Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Borates and Alkalinity

  1. Back To Top    #1
    frogabog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,578

    Borates and Alkalinity

    Hi Everyone,

    First off, thank you for this forum and special thanks to everyone who gives their time to help.

    This is our first post, bear with me as I explain where we've been and where we're at now and finally ask a real question wayyyyyy down below this novel. TY for reading.

    We aren't completely new to pools, but this year's pool is the largest we've had yet (also largest our yard can handle). We have also historically not used BBB but are now almost two weeks into the conversion with some chemicals left over that may or may not be used.

    We also have always used the HTH 6 way test strips but now have use of my dad's Taylor 2005 kit. We bought new R0001 and R0002, PH, and CYA Reagent to replace the nearly empty bottles so those reagents are fresh. Additionally, he had an old MasterTech kit that he gave us which reads higher and lower than the Taylor and seems to have a very nice reader that is perfect on the chlorine, yet seems off for PH (reads low). Everything else works fine. That being said, the results we're going with are from the Taylor.



    15' Intex metal frame pool
    Intex pump, plus a second pump from an old pool to augment the Intex

    So, the kids left for a week for camp, the pool sat silent and due to the strips saying CL was over 10, we took the floater out a couple times thinking it had enough chlorine for no swimmers.

    This was... Before all the serious reading here and at The Pool Forum where I can't register to ask questions. So we had an algae bloom of sorts after they returned and swam. We then managed to shock the swampy smelling pool (HTH brand) into suspended cloudiness that would not clear. Yuk. That's when we really started looking into how to fix it and ran across BBB.

    So, we found out some things. Our CYA was way too high (we did it at setup, our fault and you can call it simply "miss-informed"). We weren't shocking high enough to kill the algae properly with it at 70 (strips told us it was somewhere between 50 and 100 but till we got the kit we didn't know exactly). OK. So, with bleach and high PPM's we couldn't measure (no kit yet, just strips) we shocked the chit out of the pool for a couple days, then maintained about 8ppm for a couple days, finally settling on 5 the past two days ending up with a nice crystal clear pool in about one week. CYA being 70, meant maintaining 5ppm minimum and shocking at 25 which would be a lot of chlorine so we decided to do the drain and refill at 56% according to the calculator.

    Additionally, our normal water hardness is 9-14ppm so we had pushed that to 250 because the strip box and pool research told us we needed hard water. Reading here... well no, not THAT hard. The 56% drain took care of that for us as well as dropping CYA to a perfect 30ppm. WOOT!

    Our tap water seems to go green instantly when we fill new pools. Happens at about 4" of fill water. It's a hint of green, but it's absolutely algae because the Algaecide always works to brighten the new water. As it filled today, it hinted at green even though we dosed with bleach to raise the remaining water to 8ppm before we started filling. Understanding algae and it's relationship to chlorine better now is quite helpful.

    Today's readings after 56% refill and tweaking

    FC 4
    TC 4
    ALK 75 (was 40 earlier)
    PH 7.5
    CH 125
    CYA 30

    Both pumps are running nicely, but the pool seems cloudy again. We plan to shock tonight. We hope to be able to maintain 2-4ppm CL and add borates to 50ppm when we get it dialed in again.

    It WAS so sparkly and clear! We did good with what we had which was wrong, but it sure was looking fabulous due mostly to the information we found here. Now now we're sort of starting over, hoping for less CL demand and softer water (closer to what comes out of the tap for sure!), and wanting to use borates to help stabilize things a bit.

    Main question here after all this...

    1- The pool calculator says (at the bottom, where you input your quantities and chemicals) that if we add 256oz 20 Mule Team the Alkalinity will be raised by 112ppm. However the "So you want to add borates" thread instructions say alkalinity will increase "slightly". 112ppm puts us way over the top for alkalinity (add to 75ppm current) and it ain't "slight". HUH???

    Which is true? 112ppm or "slight"??


    Second question might come later. For now, we shock tonight and see what happens with the clarity. We will not add borates till the pool is dialed and cleared unless someone tells us it would be better.




    TY for any help you have to offer.

    Kori
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    They are both right. Adding borax without adding acid will raise the TA level dramatically. Adding acid, to bring the PH back down to where it was originally, will lower the TA level back to just slightly above what it was originally.

    Yes, wait to add borates until everything is balanced and under control.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,331

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    Quote Originally Posted by frogabog
    Our tap water seems to go green instantly when we fill new pools. Happens at about 4" of fill water. It's a hint of green, but it's absolutely algae because the Algaecide always works to brighten the new water. As it filled today, it hinted at green even though we dosed with bleach to raise the remaining water to 8ppm before we started filling. Understanding algae and it's relationship to chlorine better now is quite helpful.
    This statement puzzles me a little bit. You raised the half full pool to 8ppm chlorine and started adding water and it turned green? Is that correct?
    Are you on a well or do you have public water?
    Chlorine should do a better job of killing the algae than the algaecide does.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  4. Back To Top    #4
    frogabog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,578

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    This statement puzzles me a little bit. You raised the half full pool to 8ppm chlorine and started adding water and it turned green? Is that correct?
    correct. After a bit of filling, it had a slight murky green tint. Mostly, it wasn't clear rather than really green but we recognize the algae blooming now after a few years of filling pools in the spring. This year at 4" was "oops! we forgot the algaecide"... next year it'll be "oops!... forgot the bleach" instead.

    With this drain and refill, as we filled we tested and the new water ate up the chlorine pretty fast. DH said he put over 2 quarts in on top of the 8ppm we started with at 50% water just to keep it around 4ppm.


    Are you on a well or do you have public water?
    Public water, from Bull Run Watershed which is Cascade runoff and rain filtered by the forest. Amazing really, I have been to the watershed twice with my kids for field trips which is a rare opportunity. The watershed is protected and NO ONE gets to go in. My husband has been in waterworks/hydronics and represented municipal chlorinating systems for over 20 years and never got opportunity to see where our drinking water comes from. This water is like gold flowing down the mountain into the city. It is unfiltered (turbidity even at extreme depths is very very low. I've seen the samples tested at 50 meters with the kids on the dam and even that low it's within range), and because it comes from a mountain reservoir surrounded by old growth (i.e. 600 year old doug fir), gravity fed to the valley here (city), slightly treated with chlorine and ammonia only, yeah I can see how algae can bloom instantly.

    Water tastes sooooooo sweet here. We're water snobs, can't drink from taps when we visit friends lol. My kids absolutely refuse and it's even difficult to brush teeth without gagging in some places. But it's a lake/river/reservoir so algae is unquestionably present all the time.


    Chlorine should do a better job of killing the algae than the algaecide does.
    Yes, we expected that. However in the past before we learned about BBB we used the algaecide. We're learning~!

    What's so funny is DH has told me in the past that we can put bleach in the pool cuz it's the same thing. He represented a salt water chlorination system for years that is installed in quite a few municipalities in our state so he knows quite a bit about water sanitation. I was appalled to think of using bleach in the pool.

    He has not once mentioned that he said it many times before now that we (I) are BBB converts. He was right though and surely could if he wanted to!

    So, we did not shock last night as chlorine was holding strong after dark at 4ppm with no CC. Water is clearing nicely, it's looking pretty good on this cloudy PNW morning while we wait for the sun to burn off the clouds. Having the secondary pump seems to help a lot. TG for old broken easy set pools and leftover pumps. We run the intake at the bottom of the pool attached to the ladder and the return pours in a few feet away which creates a super swirl action towards the skimmer. We can either let the water flow below the surface or point the return up to aerate. Kids can squirt each other if they want as well. Works great so far and we'll never go back to just one lame Intex pump again.

    We also run the pumps 24/7. Seems wrong to turn them off ever, but we read about run times here so apparently we're in the minority.

    More info than you asked for? Yeah, well frogs live in bogs and don't get out much so they have to talk a lot :~}

    TYTY You all ROCK!

    Kori
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    frogabog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,578

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    Oh, I forgot to mention...

    I did the alkalinity test wrong when I got 75ppm. I ran the "high alk" test and multiplied it by 3. When I ran the right one, it came back at 50ppm which makes sense as it tripped the indicator just above 50ppm telling me to multiply by 3. Big DUH moment... never to be repeated. I confused high CH testing with high alkalinity testing protocols.

    So we adjusted alkalinity last night hoping for 70ppm today. I still have to go test to see how we did. DH was appalled when he realized he bought an $8 bottle of baking soda called "Alkalinity Up"... sigh...



    Kori
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,331

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    Thank you for the dissertation on your water. Seriously, I'm always interested to hear where and how everybody get their water. Ours is pumped out of an Aquifer several hundred feet underground.

    I now see how your water grows algae so quickly and easily.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  7. Back To Top    #7
    frogabog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    1,578

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    I could go on and on about Bull Run and the water we get to drink. It's rather unique methinks. I count myself fortunate to have been there once let alone twice. Hoping for a third trip when my youngest gets to the grade that gets to go.

    It's not cheap though. Well, the water is fairly cheap... sewer otoh... not so cheap. Water/sewer for a 5 person household is well over $100/mo.

    There is a well field that the city uses when they need an alternate source. It is drawn from three aquafirs adjacent to the Columbia River. They call it a drought if it doesn't rain for a month even if it rains 85% of the rest of the year (I know, I know...) and then we're asked to conserve. If the Bull Run reservoir level drops, they have to draw closer to the higher turbidity level than they like. We got well water for about a week in September last year. They call that moderately hard water.

    I'd post a picture of Bull Run if I knew how to insert images here. :~{

    Kori
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Butterfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    10,045

    Re: Borates and Alkalinity

    Hi Kori and welcome to the forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Thank you for the dissertation on your water. Seriously, I'm always interested to hear where and how everybody get their water.
    Ditto! This is very interesting!

    Quote Originally Posted by frogabog
    I'd post a picture of Bull Run if I knew how to insert images here.
    Many of us use PhotoBucket.com. It's free. You upload your pics then just copy the IMG code and paste it in your message here.
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •