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Thread: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

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    mariner09 is offline Established User Thread Analyst mariner09 0
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    Default Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    So, I'm purusing the laundry section at Wal-Mart and grab a box of Borax and then also see this 4lb box of Arm & Hammer. From what I've seen here, you use Borax to raise pH and A&H to raise Alkalinity. What's interesting is that on the A&H box, they advertise it's use in pools to raise pH and Alk. If this is the case, is it safe to assume that now you can use one or the other for the same thing?

    My line of questioning for this is that I just finished converting from Bacquacil and my Alk currently measures at 140. My pH is 7.1. This 4 lb box of A&H I have says it's Sodium BiCarb and not Sodium Carb, will this change what it's use is? I guess I just want to make sure I do the right thing...

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    Default Re: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    Borax doesn't raise alkalinity at all, baking soda raises pH and alkalinity. Your 140 alkalinity doesn't need to be raised, so Borax is your best bet.

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    mariner09 is offline Established User Thread Analyst mariner09 0
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    Default Re: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    So, looking at the BleachCalc section on pH, it says to add Soda Ash, not Borax, I guess that's the confusiing part. Is there a magic number that says x lbs of Borax will raise pH x number in 10,000 gallons?

    I'm trying to find that right now in this forum...

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    tphaggerty is offline Established User Weir Watcher tphaggerty 0
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    Default Re: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    There are 3 (not 2) products you might be working with. Two of them are Arm & Hammer, so be careful!

    Arm & Hammer Baking soda is sodium bicarb. It is generally used in BBB for raising alkalinity, but does raise PH as well.

    Arm & Hammer Washing soda is sodium carbonate (I think, I am sure Richard aka Chem_geek will jump in soon). Also know as Soda ash. It raises PH a lot (about twice as much per measure as borax). Not sure what it does to alk.

    Borax (20 Mule Team, green box) raises PH, but not alk.

    You don't want the Baking Soda, your TA if fine. You can use Borax or washing soda. Most on this site would use Borax.

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    mariner09 is offline Established User Thread Analyst mariner09 0
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    Default Re: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    The A&H I have is baking soda or sodium bicarb. I'll keep that for raising both when I need it.

    I also have Borax and will add 1/2 a pound this morning to see what it does. I haven't put in CYA yet, but that will go in after the Borax this morning and then I should be on my way.

    TA seems good, pH needs a slight bump, so that seems to be the way to go. Seems like BleachCalc may be labelled wrong because in the pH section it impicitly states that the numbers are not for Borax use but for Soda Ash in regards to raising pH.

    So, if Soda Ash is twice as potent for pH than Borax, would it be safe to assume that if I follow BleachCalc then I would need twice the amount of Borax for a comparative rise to pH from Soda Ash?
    Last edited by mariner09; 06-06-2007 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Relevant afterthought

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    CarlD is offline Super Moderator Vortex Adjuster CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars CarlD 4 stars
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    Default Re: Borax or Arm & Hammer???

    1) Borax raises pH. It will raise Total Alk because raising pH raises T/A, but will not raise it additionally.

    2) Baking Soda raises Total Alk. It will raise pH some, but don't plan on using it as your pH raiser. Arm and Hammer sells it in the familiar ORANGE box, and it's Sodium BI-carbonate.

    3) Washing Soda is Soda Ash. Pool stores call it things like "pH UP!" but it's all the same stuff, Sodium Carbonate (not BI-carbonate!). Soda ash raises BOTH pH and Total Alk, the latter almost as much as Baking Soda, so you should NOT use Soda Ash when your Total Alk is good or high.
    Arm and Hammer makes Washing Soda and sells it in a YELLOW box.

    I don't tend to calculate amounts. If my pH is low, I add one pound of Borax, wait a few hours and retest. If it's still low, I add again until it's good.

    I do the same with Total Alk.

    If both are low, I'll add a pound of Washing Soda (not paying pool store rip-off prices!).

    Add in small amounts, wait, then re-test.

    The other day I had a guy in a pool store try to convince me that the Biogard alk raiser wasn't baking soda..."It's similar" and then used one of the alternate names the pool chem industry uses to fool and gouge people--Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate. I told him "It's not similar, it's exactly the same thing. That's an alternate name for Sodium Bicarbonate" Naturally he didn't want to believe me.
    Carl

    16'x40' rectangle 19K gal AG vinyl pool; ; Hayward T210 sand filter; Hayward 2 Speed Superpump 1hp pump; hrs; PS 233; PF:6.3

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