Sodium Carbonate vs BORAX ?

cody21

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Jun 27, 2012
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Lafayette, Ca / USA
I am assisting a friend in going toward the tfp method of maintenance. I told him to pick up some 22 MULE TEAM BORAX to adjust his PH. He had previously picked up a bag of "PH UP" at Home Depot ... I looked at the ingredients & it says it is "SODIUM CARBONATE" ...

Is this the same stuff as MULE TEAM BORAX, albeit more expensive? Any issue with him using that instead, since he already bought it ?? TIA
 

mknauss

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Sodium carbonate is soda ash. It will raise the pH and raise the TA a lot.
How low is the pH that it needs to be raised chemically?
 

ajw22

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The best way to raise pH is by aeration of the water. That will raise your pH gradually while not affecting your TA.


If TA is 50 or above, bring your pH up to 7.4 or so using 20 mule team Borax.....soda ash is not a good choice.

If TA is below 50, then bring the TA up to 50-60 using baking soda and THEN raise your pH to around 7.4 using 20 Mule Team Borax.
 

cody21

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291
Lafayette, Ca / USA
Merged threads discussing chemistry and chemical additions - TFP mod.
Another thread of a question pertaining to moving a friend to TFP. In running the "FULL TESTS" , the CH level was at 320 ! I was shocked. He has NOT been adding Calcium Hardness Plus to his pool - nor knew what it even was. I was expecting it to be ZERO. I did discover he had a tub of Granular Triclor that "the previous pool guy left behind", and he's been adding some of this weekly directly to the skimmer. (ugh, I know .. - he will no longer do that without using a sock using real CYA STABLIZER he got).

Anyway, I have no clue WHERE this level of CH came from ..... He's only been adding lots of Chlorine & that occasional Trilcor ... supposedly. Help me understand. TIA
 
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cody21

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Jun 27, 2012
291
Lafayette, Ca / USA
PH is 4.3 (using a meter) ... and the TA was 0 !! I'm having him adjust both (slowly) using both BORAX & BAKING SODA.

I was wondering the harm in using PH UP ... as in what would it do to his balance/water? I trying to convince him to just throw it out, but wanted to tell him WHY ... Thanks again ....
 
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mknauss

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Water contains calcium hardness. In most of California, you have hard water, whereas the tap water has a CH of 150 ppm or above. With evaporation, the CH in a pool will rise.
That level of CH is fine. For a plaster pool, it is necessary.
 
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mgtfp

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Your friend should test the CH of his fill water. The CH probably came with the tap water. Even if the fill water's CH is lower, with continuous replacements of evaporation losses, more and more CH gets added. Evaporated water leaves CH in the pool, and next top up adds more CH.
 

mknauss

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If the pH is that low, use the soda ash. Now.
 

cody21

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Jun 27, 2012
291
Lafayette, Ca / USA
Your friend should test the CH of his fill water. The CH probably came with the tap water. Even if the fill water's CH is lower, with continuous replacements of evaporation losses, more and more CH gets added. Evaporated water leaves CH in the pool, and next top up adds more CH.

You guys are so frickin SMART !! Thank you for clearing both of those up ... He lives in an area 40 miles south of me - different Utility water source. I just did a total refill of my pool (after major repairs in Dec.) and my initial CH was only 60 !! Thus out of the tap. So his area clearly has HARD(er) water. :)

Thanks so much ...
 
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mgtfp

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PH is 4.3 (using a meter) ... and the TA was 0 !! I'm having him adjust both (slowly) using both BORAX & BAKING SODA.

Wow, that's a text book pH crash.

Your friend did over time in his pool, what you do everytime you test TA in a test tube: You add dropps of acid (R-0009 is sulfuric acid) until the pH hits about 4.5 when the indicator changes colour (R-0008 is a pH-indicator that changes colour around pH 4.5).

Do what Marty suggested asap.

Edit: Forgot to mention that pH 4.5 is the pH when all the added acid compensates the TA in buffered water, i.e. TA will be zero at that point. If pH goes lower, TA even turns negative.
 
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mgtfp

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I did discover he had a tub of Granular Triclor that "the previous pool guy left behind", and he's been adding some of this weekly directly to the skimmer.

That's probably the reason for the pH-crash. When chlorinating with Trichlor, you not only have to watch for CYA creeping up, but also for pH and TA crashing down.
 

mgtfp

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This merged thread is another example of the great work of our mods :cheers:

By merging two threads with at first sight independent questions, clues from one thread explain the problem in the other thread.
 
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cody21

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Jun 27, 2012
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Lafayette, Ca / USA
What is the CYA level?

His CYA was around 60-65 ... When we did the CYA test using his new TF-100 TEST KIT, I was absolutely floored. I had expected it to be 0 because he told me that all he had been doing was adding tons of Chlorine to keep it clear.. However, the Chlorine test showed 0.5 PPM ! But the water was really exceptionally clear. So after closer questioning, he said "oh, I've been adding this granular stuff the previous pool person left behind." I looked at it to see that it was Triclor; thus containing CYA .. The other thing that really blew me away was doing the TA test ... after putting in the R008 solution (which is GREEN), the water turned total RED ... Needless to say, things are a mess with his balancing. Thanks again all you experts.
 
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mgtfp

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.. The other thing that really blew me away was doing the TA test ... after putting in the R008 solution (which is GREEN), the water turned total RED ...

But it makes sense together with the pH measurement. TA of a buffered water solution will be zero once enough acid has been added to reach pH 4.5.

And R-0008 is a pH indicator that changes from green to red at pH 4.5. So, when you measure pH 4.3 with the pH-meter, then the R-0008 has to turn red immediately, otherwise there would be something wrong with the reagent.
 

cody21

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Jun 27, 2012
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Lafayette, Ca / USA
But it makes sense together with the pH measurement. TA of a buffered water solution will be zero once enough acid has been added to reach pH 4.5.

And R-0008 is a pH indicator that changes from green to red at pH 4.5. So, when you measure pH 4.3 with the pH-meter, then the R-0008 has to turn red immediately, otherwise there would be something wrong with the reagent.

Yea, that's exactly what happened. Which confused the heck out of me ... and the Reagents are brand new. I advised him to get that PH up before proceeding to the TA etc.. Thanks again everyone.
 
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