In swimming pools, borates’ greatest asset is their multi-functionality. They are able to:
• Reduce scaling
• Improve water clarity
• Reduce corrosion
• Save energy
• Be added easily and dissolve instantly
• Improve oxidizer performance and longevity
What do borates do?
• Allow oxidizers to perform as sanitizers and kill bacteria and viruses in the water
• Minimize rapid loss of chlorine
• Slow corrosion and breakdown of pool plaster
• Reduce eye and skin sensitivity
• Reduce scaling and water cloudiness while improving pump efficiency
Borates and algae growth
Many chemical compounds can perform as buffers, but the two most effective and strongest are phosphates and borates. Phosphates work well, but as an essential nutrient for algal growth, it is not sensible to add it to pool water. Borates can be used as a complete replacement for buffering pH.
Borates and corrosion
Borates have been used for many years as corrosion inhibitors and are particularly effective on steel and zinc. Borates act as an anode inhibitor, having insufficient oxidizing power of their own, but in the presence of oxygen, they become effective. They have been used successfully in water treatment and in applications such as closed loop cooling systems and in automobile anti-freeze. Borates can be used to reduce the premature failure of equipment (heaters and ladders) in pools.
The presence of cloudiness and scale in pools is a major aesthetic issue. Cloudiness can be caused by a number of factors, only one of which is water hardness caused by high calcium content that can also lead to scale formation. Scale is formed when salts, such as calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, crystallize from solution on the pool sides.
Borates help in two ways:
1. They are good buffers, so they help prevent scaling
2. They lock up calcium almost like a chelate to prevent its formation
3. In addition, borates in a pool can give the water a softer feeling, which is gentler on the skin
4. Water is clearer and sparkles