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Thread: "Sticky" water after borates

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    "Sticky" water after borates

    Help! I've got sticky water!

    Here's the background:

    For the last year or so I've been having an issue with keeping my ph under control. I've let it stay too high and haven't added enough acid. Not so terribly surprising I now have a bad calcium ring around the pool at the water level. I've been working on cleaning it and its much better now (although still very very noticeable, unfortunately). So, I resolved that I'm going to keep my PH under control and try to keep my CSI low. Towards this goal I decided that it was about time for me to try adding borates.

    So last weekend I added 12 boxes of borax and 6 gallons of 14% acid. The ph came out a bit high (not surprising) so I added another gallon of 14% acid and I'm now to a place where my numbers look pretty decent:
    FC 9.5 (I really need to turn that down a bit)
    CC < 0.5
    CH 450
    TA 50
    PH 7.5
    CYA 30

    Yes my CYA is a bit low and my FC is a bit high. Easy to fix. Here's the thing that's really troubling me, though, and I have no idea what is going on: My water is sticky! My wife and I got in the hot tub last night to enjoy our crystal clear water and the texture on our skin was totally gross. We ended up getting out and taking showers to get the sticky feeling off our skin. What is going on?!?

    Thanks in advance!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I should mention borate test came back at 50ppm (+- 20 ppm, given the accuracy of those strips)
    15k gunite pool with attached spa; iAqualink controller; Intelliflo VF pump; hayward cartridge filter; Heliocol solar panels; Hayward H250 natural gas heater

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    Sticky water is usually due to hardness/CSI. Slightly negative CSI water should feel better/softer, -0.3 to 0. 1500-2000 ppm of salt will make it feel better on your skin also.
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    I calculate my CSI to be -0.3 currently, so I don't see how that could be the problem.
    15k gunite pool with attached spa; iAqualink controller; Intelliflo VF pump; hayward cartridge filter; Heliocol solar panels; Hayward H250 natural gas heater

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    Defgufman's Avatar
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    Maybe and additive in the acid? What brand was it?
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    I too added borates (via Boric Acid) to exactly 50ppm. Both my wife and I hate the "sticky" way it feels. You are not alone.
    Evolution Spas - Safari 24 - 290 Gallons - Running on 120v - Bromine sanitizer - Testing with Taylor K-2016

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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    I dont think it could be an additive in the borax or acid. Borax was 20 mule team. Acid was the pool acid they sell at home depot.

    This is really sad. I guess I need to drain and refill?
    15k gunite pool with attached spa; iAqualink controller; Intelliflo VF pump; hayward cartridge filter; Heliocol solar panels; Hayward H250 natural gas heater

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    This is certainly an odd response (no offense). Most people really like the feel of borates because it reduces the surface tension of the water slightly and leaves a "silky" feel on the skin.

    Do you guys use any tanning oils or sunblock on your skin? Or, and this may sound gross, did the borax by chance loosen up some gunk from your filter and you are now feeling that on your skin?

    I would hate to see you dump an entire pool of water, that's a huge waste. One thing you could try to replicate the experiment is to fill your bathtub with about 40 gals of water and add a teaspoon of bleach. That should mimic your pool FC level. Then add about 2oz of borax to the water. The water will likely have high pH at this point but I wouldn't suggest pouring any MA into the tub (if you had boric acid instead of borax, this experiment would work much better). The dip your arm into the tub and see if you get the same "sticky" feel from the water. If not, then try soaking in the tub for a few minutes and see what kind of feel you get. If the water feels ok to you in the tub, then it was something in your pool water that caused the reaction.
    Matt
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    Re: &quot;Sticky&quot; water after borates

    Hmm. I like the idea of testing in the bath tub. I really dont think it's the borax itself. Something more complicated must be going on. I'll adjust the ph though -- I'll just use some dilute MA. If I'm going to do this I'll do it right. I'll try to replicate my pool chemistry as accurately as possible.

    - - - Updated - - -

    One more thought... I used some liquid ascorbic acid while trying to clean the calcium ring about a week ago (I was actually using it mostly to remove the steel marks from the grinding wheel I was using on the calcium sclae). Any chance that could be related?
    15k gunite pool with attached spa; iAqualink controller; Intelliflo VF pump; hayward cartridge filter; Heliocol solar panels; Hayward H250 natural gas heater

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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    I've had borates at 50 ppm in my pool for a few years now. I have noticed a sticky residue on the surface on occasion. It seems to appear after someone using a lot of suntan oil or sun screen has been in the pool. It does seem to persist for a day or even more before it breaks down completely. I would suggest a scum ball or scumbug to help collect and get rid of it a little quicker.
    chiefwej
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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    Just to be clear -- this isn't a residue on surfaces. It's the water itself. If you put your hand in the water and pull it out it feels a little like you spilled soda on your hand. e.g. your joints stick together a bit. Your hand is a bit tacky.
    15k gunite pool with attached spa; iAqualink controller; Intelliflo VF pump; hayward cartridge filter; Heliocol solar panels; Hayward H250 natural gas heater

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    Re: "Sticky" water after borates

    Not a surface thing for me either. It is the way the water feels on the skin. Brand new spa, first fill, my numbers are pretty much perfect.

    First soak after adding boric acid I noticed a difference in the way the water felt. Initially I though it was just a weird personal preference thing I had. So later that night I asked my wife what she thought about the water. Her response was "It feels weird and I don't like it as much".

    It does not feel sticky like spilled soda for me. The actual feeling seems like it just increases friction on the skin. If I my feet touch it feels like something it on my skin. If I rub my fingers together if drags a bit - almost like my skin is dry. Its weird. For a totally non scientific experiment I just did the following. Stuck my left hand in a bucket of tap water. Right hand in the spa. Rubbed both my index finger and thumb together on both hands. Rinsed both hands and reversed spa and bucket hand. Result: Both times the spa hand felt weird - extra friction like.

    My guess is that its a personal preference thing. Most people like borates, I will likely never use them again.
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    Re: &quot;Sticky&quot; water after borates

    I did your "bucket challenge" - pool water at 50ppm borates & 4000ppm salt AND bucket of spigot water (no borates and 160ppm salt).

    I could detect very little difference in the feel of the water. Maybe the pool was was a little bit more "slick". But the biggest difference is salinity so that would likely overwhelm any other chemical in terms of "feel".
    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: &quot;Sticky&quot; water after borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    I did your "bucket challenge" -
    Nice. I like it!
    Evolution Spas - Safari 24 - 290 Gallons - Running on 120v - Bromine sanitizer - Testing with Taylor K-2016

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