Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Borates vs Salt

  1. Back To Top    #1
    H2O_Keeper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    SW Indiana
    Posts
    140

    Borates vs Salt

    I have been contemplating of adding Borates to my pool with all the positive feedback about easier on the eyes, better feeling on the skin, less chance of algae, etc. But I have also noticed numerous claims of the same benefits with those that have their salt levels up for a SWG.

    I do not have a SWG nor plan to get one anytime soon. The adding of salt would only be for the side benefits. We have the negatives on both sides of possible corrosion for salt and potential health hazards for dogs with borates ( I do have a small dog and as of last summer he did not consume that much pool water).

    Was wondering if others would mind weighing in on which would be better for my pool. The reason for wanting to explore both is mostly for the benefits of easier on the eyes/skin for my small children.
    21K Gal, IG, Vinyl, Bleach-Borax-Baking Soda, 3/4HP Hayward pump, Hayward sand filter, 200,000BTU Heater, TF100 Testkit
    "All that we are arises with our thoughts." - Buddha
    “When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” - Dale Carnegie

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Guest

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    add salt to around 2000 ppm and borates to 50 ppm.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Adding salt to a pool increases both the conductivity of the water (by a factor of 2-6 depending on where you start) and the concentration of chlorides, both of which increase corrosion rates, but with proper pool materials this is not normally a problem. Adding 50 ppm Borates to the pool has minimal affect on the conductivity and no affect on chloride levels since it mostly remains as uncharged boric acid in the water. If you use Borax to add Borates and adjust the pH with acid, then this will increase the amount of salt somewhat (by 130 ppm), but using Boric Acid will not. As you noted, the main problem with borates is if dogs drink regularly from the pool.

    By the way, increased salt levels shouldn't have much of an effect on algae, though clearly borates do inhibit algae growth. The increased salt or borate level would both have a silkier feel to the water and be easier on the eyes (due to reduced osmotic pressure) though I would expect one to notice a much greater benefit on the eyes from the higher salt than from the borates, just due to the difference in amounts with the 3000 ppm salt having about 10 times the quantity of 50 ppm borates (on a molar basis).

    I tried an experiment with letting my salt levels rise in the pool that got to around 1800 ppm, but my wife and I didn't notice much difference so this year I've diluted the water (with winter rains) and will add borates to the pool (yes, Evan, I actually ordered the Boric Acid from The Chemistry Store, so it's really happening this time!). I should note that my wife always wears goggles when she swims, though I do not.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  4. Back To Top    #4
    reebok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Lakeland, FL
    Posts
    1,268

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    you say you let the salt rise to 1800? from other posts I've seen, 2000 is a recommended starting point for adding salt to a non-swg pool. so if you let it rise to 1800, what did you have it at before? and did you (as opposed to your wife) notice a difference at the 1800 level? I am considering adding salt to my non-swg pool, but if I can add less than 2000ppm I'd like to know since that's just less money to spend. I do not have borates currently, but am also considering them.

    thanks.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Guest

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    At $4 a 40 lb bag for solar salt the difference between 1800 ppm and 2000 ppm is 17 lbs per 10000 gal which is less than $2 per 10000 gal! NOT a major expense!

  6. Back To Top    #6
    reebok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Lakeland, FL
    Posts
    1,268

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    true. the point of it was, he let it rise to 1800 with no noticeable difference. so was it 1200 before? 1400?
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    It was originally very low, but two years before I decided to stop diluting the water with winter rains, the salt level was around 1000 ppm. At 1800 ppm salt, I didn't notice much of a difference either, and I don't wear goggles. Perhaps there was a little less pressure on the eyes, but it was subtle and, of course, I couldn't compare it side-by-side. Everyone's different, however, so your experience may be different.

    My salt level, after winter dilution this past winter, is down to around 1300 and I've added 50 ppm Borates. The water has more of a shimmer to it, the meniscus in tests is more flat, and my eyes seem OK so a similar effect as far as I can tell. There is a mild metallic taste to the water, but I've sometimes had that before the Borates -- could be the calcium, though I'm not sure. The real test, for me, is whether the Borates inhibit algae growth if the chlorine ever gets to zero -- a test I won't do until the season is nearly over.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  8. Back To Top    #8
    reebok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Lakeland, FL
    Posts
    1,268

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    thanks for the info Richard.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    If you use Borax to add Borates and adjust the pH with acid, then this will increase the amount of salt somewhat (by 130 ppm), but using Boric Acid will not. As you noted, the main problem with borates is if dogs drink regularly from the pool.



    Richard
    Richard,

    Are you saying if you use Boric Acid you do not have to use MA to lower the PH?

    Sorry for the highjack!

    Frank
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Yes, that is correct. If you increase your Borates in your pool using Boric Acid, you don't need to add any Muriatic Acid. In fact, Boric Acid will be slightly acidic lowering the pH a little. If you add Boric Acid to get to 50 ppm Borates in a pool with 100 ppm TA and an initial pH of 7.5, the pH will drop to around 7.3. Essentially, you can look at Boric Acid as being roughly pH neutral. 20 Mule Team Borax is very basic (alkaline) causing pH to rise considerably which is why you need to add MA when using Borax to increase borates.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Ok sorry, Highjack not over yet...

    With bulk boric acid only slightly more than Borax, why don't more folks forgo the extra hassle of having to use MA and just buy Boric acid when converting?
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cupertino, CA
    Posts
    1,966

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    I can get borax at the grocery store.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

  13. Back To Top    #13
    New2Me's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    SW Indiana
    Posts
    322

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Boric acid=Roach Powder??
    22 x 40 IG vinyl lined, 23,570 gal.
    1 hp. Pac-Fab Challenger pump 300# sand filter
    Intex 8110 SWG, Hayward CL220 offline feeder
    Hayward 250K Btu gas heater
    Aquabots

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Sure, but when you need 70+ pounds to start, you can buy in bulk online for only slightly more money and you would not have to go though the PH going up/add acid/put more borax in/add more acid dance.

    I'm just trying to get as much information as I can about this before I do it. The cost of the acid out weighs the extra cost of the boric acid but this is the first time I have seen anyone talk about this as an alternative to Borax.
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Me
    Boric acid=Roach Powder??
    Boric Acid is also used to control yeast infections. As with most chemicals, the effects are very dependent on concentration. 20 Mule Team Borax after it is pH balanced with acid produces boric acid -- the same boric acid you can start off with directly. At pool water pH, most of the borates in the water are in the form of boric acid, but at 50 ppm it just inhibits algae growth and acts as a pH buffer and is far less reactive than chlorine, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by frankgh
    Sure, but when you need 70+ pounds to start, you can buy in bulk online for only slightly more money and you would not have to go though the PH going up/add acid/put more borax in/add more acid dance.

    I'm just trying to get as much information as I can about this before I do it. The cost of the acid out weighs the extra cost of the boric acid but this is the first time I have seen anyone talk about this as an alternative to Borax.
    See this post and this post for a rough cost comparison of Boric Acid vs. Borax and acid. The latter is less expensive, especially if you factor in shipping costs ($2.14 to $2.32 per pound for Boric Acid vs. $1.65 per pound for Borax and acid), but the former is far more convenient.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Thanks Richard, I havn't been to the deepend of TFP yet.

    Highjack over, I promise!
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

  17. Back To Top    #17
    javaverses's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Pearland, TX
    Posts
    50

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Saw this and I thought i would revive an old thread. I've been debating the borates vs salt topic with myself as well. My concern is that I have 2 large dogs that think the pool is their water dish, no matter how much I try to keep them from drinking it. How much would it take to make a pet sick from borates? They are large dogs(65-75 lbs), but live inside with access to water bowls. So its not like they only drink from the pool, but they do it regularly, as in 5-6 times a day. And on the salt side, my pool is older and the light has a medal rim around it. Would salt at the recommended levels (2,000 ppm?) be corrosive to this, or are they already usually treated to prevent corrosion?
    Java - Learning that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!- Houston Tx - 22,000 gallon IG gunite pool running a DE Hayward filter DE-4800 (48SQFT 96 GPM), Hayward Vari-flo multi-port valve 715XR60, Pump - Century Centurion 0-177215-04 1hp. Polaris 9400 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner. 1 skimmer, 1 main drain, a pool light, diving board. Age of pool &equipment unknown, pool age est. ~ 20-30 yrs, equipment probably newer.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,085

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    As described in the thread Are Borates Safe to Use? the No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) for dogs is 8.8 mg/kg/day every day for months. For a 65 pound (25.5 kg) they would have to drink 4-1/2 liters (4.7 quarts; over a gallon) of pool water to be at that level. The EPA uses a factor of 10 margin of safety for inter-species variation (say, between dogs and humans) and another factor of 10 margin of safety for intra-species variation (say between different dogs or between different people). It's a low risk, but it's up to you.

    Your light rim is likely stainless steel but as to what grade/quality that determines its corrosion resistance, I don't know.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Gilbert, Az
    Posts
    116

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    so how would borates work as a PH buffer in a pool with a high TA/PH fill source, especially with a very high evaporation/refill rate?
    12k - free form - plaster- Nautilus fns48 DE filter- centurion 1hp (so quiet)- In floor cleaning system with Jandy Caretaker - TF-50 and 5 in 1 test kit, Phoenix, Az

  20. Back To Top    #20
    javaverses's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Pearland, TX
    Posts
    50

    Re: Borates vs Salt

    Thanks Chem geek, that's exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I highly doubt my dog's drink that much in a day, so the amount they drink from the pool wouldn't be anywhere near enough to hurt them. As for the rim, I have no idea either, although it's not showing an corrosion currently. I think I will try the borates route.
    Java - Learning that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!- Houston Tx - 22,000 gallon IG gunite pool running a DE Hayward filter DE-4800 (48SQFT 96 GPM), Hayward Vari-flo multi-port valve 715XR60, Pump - Century Centurion 0-177215-04 1hp. Polaris 9400 Sport Robotic Pool Cleaner. 1 skimmer, 1 main drain, a pool light, diving board. Age of pool &equipment unknown, pool age est. ~ 20-30 yrs, equipment probably newer.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •