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Thread: Appropriate TA before adding borates

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    Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Well, my TA WAS 70, and after a week of the new SWG running and occasional use of a small fountain my PH had still only drifted from 7.3 to 7.5 so it seemed pretty stable to me. I figured once I had the SWG and my pump runtime all settled it was time to move on to borates. Then the pool guy dumped a whole bucket of baking soda in TA jumped to 130 and now PH climbs fast and was quickly at 8.0 (max reading, so no idea if higher).

    I used all the MA I had left on hand, which should have driven it down to 7.0 by Pool Math, but I did get it down to 7.2 and has since aerated back up to 7.8 in a day. More work to do However, reading even more threads on borates now that I was thrown this wringer, I see comments that with the borates TA could go as low as 40-60. Since I have to beat it down now anyway, what do I gain and how do I settle on what's most appropriate? Would 50 or 60 simply result in a slower rise but still a safe level, or if my Ph was pretty stable at 70 TA even without any additional buffering from the future borates should I stick with just returning to 70?

    The TA has dropped a little just doing the MA once. It WAS a solid 130 with 13 drops prior, now 12 almost does it but the 13th drop still finishes changing it so it did drop a little. I'll be hauling MA home tomorrow to continue.

    On a side note, since I can't add any MA today do I gain anything if I leave the fountain going and drive Ph up even further in the meantime? I'll obviously need more MA by tomorrow to drive it back down to 7.0, but will the additional MA then be more effective or simply wasting it needing more to get to 7.0?

    Anyway, no borates for awhile I need the TA fixed, and with the SWG also running more now my FC is impossible to finish getting set for normal run times so I'll also have to finish that first.

    Anyway, that's a little novel there, so, lol

    1. Appropriate TA and any effects going a little lower
    2. Any gain, or just waste, driving PH higher between now and picking up more MA tomorrow
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    No worries, he's already fired We continued the service the previous owners were using while we got settled. Since I can get lazy we also may have continued the service IF they had followed my instructions. A pool guy simply can't do what TFP does stopping by once a week. His manager is also really helpful, but again, obviously can't deal with bringing TA down in this way.

    Now, WHY it was added in the first place I have NO idea and why it became the straw to break the camel's back, lol. I was outside and our kids JUST arrived from the airport to visit, while on the phone with work, and heard the splash and yelled "What was that?", with more words I had previously requested he follow my targets gleaned from TFP and it certainly wasn't followed

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    ...then it's time to fire the pool guy....or repurpose him to lawn care...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Now that's funny!!! I'm re-purposing my lawn care to empty my skimmer and strainer baskets while they are here mowing anyway, lol. We have an enclosure, so little gets in, but then I tend to stop checking. They are already here and willing to do JUST that, so at least it's double checked on a regular basis
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Good for you, just don't do anything that will bring charges.

    I'm not saying this to rub it in since your borates are on hold, BUT.... since I've added borates to my swg pool I can't get PH to raise above 7.7 even when I aerate ! I used to fight rising PH throughout the season. It's great.

    As I told Duraleigh, I don't know if I can "feel" a difference in the water. Everyone else says they can. But, what I have noticed is the look of the water, especially at sunset when the light bounces off the water. It is beautiful.

    HMMM.....well, it's sounds like I AM rubbing it in. Anyway hurry up and get things squared away, so you can add the borates.
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    The lower the TA, the slower the pH rise from carbon dioxide outgassing until you get to the point of TA equilibrium with the carbon dioxide in water and air. However, in practice you only need to lower it to the point where the pH is reasonably stable (i.e. where the regular acid addition is not huge nor annoying). Also, if you have evaporation and refill, then TA from the fill water will increase the TA in your pool so lowering the TA a lot in the pool may be a but futile. You sort of what to get to a point of balance where you add enough acid to compensate for the TA rise from evaporation and refill and hopefully the pH at this balance is somewhere reasonable, perhaps 7.7 to 7.8 or so unless you're lucky to be able to have it lower around 7.5. Every pool is different since the amount of natural aeration varies.

    With your vinyl pool you don't need to saturate the water with calcium carbonate so there is not a problem having a lower TA especially if you have 50 ppm Borates for additional non-carbonate pH buffering.

    The risk of leaving the fountain running is that you might get metal staining or calcium carbonate scaling depending on the amount of metals in the water and on the saturation index. If you don't have metals and have low CH, then that risk is very low. The TA lowering procedure is most effective when the pH is low since that, along with aeration, drives out the carbon dioxide faster.

    One final note is that with an SWCG there can also be undissolved chlorine gas outgassing and the pH rise that results from that is not helped by a lower TA. So you may not be able to get the pH rise rate as low as you'd like. You can just see how low it goes at a lower TA and higher pH target.
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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Ok, thanks Pump hit end of program anyway so I'll leave it off until ready to get back to it tomorrow, as well as lower it at least a little further than the original 70 while I have the chance. Easier now than later!
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Soooo I have a question - what's up with the pool guy dumping stuff in your pool? In some parts of the country, that's grounds for exercising one's 2nd Amendment rights (joking)

    Seriously, if you're doing TFPC, then it's time to fire the pool guy....or repurpose him to lawn care...


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    The messages all out of order from the site time changing can make things entertaining

    Just an update, TA down from a solid 130 so just barely needing a 10th drop to turn so down to 100 so far!!!! PH is at 7.0 again though so have to sit patiently Also, it seemed to bounce back real fast the first time and taking much longer now, and I'm assuming it's due to the TA now being lower? Anyway, I'll be able to check it every couple hours today but then going to have to give it a break for a day or two and pick up wherever it leaves off Irritating having to do this, but it is sort of fun, lol.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Yeah, the server going down yesterday seriously screwed up the order of posts on lots of threads. Pretty quick recovery though so it's no big deal.

    Yeah, as your TA drops, it will take longer to aerate back up to a higher pH. Best thing to do is lots of aeration so do some serious cannonballs and you'll get there


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Ok, more questions

    Chem_Geek mentioned fill water raising TA through time, and I obviously found MANY posts stating the same. What I can't find if it's only due to the fill water itself being above the target TA, or if TA is cumulative where replacing evaporation even with a low TA will still eventually add up? My tap water has a TA of 50, so I'm thinking if it's not cumulative I'm pretty lucky?

    My TA is now back to where it started at 70 and aerating, but with the above from Chem_Geek and other threads I'm thinking of making 50 my target before borates go in.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedMoreSun View Post
    Ok, more questions

    Chem_Geek mentioned fill water raising TA through time, and I obviously found MANY posts stating the same. What I can't find if it's only due to the fill water itself being above the target TA, or if TA is cumulative where replacing evaporation even with a low TA will still eventually add up? My tap water has a TA of 50, so I'm thinking if it's not cumulative I'm pretty lucky?

    My TA is now back to where it started at 70 and aerating, but with the above from Chem_Geek and other threads I'm thinking of making 50 my target before borates go in.
    A 50ppm fill TA is very low. Mine is 120ppm out of the spigot.

    TA does not accumulate like salt or calcium because the carbonate alkalinity converts to bicarbonate and dissolved CO2. So the rise (or fall) in TA is very much dependent on pH and temperature as the out gassing rate of CO2 determines the loss rate of TA.

    My gut feeling is that you can make it down to 50ppm TA but it won't like to stay there. You can certainly try to go to 50ppm and then add the borates but I do think your TA will probably drift up naturally.

    My TA is between 60-70ppm (stable) and my borates are 50ppm. I have very stable pH (7.6) with those numbers.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Since the pool was stable with the TA at 70 I would not lower it anymore just to add borates. The TA can be lowered at any time even if the pool has borates. My pool's TA usually creeps up slowly due to the refill water and once it reaches 100 I go through the lowering TA process to get it back to 70.

    With your fill water TA at 50, your pool's TA should be very stable.
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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Apparently my science choice back in high school should have been chemistry instead of physics, lol.

    I'm still a little confused, if outgassing rate determines the "loss" rate of TA, what would make it go up other than adding something directly that raises it? LOL, in the back of my mind I was actually worried if I went to low and rain being my primary fill I'd be needing to raise it in time on purpose.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ping View Post
    Since the pool was stable with the TA at 70 I would not lower it anymore just to add borates. The TA can be lowered at any time even if the pool has borates. My pool's TA usually creeps up slowly due to the refill water and once it reaches 100 I go through the lowering TA process to get it back to 70.

    With your fill water TA at 50, your pool's TA should be very stable.
    Well, true, and it seemed stable enough to me hoping that 7.3 to 7.5 rise in the first week of SWG use could be even slower I'm lazy
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Appropriate TA before adding borates

    At high pH and low water temps (assuming very little physical aeration), the CO2 out gassing rate can be quite slow. So if one has a high TA fill (like mine being at 120ppm or some really high TA well water in the 200-300ppm range), then the TA will accumulate naturally. Use of pool covers that reduce gas exchange between the atmosphere and water will also affect TA.

    Since your full water is so low, I suspect you will have minimal issues with TA accumulation.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedMoreSun View Post
    Apparently my science choice back in high school should have been chemistry instead of physics, lol.

    I'm still a little confused, if outgassing rate determines the "loss" rate of TA, what would make it go up other than adding something directly that raises it? LOL, in the back of my mind I was actually worried if I went to low and rain being my primary fill I'd be needing to raise it in time on purpose.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Well, true, and it seemed stable enough to me hoping that 7.3 to 7.5 rise in the first week of SWG use could be even slower I'm lazy
    SWG's drive up pH A LOT! Mine did. Before lowering the TA to under 100ppm and adding 50ppm borates, my pool water would easily go from 7.6 to 8.2+ in a matter of 2 days. Between the spillway aeration and the SWCG, the acid demand was driving me nuts (almost 1-1.5 gallons of MA per week). I made adjustments to the pump schedule, reduced the waterfall settings , controlled TA and borates and now my pH will sit happily at 7.6 for 7+ days or more.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    SWG's drive up pH A LOT! Mine did. Before lowering the TA to under 100ppm and adding 50ppm borates, my pool water would easily go from 7.6 to 8.2+ in a matter of 2 days. Between the spillway aeration and the SWCG, the acid demand was driving me nuts (almost 1-1.5 gallons of MA per week). I made adjustments to the pump schedule, reduced the waterfall settings , controlled TA and borates and now my pH will sit happily at 7.6 for 7+ days or more.
    Oh, yeah, I knew that would drive PH up, it's what can make TA go up other than on purpose, side effect of other additions, or source water? Simpleton thinking here, but since I see comments that 40-50 are fine when using borates, and it just happens to match my fill water, that's how I came up with 50 Well, other than with 64 inches of rain a year, and after 3 months here, I have yet to have to add anything and only draining what mother nature gives.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    So it is not true that TA does not accumulate, at least in the short-term. TA is mostly a measure of bicarbonate and most definitely when there is evaporation and refill the TA in the fill water gets added to the pool, similar to how CH is added. So even water lower in TA will still ADD TA to the pool. Evaporation is not the same as carbon dioxide outgassing and even if it did accelerate such outgassing the TA would not change (though the pH would rise).

    The difference with TA compared to CH is that calcium won't evaporate while carbon dioxide will. Nevertheless, when this happens, the TA does not change. When carbon dioxide outgases, the pH rises with no change in TA. The TA only drops when you then add acid to lower the pH since acid also lowers the TA. So in the long term, if the TA did accumulate from evaporation and refill, the higher TA would have more outgassing and pH rise and therefore acid addition which lowers the TA so you'd likely get to a state of equilibrium at some higher TA level (i.e. where TA added from evaporation and refill equalled the TA lowering from acid addition).

    So the bottom line is that evaporation and refill most certainly can have your TA level rise, but as was pointed out your fill water TA level is pretty low so the rate of that rise should not be that noticeable. If you were regularly adding acid to keep the pH in line, then that TA lowering effect may overwhelm the increase from the evaporation and refill so you would not notice the TA rising, but rather falling.
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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    Ok, thanks all !!! And the combined answers I think even made it more clear

    I'm going to let the aeration finish and let it settle, leaving it at 70. As PH rises and more acid added down the road it looks like it may slowly fall anyway. Since pool guy managed the pool for years until I moved in, so otherwise knew the pool, that could partially explain the entire bucket of sodium bicarb he dumped in right at the point I was so happy to find it at 70, lol.
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Appropriate TA before adding borates

    One last suggestion which is based on nothing but my personal preference - if you do add borates to the water, try using boric acid granules instead of borax/Muriatic acid.

    The boric acid method costs a bit more (in my case, it was $80 for boric acid instead of $60 for the proper amount of borax and MA). However, it is way easier to do (just calculate, measure and mix) and the boric acid naturally lowers pH as opposed to borax which raises pH. In SWG pools and those pool that typically have naturally rising pH, the boric acid method seems like the more natural choice. Also, in my case I have very high calcium hardness in my water so I was very concerned about having a large load of borax cause high pH "hot spots" and then, potential calcium scaling and/or water cloudiness. Obviously lowering the pH first, breaking up the borax into smaller doses and diluting it in water while pouring in front of a fast moving return can easily mitigate any calcium scaling, I preferred the simplicity of adding boric acid and thus chose the higher priced method.

    Again, just my 2 cents.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Appropriate TA before adding borates

    WOW, WOW, and WOW!!!! I'd heard about the clarity, sparkle, etc. but that all pools don't see as drastic of a difference. Huge difference in mine!!! However, we're not entirely sure at what point it became so clear with all the changes over just the past month, but from a slight distance it's hard to tell where the water level is, and if it was waterproof I could drop my Kindle in and read it from the deck We have replaced 100% of the equipment on a new pad including sand filter and converting to SWG, as well as rebuilt the Polaris that works well now, besides the borates and managing the rest myself as well, and no more pucks!!!

    My wife was getting a box or two of borax well in advance so it was to late to bother with boric acid, but it went well. With a three day weekend I did it in smaller amounts. I still need just a little more to finish it, but Pool Math says I should be right around 40ppm and judging by the test strip it pretty much seems to fall at least somewhere between 30 and 50 I'll finish it in a couple of days and get back to trying to get my SWG and pump run times tweaked and watch my CYA slowly fall.

    Thanks for ALL of the help!!!

    Current:

    FC - 12
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.2 (Still aerating though)
    TA - 60
    CH - 180
    CYA - 130
    Borate - ~40
    Scott
    15,000 Gallons vinyl in-ground screen enclosed, Hayward Eco-star SP3400VSP, Hayward Aqua Logic PL-Plus, Hayward T-15 Salt Cell, Hayward S244T Sand Filter, Polaris 380 with booster pump, Hayward heat pump HP50HA. K-2006 kit.

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    Appropriate TA before adding borates

    My experience was similar to yours. A huge boost in the subjective quality of the water as well as an improvement in the acid demand. I also experienced a rise in FC by 2ppm which allowed me to turn down the SWG by about 10%. I'm not fully sure why there was a boost except to say that maybe the added algaecidal properties helped reduce the load in the SWG but that doesn't seem to me to satisfactorially explain it. Either way, I had a good experience with borates and I am glad to see you did as well.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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