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Thread: Getting on the BORAX band wagon.

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    Getting on the BORAX band wagon.

    Ok i just installed an new swg and after discovering this group, i noticeded that people are using borax. I just got back to looking after the pool after some time away. The pool has been neglected since september and was a very dark green so I initally shocked the pool with seven jugs of liquid shock and been clean inthe filter about every 30 min. now the pool is on it's was back to recovery. so how much or boxes of 20 mule do i need for a 26500 pool with diamond brite. where do i purchase borax test srtips. to tomorrow i will repost the pool information since I have an old test kit and get back from the pool store
    Shannon
    18,000 gallon octagon vinyl liner pool. Sand filter. Main drain closed.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    ktdave's Avatar
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    Assuming your pool has zero borates, you will need about 16.5 boxes of 20 Mule Team borax and about 5 gallons of muriatic acid for a target of 40 ppm borates (30-50 ppm is the recommended concentration).

    Borate test strips can be purchased here: http://www.lambertshomeservices.com/

    You should add half the acid then half the borax, give that some time to stabilize, then repeat.
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    Chefington,

    Welcome to the forum. Borax has demonstrated it's ability to be helpful in maintaining a pool. Just to clarify, however, borax would not have prevented your green pool. The absence of chlorine during the 90-day period the pool was neglected is the reason the pool turned green.

    You may be fully aware of that but your post could be interpreted to imply the borax would've kept your pool sparkling during that 90-day period...........it wouldn't.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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  4. Back To Top    #4

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    hello all<
    I just got back from the pool store and here is my readings

    FC 5
    PH 7.6
    TA 120
    CH 170
    CYA 25
    salt 3000

    Pac fab mytilus 100 sq filter
    1.5 square flange pac fab pump



    I am still concerned about having algee in the pool and I was going to get more liquid chlorine but the guy said that I had enough and I should turn down the swg. The pool is running 24/7 and I have not shut off the pump in a week except to clean the filter. Three days ago I added TA up and this is what brought me up to the now 120 mark and also added 8# of cya and that brought me up to 25 from 0.

    The pool still has a slight green tint and I will not shut off the pump for another day untill the cya dissolves.

    Does the 20 mule come in different sizes boxes? the one I saw today was almost 4 dollars at publix I need to check wal mart.

    I never meant to imply that borax is going to fix my algee problem I was only going to do the borax because it reccomended with a swg.
    Shannon
    18,000 gallon octagon vinyl liner pool. Sand filter. Main drain closed.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I think of borax as a "serious hobbyist" pool project, not something everyone should be doing. Adding borax involves handling significant quantities of chemicals, particularly muriatic acid which can be difficult to work with. If you have used muriatic acid and it doesn't bother you then by all means do the borax thing. If you haven't worked with muriatic acid I suggest waiting till you have some experience with it before getting involved in the quantities required for adding borates.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  6. Back To Top    #6
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    I think of borax as a "serious hobbyist" pool project, not something everyone should be doing. Adding borax involves handling significant quantities of chemicals, particularly muriatic acid which can be difficult to work with. If you have used muriatic acid and it doesn't bother you then by all means do the borax thing. If you haven't worked with muriatic acid I suggest waiting till you have some experience with it before getting involved in the quantities required for adding borates.
    I disagree. I believe that every salt pool can benefit by the addition of borates, especially if the CYA is at the proper level, TA is run on the low side (70-90 ppm) and pH is kept in the window of 7.6-7.8! I have seen the improvments in pH stability with my customer's pools time and again when these guidelines are followed!
    If one is not comfortable using muriatic acid in large quantities then dry acid can also be used. Also, if you don't mind spending the money Proteam has a product called Optimzier Plus that is a mixture of sodium tetraborate pentahydratre and boric acid in the proper ratio to produce a pH neutral product for raisng borates. Remeber that boric acid is formed when you add borax and acid so this just elimiates a step.

    Just my 2 cents!

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefington
    hello all<
    I just got back from the pool store and here is my readings

    FC 5
    PH 7.6
    TA 120
    CH 170
    CYA 25
    salt 3000

    Pac fab mytilus 100 sq filter
    1.5 square flange pac fab pump



    I am still concerned about having algee in the pool and I was going to get more liquid chlorine but the guy said that I had enough and I should turn down the swg. The pool is running 24/7 and I have not shut off the pump in a week except to clean the filter. Three days ago I added TA up and this is what brought me up to the now 120 mark and also added 8# of cya and that brought me up to 25 from 0.

    The pool still has a slight green tint and I will not shut off the pump for another day untill the cya dissolves.

    Does the 20 mule come in different sizes boxes? the one I saw today was almost 4 dollars at publix I need to check wal mart.

    I never meant to imply that borax is going to fix my algee problem I was only going to do the borax because it reccomended with a swg.
    First question is what SWG do you own? The majority of them recommend a CYA level between 60-80 ppm (but I have seem it range from 50 to 100). First step is to get your CYA at the proper level!

    Second, your TA is too high for a SWG. You will get much better pH stability if you run it at 70-90 ppm.

    Keep the pH at 7.6 and not any lower and add acid when it hits 7.8 to bring it back down to 7.6.

    Your CH is really a bit low for a plaster pool. IF you get your TA down to the range I recommend you should run your CH around 250-300 ppm to maintain water balance.

    Once you have achieved the proper water balance would be the time to add the borates, not before!

    You might want to read this sticky about water balance for salt pools.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    mas985's Avatar
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    I am not sure I agree that EVERY pool will benefit from borates. I added 60 ppm of borates this year and didn't seem to make much of a difference in PH management. My acid use this year was 1/2 gallon per week, the same as last year.

    However, there is probably a very good reason why borax did not help stabilize PH. I have high PH and TA fill water so I could never really lower the TA of the pool since the fill water would just increase it again in very short order.

    If you have reasonably low TA fill water then I would say you have a good shot at having some benefits with borax but it may not work in every pool.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
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  9. Back To Top    #9
    Guest
    Even if you have high TA the benefits of borates would be from the reduced chlorine demand because of their algaestatic properties. pH control is just one aspect of borates and everyone will get different results. As far as having high TA fill water, it would still be possible to lower your pool's TA enough to put it at the low end of the range (perhaps 60 ppm) to give you a bit of 'breathing room' when you added fill water. With the small amount of water that usually is replaced your TA should not rise THAT fast and once it hits the high end of the range it won't be that difficult to lower it back down.
    Just my 2 cents. (Some of my customer's pools have fill water with a TA of about 300 ppm! Mine is about 150 ppm.)

  10. Back To Top    #10
    mas985's Avatar
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    My fill water TA is about 300 ppm in mid summer and I lose close to 2.5" of water a week (880 gallons/week). Doing the math, that adds about 10 ppm/week via fill water. So even if I lower it to 60 ppm, it will be back at 90 ppm in 3 weeks. Sorry, I am not about to lower TA every three weeks. It is just a losing proposition for me.

    If I do nothing but add acid for the PH, TA seems to settle in the range of 90-100 ppm and stays there. The way I figure it, I am probably using the same amount of acid to lower TA every three weeks as I would just to maintain PH at a higher TA of 100 ppm.

    As for borates reducing the need for chlorine, I agree this reduces the need for CL but unless someone can quantify this and tell me how much I can reduce my CL target (currently 5% of CYA), I would probably use the same CL target with or without borates resulting in no saving in the SWG cell life.

    Although many have received some benefit to borates, I have yet to see any.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

  11. Back To Top    #11
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    Borates reduce sanitizer demand, that is, the amount of sanitizer needed to maintain a certain FC level. They do not reduce the level of FC that you need to maintain! This seems to be an area of confusion for you. You currently have you FC level at 5% of your CYA. Borates will allow you to maintain that level with a lower output percentage on your SWG than without. The effects of running the cell at a lower output percentage, besides the obvious of longer cell life, would also be less outgassing of CO2 because the cell would not in in an 'on' state for as long a period of time. This would mean that less hydrogen is produced in the cell so there is less aeration of the water. This alone will help with maintaining the pH since there will be less outgassing of CO2. I do not know where you are currently running your CYA and FC since you did not post that but if you are running the CYA in the recommened 60-80 ppm range then a FC of 3-4 ppm is more than enough to maintain good water quaility.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Borates don't reduce the amount of acid you need to use (assuming TA and aeration levels remain the same). Total acid usage will remain the same. They reduce the rate at which the PH changes so you can go longer between acid additions

    However, Borates allow you to aim for a lower TA level than you can have without borates. Since the borates act as a PH buffer you don't need as much PH buffering from TA. If you do lower the TA then the total amount of acid needed can be lower than without borates.

    You can use my Pool Calculator, see the link in my signature, to calculate the amounts of borax and muriatic acid to use.

    I suggest adding one gallon of acid, then 3.5 boxes of borax, and repeat as many times as needed. At the end you need to make sure the total amounts of acid and borax added come out to the amounts calculated, so the final round is fractional and requires more careful measuring. Then circulate for a couple of hours and then check the PH and balance as needed.

    You don't want the PH to swing around any more than necessary, so I like breaking it up into smaller units than simply half and half. One gallon to 3.5 boxes isn't the exact right ratio, but it is fairly close and reasonably easy to do. It is also important to remember the final PH check. Any mistakes can leave the PH way off, so it is important to double check that the PH came out right and to fix it fairly quickly if it is off.
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  13. Back To Top    #13
    mas985's Avatar
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    No confusion, I understand that borates reduce sanitizer demand and less CL is used up and that I could lower my SWG %. That just has not been my experience. My free chlorine did not change appreciably after adding borax and I kept the SWG % the same throughout the process.

    What if there is little in the way of sanitizer demand due to low bather load and few organics entering the pool? Under those conditions, it is quite possible that the free chlorine is being used up by primarily by UV light. In that case, it would be unlikely that the addition of borates would reduce chlorine consumption unless it is protecting the chlorine from UV light.

    Once again, I just want to make clear that I am not saying that borates do not show a benefit in most pools, I just haven't seen it in mine. My situation may be unique but it makes it very difficult to see any improvements.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    The reduced chlorine demand effect can be masked by low phosphate levels. If your phosphate levels are low your chlorine demand because of algae will be low to begin with and the borates won't lower it any further. If your phosphate levels are high the difference will typically be more dramatic.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  15. Back To Top    #15
    mas985's Avatar
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    Phosphates should be fairly low since the fill water has no phosphates and I did a full refill at the beginning of the season. So that would explain it. Also, I have never had an algae problem.

    Good point on the PH, I had forgotten the fact that borates don't reduce the amount of acid required just how often it needs to be added and how much is required when adding.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater, ThePoolCleaner

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    I too added Borates and did not see a change in anything. I still end up using 2 quarts of acid each week.
    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Chefington,

    Borax has demonstrated it's ability to be helpful in maintaining a pool. Just to clarify, however, borax would not have prevented your green pool. The absence of chlorine during the 90-day period the pool was neglected is the reason the pool turned green.

    You may be fully aware of that but your post could be interpreted to imply the borax would've kept your pool sparkling during that 90-day period...........it wouldn't.
    I'm only repeating myself to emphasize that CHLORINE is pool care 101. Borates (as you can see by the posts in this thread) should not be undertaken (IMHO) unless you have a really good grasp of pool water basics..........the only "magic bullet" is chlorine.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: GETTING ON THE BORAX BAND WAGON.

    Is it OK/recommended to add Borate & Muriatic Acid to my vinyl liner IG SW pool?
    19,000 gallons
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    SWG, 2006 Taylor Test Kit

  19. Back To Top    #19
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Getting on the BORAX band wagon.

    It is certainly OK to add borates. How recommended it is depends on what you are hoping to get out of it and how comfortable you feel about handling muriatic acid. Adding borates can help nearly all pools with a SWG, and many other pools as well. But it costs money and takes a little work. We can't tell you how that will balance out for you.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Getting on the BORAX band wagon.

    I added Borates to my pool about a week ago. I was adding 1- 96 oz bottle of 6% bleach to it everynight before I added the Borates to the pool. My chlorine swing before I added the Borates was about 3ppm. I would check it every night and it would drop from 8pmm to 5 ppm. My bather load has been pretty much the same everyday too. (my CYA is at 70-80 thats why the higher chlorine count, and the pool is in full sun all day until about 8:00pm)

    Now that the borates have been added I now add only 1 quart of 6% bleach to it every night as my chlorine swing is now from 8pmm down to 6.5 pmm. So it did work for me in my pool. My TA did go high, up to 130 initially, then I lowered it and it is at 110 right now with a PH of 7.5. Im still areating it to get the PH up a bit more.

    It seems to have lowered my Chlorine usage by a bit, not a great deal but it will make that chlorine bill smaller in the long run and the water looks great.

    Brian
    24' round Vinyl liner Doughboy 48" deep 52" sidewall
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    Beats driving to the lake, and I'm only a block away from the lake!!

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