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Thread: Adding borates for the first time

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    AUSpool's Avatar
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    Adding borates for the first time

    Hi all,
    I've decided to add the borates. I kind of accidentally bought 8kg of boric acid off eBay so I'm kind of committed now. To be completely honest I guess I was already committed, boric acid is a bit hard to get hear, borax at $10 for 1kg from the local hardware is the easiest to get source of borate. I've already added 1kg of borax with 500ml of HCl (33% muriatic acid) which in 30,000L should bring me up to 5ppm borate.


    The plan was to raise my borates to 50ppm and not worry about testing for borates until the start of next swimming season. I'm more than fairly certain that our pool has never had borate in it. Our last published tap water quality test lists boron as <0.1mg/L.


    From the pool math calculator 7720gm of boric acid should give me another 45ppm of borates and the total 50ppm target. I recall a real application of 40lbs in a 16,000 gal pool to get to 50ppm, which is roughly 9kgs in 30,000L to get to 50ppm, or 1kg per 3350L to get to 50ppm.


    Sorry for the long post that as gone nowhere so far. I had asked Matt (JoyfulNoise) about adding borates from the mannitol borate test thread and don't want to use the mannitol test or hijack that thread. Thanks again Matt. I've copied the link and relevant quotes below.


    My plan is to get some test strips before I add any boric acid so I can test at 5ppm and then at each 2kg addition to at lest get some experience with the test strips. Good plan?


    Which test to get? My options are;
    LaMotte 3017-G at $55 for 12 tests or,
    AquaCheck 2012LB at $40 for 25 tests.
    Is the LaMotte that much better?


    Do my numbers add up? My pool if ~29,000L and I've used 30,000L in the calculations to make them a bit simpler and ensure I under shoot a little.




    Regards, Steve.






    JoyfulNoise - Test for Borates


    Quote Originally Posted by AUSpool View Post
    I was thinking that a borate buffer would be a good thing for me but I also think it is important to only add something that I can test for. I had intended to use the strips but reading the above they sound a bit inconclusive and the test as just described is not for me. So maybe borates is not for me but I've just ordered 9kg of boric acid that assuming I have 0ppm borates now, should bring my pool up to 50ppm.


    The test strips are yet to be ordered. Which way do borates usually drift to, up, down or remain stable? With five years of records I have always had to add CH, AKl and CYA. Having added a solar heater my evaporation has increased by 15-25% so this may change.


    If I go ahead and add the boric acid can I gain some pH stabilisation benefit for the short term and slowly let it deplete without any more additions?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Borates act like salt and CH, they only decrease when water is removed and fresh water is added back in. So if you can determine what percentage change in CH you typically observe over a season, then your borates should roughly track that same pattern of change.


    Strips will work to get you in the ballpark as that is what I used before I learned how to do the mannitol test. Many people that use borates just use strips and they are perfectly happy with the results. There's no magic range for borates. For me, my pool needs them to be above 35ppm for best results and I try to keep them no higher than 50ppm or so. If I accidentally hit 60ppm, no big deal.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Actually, upon further reflection, borates may or may not track well with salt or CH. Municipal water supplies can add both salt and CH to your pool depending on how well treated the water is. Salinity is often fairly low but CH can be quite high depending on what area of the country (or world!) you live in. Be that as it may, borates will not be added to your pool by any input water source so the driving force for borate concentration will always be to lower it. The rate at which it goes down will be entirely dependent on how much of the pool water, aside from evaporation, is removed and replaced during the season.
    Thanks Matt.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    The strips won't help you test such small increments. I believe the strips are graduated at 0, 15, 30, 50, 80 & 100+ ppm (you'll have to check me on that). Even then, the color read is time sensitive (within 15 seconds of the dip in the pool water) and the color tends to fade quickly.

    Since your water has no boron in it, you should be fine just adding the amount you need as predicted by pool math. If you want to downsize your pool volume a bit to be sure you don't overshoot, that's up to you. Honestly speaking, the 50ppm recommended level is not magical in any way (as if 49ppm and you're ok but 52ppm and the skin will melt off your bones...). That level was set to achieve an amount of borates in the water that would be far enough below any observable health effects limit but high enough to achieve some measure of added pH buffering. It's really not until you get well above 100ppm that there is any concern about health effects. And even then, you have to knowingly drink lots of pool water....not something most people do consciously.

    You can read about it here - Are Borates Safe to Use?

    Just so you know, my youngest son was swimming in the pool since infancy with borates in the water. He is now 3-1/2 and an exceedingly healthy, happy and well-adjusted kid.
    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: Adding borates for the first time

    Hey, Steve! I have been missing my late night Aussie friends lately.

    Go ahead and add. Just make sure your pH and TA are relatively stable first.

    The test strips stink anyway. My pool tests anywhere from 30-80. THAT's how accurate those strips are.

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    AUSpool's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    Thanks Matt and Marian,

    I'll go with plan A, dump it in, slloowwwllly, as per the math calculator for quantity. Reserving a little for an ant eradication program.

    And instead of getting the strips I'll get our local water supply utility to run a test at the begining of next season. It looks like they can do some basic tests, boron, alkalinity, hardness, maybe cyanuric acid for around $100.

    Yeh Matt, I found from a quick search that both the LaMotte and AquaChek are in increments of 0, 15, 30, 50 and 80mg/L. I wouldn't mind betting that their from the same manufacturer...

    Cheers, Steve.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    AUSpool's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borates for the first time


    You can read about it here - Are Borates Safe to Use?
    Richard did such a good job of that, ml, mg, kg, pounds, quarts, teaspoons and tablespoons all in a single post. You guys are really starting to get the hang of this metric system...

    I dont think there's any health concerns at low concentrations. Although unsubstantiated I found seawater at 5ppm, seaweed at 8-15ppm as dry mass and plants (terrestrial?) at 30-75ppm as dry mass. It would be nice to have one of the industry companies come up with a half decent affordable test kit.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    AUSpool's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Borates act like salt and CH, they only decrease when water is removed and fresh water is added back in. So if you can determine what percentage change in CH you typically observe over a season, then your borates should roughly track that same pattern of change.

    ...

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
    I think I'll have to adopt this approach using CH and factor in the change due to CH in my top up water. We get a lot of rain, my historical data shows that I've always needed to add CH, AKL, CYA, and salt. I still need to replace evaporated water and that has gone up with the solar heating but our topup water is low in CH and boron, ~30ppm(CH) and <0.1ppm(boron).

    I'm thinking that comparing borate change change to salt change would be too hard due to the use in SWCG and the TDS reading I use includes a portion for CH and AKL that also have variable rates of change.

    So percentage change of CH allowing for a small change in CH due to minor increase from top ups between major rain events applied to borate. I can do that.

    Steve.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    $100 is a lot of money. The test strips will be close enough. My husband can tell when I need to test as he really can feel the different feel the water has with borates.

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    AUSpool's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    Thanks Marian, $100, that's two school shirts for our young bloke, but a 12 pack of LaMotte strips is going to cost me $55, for an extra $45 I can get an accurate reading at the start of each season.

    You say your hubby can feel the difference? I assume you mean diffence as the borates are depleted? I was under the impression that the borates concentration would remain stable and only deplete if you loose water to back washing or overflowing due to excessive rain water. We have both.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    I forgot about how hard it is for you to get supplies.... I wish I could just mail you some!

    My hubby LOVES the feel of borates in the pool and he can tell when they're low due to dilution. To him, the water is softer feeling and because of the difference in surface tension, he claims he can feel the difference upon impact with the water when he does his cannonballs. When the water doesn't feel "right" to him, I add a little borax. (It happens maybe once a year). As long as the strips read between 30-80, I am fine. I don't worry too much about them being close to 80. No one here drinks our pool water!

    The major difference I look for is how the surface of the water looks when there is a lot of splashing going on. Boron reduces surface tension (an adhesion or chhrsion thing), so I get larger areas of surface disturbance. I don't know how to explain it better. Swells instead of whitecaps maybe???

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    Re: Adding borates for the first time

    Thanks again. I kind of get what you mean and can't wait to get it in to see if I can notice any difference. I have a neighbour who thinks he knows when his pool needs more salt from the taste, personally I'll go with my calibrated TDS meter.

    My boric acid arrived today and I'm itching to add it but it's been raining on and off for a week now, 4" in the last 6 days and 2" in the last two days. With more rain to come and I don't want to flush my new salt and borate down the drain, I really need to invest in a water recovery system.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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