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How to Shock Your Pool Water Safely

On Apr 3, 2017

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Many homeowners in the Southern states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, are preparing their pools for spring and summer enjoyment. Your pool is the perfect backyard oasis, filled with refreshing crystal clear water. Don’t let bacteria and algae in your pool water ruin your fun! You may need to shock your pool water before opening your pool for the season.

“Shocking” your pool is actually super chlorination to eliminate the chloramines, the dead bacteria attached to chlorine molecules. You are adding three to five times more chlorine than normal. Shocking the water oxidizes the chloramine and turns it into gas. This is the odor we associate with fresh water pools, especially when they are indoors.

Adding this additional chlorine compound to the pool kills algae and bacteria that can turn the pool green. This important maintenance step keeps the water fresh and clear. The size of the pool or spa tub and the number of people using it will determine when to shock the pool water for maximum sanitation.

Types of Shock Chemicals

As part of regular maintenance to keep your pool safe and clean, you may need to shock your pool water once or twice a month. There are four basic shock chemical compounds:

  • Calcium hypochlorite
  • Lithium hypochlorite
  • Granular chlorine
  • Potassium peroxymonosulfatenon-chlorine shock

Calcium hypochlorite is the most popular since it is 65% powdered chlorine mixed with other chemicals. All powder must dissolve in a five-gallon bucket of water before it is added to the pool. The pool should not be used for eight hours while the additive dissolves completely. 

Lithium hypochlorite is 35% powdered chlorine. It does not need to be dissolved in a bucket. It can be poured directly into the pool, but an eight-hour wait is recommended. This substance is used in pool water with a high calcium content.

Granular chlorine is a 60% mixture of chlorine and cyanuric acid, a stabilizer. This still requires an eight-hour wait before using the pool and nighttime applications are the best. The cyanuric acid helps to prevent sun absorption.

Hot tub spas, fresh water, and salt water pools can use the potassium peroxymonsulfate compound that does not contain chlorine. This is used to shock pool water that uses bromine in place of chlorine. It can be added anytime, and you only have to wait 15 minutes before entering the pool. This type of treatment is very common to shock pool water spa tubs. It absorbs the bacteria without leaving any odor. Spa tubs are smaller than pools, and the hot water stimulates the growth of some bacteria.

Tips for Adding Chemicals

Various types of pools will have different recommendations to shock pool water. The volume of water will determine the amount and frequency of chlorine additives. You are working mainly with chlorine products so wear gloves, protective eyewear and old clothes. 

Always add the powdered products to a bucket filled with water. Warmer water will dissolve granules faster than cold water. Stir with a wooden stick.

Do not put the shock treatment into the skimmer. Slowly pour the liquid by the return water line outlet. This will distribute the solution around the pool if the pump motor is on.

Always apply the compounds at dusk. This will prevent the sun from neutralizing the chlorine.

Check the pH balance after the shock treatment and add alkaline substances as needed. The chlorine reading should be 3ppm or less for most pools. For more information on the proper pool water chemical balance, check out this article.

Check for Leaks

A pool leak will lower the water level and eventually upset the pH balance. It can lead to dirt entering the pool and the build-up of bacteria. Contact Aquaman Leak Detection if you suspect a leak anywhere in the pool system. We serve the communities in and around Brevard County, Florida, and Houston, Texas with fast, reliable service. Our patented leak detection service locates leaks quickly so you can get back to enjoying your pool.

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