Adding borates for the first time

RobbieH

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Aug 30, 2010
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Dallas, TX
Assuming borate level of 0 (I have test strips on the way) and 44,000 gallons, I'm working on my calculations for adding borates.

Last full test follows.

FC 4
pH 7.5
TA 80
CH 340
CYA 40
Temp 76
CSI -.06

chem geek said:
As your water temperature rises, your saturation index will rise if you maintain the same pH level. So you might consider lowering the TA level some more.

Also, with respect to adding borates, note that you can use 20 Mule Team Borax and Muriatic Acid, but can also get boric acid directly though that's somewhat more expensive (though more convenient). If you are going to lower your TA level, you should probably do that before adding the borates since it takes less acid to get the pH lower for the procedure that involves acid addition and aeration.
So is 80 too high a TA? Poolcalculator.com shows a range of 70-90. I'd like to know more about this! I see I'll need to create some sort of fountain, this is going to be difficult on my pool since they didn't install fittings on the returns back 50 years ago. I truly have no way to attach anything to send water above the surface without making some sort of friction type attachment such as a smaller size of PVC than the copper return, wrapped with some sort of rubber that will fit the fountain by a pressure seal.

I'm considering adding the boric acid due to the volume we are talking. It should end up being a whole lot easier than messing with a bunch of muratic acid (albeit only 5 or 6 gallons) and 30-35 boxes of 20 Mule Team. Not sure where to get it, I don't see it at Leslie's, and have a request in at Poolplaza.com (they are very close to my home). Even with boric acid, we are looking at 14 gallons of liquid or 100 lbs of powder (if it exists). Of course that's to bring it up to 50, and I'll be shooting for 30 at first so I'll have some extra for a while.
 

acroy

Well-known member
May 11, 2010
186
Dallas TX
I've added borates to my pool twice (initial dose, then replaced 1/2 the water recently) using MA and Borax.

Both times I was already maintaining the TA at around 80 and pH was about 7.5. I followed the instructions and added half of each at a time, brush, then the other half. I shorted the Acid on the 2nd half just in case - but both times the math worked out perfect: the calculated volume of MA neutralized the Borax ph rise.

Smooth and easy-peasy! hardest part was finding the borax: had to call a few grocery stores and get them to pull it aside for me ;)
 

JasonLion

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Personally, I much prefer working with boric acid, no fumes to worry about. You usually need to go to an Internet vendor to find boric acid. DudaDiesel has a good price these days.

TA at 80 is fine as long as you don't have a SWG.
 

RobbieH

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Aug 30, 2010
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No SWG.

I should mention that another reason I'm doing this is to buffer pH to hopefully get rid of the almost immediate buildup of WS in my Liquidator.
 

RobbieH

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Aug 30, 2010
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Dallas, TX
I measured my chems tonight, don't need to raise pH anymore. That rainstorm that hit us last night (and we had one the night before, and Thursday...) raised my pH from 7.5 to somewhere over 8. Ouch! Does that sound right that a storm could make that huge a difference?

Off to pick up MA and as much Borax as I can stockpile tonight. Going to get the pH back in range before I start adding the borax.
 

RobbieH

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Added half a gallon of MA last night and got it back in balance.

Now here's the question for the day. Estimate to bring my borates to 50 is 30 boxes. I was able to round up 15 boxes last night. Can I start the process with what I have on hand, or do I need to wait until I have all the borax? I have all my MA at hand (9 gallons)
 

JasonLion

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As long as you use borax and acid in the correct ratio each time you can add borates in as many steps as you want. The only down side is a little extra adjusting of the PH, as you need to rebalance the PH 24 to 48 hours after each addition, really not a big deal.
 

RobbieH

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Aug 30, 2010
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Sounds good. In the main borates thread there was mention of being under 30ppm causing risk of increased algae growth instead of being an inhibitor. This had me a little nervous, as I seem to have one of those pools that algae will start back up in anytime the CL gets a little low :(

My plan tonight is to get it up to 20ppm. I have enough borax to get to 22. If the wife comes home with enough to get me to 40ppm+, then I'll increase. Either way I'll have both enough acid and enough borax on hand to adjust after 24-48 hours if necessary.
 

BigJD

Well-known member
Jun 6, 2008
176
@Jason. Why would TA be bad if you have SWCG? I am about to do this as well and my TA is 80-90 (80 changed color to grayish, 90 made it blue). Should I lower TA first and why?
 

JasonLion

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A SWG plus high TA leads to rapid increases in the PH. It is easier to lower the TA before adding borates than it is to lower TA after adding borates.
 

RobbieH

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Success! Last night I added 25 boxes of Borax, 7 bottles of MA, along with 3 or 4 glasses of Scotch (for me!). Swept pool, ran robot 3 hours, let pump run all night long. Results this morning:
Borate test shows 50, but I bet it is closer to 40
FC 7 (more on that in a bit)
CC 0
TH 360
TA 90
PH 7.5

So what is the result? Water is SPARKLING clean. I had a little cloudiness remaining from the recent shock, and it's completely gone. And just as Chem Geek predicted, my scaling in my Liquidator is greatly reduced, ALREADY! The floats and clear lines had tons of build-up on them, and it's already starting to clear away. I believe the LQ is flowing a lot better now, thus my FC creeped up overnight. I'm leaving it as-is and going to check it after a day of 95 degree weather and full sun, if it's still up tonight, I will adjust. I do have a pool party tomorrow, so I don't mind it being a little high. The water feels softer, too. I was tempted to jump in this morning since my water temp is up to 80+, but the 65 degree ambient temperature was a little too low for me, besides I need to get to work.

I ended up with one box of borax and 1/2 bottle of MA left over for adjustments, but right now it doesn't look like I'll need to adjust :)

 

poolneophyte

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Jul 1, 2009
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Long Island, NY
BigJD said:
Nice! I just picked up 4 gallons of MA and the 55lb bucket of Boric Acid is set to arrive today!
BigJD,

If you are using boric acid to add borates, you don't need to use the muriatic acid. I just want to make sure you know this to avoid a potential problem. Please take a look at the borates sticky under the Chemistry 201 forum for more details.
 

RobbieH

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Aug 30, 2010
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Dallas, TX
Got home and checked everything again. Water is looking better and better! FC is at 4.5, which is what I expected to happen once the sun came out. Liquidator continues to look more and more clean, the scale is almost completely gone. I could not be more pleased with the result of adding the borates.