I put in 20 Mule team about 6 weeks ago to get me to 50ppm. I just tested this week and it is now at 35ppm. We have had tons of rain here, but I was wondering if borates get used up or are they like CYA?
They are like CYA or salt for the most part but I have read some of the patents that imply that they might get used up very slowly. I would suspect that your low borate reading was being caused by the rains. Has your CYA level also gone down? How are you testing your borates. The strips on the market do NOT have enough precision to give you a reading of 35 ppm and the titration tests available from Proteam is a tricky one to do right (it's actually an acid/base titration for boric acid and if your TA is high it will give a false high result) When testing borates it's important to have your TA in about the same place each time you test or it might seem your borate level is fluctuating somewhat.
I'm testing with strips. I called all the local pool stores and none of them do borate testing. Even the pool store that is listed as a ProTeam distributer. The distributer did have the strips.
I just looked at my testing log and unfortionately did not mark down when I tested the borates. I'll have to remember to do this. I typically keep my TA low at 70-80ppm as my CH is very high. I'll test again and note my TA then keep testing at that same TA.
I just finished bringing my borate level to 50ppm Tuesday. As everyone else has stated the Aquacheck test strips do not present a very precise result. I added the borax to my pool over a 3 week period using the quantity calculations I found on this web site published by several different participants here. Once I got to the point where I felt my water should test at 15 ppm I tested with the strips and got my desired result 2 days after I had added the quantity necessary to reach this level. I continued this method through 30ppm and 50 ppm and found that eventually the strips will give you the test results you want. I noticed that my borate level would rise for 2 - 3 days after my calculations told me that I had added enough Borax to reach my desired levels. I added my last 3 boxes of Borax and 38 oz. of acid per box of Borax on Tuesday and this morning my test strip finally is indicating a solid 50ppm result. I tested yesterday and the test strip had not completely gone to the color indicating 50ppm. It still had some color on the edges that was closer to the 30 ppm. I took my time and added slowly and also paid close attention to the quantities of Borax and acid I added throughout the process. I also monitored my PH closely however, I did not see much fluctuation in my TA. I must say though that ow my water is BEAUTIFUL and sparkles like never before. My FC levels have gradually increased (I have not made any changes to my chlorine feed throughout the Borax process) and I am now going to begin adjusting my daily chlorine feed down to see if I can reduce Chlorine usage and maintain FC levels. So far I am very happy with the results of adding Borax.
That is the method I followed. I too hit the 50ppm via the test strips and it stayed there for several weeks. I just checked after several weeks of rain fall and noticed that the strip was reporting not quite 30ppm. I'll add more Borax over the next week or so till it comes back up.