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Thread: Let's talk about borates and pH

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    Let's talk about borates and pH

    My test results (cause I knew you'd ask):

    FC 4.5
    PH 7.5
    TA 90
    CYA 65
    CH 290

    So far since having the pool for a little over a month, I have been adding acid and bleach every other day. I have salt now for a week and chlorine has stayed at 4.5-5 so that has helped reduce addition of chemicals but I'm still dealing with adding acid.

    I want to get my TA down but we had a crazy windstorm a couple of weeks ago, 70-80 mph winds (I took a video of it blowing the water out of the pool, I may try to post it). Anyway my TA started out at 90 and went up to 110 after the storm. I add acid when pH gets to 7.8-8.0 and take it down to 7.2 and the TA has dropped by doing that. I am having to add 60-70 oz 31.45% MA every other day.

    My questions are: will having a lower TA help this not rise so fast?

    Would borates also help? I know i need TA to be lower before i add this but it scares me because if I plug 30ppm borates into pool calculator then it takes 125oz MA to get pH down from 8 to 7.2 and I don't want to do that every other day, 70 oz is bad enough. I would like to have it where I just have to add MA once a week, is this fantasy?
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Both will help. That is certainly the downside of the SWCG, the contant acid additions. But I'll take 1/2 to 1 gallon a week of acid over all those chlorine additions anyday. For a pool the size of mine in the heat of Texas, I was hauling a ton of Clorox.

    Yes, you need to get your TA to around 70 before adding borates.

    No, it's not fantasy. I add acid once per week. I can go longer if I don't mind it sitting at 7.8.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    My test results (cause I knew you'd ask):

    FC 4.5
    PH 7.5
    TA 90
    CYA 65
    CH 290
    Those numbers look good.

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    I want to get my TA down but we had a crazy windstorm a couple of weeks ago, 70-80 mph winds (I took a video of it blowing the water out of the pool, I may try to post it). Anyway my TA started out at 90 and went up to 110 after the storm. I add acid when pH gets to 7.8-8.0 and take it down to 7.2 and the TA has dropped by doing that. I am having to add 60-70 oz 31.45% MA every other day.
    Ouch. Does this mean that the fill water has a high TA? Can you post some data on TA and CH in your fill water?

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    My questions are: will having a lower TA help this not rise so fast?
    My pool doesn't have an SWCG... so take this with a grain of salt - I have found over time that dropping my TA to 70 has really stabilized my pH.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    I'd have to go back and look but I think my TA on fill water was 80. When the pool was filled it was 90 and I was playing with aeration and all that but then it went way up after the wind. I was going from 7.8 to 7.5 with my pH adjustments but I started taking it down to 7.2 and that has lowered the TA back to where I started. I will keep working it down, I just wanted some reassurance that lowering it would help me as much as I hoped.

    What about the borates, as good as advertised or will I get the most benefit from getting the TA down?
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    What will help more than either borax or TA adjustment is time. You are curing new plaster and that is going to require frequent acid dosages to keep your pH under 8.0.

    That demand will lessen with time but can take up to a year to not be an issue.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    I'd have to go back and look but I think my TA on fill water was 80. When the pool was filled it was 90 and I was playing with aeration and all that but then it went way up after the wind.
    I'm having trouble figuring out how it went up. I guess huge evaporation losses would do it - but other than that - I was banking on your fill water.

    Quote Originally Posted by bpricedo
    I was going from 7.8 to 7.5 with my pH adjustments but I started taking it down to 7.2 and that has lowered the TA back to where I started. I will keep working it down, I just wanted some reassurance that lowering it would help me as much as I hoped.

    What about the borates, as good as advertised or will I get the most benefit from getting the TA down?
    No borates here. I run a TA of around 70 and have a pretty stable pH with bleach in my vinyl pool. See above reply however - that sounds like it is more of an issue with your new plaster than anything.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    I found with my SWG that getting TA down to 70 wasn't enough alone. I still have pH swings even with TA of 70 and borates of 50ppm. It was stable on just Clorox.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    You have to get to your target TA before adding borates. Once you borate the TA is much harder to change. But borates make the water sparkle like never before, help stabilize pH, and serve as a mild algaecide. I seldom have to add acid now. Yes, the pH still goes up, but much slower so adding acid is a weekly event instead of daily. All in all, I love the result.

    When picking a target TA and pH make sure you consider the resulting CSI balance.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, Hayward H400 & Heliocol Solar heating, A&A infloor system, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    I don't know how the wind made it go up. TA was 90 the day before and then 110 after the wind. We didn't even get rain. When I get home I will see if I can post the video.

    I am going to slowly work the TA down over the winter and see what happens and then I'll add borates. Hopefully by next year pH will be more stable, right now I can't go out of town with needing acid added so often.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    I travel a LOT, so it's important to me that my pool be as stable as possible. Sometimes I travel for 2 weeks at a time. With my SWG, borates at 50, TA at 70, my pH will get up to 7.8 over the period of a week, then it slowly starts edging up to 8.0+. It never gets much over 8.0. It is never so bad that I worry about it. I simply come back and add 1/2 a gallon and that puts me back at 7.5 in most cases, sometimes I might have to add another pint. Note I'm at 44,000 gallons, so your usage should not be as high.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    If this works, this is the wind video. My guess would be at least 60-70 mph.



    I had 3 live rats swimming in it the next am, one dead in the skimmer and of course all kinds of other stuff in the skimmer. I had cleaned them several times during the day before going to bed, the wind made this treacherous. Cleaning the downwind one was downright painful, the water drops hitting like bird shot. My sand filter went from 20 to 28 lbs pressure overnight.

    Click on the picture and it takes you to Photobucket's video player. At least that's how it worked for me.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    WOW! That is some wind! That's enough wind to cause the water to aerate, which drives up pH. But, it shouldn't have driven up the TA. Maybe it's within the range of error, 90 vs. 110?
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    WOW! That is some wind! That's enough wind to cause the water to aerate, which drives up pH. But, it shouldn't have driven up the TA. Maybe it's within the range of error, 90 vs. 110?
    That's exactly what I was thinking when I watched that video. Talk about the ultimate aeration!!!

    Try testing again, making sure you wipe the tip with a damp cloth before each drop, while you mix.
    TA Test Directions
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Already have the TA back down to 90 since it got so high, but hoping to get it lower.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

  15. Back To Top    #15
    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    For sure!
    Also, since you have a SWG, I'd get it down to 60ppm since you have had a problem with pH. The range is 60-80 for SWG pools.

    Remember, don't drop below 3ppm FC. Tested just before the SWG turns on.

    I would also raise your CYA to 70-80ppm.
    65ppm is just borderline on the minimum, it's a bit low.

    Do you have any water features?
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Just two bubblers in tanning ledge are only water features.

    CYA has tested to 80 before but last time got 65. I am only testing it once a week. We'll see what it is next time and I'll add if needed.

    I am testing FC and pH daily since SWCG turned on, still tweaking it, I added bleach once when my FC went down to 3.5, turned the SWCG up 10% and today it's FC 5.5, pH 7.7. I'm going to go ahead and take the pH back down to 7.2 tonight.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

  17. Back To Top    #17
    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Let's talk about borates and pH

    Are you testing FC before the SWG turns on for the day?
    The trick is to grab FC @ it's absolute lowest, and that's before the SWG turns on and starts adding CL. If you test during or after it's run, then you are only getting out of that test how much CL the SWG has managed to add to your pool, this doesn't tell you what it falls down to in-between runs.
    The lowest point is most important, because this is when algae can grow. So long as that stays above minimum for your CYA, then you're fine.

    Of course you have to take into acct. things like bather load and waste that ends up in the pool from rain, wind, construction, whatever. Average bather consumption is about 0.3ppm/bather/hr.

    When doing your CYA test, be sure you look at it for a while at waist level and that the dot still disappears. I find it helpful to stare for a few seconds at it, then look away and look again.
    Be sure that you do it in daylight with your back to the sun, not in shade or at night or indoors.
    Also, the water sample has to be at a minimum temperature of 70F for an accurate test.

    The only things that'll cause loss of CYA is splashout, vacuum to waste + fill to top off, or lots of rainwater. Basically any form of water loss, followed by dilution from the addition of new fresh water to top it off.

    Sounds like a plan on the MA addition.
    You're on your way down!!

    Remember to enter your current TA number into both the now & target columns of pool calc. Then enter pH what it is now into that column and what you want to bring it to, also set your MA percentage you're using. MA addition is dependant on current TA levels, as well as borate. But I recall you saying you haven't added any, so don't worry about that. Just leave it at zero for now.

    I'm sure you know this, but add it by a return /w the pump running. Keep it running for at least 30min. After that time elapses, check your pH to verify it obtained your target number.
    Since it'll be after dark, use your computer monitor/lcd and a white page as your light source in a room without a strong external light source to interfere. This will be approx. 5500k, which is perfect. But if your white background has a bit of a blue tint to it, or red tint, then it'll be off. But still better than most indoor lighting.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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