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Thread: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

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    Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    So I'm about 10 days into the borate treatment. I got my PH to 7.6 and TA to 80 just before leaving town for a few days. I was gone for 5 days and upon my return yesterday, PH was at least 8.0 (that's as high as my Taylor test kit goes) and TA was 90. Borates were still 50 using Lamotte test strips. Treated with MA last night and PH is back to 7.6 and TA is again 80.

    I realize that conditions vary in every situation, but is there any reason anyone can think of as to why the borates are not helping stabilize my PH? I have a fountain in the spa (always have had it) and added a cooling spray fountain at the other end of the pool this summer to try to keep the temp down (which has worked by the way!) So far, nothing has changed. PH still drifts up every 2-3 days as it has ever since I had the pool built 4 years ago. Borates aren't doing anything to help with the PH drift, but at least my water is crystal clear!

    Any input is appreciated!
    25,500 gallons - IG w/built-in spa
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Borates don't stop the PH from increasing, they just slow down the rate at which the PH increases a little. If you want to stop PH from increasing you should lower your TA level down to around 60. Note: if your plaster is less than one year old, nothing will stop the PH from increasing.
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Your fountain and cooling spray also increase aeration in the pool which increases pH. If lowering TA to 60 does not halt the pH drift, you may want to routinely test and lower pH on a weekly basis so it doesn't rise too high over the course of the week.
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Thanks for the quick replies. Too bad I didn't discover this board sooner. No one else has ever been able to explain why my PH constantly rises. While it doesn't appear that I've found a cure, at least I have a better understanding. Thank you for that. Given that our temps have been in the 100's for more than 10 straight days with no end in sight, I can't give up the fountain and cooling spray!

    TA was never an issue until early this summer when a guy at Leslie's told me that my TA of 70 was a bit low. He suggested I raise it to 90, as the range I wanted to maintain was between 80 and 100. He also told me that would help with my PH. According to him, PH and TA moved opposite of each other - raising the TA would lower the PH. I thought I was following the advice of an expert.

    I'll see if I can get my TA down to 60. Lowering it has been a challenge. It took me several weeks to get it from 90 to 70 in preparation for the borax treatment, so I suspect I'll run through quite a bit more MA to get it to 60!
    25,500 gallons - IG w/built-in spa
    AquaPure 1400 SWG
    Hayward DE 6020 Filter
    Pebble Sheen
    Hayward H400 Heater

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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Quote Originally Posted by jark87
    Thanks for the quick replies. Too bad I didn't discover this board sooner. No one else has ever been able to explain why my PH constantly rises. While it doesn't appear that I've found a cure, at least I have a better understanding. Thank you for that. Given that our temps have been in the 100's for more than 10 straight days with no end in sight, I can't give up the fountain and cooling spray!

    TA was never an issue until early this summer when a guy at Leslie's told me that my TA of 70 was a bit low. He suggested I raise it to 90, as the range I wanted to maintain was between 80 and 100. He also told me that would help with my PH. According to him, PH and TA moved opposite of each other - raising the TA would lower the PH. I thought I was following the advice of an expert.

    I'll see if I can get my TA down to 60. Lowering it has been a challenge. It took me several weeks to get it from 90 to 70 in preparation for the borax treatment, so I suspect I'll run through quite a bit more MA to get it to 60!

    welcome! another example of "pool store experts" Doubt there was an attempt to mislead in this case, just plain ignorance. I learned not to trust clerks when shopping best buy and I knew more than every "electronics expert" in the store. Research online and take control of your purchases and pool.
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Quote Originally Posted by jark87
    According to him, PH and TA moved opposite of each other - raising the TA would lower the PH. I thought I was following the advice of an expert.
    Pools are intentionally over-carbonated in order to provide pH buffering and to provide a source of carbonate to protect plaster surfaces. However, TA is also a SOURCE of rising pH in its own right since it is a measure mostly of bicarbonate in the water which is related to the amount of carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the water. The amount of excess carbon dioxide in the water as a function of pH and TA is shown in this chart where you can see that lower pH and higher TA have higher carbon dioxide levels so will outgas faster (especially with higher aeration). Carbon dioxide outgassing is what causes the pH to rise because you are essentially removing carbonic acid from the water.
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    I got my TA down to 50 (pool contains Borates too) but my pH still rises rather quickly. BUT, I have a HUGE 24' infinity edge that constantly pushes the pH up. I usually have to add 3 cups of acid every few days to keep it at ~7.5...

    I have just learned to live with it...
    Pool: 24k, 38' x 19' x 24' Free-form IG Gunite with 24' Infinity Edge and Cantilever coping, SGM Diamond Brite Super Blue Plaster,
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Infinite edge pools are challenging. As long as you have borates, try letting TA go down to 40, that will at least help a little.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    GreatCanadian's Avatar
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Infinite edge pools are challenging. As long as you have borates, try letting TA go down to 40, that will at least help a little.
    Hi Jason,
    If a TA of 40 would help a rising pH, why does Pool School recommend TA of 60 - 80 for borated pools. I am in no way challenging your recommendation. I am just trying to learn. I just added borates this week and have been reading everything I can find on this forum relating to borates. Thanks in advance for any information you can offer.

    GC
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Because
    1. it can be a pain to get the TA that low in pools that don't need it that low (remember that part of the process is aeration and carbon dioxide outgassing so if there isn't much aeration it gets harder and harder to lower the TA further)[/*:m:1e0wg1za]
    2. TA is needed in plaster pools to protect those surfaces so we'd have to have a higher CH and/or pH target recommendation and that can be more expensive for the extra CH[/*:m:1e0wg1za]
    3. for fill water higher in TA it can be more difficult maintaining a lower TA level since evaporation/refill increases the TA level over time and[/*:m:1e0wg1za]
    4. a very low TA can use some additional pH buffering such as from 50 ppm Borates but that's not something we want to require in all pools due to its extra cost which may not be worth it to everyone relative to its benefits.[/*:m:1e0wg1za]

    So having a really low TA is something only for special cases such as pools with a lot of aeration sources (waterfalls, fountains, spillovers, etc.) or for spas where aeration jets are typically used.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Thanks. Great info. Here's my situation. My fill water is about 30 TA (can't remember for sure - maybe even less). I raised it to 70 intentionally. After borating my pool my TA seems to be closer to 80. Would I have been ok to leave my TA as it was from the fill water, or was increasing it the better option. I know my pH seems to be sticking solid at 7.5.
    13'x22'x52" 8,000 gallon ProSeries Pool with Borates
    Intex 110 pound Sand Filter with Zeobrite, 2650 gph pump, 0.95 hp
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Gc, my TA raised a little when I did borates even though I used the protean supreme plus non-ph affecting kind. But over time in the course of bringing ph back down (eg every two weeks) it dropped back to 70 and has remained pretty stable since. My ph still rises, though much more slowly, because I keep the jets turned upward to create a Venturi effect in my octagonal pool to keep the ton of leaf/flowers etc moving to the skimmer instead of sinking to the pool floor. In my case, I've opted for the better debris management over completely stable ph (by necessity

    In your case, I'd just go with the flow and let the TA settle as you naturally adjust your ph, especially since your fill water won't be boosting it out of range or anything.
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Oh, I'm fine with my pool as it is. My TA nor pH are causing any problems at all. I was just wondering chemistry wise, would there have been any advantage to me having a lower TA of around 40, considering Jason's above recommendation.

    But it is amazing isn't it, how TA and borates really buffer the pH. I haven't had borates very long, but my pH is stuck pretty solid at 7.5. Loving it!!
    13'x22'x52" 8,000 gallon ProSeries Pool with Borates
    Intex 110 pound Sand Filter with Zeobrite, 2650 gph pump, 0.95 hp
    Bestway SWG
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Btw, gc, two of my best pals on the planet live in st. John's, and a third is from Nfld. Since I therefore have visited your fair city, I am curious as to how short your season is -- or how much you heat your pool!
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Lol. Heat pump is going practically 24 hours a day!! Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I can maintain 32 degrees - that's 90 in American - (wife and children are wimps ) easily but the heat pump runs about 15 hours a day or close to it. My heat pump is a bit undersized for my pool. I would say June, July, August, and a bit of September is the very maximum for our season. Even that is pushing it. June can be nasty here.

    So where are you located? And who the heck are your friends in St. John's. Did you visit George Street when you were here?
    13'x22'x52" 8,000 gallon ProSeries Pool with Borates
    Intex 110 pound Sand Filter with Zeobrite, 2650 gph pump, 0.95 hp
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    Re: Why borates are not helping stabilize my PH?

    Indeed, no stranger to George St., Ships inn too I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan now, but I used to work in the media in Canada and mediaphiles have a way of scattering hither and yon I never worked on the rock, but a longtime friend from Toronto ended up there and loved it a few decades ago; another friend fell in love with it and moved there a few years back, and yet another workmate who became friend's with the second is out there on vaca right now. Somehow I feel I'm missing all the fun!

    I was puzzling about the choice of heat pump but then recalled that natural gas isn't widely available due to the rock!
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