So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How

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CeeElGee

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2013
306
Battle Creek, MI
I am ready to take the plunge, and add borates to my pool. I have read the step by step instructions several times and understand all of the chemical levels that I need to achieve prior to beginning.

My only question As it is now mid August, and we are closer to the end of our season than the beginning, is there any advantage of waiting until spring in order to get full advantage, or should I just proceed now?

I did mine just a couple weeks ago because my granddaughter was coming to visit. No regrets. It's beautiful. And -- while I know borates are no substitute for proper sanitation and maintenance -- I am having fewer problems with algae growing underneath the steps where it's hard to clean. Well worth it for me.
 

svenpup

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
835
Sacramento, CA
Yes, but I prefer the granular over the powder as it is easier to get mixed. The powder tends to float on top of the water and not mix. It is a little cheaper on eBay from the same Duds diesel if you include shipping charges.
 

mickey4paws

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 10, 2009
726
S.E. MI
You will not need to add any acid if you use boric acid. Boric acid is slightly acidic. Adding 50 ppm borates using boric acid will typically lower the pH from 7.5 to 7.3 so not very much.

Thanks, Chem Geek. Sounds like it might be easier than doing the 20 Mule Team/acid combo. Also, thanks for your post #488.

Yes, but I prefer the granular over the powder as it is easier to get mixed. The powder tends to float on top of the water and not mix. It is a little cheaper on eBay from the same Duds diesel if you include shipping charges.

Thanks, Svenpup. I didn't know that about the powder so definitely going to get the granular.

Since our swim season is only another 3 to 4 weeks, I've decided to wait till opening in the spring to tackle the borates. I'm hoping borates will help a bit in containing the bug problem as well that we've been having this season. We get those little grasshoppers. You can see them moving in the grass and then they jump in the pool. I'm going to read up more this winter on using borates in the pool.

Thankgs again, guys.
 

jmcdtucson

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 12, 2014
359
Tucson, AZ
Maybe this has been answered before, but can I swim in my pool immediately after adding the Borax?

Just finished adding borax today - it was so easy with these instructions. I hope to see less calcification on my SWG cell (though it's already better since lowering my TA as suggested).

Thank you, thank you to every one here. Installing and caring for my pool has been a breeze thanks to everyone on this board.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Yes, you can swim I'd say within 5 minutes of adding the borates assuming you've got the pump on and have decent circulation. It mixes quickly and it's relatively innocuous so long as you don't drink a lot of pool water. You might brush the area where you add it to ensure thorough mixing.
 

Telnet64

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2013
82
Austin, TX
Hi - I can't remember if this has been answered in this thread, but I added 25lbs of boric acid today and am now at 50ppm, or close to it. My pH dropped from 7.5 to 6.8, which is more than I expected from the other posts. Should I go ahead and add baking soda to increase the pH, or give it a couple days to see if it rises on its own? I'm mainly concerned since the CSI is now -0.7 due to the low pH. Prior to the borates, I was adding muriatic acid 1 to 2 times per week, as pH would get up to 7.8 - 8.0 from 7.5.

Right now I have these levels:

FC 4.0
CC 0.0
TC 4.0
pH 6.8
TA 70
CH 340
CYA 40-45
Borate 50
 

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jv92red

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 7, 2013
117
SoCal
I would like to remind everyone to take note of the MA % if your doing the MA/Borax mix. I read through this thread and I believe there was only one mention of this. The pool calculator assumes a 31.45% strength but the stuff my Home Depot/Lowes pool section sells in 2x 1gal packs is 14.5% strength so you'll need to double the suggested dose if your using this 14.5% strength. I found that at Lowes they have the Crown brand MA at 31.45% strength for $7.29 a gallon in their paint department so much better than paying $11 for the 2x 1gal 14.5% packs in their pool department. Ace hardware also has a 13.45% MA in their paint department but sells for $9.95 a gallon. Still cheaper than the two packs but $7.29 for 31.45% at Lowes is the best deal I know of here in SoCal. My Home Depot paint department carries Klean Strip brand "90% lower fumes than standard MA" without a % strength listed so I don't trust it.

Getting ready to Borat my pool as well as the continuous PH rise and Salt cell cleaning from the calcium build up is getting out of hand. Cell builds up with calcium deposits fast cause my PH keeps climbing to 7.8-7.9 before I can catch it. (levels: 350 calcium/TA at 90) This PH rise cruds up my cell and then chlorine production goes down which I then crank up the cell to 100% and longer pump run time to keep up with the summer demand which only accelerates the build up and PH rise... Hoping PH can hold steady with Borates so I can get the cell % kicked down some so then I don't have to keep supplementing with liquid chlorine also save the wear and tear on the cell...
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,588
Tucson
MA is the one thing I buy at Leslie's pool store. They have the 31% in a two pack for $10. $5 a gallon for full strength MA is the best price I've found.
 

jv92red

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 7, 2013
117
SoCal
Leslie's in my area want $14 for the two pack of 31% MA. Will try a few paint stores to see but looks like Leslie's it is.
 

jv92red

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 7, 2013
117
SoCal
So back on topic, I added borates yesterday (13 boxes of Borax/3.75 gal 31% MA) and I want to share my experience so that anyone else that is buying the Borax in stages like me won't do what I did. So I set up staging the borax boxes by opening all of them and then dumping in 4 boxes at a time after I put in 1 gallon of MA at a time. In between each 4 to 1 'stage' I swept the pool. Problem was that some of the boxes of Borax were not all loose powder; some of them must have gotten some moisture while sitting in my garage for a few months and when I dumped them out two or three of the boxes had chunks (some softball size) that came out after I started dumping the powder out. 'kerplunk' Yikes! Bottom of my pool looked like I was in the north pool looking at all the icebergs. The pool water had made these things little cement balls it seems and I did not want to leave them to disintegrate on their own as I had no idea how long that would take and how it would affect the water balance or having a very high PH substance sitting in one spot of my plaster. So I thought no big deal I'll brush them around and they'll breakup. Nope. I then tried smashing them by hitting them with the top of my brush. Nope. So I then leaf raked them up and put them into a bucket to break them up with my hands. nope. Had to grab a screw driver and smash them with the handle side to break these things up in a small bucket with some water. Ugh!

So don't do what I did: If your buying these Borax boxes in stages over several months to mitigate the investment hit on this project, be sure to stage your applications by dumping the Borax into a bucket and make sure it's all powder first and not clumped up at all cause once these clumps go into your pool the pool water will turn them into hard icebergs.
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,588
Tucson
I had some that had hardened. I just put in a bucket of water and let it soak. It took a long time but a lot less work.
 

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