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Thread: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

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    Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    I'm a new pool owner with a 2 month old pool and trying to get the water balance set. From reading a LOT on this great forum, I'd like to add borates but I haven't yet been able to get the TA level down to the recommended levels on most of the older posts. Does the TA really need to be in recommended 70-80 range before adding the borax/MA? I've been trying the add MA and aerating (6+ gallons of MA so far) but can't seem to get below a TA of about 120 yet. The high TA of my source water really hits the levels when I have to add water (like after a backwash).

    My current readings with a Taylor K-2006 and Spinstir -

    FC 2.8
    PH 7.6
    TA 120
    CH 280
    CYA 70
    water temp - 60 F

    My source water (tap) has a PH of 8.4, TA of 325, CH of 25.

    Thanks
    College Station, TX
    IG 18,000 gallons with IG Spa, Gunite plaster, Hayward Tristar VS pump, Hayward DE6020 filter, Hayward H400FPN Nat Gas Heater,
    Hayward T-Cell-15 SWG, Hayward Omnilogic Control System, Maytronics Dolphin Oasis Z robotic cleaner

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    I would keep after that TA before adding borates. Did you boost your FC?

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    The FC level has varied from 1.5 to 3.5 as I run the pump and SWG at various times while I'm doing the aerating to lower the TA. It's still to cold to swim so I haven't been quite as concerned with the FC level yet and haven't established a firm pump run schedule with the right SWG % setting. I'd like to just run the pump for about 3 to 4 hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening. Right now, I'm running it most of the day to provide aeration from the Spa overflow waterfall and 2 bubblers. I've just added some liquid chlorine to boost the FC as needed while I'm still adjusting the SWG % to find the right settings.
    College Station, TX
    IG 18,000 gallons with IG Spa, Gunite plaster, Hayward Tristar VS pump, Hayward DE6020 filter, Hayward H400FPN Nat Gas Heater,
    Hayward T-Cell-15 SWG, Hayward Omnilogic Control System, Maytronics Dolphin Oasis Z robotic cleaner

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    Welcome to TFP!

    Wow, TA of 325, bummer! Yes, get that TA down to 70 first, even 60 is fine.

    Your SWG is not going to produce chlorine effectively at 60*. I usually turn mine off and switch to bleach when the water drops below 70. I test weekly at first and less as the water gets colder and uses less chlorine. By now I am testing and adding monthly. I add bleach as needed to keep FC at 10ppm or a little above, I round to the nearest gallon. I don't let it get much above 10 because the PH doesn't doesn't work correctly above 10ppm FC.

    Besides aerating to lower TA you probably don't need to run your pump more than an hour or two per day.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    I'm don't understand the need to raise the FC that much. On the Pool School pages, the recommended levels for a plaster pool with an SWG is FC 3 -5. Am I missing something? I'm in Texas so I'm not closing the pool, just waiting till it's warm enough outside to justify firing up the heater and enjoying a new pool!
    College Station, TX
    IG 18,000 gallons with IG Spa, Gunite plaster, Hayward Tristar VS pump, Hayward DE6020 filter, Hayward H400FPN Nat Gas Heater,
    Hayward T-Cell-15 SWG, Hayward Omnilogic Control System, Maytronics Dolphin Oasis Z robotic cleaner

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    If you think it's hard to lower your TA now, just wait. It becomes much harder to lower TA with borates in the pool. That's why you need to get the TA down before borating.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    Two reasons for keeping the FC higher during winter. One is to space out the time between needing to test and add bleach. The second is that without the SWG making and maintaining chlorine daily the pool really becomes a non-swg pool and the target chlorine level for 70 cya is 8ppm. If it does warm up enough for you to decide to heat the pool and swim it will be fine to swim with FC at 10 or above. It is safe to swim when FC is above minimum and below shock level for your CYA level. Chlorine CYA Chart So, you are safe up to 28ppm FC. We swam every day while SLAMing last summer with FC in the upper 20s. The kids didn't even notice.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    OK and thanks. I understand now that I need to run the pool as a non-SWG pool until the water temp gets back above 70F. I'll add some liquid chlorine in the morning and just keep adding MA/aerating to get the TA down. Thanks
    College Station, TX
    IG 18,000 gallons with IG Spa, Gunite plaster, Hayward Tristar VS pump, Hayward DE6020 filter, Hayward H400FPN Nat Gas Heater,
    Hayward T-Cell-15 SWG, Hayward Omnilogic Control System, Maytronics Dolphin Oasis Z robotic cleaner

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    If you think it's hard to lower your TA now, just wait. It becomes much harder to lower TA with borates in the pool. That's why you need to get the TA down before borating.
    +1 !!!!!

    Given your high TA fill water, you need to figure out a strategy for controlling your water loss rate (evaporation and back washing) in order to limit the use of the fill water. With that much carbonate alkalinity in the fill water, your pH is going to rise significantly just from the aeration inside the SWG cell itself. Controlling your TA fill is more important than borates right now as you're likely not to see much benefit from borates with water like that.

    Also, with your pool being new, you need to let the plaster cure longer. High pH is going to a constant battle for you until the plaster ages enough. It is also a factor in the consumption of your acid and, as such, makes lowering TA more difficult.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Did I need to lower TA before adding borates?

    One thing that will dramatically help you lessen the frequency of back-washing is to use a skimmer sock (I use cheap hairnets, others use pantyhose). This cuts down dramatically on what gets in your filter. Obviously with your high TA in your fill water, anything you can do avoid filling will pay big dividends in your overall pool chemistry.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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