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Thread: Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

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    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Madison/CT
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    Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

    I am still fairly new to maintaining my own pool. I was just reading about Borates in the "Borates - Why and How" sticky post. There seems to be a benefit for adding them.

    Here are my pool stats:
    FC = 3.8
    ph = 7.2
    TA = 100
    CYA = 25
    water temp =78

    I occasionally have some algae issues which mostly stem from letting chlorine drop to low, while away for a longer period or not regular cleaning allowing things to grow. I would say I need to SLAM the pool 1 or 2x per season due to what appears to be the start of an algae bloom. Only once did it really get a little ugly in the last 3 years where the water turned a slight green and things were growing. I have been using TFP for the last two years. However our swim season was cut short last year due to an issue with our pool wall. The pool drained, fixed, and filled this season.

    So my question is -- do I leave well enough alone or do I take the next step? I guess I would need to test for borates at least before and after? My kit doesn't test for borates so what do people use. I'm not sure if I want to tackle this this summer but I might consider it next season.

    Would like to know others thoughts.
    Thanks

    FYI - I also wanted to say that due to the overwhelming amount of rain I had this summer (probably drained about 8+ inches from the pool) my CYA dropped and my pH has drifted down to 7.2. Everything is beautiful with the pool - crystal clear so I have just left things the way they are the last few weeks. I have not seen an issue with CYA being at 25 -- my chlorine is very stable and lose is very minimal. Although I know in this forum it is recommend to be between 30-50 for CYA.
    NEW POOL OWNER - 2 yrs owned this house with pool
    1998 AG 18x32 (Johnny Weissmuller, Safari Pool) - 54 inch deep - vinyl liner - 15,000 gal - hayward vari flo xl sand filter (75GPM/284LPM Flow, 50PSI/3.5 Bar Pressure) - Hayward Pro Flo Matrix Pump 1.0HP - 2in piping - chlorinate with liquid bleach - solar cover used unless swimming - K2006 kit

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    chiefwej's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Re: Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

    The prime reason to borate is to help stabilize pH. Most who use borates (including me) do so because they have a SWG which results in ever rising pH. As far as testing borate levels I use a test strip. It's not very accurate, but doesn't need to be. When I filled the pool I used PoolMath to determine just how much boric acid would produce the desired borate level. It doesn't evaporate, so the level stays the same unless I drain water out.

    Why are you wanting to borate? Do you have anything that causes pH rise in your pool, like water features?
    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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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    May 2015
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    Re: Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

    From your own description it sounds like your primary problem is one of consistent management of your pool, not chemistry. I do not believe you will receive much in the way of "benefits" from adding borates to your water other than having another chemical to track. You'd be far better off focusing on improving the consistency with which you keep your FC (and other chemicals) in the proper range by adding some kind of chlorine dosing system to your pool - either an SWG or a liquid chlorine Stenner pump. Your problems with algae stem from lack of consistent FC levels and no amount of borates are going to help that. A pool with 50ppm borates can get an algae bloom just as much as a pool without them. Their algaestatic properties are a bit overstated - they are a mild algae inhibitor but don't necessarily kill algae to any significant degree. Their primary benefit is pH control in situations where there is always an upward pressure on pH. Where you live in CT, that is typically not a problem unless one has an SWG.

    Focus on better pool management and don't waste your time on borates, that is what will help you to achieve a consistently clean and clear 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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    Re: Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

    Thank you chiefwej. I didn't associate using borates to specifically stabilize the pH. I can see in a SWG where that would make more sense. No water feature. I guess I was getting a little ahead of myself reading all of the articles online and thought it could be a benefit long term to help keep a clean pool. My pH only tends to drop when I we get a lot of rain and I am draining the pool. Otherwise it is very stable.
    NEW POOL OWNER - 2 yrs owned this house with pool
    1998 AG 18x32 (Johnny Weissmuller, Safari Pool) - 54 inch deep - vinyl liner - 15,000 gal - hayward vari flo xl sand filter (75GPM/284LPM Flow, 50PSI/3.5 Bar Pressure) - Hayward Pro Flo Matrix Pump 1.0HP - 2in piping - chlorinate with liquid bleach - solar cover used unless swimming - K2006 kit

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    Re: Understanding Borates - Do I add them? Benefits?

    joyfulnoise Thank you. I think between the two replies I understand the borates better and why/when you would use them. Also I agree on pool consistency...I can assure you that the issue is not happening when I am around. It happened when we traveled or I travelled. One time when we relied on someone to take care of our pool. Another time when the person forgot to turn the pump back on when they left -- it was off for 2-3 days! Or the one time I was traveling and my spouse decided to not clean the pool and stay on top of the chlorine when their were a ton of kids in the pool and the pool temp was 86!

    I did start to look into the liquid chlorinators and I appreciate your suggestion on the Stenner pump. I am fairly new to owning a pool (3 yrs --- came with the house) with last year being a partial year due to a repair. Definitely love not needing to rely on pool stores and I have less problems, less chemicals, and a better looking pool since converting. So I still feel pretty new at this and I am still learning. Not sure if we are ready for the additional expense of the liquid chlorinator...on the list...
    NEW POOL OWNER - 2 yrs owned this house with pool
    1998 AG 18x32 (Johnny Weissmuller, Safari Pool) - 54 inch deep - vinyl liner - 15,000 gal - hayward vari flo xl sand filter (75GPM/284LPM Flow, 50PSI/3.5 Bar Pressure) - Hayward Pro Flo Matrix Pump 1.0HP - 2in piping - chlorinate with liquid bleach - solar cover used unless swimming - K2006 kit

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