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Question: I have a vinyl in ground pool in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Recently I had the total dissolved solids test done and it came in @ 4850 ppm. I understand that it should be less than 2000 ppm how can I reduce my solids?

Answer: The only way to lower TDS (total dissolved solids) is to add fresh water.  In your case you would most likely have to change at least 1/2 of the pool water.  BUT WAIT... before you do that; have the tap water tested first.  You could be in an area where the TDS is naturally high.  If that is the case, wherever you end up trucking it in from, be sure to check the TDS of that source.
Follow Up Question:  Tap (tap or source water) TDS in this area runs about 400ppm the dilemma I face is that everyone tells me I should not drain a vinyl pool that it will wrinkle or tear is this true?
Follow Up Answer: The quick answer is yes, you should be concerned about liner shrinkage.  BUT only if you are draining the whole pool at one time & letting it sit. Since your TDS is so high right now, bring it down a bit at a time.  Let's say, drain down 8 to 10 inches, add fresh water then let it filter for 24 hours & retest the TDS.  Repeat as necessary to bring it down to maybe about 1200 ppm.  That will give you some buffer room.  Just out of curiosity, how are you chemically treating your pool? Perhaps I can suggest something that may be contributing to the high TDS. 

Question: I'll be starting the year with a fresh fill because I am going to repaint my concrete pool.  Last year I had a tough time balancing my pool as far as ALK and PH.  I brought the ALK into  the right range  1st as I have been told, but every time I tried to bring up the PH from such a low reading the ALK always went up with it and it became an seemingly  unending battle that I finally balanced but I really had used a lot of chemicals.  I've always been told ALK 1st then PH, but is this wrong or is there a better way? 

Answer: Yes, it's always alkalinity first then re-adjust the pH as necessary.  I'm trying to figure out why you had such a tough time. What were you trying to keep the TA at?  In a concrete pool, don't forget to rebalance the calcium Hardness as well.  That's just as important as the pH & TA.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pH increaser IS NOT the same as TA increaser.  Use pH increaser (
Balance Pak 200) for the pH & Balance Pak 100 for the Total Alkalinity.

DO NOT use home remedies such as baking soda! Baking soda is for baking cookies, cakes & bread. Using proper pool chemicals to treat anything pool water related is faster, cheaper & more effective than household cleaning or cooking products.

Question: I'm having a problem with my pH being low, under 7.0, yet my total alk is high almost 200 ppm. How do I take care of this problem? I feel like I'm on a see-saw. Btw, I use slow dissolving chlorine tabs in my pool.

Answer: The answer to you problem is that you're going to have to play on this see saw until everything balances out. High Total Alkalinity normally puts a pull  on the pH to dray it higher, but because you're using slow dissolving chlorine tablets which have a very low pH, the pH is being affected first. I would say to keep attempting to raise or keep the pH in a more normal range (7.4-7.6) by using pH increaser. The Total Alkalinity should be brought down to about 100 ppm - 140 ppm depending on your pool's surface type using pH decreaser such as BioGuard Lo 'n Slo. Be sure to regularly test the water (every 2 or 3 days) over the next couple of weeks, you should be able to relatively quickly get everything back into balance. Keep in mind that rain, top off water & use will affect the pH & TA.

Water Balance - so many pool problems have their root in proper water balance. pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness.  Without good water balance, swimming pool care becomes a problem.

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