An Expert Interview About Pool Chemicals


R&R Pools has carried the BioGuard line of chemicals for many years, trusting the quality of their products.  Each season, our staff goes through extensive training with BioGuard helping to ensure you receive the best recommendations on your water conditions.

Our clients who are currently on the BioGuard line of chemicals have seen the difference in the quality of their products, but what are these products doing for you?  We have compiled a listing of expert questions and have asked Michael Corrigan from BioGuard to provide the answers.  Mike has been with BioGuard for 21 years and he has conducted many seminars, and more recently webinars, for our clients during this time.

What sets BioGuard apart from other chemical lines?

MC: BioGuard partners with what we feel to be the best Pool and Spa professionals in the industry.  BioGuard has state of the art water analysis providing step by step recommendations to maintain safe and clear water.  And lastly, BioGuard has proven products, innovation, and programs since 1963.

Why is it important that a BioGuard Dealer re-train every season?

MC: As leaders in the industry BioGuard is always developing new products and technology to enhance and improve your customers experience so it’s very important to ensure that our dealers are the best in the industry that they continue to learn and improve.

Why is it so important to have my water tested on a monthly basis by a pool professional?

MC: The water in your pool or hot tub is going to be changing all the time.  You are continually adding new water to the pool due to splash out, evaporation, backwashing as well as rain water.  All this new water is going to have an effect on water chemistry so it is vital that consumers bring the water in to be tested to ensure they are getting the best protection for them and their investment.

When I take my water in for testing the results show free and total chlorine readings – what is the difference?

MC: ‘Free’ available chlorine is a measurement of active chlorine that can kill bacteria.  When contaminants get in the pool like suntan lotions, hairspray, perspiration, urine they contain nitrogen and that will combine with ‘free’ chlorine and then becomes a Chloramine.  Chloramines do nothing and will cause cloudy water, chlorine smell and irritation.   ‘Total’ chlorine is a measurement of the ‘free’ available chlorine combined with the Chloramines.  If there is a difference in the readings then you need to oxidize, shock, the pool.

Why is it important to ensure my pool is properly balanced?  Isn’t that just adding more chemicals into the pool that could be hazardous to my family?

MC: Water needs a certain amount of minerals and if it doesn’t have it then it will try to get it from other things like surfaces or plumbing and start to damage the pools.  So when we say we are ‘Balancing the water’ we are giving the water what it needs to ensure that we are protecting the customer and protecting the pool.  Imbalanced water can affect swimmer comfort, equipment longevity, water clarity and chemical efficiencies like chlorine.

R&R Pools offers chlorine oxidizers (shock) as well as a chlorine free oxidizer.  What is the difference between the two and is one product better than the other?

MC: Oxidation is a process to remove the chloramines that I was talking about above.  You can use both chlorine oxidizers or non-chlorine oxidizers to remove chloramines in the pools.  Typically we use chlorines oxidizers when we are trying to kill algae along with getting rid of chloramines.  The main benefit of using non-chlorine oxidizers is that you swim 15 minutes after adding to the pool.  We have an amazing product that gives the best of both worlds… Smart Shock.  It is a chlorine oxidizer that you can swim 15 minutes after application.

I have heard that using saltwater is less harsh on a swimmer than a chlorine pool.  Is there any truth behind this and is a saltwater pool just as effective as chlorine?

MC: So I need to dispel a big misconception about salt water pools… They are a chlorine pool!  The Salt and water flow through an electrical cell and produce chlorine.  Salt water pools tend to feel less harsh than your typical chlorine pool because the salt does make the water feel nice on your skin.  But salt water pools can be more harsh on the pool equipment and surface of  the pool.  They tend to promote more scale than regular pools.  So you need to be more diligent with your water balance and also need to use a scale inhibiting product regularly, like our Saltscapes Scale Defender.

Should pool chemicals be added in a particular order?

MC: Definitely! Please follow the ALEX print out in the order that is presented.  This is really important due to the fact that ALEX makes lots of minor adjustments to the water from the different chemicals that are being added.  If they are added in the wrong order it can affect the balance we are trying to achieve or if we are trying to kill algae or clear a pool we may not see the result we are looking for.

I have an algae bloom in my pool, and a party this weekend, what is my best strategy?

MC: Yes, definitely use a system such as the Algae Kill Kit, but just be aware that it is unlikely we’ll get the pool perfectly clear by the weekend.  Our goal will be to kill the algae, meaning the pool will go from green to cloudy white.  It will take some time to get it clear after that.  

You could also use R&R Pools cloudy to blue service which will circulate the water through additional filters ridding the pool of particles which present the cloud or murky look.

What can I use to prevent an algae growth or a cloudy water outbreak besides my BioGuard Smart Pak.

MC: Well the main keys to keeping your pool clear all the time are…

1. Circulation – making sure the pump is running enough and efficiently is very important along with direction of the jets. 

2. Filtration – cleaning the filter once a season and backwashing properly had a huge impact on water clarity and efficiency. 

3. Chemistry – Water balance and 3 step system (Smart Pak) are essential in keeping water clean, clear and algae free.  Using products like Optimizer Plus, Pool Complete, Skim Mor Socks will definitely help keep the pool cleaner and allow the Smart Pak to work more efficiently.

What is the ideal water temperature for a swimming pool?

MC: Really it depends on what you like… but keep in mind that the hotter the temperature the more chlorine the pool will consume.  For example… when the pool rises from 80 degrees F to 85 degrees you will increase chlorine consumption by 50%.  This is why testing chlorine levels regularly is so important to ensure that there is enough in the pool all the time to keep the pool safe!

I want to reduce or eliminate pool chemicals for the safety of my family and friends, how can I go chemical free in my pool water?

MC: Unfortunately there isn’t a way to go chemical free.  You need to use a sanitizer to keep the water safe and there are only 2 sanitizers approved for use in Canada, Chlorine & Bromine.  But if you follow the steps I talked about in question 10 this will greatly reduce the amount of chemicals being used and give you great looking and feeling water.

We answer a lot of questions regarding chemicals every day in our industry, do you happen to have any further comments that may help a homeowner to understand the importance of water testing and keeping up with their pool maintenance?

MC: Over my 30 years of experience in the pool industry, getting your pool water tested with a professional like R&R Pools and following their recommendations of water balance and maintenance, will have your pool looking and feeling amazing all summer, so you can just enjoy it.  It’s so key to come in regularly, as least once a month, to get your water tested.

 Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Mike!  

If you have any other questions or want to know more about Hot Tub Chemicals or Accessories, you can reach us at or 902-876-2773. 

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