Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity (or TA) is essentially all of the dissolved chemicals in your spa water that can also “absorb” acidity. These generally include carbonates, bicarbonates, hydroxides, and cyanurates.

This can be a bit confusing but Total Alkalinity is not the same thing as the alkaline side of the pH scale (from 7 – 14). However, they are related because Total Alkalinity is what’s called a pH Buffer. It helps moderate pH swings in your spa water. It does it by sort of acting like an acid “sponge”, absorbing and releasing acids.

Ideally you want 80 – 120 ppm Total Alkalinity in your spa. This is quite important for a couple reasons, both related to maintaining a proper pH level in your spa.

  1. If you are using chlorine as your sanitizer, your pH must be in the 7.2 – 7.6 range in order to effectively kill bacteria & other pathogens.
  2. Running your jets with air introduced will increase your pH as will all forms of aeration. However, as a pH Buffer, a proper level of TA will minimize this upward drift.
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