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Thread: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

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    MNiels's Avatar
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    Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    I’ve been having a blast using TFP forums, pool school, and pool math for the past 4 months to maintain our very old but newly replastered pool. I want to add Borates – can you help me determine if the water chemistry is ready? I test and make adjustments daily. Today’s results are:

    Water temp: 89
    FC: 5.5 (chlorine target is 6 ppm; I adjust for 1-1.5 ppm loss daily)
    CC: 0
    pH: 7.6 (using about 19 oz of muriatic acid every other day to maintain 7.6–7.8)
    TA: 80 (using 3 lbs baking soda every 7-10 days to maintain 70-80)
    CH: 260
    CYA: 40-50 (still struggle with this test, so I use CYA 50 for targeting the FC)
    CSI: 0.02

    My biggest question is whether the pH is considered “stable,” since I still have to add muriatic acid every other day.
    Next question is whether I should still be fiddling with the TA, or just let it find its own sweet spot.
    And, is it ready for borates?

    Thanks very much!
    Vintage pool, 1967. Inground, 23k gal, 38'x18', 3.5'-8' deep, no frills, screen-enclosed. Refurbished 2016: Pentair CC150 cartridge filter, WetEdge PearlMatrix Pebble; porcelain waterline tile; Hayward skimmer SP1070. Pentair/Sta-rite SuperMax VS 1.5 HP pump (6/2017). City water, no restrictions. TFPC, chlorine bleach, TF100, SpeedStir.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Way too soon for borates. You need to have the TA & pH stable before you even think about them.

    Stop with the baking soda and see if things start to stabilize as the TA drifts lower. Many of us find even 80 way too high.

    ********* On Edit

    Looking back at your previous posts, you just had the pool resurfaced in March? I wouldn't even consider borates until next year. Get a full 12 months under your belt with both the new plaster and TFP procedures.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Agree with Tim, wait. You need to let the pool water stabilize and you need to stop adding baking soda and acid, the two are counterproductive. Let your pH drift up, then add acid ONLY to bring it down to 7.6. Just do that and keep an eye on TA. Only add baking soda if the TA gets below 50ppm.

    I waited well over a year before adding borates to my pool.
    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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    MNiels's Avatar
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Oh, OK, I'll wait to add the borates.

    I've been wanting to see how far the TA would drift down, but was afraid it might get out of control. How low should I let it go?

    How will I know when the pH is stable?

    oops, just saw reply to let TA go as low as 50. THANKS!
    Last edited by MNiels; 07-08-2016 at 12:56 PM. Reason: timing of response
    Vintage pool, 1967. Inground, 23k gal, 38'x18', 3.5'-8' deep, no frills, screen-enclosed. Refurbished 2016: Pentair CC150 cartridge filter, WetEdge PearlMatrix Pebble; porcelain waterline tile; Hayward skimmer SP1070. Pentair/Sta-rite SuperMax VS 1.5 HP pump (6/2017). City water, no restrictions. TFPC, chlorine bleach, TF100, SpeedStir.

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    I got done with the "get your pH stable before adding borates" game a couple of weeks ago, so I'll provide some insight.

    I used the aeration method to lower my TA and get my pH at 7.5. By the time I got my TA down to around 60, getting my pH up to anything above 7.4 was a struggle. Even with 48 hours of aeration it didn't budge. That was a pretty good indication there that I was stable, so I quit and kept an eye on the pH over the next 2 weeks. It never moved. At all. I felt like that was stable. So, I added borates via borax and MA (in hindsight, order boric acid, the calcium precipitating out of the water due to the borax clogged my sand filter overnight) and when done found my pH was high at 8. I knocked it down to 7.5 with more MA and 3 weeks have passed, but my pH hasn't moved.

    I'd say stable is relative. If you have a very active pool in terms of aeration, stable may mean adding acid every other week. But in a non SWG, low activity pool like mine, I'm hoping I won't have to add MA again all summer.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    MNiels's Avatar
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Camueller, Thanks for the insight on stability! I think having new plaster is a factor in acid consumption, but apparently I can do a better job by skipping the baking soda to let the TA settle itself a bit. And I'm happy to wait and see how that works out.
    How do you like the borates in your water?
    Vintage pool, 1967. Inground, 23k gal, 38'x18', 3.5'-8' deep, no frills, screen-enclosed. Refurbished 2016: Pentair CC150 cartridge filter, WetEdge PearlMatrix Pebble; porcelain waterline tile; Hayward skimmer SP1070. Pentair/Sta-rite SuperMax VS 1.5 HP pump (6/2017). City water, no restrictions. TFPC, chlorine bleach, TF100, SpeedStir.

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Quote Originally Posted by camueller View Post
    I got done with the "get your pH stable before adding borates" game a couple of weeks ago, so I'll provide some insight.

    I used the aeration method to lower my TA and get my pH at 7.5. By the time I got my TA down to around 60, getting my pH up to anything above 7.4 was a struggle. Even with 48 hours of aeration it didn't budge. That was a pretty good indication there that I was stable, so I quit and kept an eye on the pH over the next 2 weeks. It never moved. At all. I felt like that was stable. So, I added borates via borax and MA (in hindsight, order boric acid, the calcium precipitating out of the water due to the borax clogged my sand filter overnight) and when done found my pH was high at 8. I knocked it down to 7.5 with more MA and 3 weeks have passed, but my pH hasn't moved.

    I'd say stable is relative. If you have a very active pool in terms of aeration, stable may mean adding acid every other week. But in a non SWG, low activity pool like mine, I'm hoping I won't have to add MA again all summer.


    Great example of what TFP is all about - studying your pool's behavior and learning exactly what it needs rather than just blindly throwing in chemicals and hoping it works (we call that the "dump & pray" method, taught by local pool stores everywhere ).

    Let us know how long you go before adding anymore acid; I bet it will be a long time.
    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: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Quote Originally Posted by MNiels View Post
    Camueller, Thanks for the insight on stability! I think having new plaster is a factor in acid consumption, but apparently I can do a better job by skipping the baking soda to let the TA settle itself a bit. And I'm happy to wait and see how that works out.
    How do you like the borates in your water?
    Good point about your new plaster causing the acid consumption. That is definitely a true statement, and honestly I'm not sure how to factor that into the stability equation. I guess I'll leave that to the experts to clear up.

    As far as how I like the borates, I have no regrets. My biggest goal was the make my water feel a little softer and more comfortable on eyes and skin. I do think it made it feel softer, and with the borates and the salt in the water, I am very happy with the comfort level of our pool water. I wouldn't say the water sparkles any more than it already did, but that was really the least of my expectations for doing this.

    I just tested my borate level tonight, and I'm right at 40ppm. My TA is 80ppm, and pH is of course 7.5. I've still got 2 boxes of borax, so I'll probably use those to add more as my level falls closer to 30ppm. When that's gone though, I'll keep boric acid on hand to maintain my borate level. Long story short, I like it enough that I intend to keep it up.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post


    Great example of what TFP is all about - studying your pool's behavior and learning exactly what it needs rather than just blindly throwing in chemicals and hoping it works (we call that the "dump & pray" method, taught by local pool stores everywhere ).

    Let us know how long you go before adding anymore acid; I bet it will be a long time.
    It's not often I'm an example of something good. I can't wait to tell my wife!

    I will certainly try to remember to update you guys when I add acid again. I'm anxious to see myself.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Quote Originally Posted by camueller View Post
    I just tested my borate level tonight, and I'm right at 40ppm. My TA is 80ppm, and pH is of course 7.5. I've still got 2 boxes of borax, so I'll probably use those to add more as my level falls closer to 30ppm. When that's gone though, I'll keep boric acid on hand to maintain my borate level. Long story short, I like it enough that I intend to keep it up.
    How do you test for borates?

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    For the most accurate test I now use the method in this link, New borate drop test at piscines-apollo vs. test strip - Page 6.

    That above link has links on the chemicals that you will need to buy and you need to use a combination of Taylor reagents to run the test.

    Make sure you read the last page as that sums up the right chemicals and test procedure.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Quote Originally Posted by nu2pools View Post
    How do you test for borates?
    tftestkits.com sells borate test strips, but I did what ping linked to. In fact, if you click that link, you'll see I was one of the last to reply. If you go that route, just a tip, you can find a set of plastic teaspoon measurers at walmart for less than $2 that includes the 1/8 tsp measurement.

    The test strips are probably the cheapest and easiest solution. But I prefer a drop based test. Same reason I bought the tayler salt test kit, instead of using test strips.

    17,500 gallon IG Vinyl
    Pentair Tagelus TA60D Sand filter
    Pentair Challenger 1.5HP pump CFII N1 1.5A
    Taylor K-2006-A, Stenner 45MPHP10 auto chlorine feed

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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Thank you Ping and Camueller, I will look it up and get the reagents asap.

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    Meadow's Avatar
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    Re: Want to add Borates – is my water chemistry ready?

    Not trying to hijack this thread but my search on how to stabilize PH brought me here.

    New filled with city water about a month ago and my test results are almost identical to the OP.
    I too must add 18.5 oz of MA every other day. Pool has very low to no activity but getting lots of sun. Adding 51 oz of LC (10%) to maintain FC is a daily ritual. Therefore, I am upgrading to SWG and looking forward to automate MA injection via Stenner pump.

    FC= 5
    CC= 0
    PH= 7.6
    TA= 90
    CH= 260
    CYA= 40


    20k gallons, IG plaster with raised Spa, Hayward C-4000 cartridge, Hayward TriStar SP3202VSP, Hayward H400 gas heater, Hayward Super II (2HP) Spa jets, Hayward Swimpure Plus T-15,
    Intermatic PS3000 SPD, PureLine-PureColor LED's, Dolphin Triton cleaning robot, Taylor K-2006, K-1766, OTO Test kit & various Guess strips.

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