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Thread: Sore eyes with BBB?

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    Sore eyes with BBB?

    I am starting to switch to the BBB method (specifically adding the borax portion). Like everything I have read so far. I went swimming last night and my eyes were very sore after the swim. I realize my test values may be a bit off after the borax:

    FC 2
    pH 7.6-7.7
    Alk 210
    CH 320
    CYA 40ish
    borates should around 25-30. (my test strips should arrive Monday or Tuesday).

    The big question, does the borax cause eye burning or is it test results being off.
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
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    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The only thing I see wrong is that FC should never be below 3 when CYA is 40.

    Low PH is the usual cause of eye irritation, but you obviously don't have that problem.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    When you say sore, do you mean stinging or just dried out? Water can be hard on your eyes when it doesn't have salt in it. Many people add some salt which results in better feeling water and much better feeling eyes. I agree with Jason that your numbers probably aren't the cause. Some people are more sensitive to water than others.
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    It was more of a burning/stinging feeling. I read the borax box and it says it is an eye irritant. That is why I asked the question of those who are using the BBB.

    Thanks Jason, I already added more Clorox
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Guest
    Your TA is way too high. Get it down first then finish adding the borates!!!!!
    I have 50 ppm borates in my pool and it does not irritate my eyes. DRY borax is an eye irritant but then again so is table salt.
    You might want to take some time to read the borate sticky while you work on your TA (therei is a sticky for that also) and wait on your test strips.

    You also did not post any test results for CC or TC. CC CAN and WILL cause eye irritation. The threshold for most people is .4 ppm. I noticed that you have an indoor pool. Persistant CC is a known problem with indoor pools. Also, CYA of 40 is really too high for indoor pools.

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    Thanks Bear. I have been working on the TA and had it as low as 150-160, but I have not been aggressive enough. I am doubling my efforts. I have invited the neighbor kids to the pool and will encourage them to fart (I mean aerate) as often as possible

    I have not had problems with CC....yet. I had added Clorox earlier this afternoon and just retested TC 3, FC 3, CC 0.

    I had eliminated the chlorinator several weeks ago. CYA was as high as 60. Bless my PB for screwing me again.

    I thought I had read everything about the BBB way, but missed the borate sticky. Thanks.

    I only asked the question because last night my eyes bothered me after the borax. I haven't had issues before that. Thanks again for all the help.
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

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    I drained some water to lower CYA. I lowered the pH to 7. I left the cover off all night and the aeration going. Results this AM:

    FC 3
    TC 3
    CC 0
    PH 7
    TA 160
    CYA below 30 (had the tube full before losing the black dot)

    Thanks again.

    PS I am using the spa to assist with the aeration, it is very foamy. What is the cause?
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Spas can foam up when there are surfactants in the water, typically soaps and oils. Proper chlorine and calcium levels will help prevent this and in some cases you may need to use an enzyme product to help break down whatever it is. Your FC level looks reasonable, but I didn't see a CH level listed in your post.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    CH is 320.

    Is the spa "foam away" the proper stuff to use?

    Thanks.
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I suggest Pool Magic, assuming the spa and pool are connected. The stuff you suggested will also work but it is designed for stand alone spas.

    Your CH level is fine, so that isn't part of the problem.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    One of the principles of BBB is not putting anything into your pool you don't need. I would try giving it a few days, running the pump/filter often, and see if the foam doesn't lessen or go away on it's own....my bet is it will and running the pump will be a big help.

    I have no idea what's in the "foam away " and it's most likely harmless....I think I'd try doing without it first.
    Dave S.
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    Most defoamers are just simethicone, a silicone compound. It's the same stuff used in some anti acids to help get rid of 'gas' and that 'bloated feeling'.

    My suggestion would be to first shock the pool and spa to help burn up any organics in the water, this is what is causing the foaming. If that does not work (it probably will) THEN you can try an enzyme. A cheaper solution would be to get s 'scumbug' or 'scumball' or similar oil absorbing plastic sponge and let it float in your spa. They are usually arond $6-7. I keep one in my spa and one in the skimmer of my pool. These absorb much of the body oils and lipids that contribute to foaming and scum line in a spa and can help to keep the tileline in your pool cleaner.

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    How long should I expect it to take for the reduction of TA. I started around 210. I have had the pool uncovered for several days with the spa pump running, the pH down around 7.0, and the return jets pointing up. I have managed only a reduction to 150. Am I being too impatient?
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It does take a while to lower TA. It sounds like you are moving along a little faster than average.
    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

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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    I read the sticky about adding the 30 - 50 PPM of Borates, ordered some Borate test strips, and was about to purchase the Borax at Wal*Mart to get it done. I took pause when I read the warnings on the box about being an "eye irritant and "may be harmful if swallowed". Since getting the stuff out of the pool would mean a refill I decided to double back to the forum and make sure this does not cause eye irritation at these levels. I know there is some risk of drinking the water after reading the dog drinking submissions.

    I found this post and it did not seem to come to a clear and conclusive ending. Unfortunately jcichocki never came back around to report that her sore eye issue disappeared when she got her TA corrected. So I thought I would jump on to the posting and try to gather some definitive feedback that eye irritation is not an issue when all of this Borax is added to the pool. Now that it is about a year later does anyone have any regrets about adding Borates? Did anyone else notice an eye irritation after adding the Borates?

    Thanks!
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  16. Back To Top    #16
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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    If you don't want to add 20 mule team then add the borax products made for pools that cost a lot of money if it makes you feel better.
    Dry borax is an eye irritant (just like table salt), as is dry baking soda and soda ash, caclum chloride, and muriatic acid are quite dangerous if gotten into the eyes. Lets also not forget the warning labels on chlorine products! However, at the levels we are talking about in the pool they are not a problem. IF they were we would not be able to swim, would we? I have no regrets on adding borates to my pool and it's been several years now. Nor do my customers regret it once they do it! I suspect the original poster just has some water chemistry and testing issues and the fact that they were adding borates without dropping the TA first just shows that they did not read the instructions on how to do it properly.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    We never found out what was happening for jcichocki, but many many people have added borates without any problems. The great majority are very happy that they added borates, and the only even remotely common complaint, less than 5%, is that it wasn't worth the effort.

    Personally, I suspect that jcichocki's problem was due to low chlorine levels.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    I've had borates in my pool since the day swg was started about a month after the pool was completed - I have a mineral springs system and the pool builder used their "beginnings" salt to start it. "Beginnings" is essentially salt plus borates and dry acid if I recall correctly. Initially I had 30 ppm borates and I later raised it to 50ppm with 20 mule team. The only time anyone has complained of sore eyes over the past couple of years, my TA was out of whack - and once corrected, never had the problem since.

    Anecdotal, I know, but I don't think the borates will irritate your eyes once in the water.
    18k gal inground, everbrite finish, 505 sq ft; 1.5 hp two speed whisperflow; rheem 5100ti 100k btu heat pump; 3 sheer descent falls; DE filter; swg (cell out and using trichlor for now)

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    Once borates are in the water the vast majority is in the form of boric acid, not borate ions, at the normal pool pH range. Boric acid is used as an eye wash and is a common ingredient in many eye drops!

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    Re: Sore eyes with BBB?

    You are correct, I was new to this site and somehow missed the complete line-up of stickies. I was reading the postings and trying to piece everything together. Once I got the how-to figured out, it worked great and I have no regrets. I have given this site and BBB technique to countless friends, and believe all are pleased.
    58,800 gal gunite INDOOR pool w/ spa
    automatic cover
    Jandy "stuff" - pumps, cartridge filter, aqua link
    CAT Controller 4000
    Stenner 30 gal (bleach) and 15 gal (acid)
    Puck chlorinator and Nature 2- gone
    Hi-Z Heater - natural gas

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