borates?

JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
Pool builder wants to use me as a test bed for using borates...I have done some reading, and see that it can be harmful for pets. I have a 65 lb dog that drinks from the pool. I keep fresh water available for her, but really have no idea how much she drinks from the pool. How big of an issue is this?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
Direct your builder to this post -


If he’s willing to assume the risk to your pet and it’s future veterinarian bills, then go for it. Otherwise, it’s probably not a wise idea. While many that follow TFP use borates with pets having access to their pool, it’s hard to say for sure what the risk is. Personally I feel dogs should be kept out of pools and discouraged from drinking from them, but that’s typically not possible and easy for me to say because we don’t have dogs as pets.

Why is your builder using borates? What’s he trying to do?
 

JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
we are fighting ph issues....trying to stabilize them. I have read thinks from both sides saying that it is and is not an issue...just trying to sort things out
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
Can you post some pool water test results? What is the TA/pH/CH of your fill water?

How are you adjusting pH? What targets are you using for low/optimal/high pH?

Does your pool design include water features and/or an attached spa? How often do you run the water features?

The short answer is borates can help with pH stability but only if you adjusting the other water parameters correctly AND your pool is not being excessively aerated by features. Your fill water, depending on evaporation and refill rates, can also affect your pH stability. So just adding borates may not help you at all.

As for pets & borates, there’s just too little epidemiological data to say one way or the other. Certainly your dog drinking from the pool is not good in general but if you’re going to add borates, then that just potentially opens up your dog to possible health issues. Your dog may be big enough and healthy enough to handle it, there’s just no way to know.
 

JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
just got done testing water

PH- 7.2
TC- 8 (turned swag off)
ch- 400
ta-40
cya- 55
salt- 3400
temp- 62

we have been getting crazy amounts of rain so things are getting a little crazy. adjusting ph with acid, shooting for 7.2-7.5

I have a waterfall and two bubblers that are running 24/7 right now. I am looking at adding actuators to put them on timers and leaving the pump on 24/7. The pool was just completed early December so I am still trying to figure out how to balance it all out.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
Ok. Good numbers but your targets are off.

You should not be targeting a pH anywhere below 7.5. Your TA should be between 50-80 so your low right now. Water with carbonate alkalinity in it, which is pretty much all natural water on the planet, outgasses CO2 and thus will always have rising pH. You minimize the pH rise by keeping your TA low (60ppm is usually a good target) and you let your pH rise to 7.8 before adding any acid. When you do reduce pH, you should target 7.6 as your lowest value. When you force your pH below 7.5, the concentration of dissolved CO2 is increased and thus the driving force for pH rise is increased. You’re essentially trying to force your water into a chemical state it doesn’t want to be in and it’s fighting back.

Also, you have got to turn off those water features. The constant aeration from them is what is causing rapid pH rise (aeration drives off CO2 and the loss of CO2 increases pH).

Don’t add borates until you straighten this stuff out.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,227
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Dont shoot for a number, first let the Ph drift up and see where it likes to sit with that TA. If it stays at 7.8 for a couple of days, then make that your target. Just as Matt said, anywhere between 7.2 and 8 is fine to swim in. Remember to shut off all water features.
 

JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
I understand about the water features driving up ph....but I your answer is to turn them off what is the point of having them installed? Im going to shut them off for a few days and see what happens.
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,227
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Water features always sounds great on paper, one you hear the noise they generate, you will most likely not use them. I have a waterfall that have never used, and i mean never connected the pipes since my build. I have some laminar flow jets which are more quiet and help me to adjust TA/Ph, every few months.

The thing is that after you stabilize your Ph without the water features, you are going to think that all is well. As soon as you turn them on, PH will rise again and fast if you use the 24/7.

In that case what you need is an Acid injection system. Which is going to help you keep your PH in control with the features running. Search for Stenner pumps in the forum, that will help.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
Running a water feature for an hour or so is fine. Running them all the time is a waste of energy. Water features should never be installed without a control system to schedule their use. There’s really no point in running any water feature when no one is around to see it or hear it.

I have a stone waterfall and a spillover spa. During the season, I run the waterfall for a total of 1 hour per day (scheduled in three 20min runs per day) so that chlorinated water runs through it (it has some small basins in it that retain water). My spillover spa runs for about 1 hour as well. In the winter months, I shutdown & drain the waterfall and drain the waterfall pump lines. The spill over spa runs only 15mins per day.

With the above schedule, TA held in the 50-60ppm range and borates, my water can go about 10-14 days before needing any acid additions.
 

JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
got ya... wife is at home all day and ours can be seen from inside the house. it all runs off the main pump so there is no difference in energy use. I'll look into putting actuators on them so that they only run during times we are up.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
got ya... wife is at home all day and ours can be seen from inside the house. it all runs off the main pump so there is no difference in energy use. I'll look into putting actuators on them so that they only run during times we are up.
Your signature indicates you have variable speed pump. If you had automation to schedule the water feature run times, you could run your pool pump at a much lower speed when water features are not in use. By having to run at higher speeds to get the flow to those features, you are expending more energy.

When I am only running in pool mode (no water features), my pump only needs to run at 1750RPM which is less than a kW of electrical power. When I run my spillover, the pump has to jump up to 2250RPM which is well over a kW of electrical power.
 
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JakeP5253

Active member
Aug 29, 2019
36
Mississippi
right now im running at 2000 rpm....about 500 watts

after adding 140 oz of baking soda and turning off all water features this mornings numbers:

TA- 80
PH- 7.8


im going to let it ride for a day or so and see what happens
 
Last edited:

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,210
Tucson, AZ
Your SWG flow switch will be the deciding factor in how low you can run the pump. Most SWGs only need about 15GPM to satisfy the flow switch. Chlorine production is unaffected by flow rate. Many SWG/VSP pool owners on TFP can run their pools at 1600RPM which is typically down around 200W of electrical power.

Don’t go any higher than 80ppm TA. Wait until your pH gets to 7.9 or so and then use MA to knock it down to 7.6. You should see longer intervals between acid additions. Your pool plaster is new and you want to track CSI. Try to keep your CSI between -0.3 and 0 as that will keep the plaster surface and SWG “happy”.
 
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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
689
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Also keep in mind that your bubblers do not just have to be on or off. I too like the noise and water movement. I run my pump at low speeds (1400-1600 rpms) most of the day and have my bubbler valve about half closed. At those speeds the bubbler breaks the surface by 2 inches and produces the water movement and sound that I want without impacting the PH. Then twice a day I kick up the pump higher to increase skimming and get a little bit more bubbler action.

For our waterfall, it is not scheduled and will manually turn it on when we want since it needs much higher RPMs.

Bottom line, play around with your pool and hopefully you can find a setting that lets you enjoy your water features without the PH and electricity impacts.