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Thread: Stabilizing PH with Borates

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    Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Borated for the first time at the beginning of this year to try to bring down my MA usage, but I'm still using 1 gallon a week? My TA has been hovering at 70-80 for the last month and Borate level is at 50. Should I lower my TA down to around 50-60 and see if that works? Anybody have any luck with buffering the MA usage with the addition of Borates? By the way I have a salt system.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Adding borates has no effect on the amount of acid you need to use, just the frequency of acid additions. WIth borates you add more acid less often, balancing out to the same total amount of acid used.

    Bringing down your TA level will reduce the amount of acid you need to use. If you plaster is less than one year old you won't be able to get acid usage to zero. Other than that, it should be possible to eliminate acid usage by bringing down TA. I haven't added any acid to my pool in over a year, even though I have a SWG.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    One of the reasons to add Borates Jason is also it is supposed to help buffer PH? Correct? The other reason is for water pop. Other than making the water feel silky soft my water looks no different? Just like last year with no Borates.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Yes, it does buffer the PH. Buffering means you can go longer between acid additions. All else being equal, you still use the same amount of acid, you simply don't need to add acid as frequently as you otherwise would. That is what buffering is.

    It also allows you to lower the TA lower than you would otherwise be able to lower it. Lower TA does means less total acid used. There are also various subjective water improvements that many people notice, but not everyone.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Adding borates has no effect on the amount of acid you need to use, just the frequency of acid additions. WIth borates you add more acid less often, balancing out to the same total amount of acid used.

    Bringing down your TA level will reduce the amount of acid you need to use. If you plaster is less than one year old you won't be able to get acid usage to zero. Other than that, it should be possible to eliminate acid usage by bringing down TA. I haven't added any acid to my pool in over a year, even though I have a SWG.
    WHAT?! You haven't added in a year even with a SWG?! I want that. What do you maintain your chemistry at? This may just be a pipe dream for me considering my fill water TA is 280
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Quote Originally Posted by beezar
    WHAT?! You haven't added in a year even with a SWG?! I want that. What do you maintain your chemistry at?
    I would be interested in seeing this as well, so....ummm...


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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Yes, it does buffer the PH. Buffering means you can go longer between acid additions. All else being equal, you still use the same amount of acid, you simply don't need to add acid as frequently as you otherwise would. That is what buffering is.

    It also allows you to lower the TA lower than you would otherwise be able to lower it. Lower TA does means less total acid used. There are also various subjective water improvements that many people notice, but not everyone.
    HUH??? If I understand this right, if I add 1 gallon of acid every 7 days your saying that I will add 1 gallon every 14 days isn't that a 50% cut?
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    You will add 2 gallons every 2 weeks in Jason's example, I believe. Less frequent but more when you add.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    HUH??? If I understand this right, if I add 1 gallon of acid every 7 days your saying that I will add 1 gallon every 14 days isn't that a 50% cut?
    No, the same total amount of acid. Say you were adding one gallon of acid once a week before. Adding borates might allow you to add two gallons of acid once every two weeks. Before, without borates, the PH might have varied from 7.2 to 7.8. If you let it go for two weeks the PH would get out of range. With borates the PH change is about the same, 7.3 to 7.8 this time, but over two weeks instead of one. The PH changes more slowly, so you can go longer between acid additions. However, the amount of acid required to change the PH is greater. Acid is added less often, but more acid is used each time. The total acid usage is the same.

    To reduce the total amount of acid required something else needs to change. Normally lowering the TA will do it. Without borates you can only lower TA down to 60, which isn't always enough. With borates you can lower TA down as far as 40, which is almost always enough to stop PH increases. Of course, if you have plaster less than a year old, the PH will still go up.

    My pool numbers are:
    FC 4 to 6
    CC 0
    PH 7.6
    TA 50
    CH 80
    CYA 80
    Borates 50
    Salt 2900
    My PH is completely stable. It has been at 7.6 since I opened in May, and was at 7.7 most of last season. My fill water TA is 60, CH 70. I last added acid in early June 2010.

    Not every pool will work at these numbers. If you have more aeration than I have you may still get a little PH drift at these numbers. If you have high TA fill water, you will need to add acid to counter the high TA fill water. If you have plaster less than a year old, the PH will go up no matter what you do.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Just to back-up what Jason was saying. I have hight TA fill water as well (300-350) and use about 1/2 gal of MA all season, with TA at 60. I try to keep the water level in the pool as high as possibleand then before a good t-storm is headed our way, just backwash the filter and let mother nature top off the pool.

    I realize this may not work during dry spells, etc, but this strategy has helped me manage what I thought would be a big issue given we have high TA and CH fill water.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Jason, I get what your saying but seems to be a little hard on the plaster, going from a smooth 1 gallon a week through the dosing pump to 2 gallons! To much of a spike.
    My numbers are as follows:
    FC 5
    CC 0
    TC 5
    PH 7.4
    CYA 80
    CH 450
    TA 80
    Borates 50
    Salt 3000
    By what your saying I would have to let my PH go from 7.4 to 8.8 before I added 2 gallons! I'm not getting where the buffering qualities come in? Why not just add 1 gallon a week to keep the the curve smooth? I'm going to lower my TA down and see what happens. Started aerating last night.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    I tried letting my pH go up to 8.2 before I added 1/2 gallon of acid (I did this every 3-4 days) to drop it to 7.2, and because my CH was in the high 600's I developed scale on my plaster. It wasn't at 8.2 for very long and I still got scale because of the high CH. My pool is still new so pH is still rising. For the time being I will continue to add about 20 oz. of MA daily to keep pH in the 7.2-7.5 range. I'm crossing my fingers hoping to see a drop in acid use after December 2011.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    HouTex, you should build a dosing pump! Smooth out the roller coaster! Never have to manually add MA. My PH is rock steady at 7.4!
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    By what your saying I would have to let my PH go from 7.4 to 8.8 before I added 2 gallons!
    No that isn't what I am saying at all. I'm not really sure what it is that you aren't understanding, but that isn't anything at all to do with what I was saying. You need to keep the PH in range (7.2-7.8) regardless.

    Buffering, in this context, is about the amount of acid required to change the PH by a fixed amount. With your numbers, changing the PH from 7.6 to 7.4 requires 25 oz of muriatic acid. But if your borate level was zero, it would only take 12 oz to make the same PH change.

    Keeping your PH down at 7.4 is also part of the problem. Higher TA and lower PH both increase the amount of CO2 outgassing, meaning more PH drift. In addition to lowering TA, you should raise the PH target for your acid system to around 7.7 (best to wait to do that until TA is lower).
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Jason, with your numbers aren't you concerned with the CSI?
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    I have a vinyl liner pool, so negative CSI is irrelevant. If I had a plaster pool I would keep CH much higher.
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    Re: Stabilizing PH with Borates

    Ok, after I get my TA lower I'll raise my PH. I'll try it and see if works.
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