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Thread: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

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    Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Hello everyone

    Quick question. Is it common to be adding 2-4 lbs. of borax every other day or so? All my levels are within good ranges. My CYA is 80 which is high according to the instructions that came with my pool chemical test kit. Supposedly it should be between 30-50. However my water looks pristine so I'm not complaining! But I am wondering if this is common. If so I am going to need to run out and buy a lot more borax.

    My pool is huge, maybe that explains it? It's 30' round above ground with vinyl liner. Mostly sun. Cartridge filter. My filter runs 12 hours.

    Thank you in advance!

    Jeannie
    30' above ground pool, 20,000 gallons, BBB method

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    No, that's not normal. Can you post a full set of test results?
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Kinguni's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Might be normal with tri-chlor. I used tri-chlor until the end of July and was adding 2 boxes or Borax a week to keep the pH up. Won't bother with tri-chlor again. Too much work to keep the pool balanced.

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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Jeannie,

    If you are going to use Trichlor, which is acidic and needs Borax to raise the pH, then you'll want the Total Alkalinity (TA) to be higher -- at least 120 ppm -- as this helps slow down the drop in pH. You'll then see more of a drop in TA over time which can be compensated with Baking Soda.

    However, continued use of Trichlor can increase your CYA level unless you have a lot of water dilution in your pool. For every 10 ppm FC added by Trichlor, it also increases CYA by 6 ppm. So you might consider switching to using 6% unscented bleach or 10%/12.5% chlorinating liquid since these sources of chlorine do not increase CYA over time.

    You earlier posted here that you switched to BBB so presumably are using bleach or chlorinating liquid as your source of chlorine. Do you still have Trichlor pucks/tablets in a floating dispenser or in an inline chlorinator? It is VERY unusual to see a large drop in pH when using bleach or chlorinating liquid -- normally you need to periodically add acid to lower pH, if anything. As JohnT suggested, please post a full set of test results (FC, CC, pH, TA, CH, CYA).

    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
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Hello again everyone. Thank you for all of your help!

    Prior to starting this BBB method 4-5 days ago I had been using 3" Jumbo Sanitizing Tabs. "Stabilized Chlorinating Tablets". Active ingred: Trichloro-s-triane 99.4%. I kept 6-7 in a floating duck at all times. I was also using CHLOR BRITE Quick-dissolving Concetrated Chlorinating Granules (24 1lb. bags worth total). The bag says it's active ingred. is: Sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione dihydrate 99%. This morning my ph and chlorine were a bit low so I added a box of borax and 2 gallons of bleach. It's been 7 hours. I just took new readings. They are as follows: CL: 5, BR 10, (I don't know what BR means), PH 7.5, Alkalinity 100ppm. I'm out of chemicals to test my CYA, but for 5 days in a row it stayed at 80 no matter what I added to the water. When I check my hardness by adding the 5 drops of chemicals my water does not turn green at all. So I guess I have no hardness.

    Alkalinity was fine this morning. I guess the 4 lbs. of borax raised it. And in retrospect perhaps I should have only added 1/2 box of borax and 1 gallon of bleach. I have to change my mentality to less is more when it comes to pool chemicals. I keep thinking bcuz my pool has so much water in it (20,000+ gallons) that I need to add a lot to make a difference. Thank you everyone!

    Jeannie

    30' above ground round
    Vinyl liner
    Mostly sun
    Cartridge filter
    30' above ground pool, 20,000 gallons, BBB method

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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Just keep using bleach (or chlorinating liquid) as your source of chlorine and you should find that your pH is fairly stable or possibly rises over time. Just see how things go and if needed some tweaks can be made if the pH rise is too rapid (the TA can get lowered in that case, but let's see how things go first). With your 80 ppm CYA you'll need to keep the FC at least at a minimum of 6 ppm in order to prevent algae growth (see this chart). Don't worry -- such seemingly high FC levels aren't really high because your CYA level is high. You could add chlorine to get to 8-10 ppm FC so that it doesn't drop down to below 6 ppm by the next day.
    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
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    JohnT, Kinguini and Chem Geek,

    Thank you again for all of your help

    My cheap test kit does not have a FC reading. Should I go out and buy one that shows a FC reading? I can't spend $100's of dollars on one though. Next summer I could.

    I do have test strips from Leslies. I know, pretty inaccurate. But in a pinch should I use them to get a FC reading? I just used one and it says my FC is high (10), and my total chlorine is ideal.

    Thanks guys. You're the best!

    Jeannie
    30' above ground pool, 20,000 gallons, BBB method

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeannie
    JohnT, Kinguini and Chem Geek,

    Thank you again for all of your help

    My cheap test kit does not have a FC reading. Should I go out and buy one that shows a FC reading? I can't spend $100's of dollars on one though. Next summer I could.

    I do have test strips from Leslies. I know, pretty inaccurate. But in a pinch should I use them to get a FC reading? I just used one and it says my FC is high (10), and my total chlorine is ideal.

    Thanks guys. You're the best!

    Jeannie
    Ideally, to use your word, your total chlorine should match your free chlorine....is that the case?

    Also, the test kits seem like alot of money, but when you consider all the expensive chems people dump in their pool without giving it a second thought, the test kit really isn't that much and is the best investment a pool owner can make. The TF-100 is less than $70 and you get more reagents than the Taylor K-2006. There is an article in pool school that compares the two kits.

    But I wouldn't rely on the test strips, IMHO. Be sure you are dosing properly, so use the pool calculator to help you. Make sure you maintain your chlorine level according to the CYA chart, with CYA at 80 you don't want your FC to drop below the minimum level for your CYA, you will very likely develop algae if you do.

    Good luck.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeannie
    When I check my hardness by adding the 5 drops of chemicals my water does not turn green at all. So I guess I have no hardness.
    While possible, it is extremely unlikely that you have no hardness. The inexpensive test kits sometimes have problems with the hardness test. When you get a better quality test kit you should be able to get a proper reading.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    Wow. You guys are all a wealth of knowledge. $70.00 for a test kit is reasonable. I will definitely get one for next summer. We'll be closing our pool in 3 weeks so there is probably no point to run out and get one right now. I'm in Connecticut. Our pool season isn't as long as in other warmer states. I have to read and re-read everyones answers. At some point I know it will all click. There is so much info to retain!

    Thanks again everyone

    Jeannie
    30' above ground pool, 20,000 gallons, BBB method

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    Re: Is it normal to need borax so frequently?

    P.S. Someone was wondering if I was still using those 3" pucks. No, I'm not. I'm giving them to someone who wants them. I am now only using the BBB method.

    Jeannie
    30' above ground pool, 20,000 gallons, BBB method

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