Balancing and maintaining your pool’s water chemistry, especially fluctuating pH and chlorine, can be challenging for any pool owner. That is why it is so important for pool owners to learn how to use and test for borates. pH levels that consistently fluctuate can affect the quality of your water, the swimmer’s overall enjoyment, and the equipment. You can say it’s pretty important to keep your levels balanced.
So, how do you address your pH levels without affecting the other chemicals levels in your pool?
What Are Borates?
The confusing definition of borates is that it is a compound chemical that consists of oxygen and boron.
As one of earth’s elements, boron is naturally present as a “borate” in rocks, soil, and water.
The output of borates is a salt compound that actually helps your pool’s overall health by serving as a buffer between your water and bacteria.
You can find borates naturally in the environment and they are also converted and refined for various other uses. Their low toxicity and cost- effectiveness make it ideal for swimming pools.
Why Would You Use Borates?
You can use borate (borax) for two specific reasons:
1. When you are fighting fluctuating pH levels (levels keep rising and falling)
Fluctuating pH levels have a lot of potential risk factors you should be aware of. If you have unstable pH levels in your saltwater pool or if your water is full of metals, borates prevent pH-related pool issues like metal stains, corrosion, cloudy water, calcium scaling, and algae growth
Once your pH level drifts past “normal” (around 7.8), we recommend springing into action. The chlorine in your pool becomes less effective once this pH threshold is reached, allowing bacteria to form.
2. You need to raise your pH levels without affecting your total alkalinity (TA) levels.
If you’ve ever had issues with your TA and pH levels, you understand that changing one can easily affect the other.
The Benefits of Using Borates
- Stabilizes Your pH Levels: Using borates when your pH is neutral helps stabilize the other chemical levels. You won’t have to worry about it affecting your chlorine or TA.
- Prevents Algae Growth: Borates help keep your pH levels in balance, allowing the chlorine to be as efficient as possible.
- Use Less Chlorine: Because borates prevent algal blooms, typically, you will use less chlorine and save in overall chemical costs.
- Softer & Clearer Water: A good borate will include a chlorine stabilizer that prevents chloramines from forming and also prevents the sun from consuming the chemical.
- Enjoyable For Swimmers: An additional benefit of using borates is that swimmers don’t often complain about itchy, dry skin and eyes.
How To Use Borates In Your Pool
Before you begin adding chemicals into your pool, the first thing you should do is test your water. If you do not own a reliable home testing kit, now is the time to consider purchasing one.
First, you want to test your pH and total alkalinity levels. Remember, borates will raise your pH levels. So, if your pH levels are already too high, you will need to lower it first. Ideal ph levels range from 7.4 – 7.6. If your pH levels test 7.8 or higher, you can use muriatic acid to bring it down.
Finally, you can use our pool calculator to determine the amount that your pH needs to be increased. (You will need to complete the Dashboard, first.)
One of the highly recommended borate products to use is ProTeam Supreme. It has a neutral pH, so you won’t have to mix it with an acid to reduce the levels.
Once you’ve tested your chemical levels and purchased your product, you’re ready to begin.
*Remember* The ideal borate levels are 30 – 50 ppm.
- Make sure your pool pump is running.
- Determine how much borate you will need for your pool.
- Add the borate to your pool water or your skimmer.
- Lastly, wait another 24 hours before re-testing your chemical levels.
How To Test For Borates
Testing your pool water for borates is like testing for everything else- with a specific testing kit. You can purchase Borate Testing Strips for the Aquachek Digital Reader.
You can purchase borate testing strips for the Aquachek Digital Reader. We recommend testing your borate levels monthly. However, unlike most other chemicals, borates are permanent and do not degrade or evaporate from the pool water over time.