I thought too. I did the test twice (a day apart) hoping it was an error but got similar results the following day. The test strips are new but I know many people prefer test kits over strips.
 

MSL82

Member
Aug 22, 2018
7
Canada
I did not catch the strips. I would not do anything based on them. Do you have a proper test kit?
No, not yet. I’ve seen the list of test kit models that are recommended on this site but they are difficult to find here in Canada. Are the test strips really useless? They are the Aquachek 551236- 7 Way Pool Water Test Strips
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,404
Laughlin, NV
Strips are useless. Not repeatable nor accurate.

Where in Canada? You can have a TF100 shipped to a mail drop at the border and drive over and pick it up.
 

MSL82

Member
Aug 22, 2018
7
Canada
Strips are useless. Not repeatable nor accurate.

Where in Canada? You can have a TF100 shipped to a mail drop at the border and drive over and pick it up.
Darn! Wish I hadn’t just bought them!

I’m right outside Montreal. That’s a good idea though. I sometimes ship the the UPS store near my in-laws house, they live close to the border. I was just hoping to get it started ASAP.

One last question, unrelated to chemicals... I often read that sand filter psi should be lower than mine is. The lowest ours has ever gotten is 18, even after a thorough backwash. Is that ok? Does every system have a different baseline?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,404
Laughlin, NV
Every system is different. Depends on flow rate, heaters, etc.
Fill out your signature so we know what pool type, volume, equipment, etc you have.

Up to you on trusting the strips. We will not provide specific guidance based on them.
 

MSL82

Member
Aug 22, 2018
7
Canada
Every system is different. Depends on flow rate, heaters, etc.
Fill out your signature so we know what pool type, volume, equipment, etc you have.

Up to you on trusting the strips. We will not provide specific guidance based on them.
Will do. Thanks again