Baltimore Swimming Pool Information

Tips & Tricks

This sampling of FAQs should help with some basic chemistry information and troubleshooting issues. As always, visiting our store and meeting with us is always your best bet. Have more questions? Contact us today.

What can I do if algae shows up in my pool?

We offer many solutions based on your individual needs. We will make educated recommendations after performing a water sample test. We carry BioGuard products such as:

  • Banish® to kill all types of swimming pool algae.
  • Spot Kill® which is formulated to kill black algae on walls.
  • Spot Kill WP which should only be used on white plaster pools is also formulated for killing black algae on walls.


My water looks cloudy. How can I fix that?

Your best course of action is to bring us a water sample. We can test your water and provide personalized instructions on the best corrective measures. Some suggestions we may provide are:

  • Lo 'N Slo® when pH is high.
  • Strip Kwik® or Kleen It® when filter is dirty.
  • Smart Shock®, Burn Out Extreme®, Burn Out® 35, or Easy Shock and Swim® for shocking when Free Available Chlorine level is low.
  • Polysheen® Blue which is also an excellent water clarifier.
  • Note: For BioGuard SoftSwim® pools, use SoftSwim Filter Aid and Flocculent.


What is the purpose of sanitizing my pool?

Sanitizing pool water kills bacteria that can be harmful to bathers and also aids in controlling algae. You need to constantly check and maintain your sanitizer level because bacteria enter the pool continuously from many sources. We offer several chlorine/bromine based sanitizer options including the BioGuard Mineral Springs® program, or explore our non-chlorine sanitizer program, SoftSwim®.


What is Free Available Chlorine?

This is the active chlorine in the water that has not combined with organic matter and is therefore available for killing bacteria and algae. The proper range for free chlorine residual is 1-3 ppm. Below 1 ppm can cause swimmer irritation, cloudy water and even allow algae to grow. You should test often throughout the summer when the pool is used most.


Why do I have to "shock" my pool water?

"Shocking" your pool water chemically destroys the organic contaminants introduced by bathers and the environment. These products restore water clarity, help maintain water balance and eliminate the main causes of eye and nose irritation.


What products can help me with stains caused by metals in the water?

  • Pool Magnet® Plus ties up copper and iron to prevent stains.
  • Sparkle-Up® aids in removal of copper and iron from the water.
  • SoftSwim Stain Control ties up metals to prevent stains in SoftSwim pools.


How often should I clean my pool filter?

It is recommended that pool filters be cleaned at least two times a pool season - mid-summer and in the fall - or more often if needed. The filter should also be cleaned at spring opening if it wasn't cleaned as part of the pool closing procedure in the fall. Strip Kwik® removes oil and grease while Kleen It® removes dirt, scale and metals from from all filter types. Use SoftSwim® Filter Cleaner for SoftSwim pools.


How can I prevent scale from forming?

Use BioGuard Scale Inhibitor to help prevent scale formation that can cause serious damage to pool surface and equipment. Keeping pH and calcium hardness in range will also help to prevent scale buildup.


What is pH?

It's a way to measure the acidity or alkalinity of water. This is the most important part of chemical balance because it protects the equipment, allows the sanitizer to do its best job and increases swimmer enjoyment.

Ideal range 7.4 to 7.6

  • If it's too low, use BioGuard Balance Pak® 200
  • If it's too high, use BioGuard Lo 'N Slo®


What is total alkalinity (TA)?

It's a measure of the water's ability to resist changes in pH. pH can be affected by environmental factors such as acid rain, pollution, run-off from the surrounding land, and fertilizers-just to name a few. Keeping the TA at the proper range will help prevent pH from fluctuating and help prevent scale and cloudy water.

Ideal range 125 to 150 ppm

  • If it's too low, use BioGuard Balance Pak® 100
  • If it's too high, use BioGuard Lo 'N Slo


What is calcium hardness (CH)?

It's the amount of dissolved calcium in the water. Keeping CH at the proper range will help protect equipment and keep water sparkling. It also helps prevent cloudy water.

Ideal range 175 to 225 ppm (200 to 275 ppm for plaster and SoftSwim®)

  • If it's too low, use BioGuard Balance Pak® 300
  • If it's too high, use BioGuard Scale Inhibitor.
  • If over 400 ppm, it may be necessary to partially drain the pool and add source water with lower CH.


What is Chlorine Demand?

Chlorine Demand is the consistent inability to maintain a chlorine residual in a pool. It is caused by a build up of contaminants which creates and "overload" on the sanitizing system. Quite simply, it means that more sanitizer is required that is being provided to the water.

There are two ways to treat chlorine demand. The first is to add the appropriate amount of chlorine. The quickest way to find out the amount needed is to have us run a chlorine demand test on the Accu-Demand30®. The second way to treat chlorine demand is to drain some of the water and replace with fresh water. While this will not completely take care of the demand, it can help lower the amount of product needed.

Bookmark and Share  

Search Buddy's Blog

Want deals and news delivered to your inbox? 

Store Hours

Store Hours

Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 2:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Appointments also available upon request

Buddy's Pool and Spas
10715 York Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030
Google Map 

Phone: 410-666-1800
Fax: 410-628-0442

Call today and watch your
dream take shape!