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Thread: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

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    Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    As a first time pool owner and starting out with the TFP method I still find it a smidgen confusing where to set my targets. My problem stems mostly from reading and watching all kinds of videos to gain a comprehensive perspective on how to manage my pool. I do understand there is some personal preference involved too…

    So, if there were a ‘perfect’ balance for pool levels what would they be? What should I strive for?

    In addition, I want to add borates to my pool for obvious reasons What should my levels be before I start this treatment and when I end with about 50ppm borate? I understand once borates are in, adjustments are a tad more difficult. So I want to try and get it right the first time.

    One final question. My CYA is 70-80ppm, and my pool resides in direct sunlight. I know it should be lower. Should I concern myself with this value? Or, even start making attempts at lowering it with either a water dump or with Bio-Active. I don’t currently, add CYA or use products containing it. It’s just leftover from previous homeowner’s chemical regime.

    TIA for any help you can provide!

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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    I'll let more experienced members speak on how important it may or may not be to lower the CYA to the suggested levels. However, I'm fairly sure nobody here will recommend Bio-Active. Additionally, if you do lower your CYA, do it before trying to add in the borates, because the dilution process will dilute the borates as well, and you will have to bring them back up after you finish with the CYA. Better to only do that once.
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    First, it would help us if you would add the following information to your signatures we know a little more about your pool.

    • The size of your pool in gallons


    • If your pool is an AG (above ground) or IG (in ground)
    • If it's IG, tell us if it's vinyl, plaster/pebble, or fiberglass
    • The type filter you have (sand, DE, cartridge)
    • If you know, tell us the make and model of your pump and filter.
    • List any other equipment you have: SWG, second pump, etc.
    • Please mention if you fill the pool from a well or are currently on water restrictions


    Information in your signature will show up each time you post. Signatures need to fit on five lines. It is fine to put several bits of information on the same line.

    Our Recommended Levels are in Pool School. BioActive has really not been proven at this point, so we would not recommend it's use. As long as you are not having problems 70-80 is managable.

    Borates are a totally optional addition that we generally say should wait a little while until everything else in your pool smotths out. You can read all about it HERE
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    I would lower your CYA. How you do that is up to you. We get a fair amount of rain in this region. I would say maintain your pool as you need to this summer, always with FC above minimum level for your CYA. Over time, due to rain, backwashing, etc. It will come down. It will especially come down some when you close this winter, then refill with no-CYA water next spring. It should get down to 50 over time based these typical conditions of the region. 70-80 is manageable, if not optimal.

    As far as perfect balance, CYA and the corresponding FC are set, as is the guidelines for pH. The other recommendations in Pool School for levels are just that, recommendations. Not sure what pool surface you have (UPDATE YOUR SIGNATURE! To change your profile and/or signature, select "Settings" (top right under Pool School button). Scroll down (left side) to "My Settings" & select Edit Profile or Edit Signature.), but CH may or may not matter. TA is very pool subjective. Find a TA that minimizes your need to add acid, while still maintaining at least 40-50 ppm. If your pH hangs around at 7.8 for a long time, don't rush to bring it down. Only bring it down when it goes above 7.8. When your pH is hanging for long periods between 7.4 and 7.8, your TA at that time is optimal for your pool.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    I updated my signature. At the same time, I don't see it on my posts. Maybe as the author it doesn't appear to me, or it takes a minute to propagate?

    Edit: Once I posted this message it appeared. The signature doesn't append to the old posts.
    ~19k Gal, IG Vinyl, Hayward SP2607X10 1hp pump, Hayward S200 Sand Filter, built in ‘70’s, has 8’ deep end with diving board, 1 skimmer, 1 return, 1 low hole, Polaris booster pump PB4-60, old Polaris robot not sure model, Rheem P-M266A-EN-C 266,000 BTU heater, solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit, Speedstir

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    Looks good to me. For you CH doesn't matter much with vinyl. Just anything greater than 100 is fine, very high values might cause deposits at the water line but no need to be concerned about CH. Consequently you don't have to worry much about CSI either.

    Borates is a tricky one in colder climates. There are definite benefits but with our short swim season, not sure if the pay off is there. Each spring, you'd have to get the borates back up again, depending on how much you drain as well as it likely being dilued by rain during the spring. That being said, if you want to try it, get your TA to a level that your pool likes while maintaining other chemistry then go for it.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    Well I decided to tackle the cya. Draining a bunch right now. It's too cold to use pool anyway might as well pull my cya way down before it gets nice.

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    Defgufman's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    I converted to a Borate pool this year and the swings in PH and TA have noticeably declined. Also the water really does sparkle more.
    Inground 13,200 gal Vinyl, Pentair 3/4 hp pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter, Polaris 280

    Pool School, Pool Math, CYA to FC ratio chart, Testing Kits

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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    I've never checked ch until now. I have vinyl liner so I think it matters not... But for curiosities sake while I was draining the pool for cya I tested it and have 160ppm ch.

    Is this good/bad/indifferent? I'm swapping out a ton of water is there anything I need to do or consider before or while I'm filling?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    That CH is indifferent for a vinyl pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    My CYA elimination went swimmingly! I couldn’t be happier. What a PITA to drain and refill the pool, and it was only 50 odd percent replacement…

    The filling was so long with our city water feed. Here’s my numbers after full and having let the pump filter for about 4 hours while doing some scrubbing and vacuuming:

    FC - 3
    CC - none
    PH - 7.3
    TA - 140
    CYA - <=30

    I’m super stoked about those numbers and so glad I just bit the bullet and drained it. I thought my numbers were going to be all over the place after I did the replacement. All I had to do was add about 40oz of bleach and start aerating. I think I’m going to try and bring the TA down to about 100.

    How long does aerating take? I have a sump I could drop in there to create some havoc, is that necessary?
    ~19k Gal, IG Vinyl, Hayward SP2607X10 1hp pump, Hayward S200 Sand Filter, built in ‘70’s, has 8’ deep end with diving board, 1 skimmer, 1 return, 1 low hole, Polaris booster pump PB4-60, old Polaris robot not sure model, Rheem P-M266A-EN-C 266,000 BTU heater, solar cover, Taylor K-2006 test kit, Speedstir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Chemistry Balance, Borates & CYA

    There is no reason to be in a hurry to lower the TA. Worry about learning how to keep the FC balanced.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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