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Thread: Can one have too many borates?

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    Can one have too many borates?

    PG and I are disagreeing on the pH level of pool. As a result, every visit he pours acid in the pool and when he leaves I undo what he did with Borax. This will be a temporary thing... Either we come to a resolution or we fire him. In the interim, however, I'm wondering if the borate levels may be building to unacceptable levels.

    I understand borate is like CYA in that it doesn't go away.

    I don't have a test kit that measures borate, so I assume I will have to get one.

    Bottom line: are borates harmful in unmonitored amounts and should I get a borate test kit STAT?
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Can one have too many borates?

    TFP generally recommends a borate level no higher than 50ppm. Borates are easily tolerable up to a level of 100ppm and become a health risk at levels higher than 200ppm, although one would have to actively ingest pool water for days on end before symptoms would show up. So, in general, high levels of borates are mostly hazardous to pets and small children that can't easily regulate their intake of pool water.

    It typically takes somewhere on the order of 30-50lbs of borax or boric acid to achieve a 50ppm borate level for a standard sized residential pool. It's doubtful you have added that much. But Pool Math can calculate borates levels if you estimate how much you've added.

    Test strips are available to measure borates and give you a ballpark.

    Also, I'd fire the pool guy.
    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: Can one have too many borates?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post

    ... fire the pool guy.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Can one have too many borates?

    I took my borates to 80ppm to see if higher levels would make a difference. We have two little dogs that drink out of the pool daily and they are still alive...

    I doubt you are at 50ppm. It sure sounds like you know what you're doing so why keep the pool guy around?
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Can one have too many borates?

    What pH is he finding, and what is he trying to get you down too when he adds Acid? I can imagine its frustrating.
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    Re: Can one have too many borates?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    What pH is he finding, and what is he trying to get you down too when he adds Acid? I can imagine its frustrating.
    We agree on the target pH level. We differ on the color readings. I'm thinking I could buy a digital meter, which would give just a number and he couldn't claim to be reading it differently, but I'm not sure yet if I'll go that route.

    The reason for not flat-out firing PG is that he does a good job on the general cleanup when we're not around. He also does stuff I either don't know how to do or don't have the inclination to do like cleaning the filter, vacuuming, etc.

    Also, my wife has brought up an issue. Now that she knows Muriatic Acid is hydrocholoric acid, she doesn't want it around the house, or in the garage, or even outside. I'm not sure she'll bend on this, and this may be an issue that keeps us having a PG forever.
    Last edited by MarkGLN; 09-29-2016 at 07:23 PM. Reason: typo
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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    Re: Can one have too many borates?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkGLN View Post
    We agree on the target pH level. We differ on the color readings. I'm thinking I could buy a digital meter, which would give just a number and he couldn't claim to be reading it differently, but I'm not sure yet if I'll go that route.

    The reason for not flat-out hiring PG is that he does a good job on the general cleanup when we're not around. He also does stuff I either don't know how to do or don't have the inclination to do like cleaning the filter, vacuuming, etc.

    Also, my wife has brought up an issue. Now that she knows Muriatic Acid is hydrocholoric acid, she doesn't want it around the house, or in the garage, or even outside. I'm not sure she'll bend on this, and this may be an issue that keeps us having a PG forever.
    What's wrong with hydrochloric acid? It's in almost every toilet bowl cleaner product and lime/scale remover there is. You can get full strength MA on your skin and it will take up to a minute or longer before any burns occur. Seriously, I've worked around some very dangerous chemicals and I can tell you that MA is the least of anyone's worry....Is there a specific issue with it?
    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: Can one have too many borates?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    What's wrong with hydrochloric acid? It's in almost every toilet bowl cleaner product and lime/scale remover there is. You can get full strength MA on your skin and it will take up to a minute or longer before any burns occur. Seriously, I've worked around some very dangerous chemicals and I can tell you that MA is the least of anyone's worry....Is there a specific issue with it?

    The main issue seems to be storage... She's afraid either the liquid or the fumes will leak out and corrode nearby objects, cause dangerous fume levels, maybe cause fires.... I don't know .
    ~ 15' x 30' gunite/16800 gall; Hayward D.E. Filter

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    Re: Can one have too many borates?

    Store it outside in a Suncast type resin shed or storage box and it will be fine. Something I wrote in a previous thread -

    I'm going to jump in here before this thread starts getting out of hand. While muriatic acid at 20 Baume concentration (31.45%) does produce fumes that are noxious the hazard level is quite low to non-existent in an outdoor setting. Despite what has been written in this thread, MA vapors are NOT TOXIC nor are they dangerous in an outdoor pool setting. Let me put some numbers to this -

    The odor threshold limit for MA vapors is 5ppm or 7.45 mg per cubic meter of air. This is the threshold at which the average human nose will detect the odors.

    The acute inhalation toxicity limit for a 1 hour exposure (rat studies) is 3124 mg/L or 3124 ppm or 4,655 mg/m^3 of air. In other words, you would have to be in an enclosed space for an hour with acid vapor at a concentration of 625 times what you would smell. There is no way you can approach this in an outdoor setting.

    The AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) defines the following levels for MA exposure in a workplace environment -

    ERPG – 1 (The maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to one hour without experiencing other than mild transient adverse health effects or perceiving a clearly defined objectionable odor.): 3 ppm
    ERPG – 2 (The maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to one hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or symptoms that could impair an individual’s ability to take protective action.): 20ppm
    ERPG – 3 (The maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to one hour without experiencing or developing life-threatening health effects.): 150 ppm


    So, based on the ERPG-2 classification, you would have to be in a confined space with MA vapors at a concentration of 4 times the odor threshold for over an hour before you would become so overwhelmed with the odor that you could not help yourself.

    With that said, please let's keep this thread at a reasonable level of discourse. MA certainly has hazards associated with it and should, like any pool chemical, be handled carefully. It should be stored properly (not in a garage) and it should be poured into a pool in the quickest an easiest fashion possible. Pouring MA directly from the bottle into the return water stream at the deepest end of the pool is the safest and most effective way of handling MA. It reduces the amount of vapors produced when compared to using secondary measuring containers and will completely disperse before it ever hits the bottom of the pool. Brushing the pool walls after adding chemicals is always a good idea because it helps to mix the water and distribute them.

    Here is the MSDS for MA - http://pooloperationmanagement.com/w...IATIC-ACID.pdf
    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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