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Thread: I joined this forum to learn about borates

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    mikemass's Avatar
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    I joined this forum to learn about borates

    I joined this forum to learn about borates. I have always had a problem with pH rise. Pool has been in since 2006. So I took the first step last night. dumped 11 boxes of 20 Mule Team and 3.5 gallons muriatic acid in. That doesn't even get me half way for my size pool. will add more by the weekend and let y'all know how it goes. Have to wait for Target to restock as I wiped out their supply yesterday
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    Quote Originally Posted by mikemass
    I joined this forum to learn about borates. I have always had a problem with pH rise. Pool has been in since 2006. So I took the first step last night. dumped 11 boxes of 20 Mule Team and 3.5 gallons muriatic acid in. That doesn't even get me half way for my size pool. will add more by the weekend and let y'all know how it goes. Have to wait for Target to restock as I wiped out their supply yesterday
    That was not the First Step in the process of adding borates ... I hope you lowered your TA first
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    TA = 80
    pH = 7.5
    total & free Cl = 3.0

    I meant the first time actually taking a step toward using Borate. But yes. Everything was in check ahead of time. I tested pH & TA 2 hours after and everything held perfect with that ratio i dumped in. I wonder if I would even get a Borate reading at this point if I had a test kit. According to my calculations I probably need another 15-16 more boxes of Borax to get to 50 ppm. Maybe I'll bring a sample to get tested at the pool store tonigth while I wait for my test strips to arrive.
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

    here's my update:
    I brought a sample of pool water to get tested last night after adding 20 Mule and MA combo the prior evening. Everything well in check. TA went up a touch, but not concerned. What puzzles me is that I "only" added 11 boxes or Boarax and 3.5 gal MA the prior night, which should be the proper amount for a 15k gal pool - I have 38k gallons! (I was planning on doing more this weekend). But my pool store told me my Borates are at 40 ppm. Maybe I started with some in the pool already, but don't know how that would be possible as I never added Borates in the past. Or maybe their test was inaccurate.

    Here's a recent time line with readings and what was done:

    Saturaday 7/6/13: (pool store readings)
    TC = 1.3
    FC = 0.7
    TA = 80
    pH = 7.5
    CYA = 16 Yikes!
    borates not tested

    Sat night shocked with 3 lbs Calcium HypoChlorite:

    Sun late morning 7/7/13: (pool store readings)
    TC = 4.7
    FC = 4.0
    TA = 80
    pH = 7.5
    CYA = 15 Yikes!
    Borates not tested

    Sunday Afternoon added 12 lbs Cyanuric Acid in a sweat sock in the skimmer. Let filter run.
    Monday evening - checked socks and they were rock solid still and CYA was not disolved much. So I literally got in the pool and "kneeded" the socks to help break and disolved the CYA. This worked real well as I was swimming all around letting the power in the socks disolve out. Continue to run filter. At this point I also lowered my SWG from 100% to 65%.

    Tuesday evening 7/9/13:
    First checked my levels with drop test at home:
    TC = 5.0
    FC = 5.0 (CYA seems to be working)
    TA = 80
    pH = 7.5
    did not check CYA on my own
    At this point is when I added 11 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax & 3.5 gallons of MA. Stirred it up real good with brush. Let filter run. Also ran my dolphin to keep water moving.
    2 hours later checked pH again and it was still holding around 7.5 so I figured I did a good job of keeping the acid to Borax ratio in check. Ran filter ALL NIGHT now with the SWG still set at 65%

    Wednesday night 7/10/2013:
    Took a sample to pool store to get a Borate test done:
    TC = 7.0!
    FC = 7.0! (HOLY Moly!
    TA = 90 (went up a touch with Borax treatment)
    ph = 7.3
    CYA = 45 (thought 12 lbs would get it higher, may still need time to fully disolve?)
    Borates = 40 ppm

    So what you guys think? appartantly the raised CYA levels is holding FC better! I have now dropped my SWG to 50% and back to normal run time (9am - 4pm)

    How are Borates already at 40 ppm with less than half the amount needed so far?

    and should I get the CYA up even more if she still test around 45? even though I am clearly holding Chlorine?
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    bump
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    You need to wait a week after the CYA is "dissolved" before you test to confirm the level ... even though it is out of the sock, it may not have completed the chemical transformation.

    Not sure what to say about the borates ... no experience with them. How much was in each box? There are different sizes I thought.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Are you the only one that owned this pool and for sure know that no borates were added to the water?

    From my testing experience, the borate test strips are at best a rough guess. The color from 30 to 50 doesn't change much on my strips and I go more by how much salt I've lost than anything the borate test strips say. It would have been interesting to see if the test showed any before you started adding the borax.

    I would probably add another 15 ppm worth and see what the test reads.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    I have "50 PPM" borates in my pool, here are what the test strips look like....





    How would you read those?
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    I'd read it as 40 ppm. You want to concentrate on the hue of the color, not the saturation or lightness.

    You are right that 11 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax at 76 ounces each added to 38,000 gallons should have raised the borates to 19 ppm. So there is a discrepancy somewhere.
    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: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    JBliz - Yes, I agree maybe the CYA needs more time to disolve. I will test again in a few days before adding more.
    20 Mule Borax = 4.75 lbs per box. Same size forever I think.

    Ping - Yes I am the only owner. built 2006. I have been pretty meticulous. My source water is from my well which runs through a very sophisticated dual tank water softener. So I have never added any Borates. U are right. I wish I tested it prior. Like I said in a previous post, I don't really trust the pool store who tested it and my strips are coming from Amazon soon.

    Harley - I def ready them closer to 50 than 30. If anything I think it may even be a touch higher than 50. What brand strips are those? they looks pretty decent, even though eveyone seems to complain about the difficulty to read.
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Just saw where you live. Small world, isn't it? Where did you buy all of the Borax? Most places I look only seem to have 2 or 3 boxes at a time. Did you buy it all at once or just stock up over time?
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Quote Originally Posted by mikemass
    JBliz - Yes, I agree maybe the CYA needs more time to disolve. I will test again in a few days before adding more.
    20 Mule Borax = 4.75 lbs per box. Same size forever I think.

    Ping - Yes I am the only owner. built 2006. I have been pretty meticulous. My source water is from my well which runs through a very sophisticated dual tank water softener. So I have never added any Borates. U are right. I wish I tested it prior. Like I said in a previous post, I don't really trust the pool store who tested it and my strips are coming from Amazon soon.

    Harley - I def ready them closer to 50 than 30. If anything I think it may even be a touch higher than 50. What brand strips are those? they looks pretty decent, even though eveyone seems to complain about the difficulty to read.
    They are from http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

    I'm still trying to understand what chem geek is saying about hue and saturation.....I targeted 50 PPM, but may very well have replaced several inches of water since then....
    18'x43' Sport Pool
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    I'm still trying to understand what chem geek is saying about hue and saturation
    See this link for info on hue, saturation and lightness (brightness). Your test pad had a hue (tone) that wasn't as red as the 30 ppm standard and not as orange as the 50 ppm standard so I split the difference and called it 40 ppm. The test pad was lighter and less saturated than the standards, but that doesn't matter. The hue (tone) is what matters when making the comparison.
    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: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnN
    Just saw where you live. Small world, isn't it? Where did you buy all of the Borax? Most places I look only seem to have 2 or 3 boxes at a time. Did you buy it all at once or just stock up over time?
    I come home from work at night from further north. So I get off GSP at Rt 9. Stopped at WalMart in Old Bridge. They had ONE box.

    Then I continued down Rt 9 to the Target in Manalapan. they had 10. I bought them all and told manager to restock.
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    I'm still trying to understand what chem geek is saying about hue and saturation
    See this link for info on hue, saturation and lightness (brightness). Your test pad had a hue (tone) that wasn't as red as the 30 ppm standard and not as orange as the 50 ppm standard so I split the difference and called it 40 ppm. The test pad was lighter and less saturated than the standards, but that doesn't matter. The hue (tone) is what matters when making the comparison.
    I think some people just have a better eye for these than others. personally I hate color comparisons on test strips. My wife sees something completely different than I do half the time. In general I think women see colors better than men.
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    When you do the Borates, could you post some before and after pics? I've been wanting to do this if I can ever find enough Borax. Might help counteract the acidity of my fill water. I'm always having to raise my pH, and hoping Borax might help. Also wouldn't mind the better feel of the water.
    John
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    So I didn't add any more Borax/Acid this weekend, because since adding about half required amount last week to get to the 50 ppm target my TA has moved from about 80 to 100. I have however been able to maintain my pH around 7.5 - 7.8. I have noticed that my Clorine is holding a lot better even after lowering my SWG output. But this is probably due to me finally bringing my CYA level to acceptable levels. (55 currently). I want to get the rest of the Borax in the pool to get to my target level of 50 ppm but I don't want that TA to spike any further.

    If I try to lower my TA with acid, the pH obviously drops much more substantial that the TA. Even if I drop the pH to 6.8, I don't think my TA will get to that 70 target area. Thoughts?
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnN
    When you do the Borates, could you post some before and after pics? I've been wanting to do this if I can ever find enough Borax. Might help counteract the acidity of my fill water. I'm always having to raise my pH, and hoping Borax might help. Also wouldn't mind the better feel of the water.
    Have a look at the bottom of this Page.

    starting-on-borates-help-confirm-calculations-t51000.html
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    You will just need more patience to get there. Do not lower the pH below 7.2 to get there, you might be asking for problems.

    I'm in the middle of lowering mine right now as we are having to add a lot of fill water and my TA has crept up to 100. It's not too hard for me to lower it as I have a spa that overflows into the pool. When my TA is 70, I only have to add acid one or two times a month. I keep the borates at 50 ppm.
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    Re: I joined this forum to learn about borates

    I have a spillover spa too. Why does that make it easier? Because the aeration from the spillover keeps the pH higher while you try and lower TA with acid?
    25 + year pool owner. Current pool (going on 11th year) - 38K gallon in ground Gunite/White Plaster, Spillover Spa, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward 450k BTU NG Heater, Hayward Goldline Aqua Logic control with T-Cell-15 Salt Water Cell, Dolphin Explorer.
    You Need: Bleach, a A Test Kit & a Bookmark to "Pool School". Now what's your question?

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