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Thread: Borates questions -- does it help stop pH rise?

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    Borates questions -- does it help stop pH rise?

    I've been reading about using borates to "stabilize" pH, but I'm a little unclear on a few things. First, it strikes me that in all my searching for how to stabilize my pH (it keeps rising all the time), I can't remember ever seeing anyone suggest adding borates. Am I misinterpreting what people mean by "stabilize" in this case -- i.e. would adding borates potentially help with rising pH levels in a non SWCG pool?

    I'm also a bit curious about the potential downsides and other caveats. My pool has a very high Calcium hardness, which the borate information pages seem to indicate can be a problem, but I can't find much detail on this. The info also says that having "metals" like iron or copper in the pool can be a problem, and that stains can be made worse. I have no idea if I have these elements in the pool, and I'm not sure what types of stains to look for. I know I had a few rust stains that I used some pumice to remove -- will this be a problem?

    I read that borates can be bad for dogs -- does this mean that it could be a problem for dogs to swim in it, or is it just a problem if they drink it?

    Given all the positives mentioned from adding borates, it seems odd that it isn't a more common practice. Is there a reason for this?



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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Borates questions -- does it help stop pH rise?

    Adding borates to the 30-50 ppm range will slow the increase in PH, but not stop it. Adding borates does allow you to lower your TA a little further than usual, which will in some cases stop the PH increases.

    Borates are fine in the pool, they should not affect metal staining either way. Borates at the levels we recommend are not an issue for pets, though there is not the same safety margin that is required for people. The risk to pets is only from drinking pool water. Even if they get all of their water by drinking pool water they will still be below the threshold of detectable symptoms. However, for humans the requirement is that you be less than 1/100th of the level of detectable symptoms, which is not the case here. Borates are very mildly bad for the environment. One pool won't make any difference, but millions of pools all using borates can have a small effect on environmental issues in the region.

    Borate usage is actually fairly common, they just sold under various brand names, rather than being called borates. Some of the common names are: optimizer, supreme, salt support, etc.
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