Total Alkalinity

Ideal range: 80 – 120 ppm

total alkalinity

Total alkalinity is the measure of the ability of water to resist changes in pH…that is…the ability to “buffer” water from wide pH swings. Essentially the amount of sodium bicarbonate dissolved in pool water, total alkalinity serves two purposes: it is the governor of pH and it is the third and last major factor that affects water balance.


A buffer is a chemical system that resists change upon the addition of acids or bases. In water that contains no buffering ability, pH can wander dramatically. This is called pH bounce – a rapid fluctuation of pH levels with the addition of small amounts of acid, base (alkali), or other pH altering agents. The result is highly unbalanced water resulting in damage to light rings, stainless steel ladders, copper heat exchangers, and concrete pool surfaces.


Low Total Alkalinity:

High Total Alkalinity:

  • corrosive water
  • pitting of concrete
  • metals dissolve
  • surface staining
  • scaling water
  • white film/crusty deposits
  • plugged filters
  • reduced circulation
  • cloudy pool
Non-Balance Problems
  • pH bounce
Non-Balance Problems
  • pH drifts upward