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Thread: Adding Borates

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    jefeyessica's Avatar
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    Adding Borates

    I read through the whole Borates how and why post, but still have a concern.
    My TA has been very high since we refilled our pool (CYA was at 150ppm), so I have been working on lowering the TA with MA. I will wait to add borates until I have my TA at the right levels.

    All the research I have done so far has taught me not to add more than a Quart of MA at a time. I am interested in adding Borates with Borax, but am worried that adding 1.5 gallons of MA, all at once (and twice to add a total of 3 gallons) will damage my pool.

    Also, what is a good place to buy the LaMotte Borate test strips? I just ordered my TF100 test kit 2 days ago, should I have ordered the borate strips from TFTeststrips.com as well?
    14,200 gallon in ground Plaster Pool
    "Titan Vertical Grid Filter" -- Pressure DE, 60 sq ft filter area

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    you should have yes. you can call around and see if anyone locally carries them. otherwise somewhere online. or you could not get them at all, you'll just be guessing your ppm are right based on the calculations of how much 20 mule team borax to use. and those calculations will be about right on. mainly it would be for later to see if you have lost borates (i.e. backwashing, splash out, etc.) to know when to replace. you could wait to order the test strips until say, you need refills on your tf test kit or order something else from an online pool store. just a suggestion.
    I added about the same amount of acid (little over 3 gallons) when I did my addition. so did everyone else with a similar size pool. you can dilute it in a 5 gal bucket or pour it slowly in front of a return, or just pass on adding the 20 mule team borax and get boric acid or one of the commercially available borate pruducts (proteam supreme plus, etc). your ph is going to shoot way up obviously, so I believe you would be at far greater risk for pool/equipment damage by not doing it the way it was instructed by waterbear and done by everyone else.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    If the acid makes you uncomfortable, you could use boric acid instead of borax. Boric acid does not shift the PH significantly, so you can use it alone without worrying about the PH.

    The regular borax procedure, with acid, is reasonably safe because the PH will be low for a very very short period of time, perhaps five minutes, while the borax is dissolving.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    jefeyessica's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    Thanks for your quick response! I think I'll try the borax/MA, since none of you have had any problems, and it's cheaper
    14,200 gallon in ground Plaster Pool
    "Titan Vertical Grid Filter" -- Pressure DE, 60 sq ft filter area

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    not that much cheaper...I added 50% of my borate going the borax route and the other 50% by adding boric acid purchase from the chemistrystore.com...depending on where you live (shipping cost) the boric acid route may prove to be the same cost with less hassle
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    jefeyessica's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    I did some calculations based on how much chemicals I need.

    It looks like I would need 33 lbs of Boric Acid.
    35 lbs $67.20
    Shipping $ 27.25
    Total = $94.45

    Borax and MA:
    11 boxes Borax = $35.48
    3 gallons MA = $17.97
    Total = 53.45.

    So for me it's almost twice expensive to go the borax route. So I guess I'll have to deal with the bigger hassle and save $41
    14,200 gallon in ground Plaster Pool
    "Titan Vertical Grid Filter" -- Pressure DE, 60 sq ft filter area

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    Re: Adding Borates

    As far as adding all that acid at once remember you are also adding a lot of borax at once and it will cause the pH to rise so the net effect is not much of a change. If it makes you feel any better, the instructions for adding half the acid and then half the borax and then repeating are exactly the same as the instructions for the commercial borate product Proteam Supreme.

    You are correct that for pH adjustments it is better not to add more than a Pt. of acid per 10k gallons but this is not a normal pH adjustment. When adding borates or lowering TA you need to add a larger quantity of acid at one time. It will take more than a qt. of acid in most pools to lower the pH from 8.0 to 7.0 or slightly lower (unless we are talking about a very small pool under about 7000 gal!, which is what you want to lower TA (and if you need to lower TA your pH is most likely at 8.0 or higher most of the time!)

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    Re: Adding Borates

    I must admit the use of borates in one’s pool sounds intriguing. However, my pool right now is crystal clear, water feels good on the skin, ph and ta are stable, there are no visible problems with algae growth, and my vinyl liner is tight as a drum. Other than the slight gain in chlorine usage as reported, is there any real compelling reason I should mess with a good thing?
    22,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

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    Re: Adding Borates

    There is really no reason you need to add borates to your pool, it's more of a Pool owner choice. I added borates to my pool a couple of years ago after reading waterbear's posts about it on the poolforum. I noticed a change in the feel of the water and also in the clarity of the water, of course both of these are subjective. My main reason for adding the borates though was to reduce the risk of having an algae bloom. The previous two years I had experienced an algae bloom while gone on vacation for a week or so and came home to a green mess. I thought this may help. So last year while gone for a week I did nothing, but have my neighbor pour in one 182oz bottle of 6% bleach in the middle of the week and when we got home the pool was just as we left it. I checked the CL levels and I had about 1 ppm FC and 0 CC. So I 'm a believer. I think most folks you talk to that have added borates to their pools are just as impressed as I am.
    18,500 Gal. 27 ft AG Vinyl - Hayward Pump with Cooper 21" Sand Filter - GO VOLS!

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    Re: Adding Borates

    Thanks poolpop.
    My wife and I love our pool and backyard so much that we never take our vacations during pool season. Hence, I'm always on hand to maintain the pool, and give it the attention it requires. Heck, I think I'm really becoming anal about it...even pull out the filter sock twice a day to hose it down, lol.
    22,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Borates

    I also added borates for the reasons poolpop stated. I can tell you the biggest two things I've noticed is there was no increased "sparkle" or any different look to the water, thought it has always looked great since I found this site, but imho the water feels significantly softer and nicer. and I already had ~1800ppm salt in the pool before I added the borates.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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