Have you been neglecting your swimming pool maintenance while summer is still taking its time showing up?
Or, have the recent rains left your pool less than perfect for swimming?
Why would you need to shock your pool?
There are three main reasons to shock your pool:
Heavy rain can dilute your pool, leaving you with very low chlorine levels – and we’ve certainly been having our fair share of rain in June!
Sunshine also breaks down your chlorine
Swimmers are constantly bringing in contaminants like make-up, sweat, and bacteria that normal chlorine levels can’t always fight – certain living organisms can still survive in your pool with its normal chlorine amounts; others can become completely immune to it.
What is Pool shock?
The process of shocking your pool is simply
super-chlorinating it in order to kill the build-up of chloramines and anything
else floating around that doesn’t belong.
What are chloramines?
Chloramines, or combined chlorine, are what get into your pool when chlorine disinfectants combine with the sweat, oils and urine from the people swimming in your pool.
So when you shock your pool, you’re adding enough
chlorine to destroy the chloramines.
Remember to protect yourself: Pool shock can harm your skin and bleach your clothing, so make sure you wear clothes you don’t mind ruining, and gloves and protective eyewear.
Preparing the chemicals: Once you’ve chosen your pool chlorine shock, you’ll need to read the manufacturer’s instructions and prepare it accordingly.
For example, granular shock will usually need to be
dissolved in a 20-litre (about five-gallon) bucket of water before it’s poured
into the pool. But other shock, such as lithium hypochlorite can be poured
You’ll also need to determine the proper amount of shock
to use with your particular size of pool and prepare it accordingly.
When to shock your pool
Although most people only decide to shock their swimming
pools when they see an overgrowth of algae or start getting cloudy pool water,
but by this time cleaning your pool could take a lot more work.
When your free chlorine levels drops below 3 ppm, it’s time to shock your pool. Free chlorine is the chlorine that is actively cleaning your pool and ‘free’ to do its work, compared to ‘combined’ chlorine which is the chlorine that is already used up in the water from sanitising it. Total chlorine is the ‘free’ and ‘combined’ together.
“Free chlorine is what is most desired during the shocking process. We want a lot of free chlorine because that means it hasn’t been contaminated and it will help keep your pool clean if contaminates do get into your pool.”
Before you first use your pool for the season: – your pool definitely needs a pre-boost of chlorine before everyone starts jumping in with all their germs. It’s especially important if you’ve had a cover on all winter. Who knows what might be lurking under there?
After extreme weather conditions: heavy wind or rain can carry in debris and algae spores that can get out of hand quickly
After heavy pool use
At the first sight of algae: this can bloom and spread quickly
Types of pool shock
There are several different types of pool shock
on the market and it’s important to know the difference, as some need more dissolving
time than others; while some treatments may affect your water acid levels to
rise and to know how to monitor these.
There are also non-chlorine shock treatments, so people
can actually swim very soon after this treatment is applied (as quickly as
fifteen minutes after administering the non-chlorine treatment) – this is a
popular type of shock to use in between super-chlorinating during heavy swim
Most pool shocks are best used at night so that the
sunlight doesn’t decrease its effectiveness.
It’s also best to shock at night so that it can be left
alone for several hours, giving it time to work.
How long does it take to
shock a pool?
The actual process shouldn’t take more than an hour, but
depending on the product used, it could be up to 8 hours before you can use it.
Remember to leave it alone while it’s doing its stuff! It’s usually recommended
to leave it overnight, and if you do it on a Monday you’ll have a pristine pool
for the rest of the week.
Check your pool chemistry
after shocking your pool
A pool expert says: “After you’ve waited the recommended number of hours, you still need to test your pool’s chlorine levels (pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness especially) before letting anyone swim.
Make sure the levels have returned to normal before
you allow anyone in.
Note that low pH levels are important here: if your pH level is over 8.0, your pool shock is basically useless. Shoot for a pH level of around 7.2 if you need to lower it.”
And run the filtration system
While shocking your pool will help kill any germs any algae, it won’t actually get rid of them; for that, you need your filter. So be sure to run your pool filter for at least 24 hours.
According to a pool expert, here are some excellent additional
After the pool shock is added,
pool toys and accessories can also be thrown in for decontamination.
Never add pool shock directly
to the skimmers.
Keep the pool uncovered until
chlorine levels return to normal.
NEVER swim before checking to
make sure the chlorine levels are at 3 ppm or less.
Use the entire amount of shock
necessary for your pool’s size.
Don’t use shock on windy days.
The product needs to stay in the pool, not in your face!
Shock your pool once a week to
keep contaminates and algae from becoming a problem.
can brush your pool after shocking to distribute chlorine more evenly.
Shocking your pool is a great way to bring it back to its
cleanest state. Keeping up with your swimming pool maintenance is important,
but if you miss a few weeks your swimming pool may become cloudy, that is why
it is good to shock your pool. Once you’ve brought your pool water back to its
proper balance, then you can enjoy your clean and crystal clear swimming pool
with your friends and family.
Need any help with your swimming pool? Get in touch, we’d love to help