Pool Care Tips

Pool Basics

How can I get rid of the white scaly material that is built up around my tile line?

The white stuff is most likely calcium build up. Weekly brushing with tile cleaner and maintenance doses of Berry Pool’s Stain and Scale products will help prevent buildup. Check your water hardness levels. If extremely high a partial drain would be recommended. If the calcium buildup is bad you may need to use a pumice stone or tile cleaner to remove it. Prevention is your best defense use Berry Pool’s Stain and Scale preventative products to help prevent the build-up of calcium and other deposits on the tile. Consult your Berry Pool professional for more information.

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How much daily water loss is acceptable for a “standard sized” in-ground swimming pool?

This depends entirely on several factors such as water temperature, air temperature, humidity levels and so on. Usually, ¼″ or less water loss per day is considered to be an acceptable loss. Here are two ways to determine if your pool is losing an acceptable amount of water. 1. Using a non-permanent marker or grease pencil, mark the water level of the pool in the skimmer. Check in 24 hours. Your pool should lose no more than ¼″ per day. 2. Try the bucket test:

1. Place a bucket filled with pool water on a pool step (weight it down if necessary).

2. Mark the water level on both the inside and the outside of the bucket. The starting point levels should be about the same.

3. Check the mark 24 hours later. If there’s a greater drop in the line on the outside of the bucket, a leak in the pool is indicated.

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Is it OK for dogs to swim in the pool?

Dogs love to swim in swimming pools. However, chlorinated water is not good for dogs. The chlorine can remove the natural oils from the dog’s body and cause dry, itchy skin. Also, too high a sanitizer level can irritate the dog’s esophagus if it drinks the pool water. If your pool is sanitized by chlorine or bromine, keep the level below 3.0 ppm if you allow your dogs to swim in the pool.

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My automatic pool cleaner doesn’t function like it did when I bought it. What could be the problem?

The performance of most pool cleaners is predicated on proper water flow and the condition of the cleaner itself. If your filter is dirty and your pressure gauge is reading 8-10 psi or more over the starting pressure, chances are your cleaner is not receiving the water flow it needs to function correctly. This could slow down or even stop the cleaner completely.

If there is proper water flow but the cleaner is still not functioning, bring the cleaner to your local Berry Pool store for a free inspection. Berry Pool stocks parts for most major models of pool cleaners.

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What is the “ideal” temperature for swimming?

This decision is really up to the pool owner, since some people like their pools warmer than others do. The American Red Cross recommends a water temperature of 78° Fahrenheit for competitive swimming. However, this may be too cold for young children and the elderly.

The typical pool temperature range is 78°-82°, although most recreational swimmers enjoy 82°-84°.

Something to think about: Depending on your location and the time of year, raising the pool’s temperature by one degree can increase your energy consumption by 10-30%. If you like your water warm, consider adding a solar cover and a solar heating system to your pool’s heater.

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What is the purpose of acid washing?

An acid wash will generally remove superficial stains, fine scale deposits, and various colored deposits from the plaster. The process strips off (dissolves) a very thin layer of plaster, and will therefore generally restore 70 to 80 percent of the plaster’s brightness. An acid wash will not remove heavy deposits or stains that have penetrated through many layers of plaster. Acid washing is the most practical means of removing unsightly stains. If the pool is to be pained, an acid wash is essential in preparing the surface of the pool. Acid washing should be done by a licensed professional.

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Water Balence Basics

How do water clarifiers work?

In simple terms, they work on the principles of opposites attract and size matters. Much of the dirt and other contaminants that enter the pool are too small to be filtered out by the filter medium (sand in the sand filter, cartridge, D.E.). When the clarifier is added to the pool, it combines with the contaminant and creates particles large enough either to be caught by the filter medium or to settle to the bottom of the pool and be vacuumed out.

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How long should I wait after shocking my pool to be able to swim?

This depends on what you are using to shock your pool. If you are superchlorinating with a chlorine product such as granulated Cal-hypo chlorine power, we recommend you stay out of the pool until the chlorine level drops to 2.0-4.0 ppm. In some pools it could be up to 8 hours or 36 hours. It all depends on the chlorine demand of the pool itself. Re-testing the pool water is the only way to know if it is at this safe level to re-enter the pool.

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Is it better to use the drops from a test kit or test strips to test my pool water?

Both provide usable results when used properly. Reagents (drops) are more precise, offering results that are as accurate as possible, while test strips display results in more general ranges. However, test strips are generally considered easier to use than the reagents. Since results from both are acceptable, it is simply a personal preference.

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My DPD test results indicate there is no chlorine in the pool, but I know there is. Why does this happen?

This is usually an indication of too much chlorine in the water, causing the DPD to "bleach out." This makes it appear that there is no chlorine in the water. To get a readable color, dilute the test sample in the comparator with distilled water and repeat the test. Multiply the result by the appropriate factor to get a reasonably accurate reading. If you dilute the water 100% (a 1:1 or one to one ratio), multiply your test results by 2. If you dilute the water 300% (a 1:3 or one to three ratio), multiply your test results by 3. Never dilute higher than 1:3 ratio.

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My chlorine level is very high. Is there anything I can do to bring it down?

Yes, you can use a Chlorine Neutralizer, by simply following the directions on the label.

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My pH keeps dropping. What could be causing the problem?

Are you testing the Total Alkalinity? If not, your Total Alkalinity is probably low. What is Total Alkalinity? In simple terms, it is a key water element that helps keep the pH stable and in the proper range. The ideal range for Total Alkalinity depends on the type of sanitizer used. If you are using trichlor, sodium dichlor or bromine tablets, the range is 100-120 ppm. If you are using calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, or sodium hypochlorite, the ideal range is 80-100 ppm. See your local Berry Pool professional for more information.

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My pool is using up chlorine as quickly as I add it. What could be the problem?

Assuming that your pool is an outdoor pool and the correct amount of cyanuric acid (conditioner or stabilizer) has been added to the pool, there are many variables to look at (this is by no means a comprehensive list):

 What kind of chlorine are you using and how are you adding it to the pool? If you are hand-feeding granular chlorine, the chlorine can be used up very quickly when people use the pool since there is no additional chlorine being added to the water. If you are using an automatic chlorinator, the chlorine output is based upon the amount of time the circulation system is operated and the amount of tablets in the unit. If the circulation system is not being run long enough, not enough chlorine is getting into the water. If you are using a floating chlorinator, the water temperature and the number of tablets determine how much chlorine is getting into the water.

 Was the right amount of chlorine added? If the pool’s chlorine demand has been met or exceeded, any additional amounts of chlorine added will be used up quickly. For example, if the water is hazy or algae is present, the pool must be superchlorinated. Follow the label directions to ensure an adequate amount is added for your situation.

 Has there been a pool party, an increase in the number of swimmers in the pool, animals (dogs, birds, etc.) in the pool, fertilizers used in the pool vicinity, or anything else unusual around the pool such as construction or painting? All of these will cause an increase in chlorine usage.

 Is the water temperature 90° Fahrenheit or above, or has it been raining? High water temperatures and rain increase chlorine loss.

 Are there nitrates in the water? Nitrates are organics that can enter the water such as grass when the lawn is mowed, leaves during a storm, or in any number of other ways. Nitrates produce a tremendous chlorine demand, which means that you can add a 5-day supply of chlorine in the morning and find it gone that afternoon. Bring a water sample in to your local Berry Pool store to have it tested for nitrates, and follow the instructions for removal.

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What is TDS?

The sum total of all the dissolved material in the water is called Total Dissolved Solids or TDS. Sources of TDS in the water include disinfectants, balance chemicals, Calcium Hardness, source water, bather waste, algaecides, Total Alkalinity, windblown dust and dirt, phosphates, nitrates, and sulfates.

TDS buildup is inevitable. Every time you add chemicals to the water, the TDS increases. Even adding makeup water to the pool increases TDS. When water evaporates, only the pure water leaves the pool and all material that was dissolved in the water remains behind. This builds up over time, increasing the TDS.

The ideal range of TDS is from 1000 ppm to 2000 ppm, and the maximum level is 2500 ppm to 3000 ppm. There really is no way to reduce TDS chemically; you must drain or partially drain the pool and replace the water.

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When required to add multiple chemicals together, can I just mix them all into a bucket and throw them in the pool?

NEVER mix chemicals together. Mixing chemicals together may cause reactions that were not anticipated, such as explosions, fire, or the release of toxic chemical compounds. These can cause injury or damage to you and your pool. Always follow labels on chemical products for applications.

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Why do I need to shock my pool?

When sweat, urine and other swimmer wastes enter the pool water, they quickly react with the chlorine to produce Combined Available Chlorine, also known as chloramines. This Combined Available Chlorine is much less effective than Free Available Chlorine. It usually has a foul smell and is an eye and skin irritant. Shocking will free up the Combined Available Chlorine up and return it back to the water as Free Available Chlorine.

You can shock the pool with either chlorine or non-chlorine based product. However, if the pool has low or no chlorine or if it has algae, it must be shocked with a shock product containing chlorine.

Keep in mind that using a non-chlorine based product is not a substitute for true superchlorination. Non-chlorine based products should be used when the pool has at least a 1.0 ppm Free Available Chlorine level and no algae.

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Why is my pool always cloudy?

There are many different answers to this question. Your best bet is always to bring a sample of your pool water in to your local Berry Pool for a free water test. Here are a few possibilities:

 Poor circulation

 Mechanical problems with the filtering system

 Particles in the water are too small to be filtered out without chemical assistance

 Insufficinet circultation system run time

 High pH, High Total Alkalinity, High Calcium Hardness along with high temperatures

 Low Free Available Chlorine

 Poor oxidation

 Combined Available Chlorine

 Algae

 Heavy organic waste in the water (sweat, urine, or other organics)

 Heavy bather load

 Incompatible chemicals added into the water at the same time

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Can I acid wash a cartridge element?

As a rule of thumb, acid washing should only be done when it is clearly required and never without thoroughly cleaning the element with a degreaser first. Soak in a solution of one cup tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) to five gallons of water. Thoroughly rinse, then soak the cartridge in a solution of one part muriatic acid to twenty parts of water. Thoroughly rinse.

Acid washing is the single biggest factor leading to premature failure of a cartridge element. Failure to remove all oils and cleaning solutions before acid soaking will result in a permanent restriction of water flow and cause premature cartridge failure. The acid will cause the oils to set in place and create blockage in the element.

A better solution to cleaning a cartridge prior to acid washing is to us a filter degreaser. It will remove oils, soils and other organics from filter material; all in one easy step. To use, add 4 ounces of the degreaser per 1 gallon of water and place the cartridge in the solution for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

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How often should I clean my filter?

Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the filter whenever your pressure in your filter reaches 8 to 10 psi over your clean starting pressure. Consult your filter owner’s manual for the cleaning recommendations. For DE and Sand filters we recommend cleaning them once per year, right before the swimming season begins. We begin a filter cleaning regimen every February with our monthly pool service customers.

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Is it OK to backwash my sand filter once a week?

No. Up to a point, sand filters become more efficient as they get dirtier inside. As a sand filter traps debris, the particles become effectively part of the filtering medium, and enables the sand to trap smaller particles.

Most manufacturers recommend backwashing when the filter gauge reading increases to 8 to 10 pounds per square inch (psi) above the clean starting pressure (some recommend backwashing after a 6 to 8 psi increase). Following the recommendations of the filter manufacturer will ensure long, efficient filtering cycles and will save on water, chemicals and energy costs (if the pool is heated).

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My dogs swim in the pool often, and it seems that all the dog hair gets through the skimmer to the filter. As a result, I have to clean the filter all the time. Is there anything I can do?

Dog hair can easily slip through both the skimmer basket and the pump basket and get to the filter. To prevent this, use a Skimmer Sock. The sheer, porous material allows water to flow through but catches any fine debris, such as dog hair, that could possibly get through the skimmer basket. When dirty, simply pull the Skimmer Sock off the skimmer basket and replace with a new one.

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Pumps & Motors

How long should I run my pump?

The pump should be run as long as it takes to cycle all the water through the circulation system. This is called Turnover Rate, and it varies from pool to pool based upon the size of the pool, the plumbing, and the pump. A general rule of thumb is to run the pump for 6 to 8 hours during the winter and 10 to 12 hours during the summer.

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What is causing my motor to make a howling and screeching sound?

If your motor is making horrible noises, it is usually the motor bearings. As the motor ages, the grease lubricating the bearings in the end bells deteriorates. When this happens, the bearings begin to screech and the armature will wear down.

If neglected, the motor may need to be replaced. if your motor is not behaving as it should, feel free to call our office in Brownsville at (956) 541-1309 or Harlingen at (956) 440-7665 and setup an appointment for a motor diagnosis. We will determine what is wrong and recommend a solution.

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Algea

Can I get sick from algae?

You cannot get sick from the algae itself. However, algae can harbor disease-causing organisms that can cause illness. Algae also makes the pool surface dangerously slippery. Prevention is the best medicine; it is easier to prevent algae than it is to remove it.

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How can I get rid of the brown stains on my plaster pool?

Metals like copper, iron, calcium, and manganese may cause staining or scaling on the pool surface. The product that you use to eliminate the stains depends on how the stains manifest themselves. To prevent scale formation, on the pool surface, use Berry Pool’s Stain & Scale Remover. If the stains are metallic or the water is discolored, use a Metal Out to remove it from the water.

Keep in mind that if the stains or scales are very bad or have been on the pool surface for a long time, it may require multiple applications to remove them or they may not be removable. Also, if your source water is high in metals, include a small amount of Metal Out each time source water is added to the pool.

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I have been told I have Mustard Algae on my pool walls. How do I get rid of it?

Mustard algae appears as a yellow or yellow-brown powdery deposit on the pool walls or floor, usually on the side that receives the least sun. Once established, it is chlorine resistant and can exist in the presence of 2.0 to 4.0 PPM FAC. Shocking with chlorine, applying an algaecide, frequently brushing the pool, and circulation will clear it up.

As with all pool-related problems, prevention is the key. Proper water balance, sanitation and maintenance is a must. A Phosphate remover will eliminate the phosphates, which are a food source for algae. Keeping your phosphates at 0 will give the algae nothing to eat.

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Why do I get algae only in certain spots?

Your pool’s circulation system may not be completely covering the pool and sanitizing all the water in the pool. Places where the water does not circulate well are called “dead spots.” To eliminate dead spots, try installing eyeball fittings in your return lines to move water to those dead spots.

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