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Thread: I just read all 23 pages about borates

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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    I just read all 23 pages about borates

    I just read all 23 pages of this thread. (yes...all 23 of them!)

    What if you can't get your TA down? No matter how hard you try? Even if I get TA down to 125/150, it'll jump right back up to 150-175 when I add fill water. (My fill water is that high.) I'm constantly aerating my water to try to force pH up so that I can use MA to bring them both down, but even aerating the water results in a minimal amount of pH rasie. (7.5 - 7.6 in 5 days of aerating.) Since the pool is so small, practically every backwash results in having to add water. (Unless I get lucky and get a nice rainfall!)

    I've read something about a 'sweet spot' and I'm thinking this might be true of my pool. I've never gone through copious amounts of muratic acid. (Usually about 2-3 gallons a season.)

    So..supposing that my pool has a sweet spot of pH holding in the 7.6ish range and a TA of 125, (which is probably about the best I can realistically get), could I add borates? I'm intrigued by the sparkling water, cleaner sides and wonderful feel.

    But, if it's going to be something that might screw up that sweet spot of high TA and normal pH, then I might want to leave well enough alone and satisfy myself with less sparkling water, less wonderful feeling and having to clean the sides.

    Before you ask, here are my numbers: FC 2, CC 0, ph 7.6, TA 175, CH 300, CYA 60 (waiting a week for the most recent add before retesting), Salt 3350.
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    Borates won't change the amount of acid you need to add unless their somewhat algaecidal properties let you lower your SWG on-time which would reduce outgassing. Borates just act as a pH buffer so lengthen the time between acid additions, but you add more acid when you do need to lower the pH.

    High TA fill water will increase the TA from evaporation and refill. Even with water replacement, it will increase TA if the fill water has a higher TA than the pool. So the best you could do without adding acid would be regular water replacement to keep the TA roughly in the range of the fill water. Then, acid would only be needed to keep the pH in check but your TA would be relatively stable.
    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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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    I want to make sure I understand what you're saying.

    Are you suggesting that I replace water whenever my TA is below the fill water? (Fill water is 175 - tested with the TF-100 kit.)

    Keeping TA the same as my water replacements (when needed) is what I should do and I should abandon hopes of getting TA down? Simply focus on pH only? (Which is what I had always done until being constantly lectured about 'attack TA first, pH second'.)

    I also understood your post to say that borates aren't really going to help me much except to reduce the times I have to add MA (which aren't that great) but I'd have to add more when I actually do it.

    I'll just flat out ask: Do you think the benefits are sparkly water and great feel are worth the bother? (Because frankly, that's all I'd be getting out of it. My pool isn't a big hassle once it's "right".)

    And..lastly...not to suck up, but your chemical genius is awesome. You're so good at figuring this stuff out. I've often joked that one needs a chemistry degree to navigate through pool chemicals. Nah, we don't need a degree. You're here to help!
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    Borates are optional and most people do not use them. With high TA, I would suggest you forget them. The "sparkly" and "great feel" are pretty subjective attributes and some people have reported no real difference after adding borates.

    You can add some salt to improve the feel of the water some too.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    Thanks, jblizzle, for the insight to borates.

    I *already* have salt in my pool. LOTS of it. 3350 ppm in fact. I listed that in my test results in my posting. (Confirmed by the salt test about an hour ago.)
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: I just read all 23 pages about borates

    You know after I posted about the salt, I though, they probably have a SWG and I look like an idiot ... now I see your signature
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenischmeni
    Are you suggesting that I replace water whenever my TA is below the fill water? (Fill water is 175 - tested with the TF-100 kit.)
    No, I wasn't suggesting that. I was just saying that unless you added acid, you couldn't do any better than having your TA be roughly the same as your fill water if you did regular replacement of some of the water. You basically said that even adding acid you couldn't do much better than your fill water TA because of the amount of water replacement you were doing from backwashing and a relatively small pool water volume.

    Since you have an SWCG, my only suggestion would be for you to raise your CYA target to 80 ppm and your FC to 4 ppm. Even now, your FC of 2 ppm is too low for your CYA of 60 ppm. With a higher CYA and a proper minimum FC there should be less algae growth and less loss from sunlight so you should be able to turn down your SWCG on-time and maintain the 4 ppm FC target level (remember that this is a minimum so is what would be in the morning just before the pump and SWCG turned on). A lower SWCG on-time can result in less aeration and less pH rise.

    As for borates, it helps some with SWCG, but not all such pools. It probably helps those pools that are on the edge of having algae growth thereby allowing for the SWCG on-time to be lowered. As I noted, it reduces the frequency of acid addition, if not the amount of acid (except for the algaecide effect I just mentioned), and for some people that is worth it.
    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
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: I just read all 23 pages about borates

    I recently did the borates - it went flawless following the instructions of the long thread.

    The appearance of the water and the feel of the water (I have salt water pool too) - honestly to me were not dramatic - it looks a little more crystal and feels a little more soft but that could all be in my head - it certainly isn't night and day; so I wouldn't suggest you worry about it too much. It has seemed to slow down how fast my SWG drives up the pH.

    Regarding your TA lowering issue - my recent experience may help - I too have high TA in fill water and had to bring it down from 200 to 70. I would check the pH, use pool calc to bring it down to 7 or 7.2. I ran a waterfall and found the pool would usually come up to 7.4 to 7.6 in about 12 hours. Then it would sit there if I did nothing. So what I did was add the Muriatic acid every 12 hours to kock it back down to 7-7.2 - so I was adding acid TWICE a day (AM and PM) and my pH fluctuated from 7 to 7.6. It never got any higher than that. This brought my TA down steadily. I was just wondering if you were waiting too long to add acid and that was slowing your TA drop down. Now if your pH was sitting at 7-7.2 for a long time after adding acid that would be a problem but I doubt that if your TA is high and you have a SWG.

    You can also find threads of how to make a "fountain" to help aerate, I didn't find it necessary.

    By my 2 cents on the borates - not really sure if it was worth the trouble - it's not a night and day difference - I jsut wanted to do it. The appearance/feel of the water to me really are fairly minimal.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Re: I just read all 23 pages about borates

    I just added Borax to my pool as well and the difference is minimal. It does seem a little clearer, and a little more sparkly. Since I'm using BBB, I'm hoping for a slight decrease in bleach usage and a slight decrease in Muratic Acid usage because of the pH balancing affect. Time will tell, and I'll update this thread with my own personal results in Texas, but I did want to add that Borax won't hurt anything so please definitely do it you're curious but don't expect miraculous results.

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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    Re: I just read all 23 pages about borates

    Thanks so much for the comments and personal experiences. Hearing those things helped a lot and I appreciate it. Having read through that whole thread and everybody reporting how awesome it was, I just wanted to jump right on that bandwagon. It's good to read that for some, the benefits are negligible.

    Thanks, Chem Geek for the further explanation. I felt that I hadn't read what you said right and I even had hubby read to make sure I was interpreting it correctly. Next, I turned to DS who read it all and said "Uh, yeah, I only passed chemistry by the skin of my teeth and because of a generous grading curve". They both said, "Geez! Just ask him!"

    The FC is a bit low but that's because I had backed down the run time significantly on my pump after being told several times that I was running it too long and it should only need to run 5-6 hours. Sometimes, it's kinda hard. Someone on here tells you that you're running your pump too long and the next person says that you're not running it long enough. I'm trying really hard to dial it right and find some middle ground in between what you experts keep telling me. (Maybe I'm guilty of listening too much, I dunno.)

    I've been working diligently at trying to get my CYA up without overshooting the target. I put stabilizer in a sock, wait a week to retest. Imagine my surprise that a week later, there's no significant change. (Which just happened yesterday.) So...I've hung another pound in a sock and am telling myself that the last container (from Menards) just wasn't "good".

    Even before armed with the great knowledge from these forums, it felt like I spent all summer trying to get my CYA high enough. I've always been good about constantly testing my pool (1-2 times a day) even before I had the reagents and used those profane strips ;-/

    Thanks, Rossko, for explaining your personal experience with lowering TA. I don't have a waterfall but have been talking to hubby about making a homemade fountain. We had tried an "out of the box" version that only resulted in keeping the surrounding vegetation nicely watered until the level of the pool dropped. That version may have raised pH but it wouldn't have mattered since I'd spend just as much time refilling with high TA water! hahaha! I probably *am* waiting too long to add MA because I've been waiting for it to get to 7.8 as recommended in pool school. (Which literally can take a week or longer.) Just to add insult to injury, I just tested the water (right before writing this) and the pH fell a point so I'm back to 7.5

    I swear...... I can hear my pool mocking me. It's sitting out there whispering "NO! I will not have lower TA levels. No, I will NOT raise my pH. No matter how nicely you ask me or what you do to me. I AM WHAT I AM!"

    Again, thanks for the help, advice, and comments.
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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