Pool owner tired of adding MA every other day

Thigpen1

New member
Jun 24, 2019
3
Slidell, la
I'm getting ready to fire my wife's pool guys and take over her pool. After her pool has been having problems due to high PH I've been monitoring ph and having to add MA every day or two and it's not my thing. I quickly discovered it's unrealistic to expect to maintain a reasonable PH level in my wife's SWG pool by having a pool boy come once every two weeks. If I'm having to add small amounts of MA every day or two it doesn't make sense to have a pool guy, I might as well fire him and do it all. Adding MA every other day is not palatable to me so I'm going to add some borates to hopefully "lock in" the PH and TA levels and hopefully only have to add chemicals no more than once a week. If borates don't work I'm going to install an acid dispenser. I have a 10,000 gallon pool and I ordered 20lbs of boric acid today. Based on my understanding, if I have zero borates, 20lbs will put me at 42ppm. I would like to know where I need to have my water levels before I add the boric acid. I carried a water sample to the pool store yesterday and my PH was 8.1, TA was 53, CH was 238 and CYA was 30. I have added MA and brought my PH down to 7.5 and just finished adding 4.5lbs of baking soda to get my TA up to about 80. I plan on getting my PH and TA to a recommended level and verify thru the pool store again before I add the boric acid. Any help would be appreciated.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,373
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
I would highly recommend you get your own pool water testing kit prior to adding borates. Borates are not a panacea for pH rise. Typically pH rise is due to aeration from water features and / or high TA / pH fill water.
Please review Test Kits Compared. I suggest the TF-100 Test Kit ™
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry and consider reviewing the entire Pool School eBook.
 

Demegrad9

Well-known member
May 27, 2017
362
Coventry, CT
It's hard to make any recommendations without a full set of believable test data, i.e. NOT pool store testing, but it looks like you may have made a mistake adding baking soda. That will increase TA and further increase pH rise. From what you've described you'd want to lower TA in order to stabilize pH. For TA don't worry about what pool stores or standard guidance for the level, the proper TA level is where pH is relatively stable. This is just an initial observation, to fully understand we need proper test data. Also is this pool new? Is it gunite?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

I agree with the others. I would not add the borates until you are using your own recommended test kit and have repeatable, reliable results: Test Kits Compared

Unfortunately, adding baking soda to raise the TA was NOT what we would have recommended. Because, the higher the TA, the faster the pH is pulled up.
At this point, you need to work the TA back down before borates should even be considered.
 

Thigpen1

New member
Jun 24, 2019
3
Slidell, la
Demegrad9, I understand what you are saying, but I'm trying to move on from the back story, however some background might be helpful. I have a gunite pool that is about 18 months old. The pool builder paid a pool maintenance guy to start the pool up and we hired him to maintain the pool, this guy maintained our pool for a year and never told us anything about the pool even after we noticed problems, his reaction was it was his pool and he'd take care of it. My pool water was low and he didn't show up on his scheduled day so I added some water since we were going out of town for a few days, without explaining why I should not have added water he went ballistic on me when he found out I added water, shortly after that I fired him and hired a new guy and a couple visits later he was telling me I had high PH problems I subsequently found out that the first guy was having high PH problems as well. I have some plaster problems that nobody wants to take credit for and everybody wants to point fingers at somebody else, but the general consensus is my problems were caused by high ph. After an attempt was made to straighten out my plaster problems I have vowed that if I have plaster problems in the future it can't be blamed on PH. Over the last 6 weeks I've been testing the PH and TA on a daily basis trying to maintain a PH of less that 7.8, during this time my TA has been trending down from 100. Once I get to a PH reading of 7.8 I add about a pint or better of MA and it will bring my PH slightly lower than 7.5, two days later I'm at 7.8 or better and have to add more MA. I have even added close to half gallon of MA to get the PH to 7.2 and it only bought me one extra day but required more MA to control my PH. I've been told by several people that adding MA every couple of days is not uncommon. My goal with the borates is to cut down on the number of times I have to add MA, I don't expect this to eliminate the need to add MA. I'm also aware of the PH factor of new concrete, hopefully my concrete will "cure" and help with me PH problem. I don't know if my PH upward drift is abnormal, but I know I can control it with MA even if I have to add an acid dispenser. I talked to the manufacturer distributor of my equipment about the compatibility of the acid dispenser with my controller and he even suggested going the borate route before buying an acid dispenser.
 

Thigpen1

New member
Jun 24, 2019
3
Slidell, la
Jason, thank you for the information, I understand the effect of baking soda on PH to raise my TA but if I need to lower my TA in order to add Borates I can certainly wait, I'm going out of town next weekend and wasn't planning on adding borates until after I get back. The way my TA trends I'm sure it will be down somewhat. I checked my TA and PH this morning before I added baking soda, I was at 60 and 7.6, I added 2.5lbs and about 3 hours later I added another 2lbs. I just checked my levels and my TA was at 80 and my PH was still at 7.6. I will recheck in the morning.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,474
Northern NJ
Why are you maintaining your pH in the 7.6-7.8 range? Try keeping the pH between 7.8-8.0. Wait until pH is 8 and then lower it to 7.8. Get your TA down to 60 and leave it there.

You say you have a SWG? You have any other water features? You have a spa spillover running?

How many days between MA additions are you looking for?

Please put details of your pool in your signature.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
Just looking at the pH and the TA is not indicative of why you may have had plaster problems.

You need to also know all the other parameters, CH, CYA, salt, etc and they look at the CSI value that is calculated based on those values. If the CSI gets too low, then the plaster can be etched, if it remains too high, then you can get calcium scaling.

Bottom line, by only paying attention to a few of the parameters, you are missing the bigger picture.

To reiterate. The higher your TA, the faster the pH will rise. By adding baking soda, you made your rising pH problem worse.
And adding borates now would be a bad idea because then future adjustments to your pH and TA are going to be more difficult.

You need a full test kit and hopefully you will post up a full set of data so we can see what is going on.