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Balanced pool solutions: Why 2022 is the year of the borate

Borates have gained popularity among pool service professionals for their ability to control corrosion in a saltwater pool environment. Photos courtesy Haviland Pool and Spa Products

By John Bokor

A new year has begun. Pool professionals are seeking solutions to overcome what is looking to be another busy summer season. As an industry, the goal is to keep clients happy with their investment. With so many new pool owners entering the market, professionals need a product to ensure water stays clean, clear, and sanitized. Here is why this year, more than years past, is the year of the borate.

Borates help pools equipped with salt chlorine generators

One of the primary reasons borates have gained popularity among pool service professionals is their ability to control corrosion in a saltwater pool environment. For pools with salt chlorine generator systems, a large amount of pool grade salt is added to establish a concentration of about 3000 to 5000 parts per million (ppm). It is important to maintain the appropriate salt concentration in the pool, as using too much can increase the potential for corrosion. Pools with salt chlorine generators continuously produce sodium hydroxide (NaOH) when the sodium chloride (NaCl) is broken into free chlorine. Unfortunately, NaOH has a pH of approximately 13, which will quickly increase the pH of the pool water. The continuous addition of NaOH results in a never-ending pH increase. If this is left unresolved, the high pH will lead to corrosion of the pool components.

Borates have a buffering ability which allows pool water to remain at a more neutral pH level for a longer period. This allows the chlorine to be more efficient and effective at sanitizing the water. Borate products are also easy to use, as they are available in powders and slurries which can be added directly to the pool. Borates help prevent corrosion and scale on equipment while also controlling pH levels in the pool water.

Corrosion prevention

The electrolysis that occurs in a salt chlorine generator can damage plating on handrails, light niches, and other metal components. Borates create another buffering system for the water which eliminates these effects. Many pool professionals agree borates are a good companion product to salt chlorine generators because they help simplify water and equipment maintenance. It is worth the consumer’s extra investment in a borate product, especially when their pool uses a salt chlorine generator to produce sanitizer. Borates add an anti-corrosion effect to help ensure against rust on equipment, accessories, and fixtures around the pool.

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