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Thread: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

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    ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Please start your own thread when you have a question. Butterfly

    "Lower FC levels are often sufficient at higher CYA levels although it may take longer to kill algae"

    Is this just talking about shock levels? Also it shows lower FCC levels for SWG? Why would that be? Does the salt somehow provide additional sanitization or the fact that it keeps the chlorine more constant? I would think a pool with borate could be even lower than SWG. Is there anything that takes into account borates or other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

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    Re: Calcium Level

    Terry -- where did that quote come from?
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Everything about that quote smacks of complete lack of understanding.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    just used the forum google search. That line is actually in the text accompanying the Chlorine/CYA Chart.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...ya_chart_shock


    The shock levels shown have equivalent effective disinfecting chlorine amounts. At high CYA levels it may be impractical to use such high FC levels, lower FC levels are often sufficient though they take longer to kill algae. At very high CYA levels, over 80, a partial drain/refill to lower the CYA level is usually required.
    Most saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools appear to prevent algae at a lower minimum FC level compared with the minimum FC column for manually dosed pools.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Yes that is referring only to shock levels.

    The answer to the question regarding lower FC levels in general for a SWCG pool, that has to do with the super-chlorination going on in the SWG and i think the addition of chlorine throughout your pump run time helps some too versus one daily does. Salt doesn't do anything for sanitation, and borates are a mild algecide, but they don't sanitize either.

    Chlorine kills algae but more importantly it kills all the nasty that can make you sick.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Well someone already answered on the quote source. I'll have to look at the borate as sanitizer. It is a detergent and chemically it combines with CO2 so while it is only a mild algaecide to existing algae, it would be a very strong algae preventative.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Borates are not a sanitizer. The MINIMUM FC level on the charts should be considered a hard limit, don't ever let it drop below that and you shouldn't have problems. Anything that claims to allow you to reduce chlorine usage, such as borates, mineral systems, algaecides, or UV/ozone could potentially help to reduce the chances of algae with a lower FC level than the minimums on the chart. But only at far greater cost than chlorine and potential negative side effects. None of these items, save potentially the UV, help to sanitize your pool and all require chlorine. There is no real reason to use alternative systems to reduce chlorine as proper chlorine levels are not responsible for most of the problems associated with chlorine.

    As for the quote, it is a great example of what happens when a quote is taken out of context.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    I'll have to look at the borate as sanitizer. It is a detergent and chemically it combines with CO2 so while it is only a mild algaecide to existing algae, it would be a very strong algae preventative.
    This isn't true. It is not a detergent and does not combine with CO2. It is a mild algae preventative, not a strong one. Where are you getting your information? Let's correct each of these points one at a time.

    Borax is not a detergent. It is sometimes referred to as a detergent builder because it enhances the effectiveness of detergents as described in this link. It works as a metal sequestrant to bind to calcium and magnesium to make the water softer so that calcium and magnesium don't bind to soap which precipitates it. Borates are also a pH buffer especially suited at a higher pH that makes detergent more effective. Note that at the concentrations used in pools (50 ppm) the metal sequestration from the borates is insignificant and can be ignored.

    Borates do not chemically combine with carbon dioxide. Boric acid works as an algaecide by chemically combining with sugar alcohol compounds (those with two adjacent alcohol groups in a cis configuration) as described in this video that describes how it kills insects and why it is not as toxic to humans since we can excrete boron.

    Borates are a mild algaecide at the doses used in pools (i.e. 50 ppm) as described in this link where you can see in Table 18 that the level to kill half of Scenedesmus subspicatus algae in 72 hours was 34 ppm while to kill all of it was 100 ppm. Similarly for the algae Scenedesmus subspicatus, half is killed at 52 ppm while all is killed at 109 ppm. You can also see from the table that it affects bacteria even less so is not considered to be a disinfectant by any means. So while 100 ppm borates may be considered to be more of an algaecide, this exceeds the EPA limit for use of borates in pools which is set to 50 ppm as described in Are Borates Safe to Use? Of course, the EPA limit is conservative, but since chlorine alone prevents algae growth if the FC level is appropriate for the CYA level, we don't refer to borates for use as an algaecide, but rather for its use as a non-carbonate pH buffer to reduce the rate of pH rise especially in saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools. It also reduces surface tension so gives a sparkle to the water.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Oops, I was wrong. It impairs algae growth by inhibiting photosynthesis and I just assumed that was by combing with CO2. It is a booster to chlorine mainly by keeping PH in check. Doesn't it also create h2o2 which does help with bacteria killing.

    I can't imagine that having 50 ppm borate in your pool doesn't help lesson the amount of chlorine needed. I know my pull is full of contaminants with leaves and bugs and worms yet the pool remains crystal clear and never has a high CC level whereas others without see algae growth almost immediately when FC gets low.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Photosynthesis is inhibited by boric acid combining with certain co-enzymes involved with chemicals involved with photosynthesis. It's not direct.

    Boric acid does not create hydrogen peroxide, H2O2. Again, where are you getting this information? Boric acid operates in the way described in the link by connecting to cis-hydroxyl groups in organic molecules. For molecules sensitive to proper folding such as proteins (including enzymes), this can be disruptive to cell functioning. However, as with all chemical reactions the effects are concentration dependent.

    It is not really a booster to chlorine because pH does not affect the active chlorine level very much when Cyanuric Acid (CYA) is present in pools because CYA is an active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) buffer. With no CYA, going from a pH of 7.5 to 8.0 reduces the active chlorine level by around 50%, but with CYA present in the water (at usual pool concentrations), the active chlorine level only drops by 15% so nothing to worry about (see this post for more technical details).

    As for lessening chlorine need, it depends on what you mean by that. If the FC level is high enough relative to the CYA to kill algae faster than it can reproduce, then there is NO benefit from any algaecide (including boric acid) or phosphate remover because the amount of chlorine used to kill algae spores that get blown into the pool is negligible and not measurable. It is only if the FC/CYA ratio gets too low where the algae can grow faster and create a measurable chlorine demand. Now if you are saying that one can target a lower FC/CYA ratio when using an algaecide or phosphate remover, that is true and at a lower FC/CYA ratio there will be less absolute FC loss from sunlight. There will be also slower reactions from chlorine in general including oxidation of bather waste. For a residential pool this is probably not a problem, but I know that in spas if one gets the FC/CYA ratio too low one isn't able to oxidize bather waste within 24 hours in time for the next soak so bather waste and associated chloramines can build up to a noticeable steady-state level.

    It is also true that an algaecide or phosphate remover will act like insurance if the chlorine level gets too low so the water will remain clear longer.

    We don't have any charts or recommendations for a lower FC/CYA level when an algaecide or phosphate remover is used because these are not necessary chemicals and the philosophy is to focus on what is minimally needed for a pool. However, it's your pool and you can do whatever you want with it so if you want to add Polyquat 60 weekly or use 50 ppm Borates or use a phosphate remover and want to see with any of these how low you can go in FC/CYA ratio before you get noticeable chlorine demand, cloudy water, or visible algae. These additives are all extra cost.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Running at FC levels below our recommendations can work for a while, but it will eventually allow you to get algae. "Eventually" might be rare enough to be acceptable to you, but it is too frequent for us to recommend doing that. All of this is essentially still true regardless of what other chemicals you add to your pool (borates, copper, algaecide, etc).
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    I get my information from the Internet so it has to be true.
    http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthings ... xworks.htm

    It seems the congregation is getting a bit defensive. We are professing the triple B method with Borate being one of them. I just was asking if there are any charts which show the chlorine/CYA/borate need especially when the forum is based around borate use. Also the links provided by chemgeek are studies with borate by itself. It boosts the cleaning power of chlorine so unlike phosphate remover which removes phosphate only it should actually boost the effectiveness of the necessary chlorine. However, that is cool if y'all don't know.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Also think how funny this will be when I have to ask for help getting rid of algae when I check my pool tomorrow.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    This forum is not "based around borate use". Using borates is completely optional, and we recommend that beginners not use borates. BBB just happens to be a convenient nemonic, not a guide for what you should do.

    Nor does borate usage "boost the cleaning power of chlorine" in any way having to do with swimming pools, that is a laundry detergent marketing speak/hype thing. In a swimming pool, they each do their own thing, which together can be better than using them individually, but only in the normal 1+1=2 kind of way.

    There is a chart showing recommended levels in Pool School. There are links to Pool School at the top right of every page. You would do well to do some reading there.

    The link you give above does lead to some nice background information, but it doesn't actually support any of the claims that you have been making.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Well Jasonlion said everything I wanted to except for one thing: BBB stands for Bleach, Baking Soda, and Borax. Borax is routinely added to increase pH without raising TA, not to add borates.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    This forum is not "based around borate use". Using borates is completely optional, and we recommend that beginners not use borates. BBB just happens to be a convenient nemonic, not a guide for what you should do.

    Nor does borate usage "boost the cleaning power of chlorine" in any way having to do with swimming pools, that is a laundry detergent marketing speak/hype thing. In a swimming pool, they each do their own thing, which together can be better than using them individually, but only in the normal 1+1=2 kind of way.

    There is a chart showing recommended levels in Pool School. There are links to Pool School at the top right of every page. You would do well to do some reading there.

    The link you give above does lead to some nice background information, but it doesn't actually support any of the claims that you have been making.

    Borax does raise TA according to chem geek. I don't get the hostility toward borates. The article I cited does say that H2O2 is produced but I may be reading it wrong. I'm not a chemist but I did get an A in organic chemistry 20 years ago.

    I'm just relating what I've seen so far with the borates. The water looks and feels great with no algae or cloudiness even when the FC level is low and the pool is full of organics while others get algae as soon as the FC gets low.

    Just got home and the water looks great besides the frog that jumped in when I checked the skimmers. . Just added some chlorine since it was reading 1 ppm or less and adjusted the PH. There are loads of articles about borax/borates/boric acid which are all basically the same as a natural cleaner/sanitizer so it does do something. I'm just trying to stay informed from multiple sources. It is not equivalent to phosphate remover/copper etc for one because it is a lot less expensive.

    You guys act like it is some kind of rocket science to know that putting a boat load of chlorine in a pool will sanitize it. Don't really know why everyone is getting so defensive just cause you don't understand how borates at 50 ppm interacts with chlorine for sanitization. Seems like if you did prescribe to your BBB method of knowing and understanding pool chemistry you might want to know. That is all I'm doing.

    Again I'd like to see what chemgeeks studies would have shown using borate with small amounts of chlorine.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    I don't get the hostility toward borates.
    I don't think there is any hostility towards borates here, we all agree that they can bring some benefits to pool chemistry. But borates are not a central part of the tfp (BBB) method either.

    You seem to be repeatedly asserting that borates can be used instead of proper chlorination (in this thread and in others). I think that is where our reaction is coming from. It is great that your pool is clear even with lower then tfp recommended FC levels (this could also be called lower disinfecting chlorine levels which takes into account the Chlorine/cya relationship), but one pool does not prove that borates are the reason nor does a sample size of one give enough evidence to make this a mainstream approach. There are pools (that I know of) that have no borates that also have disinfecting chlorine levels lower than we recommend that have gone algae free somehow. However, it is clear that a significant percentage of pools with consistently low disinfecting chlorine levels eventually get algae. Bottom line, we strive to present simple guidelines that will work for the vast majority of pool maintainers...hence the tfp name.

    So for that reason, I am going to move this thread into the "deep end" for now.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    I don't get the hostility toward borates.
    I don't think there is any hostility towards borates here, we all agree that they can bring some benefits to pool chemistry. But borates are not a central part of the tfp (BBB) method either.

    You seem to be repeatedly asserting that borates can be used instead of proper chlorination (in this thread and in others). I think that is where our reaction is coming from. It is great that your pool is clear even with lower then tfp recommended FC levels (this could also be called lower disinfecting chlorine levels which takes into account the Chlorine/cya relationship), but one pool does not prove that borates are the reason nor does a sample size of one give enough evidence to make this a mainstream approach. There are pools (that I know of) that have no borates that also have disinfecting chlorine levels lower than we recommend that have gone algae free somehow. However, it is clear that a significant percentage of pools with consistently low disinfecting chlorine levels eventually get algae. Bottom line, we strive to present simple guidelines that will work for the vast majority of pool maintainers...hence the tfp name.

    So for that reason, I am going to move this thread into the "deep end" for now.
    So it is the double B method. lol. Yep, dropping a ton of chlorine in is as simple as it gets. Sorry for the trouble. I had borates put in to my pool for free was trying to get some info on them about how they work. You all say they don't do anything other than make the pool sparkly and provide a mild algaecide. Ok I guess. I did find in the thread about using borates that they may allow less chlorine to maintain an FC level which makes sense and would still be in line with the FC chart. I'm not trying to say you can eliminate chlorine by using borate, just singing its praises. I guess I can do that in the one thread.

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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    No it's 3 B's but the Borax B is just for raising ph, which the majority of people do not need to do very often. For that matter, very few people need the Baking Soda B either.

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    Yep, dropping a ton of chlorine in is as simple as it gets.
    "Dropping a ton" of chlorine is not what we do or teach here. My pool is a swg pool, but when I do manually dose, it takes at most about 33 ounces of 8.25%/per day.
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    Re: ...other things that claim to reduce chlorine usage?

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    I get my information from the Internet so it has to be true.
    http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthings ... xworks.htm
    You cannot believe everything you read on the Internet, even if it is written by a Ph.D. The author is mixing up sodium perborate, which is an oxidizing chemical with an active peroxy group (double oxygen -O-O-), with borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) which is not an oxidizing compound and has no peroxy groups (it has only single oxygen -O- groups). You can see more about sodium perborate in this link where you can see it produces hydrogen peroxide in water. In fact, sodium perborate can be created by mixing Borax with hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide. It's a simple mistake to mix up these two compounds since sodium perborate is used in some detergents while borax is used in others, but they are really two very different compounds in terms of oxidizing/bleaching capabilities. The only bleaching capability from borax is in the already mentioned attachment of boric acid to cis-hydroxyl groups of organic compounds if such compounds contribute to color.

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    Borax does raise TA according to chem geek.
    50 ppm Borates only raises the TA by about 5 ppm at pH 7.5 or 10 ppm at pH 8.0, but this rise in TA has zero rise in carbonate alkalinity which is what matters for carbon dioxide outgassing. In other words, the borates provide additional pH buffering without contributing to carbon dioxide outgassing. Also, this pH buffering is mostly against a rise in pH (i.e. the buffer gets stronger as the pH rises) as opposed to the carbonate alkalinity which gets stronger as the pH gets lower. See the thread pH Buffer Capacity for more info on these effects. The reason the borates don't raise TA very much is that they remain mostly as boric acid at pool pH. Only the borate ion portion is measured in the TA test. For measuring the buffering against a rise in pH instead of a drop which TA does, one would need to measure Total Acidity instead of Total Alkalinity, but we don't have such tests and really don't need them since simply knowing the borate level (measures all boric acid and borate ion) is sufficient.

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    There are loads of articles about borax/borates/boric acid which are all basically the same as a natural cleaner/sanitizer so it does do something. I'm just trying to stay informed from multiple sources. It is not equivalent to phosphate remover/copper etc for one because it is a lot less expensive.
    Borates do not interact with chlorine at all. There is no newly formed disinfecting compound when you mix the two together. Any analysis of the borates with regard to disinfection has to look at it on its own as boric acid or borate ion which are the chemical species found in water with 50 ppm borates. I already linked you to the table that shows that at 50 ppm it is only a mild algaecide. "Mild" does not mean ineffective. If you do not have algae in your pool with borates in it, try adding some fertilizer (phosphates and nitrates) and see what happens with no chlorine in the pool. Your pool may be somewhat low in algae nutrients so the borates are able to hold off the algae more than in a pool rich in algae nutrients. I'm not saying that borates don't take the edge off of algae growth nor that using higher levels (beyond the EPA limit) wouldn't be even more effective, just that they aren't a panacea. We have quite a few pools now with SWGs that are using 50 ppm Borates and if chlorine goes to zero some still get algae.

    That same table also showed that the borates were even less effective against bacteria so would in no way be considered to be a disinfectant. So at best, look at borates as a mild algaecide, but not as a disinfectant.

    The sources you are looking at tend to mix up borax with perborate. The latter is an oxidizer and disinfectant since it produces hydrogen peroxide while the former (Borax) is not. That is a fact no matter how many incorrect sources you may find. Try searching scientific peer-reviewed papers in respected journals or pull out your old chemistry books and look at the chemical structure of tetraborate vs. perborate to see the difference. Borax as a cleaner would be similar to using any other weak base as a cleaner such as sodium carbonate (soda ash). This link that refers to "sanitation" in two places is marketing deceit based on cleaning surfaces thereby making them more sanitary since they no longer contain the grime and grease "food" for bacteria. That is not at all the same as killing the bacteria themselves and washing with soap and water would be at least as good if not better. This link is more accurate. The CDC also sums up the question of Borax and disinfection nicely in this link:

    Some environmental groups advocate "environmentally safe" products as alternatives to commercial germicides in the home-care setting. These alternatives (e.g., ammonia, baking soda, vinegar, Borax, liquid detergent) are not registered with EPA and should not be used for disinfecting because they are ineffective against S. aureus. Borax, baking soda, and detergents also are ineffective against Salmonella Typhi and E.coli; however, undiluted vinegar and ammonia are effective against S. Typhi and E.coli. Common commercial disinfectants designed for home use also are effective against selected antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
    You cannot compare the number of Internet sources with veracity or truth. Quantity is not the same as quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by terryc
    You guys act like it is some kind of rocket science to know that putting a boat load of chlorine in a pool will sanitize it. Don't really know why everyone is getting so defensive just cause you don't understand how borates at 50 ppm interacts with chlorine for sanitization. Seems like if you did prescribe to your BBB method of knowing and understanding pool chemistry you might want to know. That is all I'm doing.

    Again I'd like to see what chemgeeks studies would have shown using borate with small amounts of chlorine.
    What are you talking about? "a boat load of chlorine?" Are you referring to the higher FC levels? If you understand the chlorine/CYA relationship as described in this 1974 paper you would see that an FC that is 10% of the CYA level has roughly the same active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level as around 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA. Our minimum FC/CYA ratio recommendations are roughly equivalent to 0.07 ppm with no CYA in active chlorine level. What "boat load of chlorine" are you referring to? FC alone means nothing except telling you the reserve/reservoir amount of chlorine so that you do not run out. It does not tell you the active level of chlorine. If you want to calculate the active level of chlorine more accurately by simultaneously solving the 13 chemical equilibrium equations, then use my spreadsheet.

    It isn't rocket science, but the pool industry does not disclose how their recommended levels of FC (usually 1-3 ppm) with their recommended levels of CYA (high CYA levels don't matter; only FC matters; 100 ppm is just fine; 60-80 ppm CYA for SWG pools, etc.) will allow algae to grow faster than chlorine can kill it if algae nutrients are present. So 3 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA is perfectly fine for preventing green and black algae growth, but that same 3 ppm FC with 80 ppm CYA is not. I didn't think that was particularly obvious since the algae inhibition level for chlorine isn't specifically published.

    It sounds like what you want to know is the algae inhibition level for chlorine (with ample algae nutrients present) when one is using 50 ppm Borates. We don't have that information, but as I wrote, we know that it's not absolute inhibition since SWG pools with 50 ppm Borates still get algae if the chlorine level gets to zero. We also don't know the algae inhibition rate for Polyquat 60 dosed weekly, but from my own experience in my own pool 10 years ago I can estimate that it would let one lower the FC/CYA ratio to at least half or somewhat less (but probably not less than 1/3rd) the minimum in the chlorine/CYA chart. I suspect that with borates being a weaker algaecide (at 50 ppm) that one couldn't reliably go to half the minimum in the chart, but we really don't know.

    As I wrote earlier, we don't bother trying to figure out the different minimum FC/CYA level for optional additions to the pool, be it 50 ppm Borates or Polyquat 60. These are extra cost products that are not necessary to prevent algae growth. One might save some money in chlorine dosing, but would probably not save money when accounting for the extra cost for the algaecide. Instead, such products are seen for their other benefits or as insurance if one gets lax with chlorine dosing. I have, on occasion, recommended the use of weekly Polyquat 60 for those people who absolutely want the lowest chlorine level in their pool and do not mind paying more for that result. That's a personal choice, but not a standard recommendation. The Polyquat 60 is a stronger algaecide that is also a clarifier.
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