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Thread: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

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    Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    I happen to have both boric acid and borax on hand (10 lbs of borax and 15lbs of BA). I know from reading various papers on borates that there is a solubility maximum reached when BA is mixed with Borax in a ratio of 4:5.

    I was wondering if there is a ratio of BA to Borax that would be pH neutral upon going into the pool water? Has anyone looked into that before?



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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    I think this is exactly what Proteam Supreme Plus is.

    Using pool math effects I get about 15:1 ratio boric acid to borax. This makes sense to me since boric acid is only mildly acidic.
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Yes, I got that same answer using PoolMath and just balancing pH number. Just wondering if I'm missing something else.....or could it be that simple...

    Also, mixing separate powders is a bit of a challenge. Density and particle size difference can lead to sedimentation and poor mixing. Always best to start with larger chunks and ball-milk together if they are compatible materials.





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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    I was under the impression that if you used boric acid, there was no need to worry about the pH.
    If you use borax, then you need to add muriatic acid.
    If you are going to use a mix of boric acid and borax, I would think you would be close enough to just calculate the amount of muriatic acid required to neutralize the borax and ignore the boric acid component.
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    Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I was under the impression that if you used boric acid, there was no need to worry about the pH.
    If you use borax, then you need to add muriatic acid.
    If you are going to use a mix of boric acid and borax, I would think you would be close enough to just calculate the amount of muriatic acid required to neutralize the borax and ignore the boric acid component.
    Boric acid will lower pH. When I borated my pool, I went from 0 to 50ppm requiring the addition of 40lbs of BA which lowered the pH by 0.3. Since my water was roughly at pH of 7.6, dropping to 7.3 was no big deal.

    The pH rise associated with borax is greater than the pH drop associated with BA. Since high pH can be a significant problem for us westerners with our calcium-laden water, you really have to be careful with borax. The TFP recommendation is to do it in half steps, I think it should be quarter steps given the propensity for calcium scaling.

    Actually, I think the front-up TFP approach ought to be to recommend the use of BA directly and only borax/MA if BA is too cost-prohibitive or unavailable. I calculated it out and I really would not have saved much money using the borax/MA method, like maybe $30. I was willing to pay the extra $ for the ease of BA use (1 hour total time to fully borate pool with chemical addition and two rounds of brushing).

    But that decision of how to teach is above my pay-grade......



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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    I understand that and see the pH drop would be the same for me when I do it (I have 50 pounds sitting in my shed).

    I just do not understand why you are trying to use a mix of boric acid and borax as described in this thread; unless it just happens to be what you have on hand. Again, not sure why you could not just add the BA and calculate the resulting level and then use borax/MA mix for part 2 to get to your target.
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    Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post

    I just do not understand why you are trying to use a mix of boric acid and borax as described in this thread; unless it just happens to be what you have on hand....

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyOptimism View Post
    I happen to have both boric acid and borax on hand (10 lbs of borax and 15lbs of BA).........

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Cuz I have 10lbs of borax that will take me forever to use for laundry and I want to get rid of it faster ...

    [EDIT]

    And I really don't want to bother with the Borax/MA method as I'm too concerned about getting cloudiness due to calcium precipitation. Putting a slug of powder in your pool water creates a region of very high concentration before it dissolves and mixes. So for borax you can easily get a region of super-high pH develop unless you have someone brushing and mixing along side you.

    So in the end, too much effort and potential downside in my humble opinion. I'd rather pay the premium for boric acid which seems to practically dissolve on contact with water.




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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    I am wondering how you ended up with so much borax? Is there a cheap source for large amounts?
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Quote Originally Posted by svenpup View Post
    I am wondering how you ended up with so much borax? Is there a cheap source for large amounts?
    A mix of stupidity, impulsiveness and "super low prices only at Walmart".....

    When I first found TFP, I was initially looking around the inter-webs for cloudiness issues and I came across the article on adding borates. So I devised my fool proof plan to borate my pool (before understanding what the real problems were) and Walmart, like a drug dealer, had "just what I needed" (Borax on sale).

    Anyway, after a few miscalculation with PoolMath and a couple of trips to the brand new Super Walmart they just opened on my side of town, I now have a section of garage shelving devoted entirely to 20 Mule Team Borax.....

    Fast forward to today and I'm much wiser now having learned many valuable lessons from TFP....and my whites are so much whiter now too



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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    ^you could always Make bath bombs for Xmas gifts (except you'd use up all you pool goodies as they're comprised of baking soda and citic acid with only a bit of borax.)

    You can also use borax for a zillion other things...carpet deodorizer, rust remover, mold-prohibiting cleaner for wood, weed killer, insecticide etc etc etc
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman View Post
    ^you could always Make bath bombs for Xmas gifts (except you'd use up all you pool goodies as they're comprised of baking soda and citic acid with only a bit of borax.)

    You can also use borax for a zillion other things...carpet deodorizer, rust remover, mold-prohibiting cleaner for wood, weed killer, insecticide etc etc etc
    Bath-bombs....the kids will LOVE those!!



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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    50 ppm Borates would need 382 ounces weight of boric acid per 10,000 gallons, but to get the pH back to where you started by using Borax it is NOT a constant amount or ratio because the answer depends on your starting pH (same as your target pH you want at the end). This is because the amount of pH rise from Borax depends on the pH of the water because Borax is a weak acid. So Borax causes a greater rise in pH when the pH is lower than when it is higher. The following table gives the amount of Borax needed per 10,000 gallons (in ounces weight) to restore pH after adding boric acid to get to 50 ppm and I also list the final borates level that you get. You can scale both quantities down by the same factor to achieve 50 ppm from both combined.

    pH ..... Borax .... Borates
    7.0 ....... 8.7 ....... 50.7
    7.2 ..... 13.9 ....... 51.2
    7.4 ..... 22.2 ....... 51.9
    7.5 ..... 28.1 ....... 52.4
    7.6 ..... 35.6 ....... 53.0
    7.8 ..... 57.5 ....... 54.9
    8.0 ..... 93.9 ....... 58.0
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Thanks @ ChemGeek!!!!

    So if, for example, I'm at pH of 7.4 and a borate level of 40ppm, do I add enough boric acid to get back to 50 and then scale the Borax number by 40/50 (0.8) ?





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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    At a pH of 7.4, you would add (22.2 / 382) = 5.8% the weight of the boric acid you use as Borax. This will overshoot a little over the 50 ppm (it will be 1.9*10/50 = 0.4 too high) but will get you back to the same 7.4 pH.

    Specifically, in 17,000 gallons to go from 40 ppm borates to 50 ppm borates (i.e. adding 10 ppm borates) takes 130 ounces weight of boric acid. This would have the pH drop from 7.4 to 7.37. You would then add (22.2/382)*130 = 7.6 ounces weight of 20 Mule Team Borax to get the pH back to 7.4.

    As you can see, such a minor adjustment is pretty pointless. Even adjusting for adding a full 50 ppm borates isn't very much of a big deal.
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    Re: Is there a pH neutral borax/boric acid mixture?

    Thanks. I see how you're doing the calculations now.

    Yes, the amounts involved are small but it does give me a nice way to use up the extra borax I have on hand. After I use up my excess borax, I'll keep a pail of boric acid on hand for the pool and leave the 20 Mule Team for the washing machine



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