If you own a swimming pool then you’ll need to make sure that the water quality is the best that you can possibly get, to keep you and your family safe from illness and other waterborne ailments.
There is a range of treatments available for pools and one that you may have come across is pool shock.
But what does pool shock do and how often, if at all, should you use it?
Pool shock is a granular pool chemical that should be added to your swimming pool at least once each week. If the pool is frequently used, or if there has been a lot of rain or hot, sunny weather, you should shock it more frequently.
Swimming pools get dirty, that’s a fact.
No matter how careful you are your pool will collect dirt, faecal matter, urine, fake tan, sweat, dust and a whole range of other things that you don’t want to be swimming with.
Most pool owners use a chlorine based treatment to kill the bacteria in the water and chlorine is one of the most effective ways of achieving this if used properly.
The chlorine actively seeks out contaminants in the water and combines with them at a microscopic level to destroy them.
When the chlorine has combined with these, it becomes inactive and is no longer effective and is known as ‘combined chlorine’.
You can consider combined chlorine as ‘bad’ and high levels will result in a pool that smells of chlorine and develops foam or lots of bubbles.
So, it must be removed to keep the water sparkling and clean.
- 24 bags (1-pound each)
- Fast-Acting Quick-Dissolving Swimming Pool Sanitizer
- Kills bacteria, controls algae, and destroys organic contaminants in pools
- 68% calcium hypochlorite
- Recommended Dosage: 1 pound per 10,000 gallons of water
Pool shock destroys the combined chlorine
By ‘shocking’ or super chlorinating the pool we seek to raise the chlorine levels to a high amount, for a short period of time, to levels that are high enough to ‘burn off’ or oxidise the combined chlorine.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds
Okay, so the chemistry may be a little tricky to understand but, to be honest, as long as we recognise the need to ‘super chlorinate’ or shock our pool regularly then there is little need to go into great detail as to how the process works.
The basics are:
- Our pool water will get dirty no matter how careful we are.
- We need to maintain clean water for the health and safety of the pool users so we add a chlorine based chemical to the water.
- The chlorine destroys the dirt and bacteria but if it is not dealt with then the ‘combined or used’ chlorine can cause problems in it’s own right.
- We ‘shock or super chlorinate’ the pool to destroy the combined/used chlorine.
Shocking the pool is easy with pool shock
Most commercially operated and large swimming pools and leisure centres will typically use higher levels of their standard chlorine chemicals to shock the pool.
They will do this by mixing concentrated levels of Calcium Hypochlorite or their normal granular additive, with water before adding this directly to the pool.
At the same time they will typically raise the levels of the pool dosing machines to ensure that the chlorine levels are higher than normal for a short period of time, typically overnight.
The water will circulate through the entire pool system and the enhanced chlorine levels will destroy any resident bacteria.
At the pool where I previously worked this process was undertaken at least once a week and more often during period of high usage – with the smaller pools receiving the treatment more frequently.
For most home based pools your normal chlorine treatment may involve the use of chlorine in a tablet form, which is added to the filtration system and which gradually dissolves into the pool water.
To shock your pool you’ll need a more suitable product which is where ‘pool shock’ comes in.
It is easy to use and is the main option for small, home pool owners as it often comes in sachets the contents of which can be added directly to the swimming pool water.
You’ll also find it in granule form, you simply add the correct number of scoops to the water and leave for the specified time.
What’s the best type of pool shock to use?
There is a variety of pool shock available and different people will have different views but, from my experience as a pool plant operator, I’d recommend that you only use a chlorine based shock.
It’s a tried and trusted solution for maintaining pools of all shapes and sizes and it is the most common treatment in commercial pools – it’s simply the most effective at destroying bacteria – it’s also cheap when compared to other ‘modern’ options.
It’s also the only pool chemical that will kill algae if you have it growing in your pool.
- MULTI-PURPOSE – This swimming pool shock works as a strong sanitizer, clarifier, and algicide for clear blue water.
- EXTRA POWER – Due to its high percentage of chlorine, Mega Shock is a very effective treatment for a quick chlorine boost. The Rx Clear Mega shock packets are chlorinating essentials.
- MIX BEFORE YOU FIX – Add this granular powder to a bucket of water before you begin dissolving it in your pool. Add a 1 lb bag per 10,000 gallons of pool water for smart maintenance.
- BEAT THE GREEN – Keep in your swimming pool algae free by adding 2 bags (2 lbs) of shock per 14,000 gallons of pool water. These granules work as an algaecide if your pool needs cleaning, or if you’re opening for the season.
- WORKS BEST AT NIGHT – Maximize performance by adding this shock to your pool at night. Wait to swim 8 to 10 hours after you start the application. Trust Rx Clear to supply reliable chemicals, supplies, and equipment for your above or in ground pool, spa or hot tub.
Adding shock raises the alkalinity of your pool water
It’s important that you always follow the instructions that come with your chosen pool shock.
Chlorinated pool shock will always raise the alkalinity of your pool water and these levels can be hazardous to bathers.
Always use the correct amount of shock for the volume of water and always leave for the specified time period.
Before anyone uses the pool you should always test the Ph levels of the water – these should be between 7.2 – 7.6.
If higher than 7.6 then leave the pool and test again in an hour, waiting until the level is satisfactory.
If lower than 7.2 then check your chlorine dosing ( or tablet ) and adjust. Check the levels again in about an hour.
Avoid liquid pool shock
Simply put it won’t do the job.
Most liquid shocks are too diluted to be of any use in a pool, they are also very expensive when compared to granular pool shock.
The other disadvantage is that you cannot control the dosage levels of liquid shock where, as with granular, you can easily manage the concentration level.
The best pool shock?
Chlorine based shock should always be your first choice.
A calcium hypochlorite based shock is the most cost effective, easy to obtain and easy to use option.
Commercial pool operators tend to use HTH as it’s widely available and recognised as one of the most reliable treatments.
Maintaining a healthy pool should be your aim as a pool owner and a regime of shocking the pool will be necessary to keep your water in the best condition.
Modern pool shock treatments are easy and quick to use and the pool can be left overnight while the ‘shock’ does it’s stuff.
For the best all round results, that will destroy bacteria and keep algae at bay you should always choose a chlorine based pool shock such as calcium hypochlorite.
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