Pool Shock

Posted by Brad Morris on February 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

The term shock treatment might sound extreme, but it’s a term well known to most pool owners (or it should be!). Shocking your pool protects you and your family from bacteria and organic contaminants, and helps to prevent and correct most common pool water problems in chlorine-based pools.

The best way to keep your pool water clear of unwanted contaminants this pool season is by shocking your pool with a regular infusion of chlorine.

What is Shock Treatment?

Shock treatment is the addition of heavy doses of chlorine to your pool, in excess of your normal water balance routine. Although a normal chlorine dosage is between 1 and 4 ppm, when you shock treat, you add between 5 and 10 ppm available chlorine.

Why is Shock Treatment Important?

The primary reason to shock treat your pool is to kill algae spores in your water before they form unsightly algae colonies. You want to get the algae before it multiplies, otherwise you’ll have to add three times as much. The high amounts of chlorine added through shock treatment also destroy other organic matter in the pool such as ammonia and organic contaminants, and helps prevent unpleasant odors and eye irritation for swimmers.

When Should You Use Shock Treatment?

Shock treat your pool weekly throughout the summer. It’s best to do so right before sundown so that the treatment has a chance to take effect before the sun’s rays begin to damage the chlorine. Shock treatments are also useful if an event occurs that is likely to contaminate your water with organic matter. Such events include inclement weather, such as rainstorms or heavy wind, and seasonal pollen blooms. Every rainfall brings algae spores into your pool. It’s also a good idea to shock treat your pool if you’ve had more people using the pool than usual, such as after a pool party or family gathering.

How Should You Shock Treat Your Pool?

Before adding the shock treatment to your water, remove any organic material or debris from the pool. If there are leaves floating in your pool or skimmer baskets, they will absorb the chlorine you add, requiring you to use more product to get the same effect.

Next, use test strips to check the pH level of your pool water, and adjust to between 7.2 and 7.4. The chlorine is more effective at these pH levels.

At this point, you’re ready to add the shock treatment. Make sure your filtration system is operating, then add 5 to 10 ppm of your preferred  brand of shock product according to the instructions on the product label. Handle the product carefully to avoid eye and skin burns. Be sure to follow the product labels carefully when broadcasting the product.

After shock treating your pool, wait 30 minutes before testing the chlorine levels. When the chlorine level is 4 ppm or less, it’s safe to jump in and enjoy! Shock treating your pool on a weekly basis will keep your pool water shimmering and your family splashing all summer long.

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