Borate for Swimming Pool

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The pool store I go to is always pushing "PoolProof" <http://nisuscorp.com/pool-spa/products/poolproof which is basically borate dissolved in a liquid. I was reading <http://www.poolspanews.com/efflorescence/borate-chemistry.aspx and it seems to confirm the benefits of borate.
Of course anything sold for a pool has an enormous mark-up but borate can be purchased at Walmart as 20 Mule Team Borax. I would need about 30 boxes (76 ounces each, $4) and about eight gallons of acid (about $5 each) to bring the Borate level up to 50ppm and the ph back down. To use PoolProof would cost me about $300 if no acid was necessary (supposedly PoolProof liquid is ph neutral) while pure borate powder raises the ph).
The benefits of a 50 ppm borate level are supposed to be a more stable ph, less algae problems, and the ability to run the pool pump for fewer hours. That last one could really make it pay for itself. Two hours less a day of the pump running would probably save me $75 per month.
Anyone used PoolProof or other form of borate in their pool? I bought all the borax that my local Walmart had in stock (eight boxes) and am going to try it.
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On 5/2/2014 5:49 PM, sms wrote:

Never heard of it but keep us updated on the results.
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On 5/2/2014 5:54 PM, gonjah wrote:

Also, borate, like cyanuric acid (stabilizer) doesn't evaporate, so you only add it when you fill the pool, and maybe a little extra every year to compensate for splashed out water and overflow.
Started adding it last night. You put it into the skimmer, a little at a time. They warn that if you dump in a lot all at once it won't dissolve right away and can clog the pipe to the pump and that it takes a long time dissolve when that happens.
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On 5/3/2014 10:32 AM, sms wrote:

I might do it if algae becomes an issue. Since I refinished the pool last November I have seen one bit of algae. I think almost all of my algae issues were caused by the black algae firmly embedded in the old plaster. The pool was at least 27 y/o when I bought the house and the pool wasn't maintained very well. The plaster was badly pitted. Last November I basically bought a new pool.
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On 5/3/2014 10:47 AM, gonjah wrote:

"haven't"
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On Friday, May 2, 2014 6:49:08 PM UTC-4, sms wrote:

Either you must have a very big pump or your electric rates must be sky high, or both. A 1hp pump is about 1.5KW. Here in NJ we have some of the highest electric rates and it costs about 25c an hour to run. Two hours a day, would be ~$15 a month.
If it's costing that much to run the pump, have you considered switching the motor to one that is dual speed? Running it at half speed for twice as long can cut the electric usage in half. I'm in the process of doing that right now.

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On 5/3/2014 9:11 AM, trader_4 wrote:

I'm going that route when my pump quits, but it's a fairly new pump,
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On Saturday, May 3, 2014 11:37:03 AM UTC-4, gonjah wrote:

Why wait? The new motor only cost $190. All the other stuff to wire it in, etc it's about $225 total. Figure to be saving $30+ a month.
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On 5/3/2014 11:01 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Too many other pans in the fryer right now. You don't want to ask.
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On 5/3/2014 8:37 AM, gonjah wrote:

I calculated the cost of running the pump 4 hours a day versus 6 hours a day.
I have a one speed, 1.5HP pump rated at 230V/9.3A. It pushes me into the top tier of rates which is 36¢/KWhour. It draws 2.139 KW. So I'm paying 77¢/hour. If I cut cut down the pump time by two hours a day I'd save $46.20 per month. So the $75 was wrong. It will costs about $160 to bring the borate level to 50ppm. So it will take a little less than four months to pay for itself. But the other benefit is being able to have a lower chlorine level so there are also savings in chlorine, probably about $20 per month.
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On Saturday, May 3, 2014 1:15:05 PM UTC-4, sms wrote:

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Why 4 vs 6? If you use run the pump at half speed, it shoule be 3 vs 6. And running at half speed, instead of pulling 9.3A, it would probably pull more like 2 amps. You have to run it twice as long to move the same amount of water, but even so, it winds up using less than half the electricity.


I guess the folks where you live, CA I presume, let the idiot hippies take control. Sadly, at the moment, that's where we're all headed.
It draws 2.139 KW. So I'm paying

save



And still without regard to the borate, if you;re paying 36c/kwh, a dual speed pump would appear to be at the top of the list. Here in NJ, with 18c kwh rates the new pump I just put in will pay for itself in less than 2 years. And I would think that hippie states might have utility rebates that would make it pay off in a year.
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Certainly you should follow those "BBB Method" directions, but I can't see why you can't just leave the borax in your pool's water all summer.
Borates are by far the safest wood preservatives, to mammals at least. In fact in China and other Asian countries, borax is used as a food additive. So swimming in water with a low concentration of borax dissoved in it shouldn't pose any danger, especially if people make a point of not swallowing the pool water.
'Borax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax)
The FDA has banned Borax as a food additive in the USA, but it's commonly available for a host of other uses.
--
nestork

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On 5/3/2014 10:24 AM, nestork wrote:

There's no way to remove the borates, short of draining (like cyanuric acid) so removing them isn't an option. For pools in cold climates where you drain the pool for the winter than probably borates aren't practical because of the initial cost.
I tend to believe the guy at the pool store I go to (The Pool Guys) when it comes to the benefits of borates. This particular store has a big self-interest in minimizing recurring chemical usage because retail sales of chemicals and equipment are a minor part of their business. Most of their money comes from their pool maintenance business and the monthly fee is the same no matter how much the chemicals cost them. They are big fans of borate products like PoolProof (which they also have in very large sizes not normally sold to the public though they will sell these to the public) and big users of Orenda products which they buy in 275 gallon containers that are shipped to them on a pallet (and which they won't sell to retail customers--I've tried). They also sell higher percentage chlorine in returnable bottles for a lot less than the boxes of two disposable, lower-concentration, chlorine, sold at Home Depot or Leslie's (and it's fresher since it's delivered every couple of days from the factory).
I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories but this was on a web site: "The pool stores and chemical companies don't promote Borate use for the simple reason that it will cost them money. Selling a product that will allow a pool owner to use 40% or more less chemicals in their pools is not a smart business practice."
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Where the hell do you live that you pay 36/KW?
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On 5/3/2014 10:32 AM, ChairMan wrote:
<snip> > Where the hell do you live that you pay 36¢/KW?
Northern California.
There are four tiers (rounded to whole numbers): Tier 1 is 351KWH at 13¢ each Tier 2 is 105KWH at 15¢ each Tier 3 is 246KWH at 32¢ each Tier 4 is anything over tiers 1-3 at 37¢/KWH (These tiers were on my March bill)
We almost never run our A/C since the weather is so mild (most houses don't even have A/C in our neighborhood), and our water heater, furnace, and clothes dryer run on natural gas. Our biggest use of electricity is the pool pump.
I do have a two speed pump that I am going to install but I was waiting for the current pump to break. The two-speed, and variable speed, pumps have a much shorter service life than the older one-speed pumps according to the pool store (I don't know why they would admit this when they are trying to sell $1200 variable speed pumps!).
One other issue I have is that it's an older pool, built when they built deep pools so you could have a diving board. The deep end is 13' deep, and the shallow end is very small. So the volume of water is very large, probably 35-40K gallons. So that's a lot of pumping to filter the water.
I tried just filling the shallow end of the pool, and leaving the deep end empty, but I couldn't get that to work.
So the claimed benefits of borate are:
1. Allows you to maintain the chlorine level at a lower PPM saving on sanitizer cost. 2. Allows you to run the pump for fewer hours per day saving on electricity. 3. Reduces the need for algaecide saving the cost of algaecide. 4. Stabilizes the ph so there is less need for acid. 5. Does not raise the alkalinity when used to raise the ph. 6. Makes the water "sparkle."
The downsides are:
1. Initial cost 2. Animals should not drink water from the pool.
We'll see. I'm always leery of stuff the pool store tries to sell me, but I did not buy the borate there anyway.
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sms;3230935 Wrote:

I expect your high electricity rates are the result of your electric utility burning coal to generate steam to produce electricity, which is an expensive way to do things. Either that, or you use wind to produce electric power.
Here in Manitoba we have more hydro electric potential than we need. In fact, if you were to build dams on all of the places where hydro electric power could be economically generated in Manitoba, we could provide all of Canada's needs. Unfortunately, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland are just as well off when it comes to hydro electric power potential, so we have no customers for our electricity right now except Minnesota and North Dakota.
Our electric utility, Manitoba Hydro, is a publically owned company, and Manitobans pay 6.83 cents per kilowatt hour.
When electric cars start replacing gasoline powered cars, Manitoba is going to be the next Saudi Arabia.
--
nestork

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On 5/3/2014 11:50 AM, nestork wrote:

No coal. Natural gas, oil, and hydro-electric (though this year there won't be a lot of hydro-electric due to the drought).
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On Saturday, May 3, 2014 2:50:19 PM UTC-4, nestork wrote:


,

Good grief. Coal is probably the cheapest fuel for generating electricity. His problem isn't coal, it's that the hippie libs have taken over and royally screwed California for decades now. They had it so screwed about ten years ago, the lights went out.
Either that, or you use wind to produce

That's great, but there are only so many places you can build dams, create lakes, etc that are needed. Here in the USA, we don't have many, if any, of those places left. And even if we did, the same folks that have screwed SMS and the other folks in CA, ie the hippies, would be there blocking construction because of the environmental impact. In fact, the hippies and Obama are screwing you folks in Canada right now, by blocking the Keystone pipeline. Better to ship oil by rail and have it run off the tracks, killing everyone, I guess.

We're paying about .17 here in NJ. At least it's better than California.

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Jumping in late here.
So these rates are cumulative for the month?
If I'm reading this right, my highest bill for last year was 1239 KWH so the first 351 is costing $45.63, the next 105 is $15.75, then 246 @ $78.72 and finally, 536 @ .37 = $213.12.
I thought we had high rates. I paid $194.47 that month but your rate would be $353.22? OMG, that would change the way we do things in this house!
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On 5/3/2014 1:18 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Yes.

Most people have gas dryers, water heaters, and furnaces since they are much cheaper to operate. So the major use of electricity is A/C (which is only common starting in central San Jose and further south, and pool pumps, which also aren't that common until San Jose. If we didn't have a pool we'd rarely get beyond tier 2.
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