pH/TA dilemma

BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
My pH is reading around 7.0 and TA is around 140. From what I can tell, my best option to work towards my target numbers is to use muriatic acid to decrease the TA, and use aeration to avoid a further drop in pH and eventually raise it? Also, the TFP app does not tell how much muriatic acid to add (18,500 gallon pool), even using the Pool Math. Please advise.

Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,505
Northern NJ
Post a full set of test results and put details of your pool in your signature.

Don't touch your TA. Your pH should rise naturally with that high TA. When you reduce your pH you will be slowly lowering your TA. Let your pH and TA find the equilibrium for your pool.
 

BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
So what you are telling me is contrary to what the TFP app tells me to do, which is "add muriatic acid, aerate pool to raise pH". Our area is notorious for hard water, and my pool (built in Oct 2017) already has some minor scaling, which I am trying to avoid progression of. I have a feeling that elevated TA has been an issue since day 1, and the pH/TA has never "found its equilibrium" on its own...

Would sure be great if I could enter all of my test results into the app (FC, pH, TA, CH, CYA) and get a concise "formula" of what needs to be done to reach target values.

P.S. I will add pool details to my signature when I have time to do so. Just recently created my TFP profile...thanks.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,505
Northern NJ
Pool water chemistry is not a one size fits all and the app gives general guidelines. Here on the forum we can give much more specific advice for the regional differences such as you are seeing.

That is why I asked for a complete set of test results including CSI. Let's look at the big picture of your water chemistry. TA alone does not cause scaling and adjusting TA alone would not prevent scaling.
 
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Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
805
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
So what you are telling me is contrary to what the TFP app tells me to do, which is "add muriatic acid, aerate pool to raise pH".
DDS,

This is actually accurate, but your don't want to drop you pH when your at 7. Aerate first to force your pH rise to 7.8, then drop it to to 7.2. this allows you maintain a safe range while lowering your TA. Each time you add MA, your TA will drop. As Allen suggested, post a full set of test results so he can advise accordingly, based on your CSI.
 
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Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,943
NW Ohio
This is why TFP is about learning about pool chemicals and what your pool does and doesn't need. If the app just said "to reduce your TA add this much muriatic acid" then people would crash their pH and cause permanent damage to their pools and equipment.

"Do this and don't ask questions" is the pool store mantra. It works really well for sales-based stores, not so well for the countless empty wallets and green pools it creates. TFP prefers to create educated pool owners who have the tools, both mental and external to get their pools balanced, sanitary, clear, and keep them that way. The app is just one of those tools, not a replacement for education.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,505
Northern NJ
DDS,

This is actually accurate, but your don't want to drop you pH when your at 7. Aerate first to force your pH rise to 7.8, then drop it to to 7.2. this allows you maintain a safe range while lowering your TA. Each time you add MA, your TA will drop. As Allen suggested, post a full set of test results so he can advise accordingly, based on your CSI.

Why go through all the work of aeration when the pH will rise naturally over a week or less? No reason to rush things. I apply the lazy pool owner methods.
 

BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
I've added my pool/spa specs in my signature line...

Thank you for the responses, and I have the patience to "wait" for pH to rise through an aeration process. Normally we leave our pool covered, so I'm assuming leaving it uncovered/running spa jets occasionally will help with aeration, in order to raise pH?

Once pH is raised, then I can add muriatic acid?

Here are the readings from my test kit tonight:
FC= approx. 2.0
pH= 7.0-7.1
TA= 140

Any suggestions to reach ideal levels and the rationale are welcomed!

FYI, one of the reasons I am so motivated to FIGURE IT OUT, is because we have developed some moderate scaling on the sides/bottom of our pool (completed in Oct '17), which happened on my watch. I thought adding liquid bleach and a weekly does of liquid conditioner throughout last summer, and then "winterizing" by adding bleach on occasion and keeping the pool covered, would suffice. My wife about killed me a few weeks ago when I vacuumed the pool and we saw all of these white spots! Had a pool guy come out to give an assessment, who warned how hard the water is in our area, and said no such thing as winterizing for this location. He also empathized that the colored plaster shows the scaling much more. We are not wanting to drain the pool and use an acid to remove scaling, and OK with moving forward with a more deliberate approach to pool care.

Thanks!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Once pH is raised, then I can add muriatic acid?
That's the idea, although I suspect everyone in this thread wanted to also see your CH and water temp as well. The reason is that when you enter all four items (pH, TA, CH, and water temp) into the Poolmath app, it gives you a "CSI" - basically your water's overall health and whether it will have a propensity to produce scale or become corrosive. In CA, it's not uncommon to have hard water, and if your other items get high, scale can become an issue. But remember that an elevated TA alone won't cause scale, which is another reason we don't recommend trying to achieve a "specific" TA number. In some areas of the southwest, because of the hard water, it's not uncommon to have a lower pH on purpose to compensate for the hard water. But again, it would help to know your CH and water temp as well.

So stay close to that Poolmath app, let us know your CH and water temp, and always refer to the TFP Recommended Levels (link below). 9 times out of 10 that will keep your CSI in a good place anyways. If we find out from your testing that your CH is through the roof, then we can advise you further.
 
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BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
That's the idea, although I suspect everyone in this thread wanted to also see your CH and water temp as well. The reason is that when you enter all four items (pH, TA, CH, and water temp) into the Poolmath app, it gives you a "CSI" - basically your water's overall health and whether it will have a propensity to produce scale or become corrosive. In CA, it's not uncommon to have hard water, and if your other items get high, scale can become an issue. But remember that an elevated TA alone won't cause scale, which is another reason we don't recommend trying to achieve a "specific" TA number. In some areas of the southwest, because of the hard water, it's not uncommon to have a lower pH on purpose to compensate for the hard water. But again, it would help to know your CH and water temp as well.

So stay close to that Poolmath app, let us know your CH and water temp, and always refer to the TFP Recommended Levels (link below). 9 times out of 10 that will keep your CSI in a good place anyways. If we find out from your testing that your CH is through the roof, then we can advise you further.
So using a PoolTime 6-way test strip, it shows my Total Hardness as close to 800. My pool temp is 67 degrees F (again, the pool usually is covered when not in use). One weird thing, is that my the test strip just now shows TA as around 60 whereas my test kit was more around 140, and pH test trip shows 6.8 and test kit showed about 7.0! I did see one online video that suggested adding an extra couple of drops of stabilizer to the test tube if FC is elevated, in order to get a more accurate TA reading (I did not do this...followed exact directions in the kit).
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
You really can't place any confidence on test strips. That's why we emphasize the proper test kit first & foremost (TF-100 or Taylor K-2006) because those other products can really throw you off course. I wouldn't do much adjusting of anything unless you used your own Taylor drop testing kit. If you have only a K-2005, you can upgrade it with the FAS-DPD portion from TFTestkits.net. Or, just order a TF-100 and you'll be set. But for fun (hypothetically speaking) ........ if your CH is actually around 800, that's a big reason why managing pH and TA will be very important to prevent scale.
 
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BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
You really can't place any confidence on test strips. That's why we emphasize the proper test kit first & foremost (TF-100 or Taylor K-2006) because those other products can really throw you off course. I wouldn't do much adjusting of anything unless you used your own Taylor drop testing kit. If you have only a K-2005, you can upgrade it with the FAS-DPD portion from TFTestkits.net. Or, just order a TF-100 and you'll be set. But for fun (hypothetically speaking) ........ if your CH is actually around 800, that's a big reason why managing pH and TA will be very important to prevent scale.
I'll be getting myself a TF-100 test kit. :)

Assuming the CH is elevated (and confirmed with a new test kit), what would you recommend?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,404
Laughlin, NV
If 800 CH or higher, it is time for a drain and refill.

What is your fill water CH, TA, pH? Wait until you get your test kit to answer that.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
1,566
Stuart/FL
Beach,

You'll need to get a CH reading on the fill water. Hopefully with water that hard you have a water softener on the house and the fill water can bring the CH down over time. Also, if you have a softener you'll need to do this a little at a time to be sure you don't exceed the capacity of your softener when refilling the pool. If you have a softener can you also provide the capacity? It will be in grains. Should be a number like 32,000 or 64,000.

Chris
 

BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
Got myself a Taylor K-2006C test kit (TF-100's weren't available on Amazon...)
Here are my test results. Please feel free to chime in with recommendations...

Water temp= 70 degrees F
Free Chlorine= 0.5
pH= 7.2, Base Demand Test= 2 drops of Base Demand Reagent
TA= 100
CH= 300
CYA= 40

Seems like my levels are pretty good, except FC dropped after using the pool this weekend and then being out of town for a couple of days and not being able to add liquid chlorine. Should I add baking soda to increase pH slightly?
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,505
Northern NJ
Your pH is ok. With a TA of 100 it will rise naturally. No reason to rush it.

With a CYA of 40 you should be keeping your FC at 5-7.
 

BeachsideDDS

Member
Mar 26, 2019
14
Solvang, CA
Two more questions about my new K-2006C test kit...
1) How often should I run the full battery of tests.? I know to test chlorine levels daily and use liquid chlorine daily.
2) Where do you dispose of the contents in the tubes once you've completed a test? Says not to dump contents back into the pool...
 

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