Your Ultimate Guide to Using Pool Shock the Right Way

Guide to using pool shock the right way
We can all agree that nobody wants to swim in a dirty pool. As pool owners, we know that a procedure called “shocking the pool” is the way to achieve a pool free of bacteria and other contaminants. But do we really understand the ins and outs of pool shock? Why do we do it? How often should we do it? How do we do it? Let’s take the mystery out of pool shock. Settle in and let’s take a look at your ultimate guide to using pool shock the right way.

Why Do We Use Pool Shock?

You know that strong smell of chlorine that we associate with public swimming pools? It turns out that particular odor isn’t from chlorine alone. When regular chlorine sanitizer mixes with perspiration, body oils, cosmetics, urine, and other contaminants, a chemical reaction takes place. When chlorine combines with those nasty particles, chloramines form, producing that distinctive odor. It is a sign that all is not pristine in the pool water. Swimming in water full of chloramines can irritate the eyes and skin of bathers. We need to break up those chloramines with a super dose of chlorine, which we call pool shock. Pool shock is a chemical that oxidizes these chemical compounds (chloramines) in your pool and restores the water to a sanitary condition. 

When Should We Shock the Pool?

During pool season, it is best to shock the pool weekly, at the very least every other week if the pool is not heavily used. Otherwise, the times it is recommended to apply shock are:
  • After a pool party (heavy usage)
  • After severe weather
  • At the beginning and end of pool season
  • After a potty accident
  • If you suspect algae is forming

What Supplies Do We Need?

There are several types of pool shock available. Calcium hypochlorite, sodium dichlor, and potassium monopersulfate. The experts at Fronheiser Pools can advise you about which type of pool shock is best for you and your pool. Whichever type of shock you use, it is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for usage. Typically, the supplies you need to have on hand are:
  • Protective eyewear and gloves
  • Chemical test strips
  • 5-gallon bucket for dissolving granular pool shock
  • Stir stick
  • Your choice of pool shock

What is the Procedure to Shock the Pool?

Most instructions for using pool shock recommend waiting until dusk to perform the task. The sun’s strong rays can reduce the effectiveness of the product. In addition, it is best to wait a full 8-12 hours before using the pool to avoid skin and eye irritation. Crank up the pool pump and filter to ensure the shock is mixed into the water most effectively.
  • Test your pool water
  • Dissolve the pool shock in the bucket if that is what is instructed
  • Mix granular particles thoroughly with the stir stick
  • Walk around the pool, slowly adding the shock mixture
  • Keep your pool pump and filter running at least 8-12 hours after adding shock

The Don’ts of Adding Pool Shock

Shocking the pool is a necessary part of pool maintenance. That being said, it is a chemical that can be dangerous if improperly used. Here are some important safety precautions.
  • Don’t breathe the shock from the container.
  • Don’t use on a windy day.
  • Do not mix different types of shock or open more than one container at a time.
  • Do not add shock directly to the pool, unless you are using a type that states it is to be used that way.
  • Don’t skip using your protective safety gear.
  • Do not add shock through the skimmer.
  • Do not cover the pool until chlorine levels test normal.
  The bottom line is that none of us want to swim in an unsanitary pool. If we use pool shock regularly and at other recommended times, we will easily be able to keep on top of built-up bacteria, algae, chloramines, and other contaminants. This is your ultimate guide to using pool shock the right way, but if you have any questions, consult the professional pool techs at Fronheiser Pools. We are happy to answer any questions you have about water care for your beautiful pool.
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