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Pool Shock Treatment

Sujata Iyer Apr 7, 2019
You have a new pool, it's time for the first pool shock treatment, but you're totally lost about how to do it? This information will share with you everything that you need to know about shocking your pool.
Nothing feels better than a dip in the swimming pool in the hot and sweltering summer. So picture yourself in a pool. The water glistening in the sunshine, like liquid diamonds. Just wanting to cool you off. To refresh your body and mind. Ah! Heaven! But wait! What's that? That green, squishy 'substance' floating around?
Is that ... algae?!?? And what's that smell? Ewwww! Has this ever happened to you? If your answer is yes, the only solution is a pool shock treatment. Read ahead for information on it so that you can go about having one done for your pool at the earliest.

What is Pool Shock Treatment?

Shocking a pool is a water safety measure which involves adding a reasonable amount of chlorine to it with the objective of breaking down ammonia, nitrogenous compounds and other organic substances present in the water. This sanitizes the water and makes it bacteria-free. Such water is safe to swim in, as it doesn't give rise to rashes or other irritations.

Why Chlorine?

Quite often, when you swim in a pool, you complain of skin irritations or your eyes getting sore and red. We blame these reactions on the most convenient pool cleaner - (excess) chlorine.
Though it is true that chlorine is indeed used to clean pools, the notion that excess chlorine is what causes the reactions is totally incorrect. It is in fact, quite the opposite. It is not excess chlorine that is irritating your skin, it is less chlorine. Confused? Just read ahead in order to clear your doubts.
What Chlorine Does:
Chlorine basically performs the following 3 important functions,
  • Disinfects the water of dangerous micro-organisms that can cause diseases
  • Gets rid of algae and other organic contaminants
  • Breaks down any ammonia and nitrogenous compounds present in the water
Shocking the Pool:
Now let us see HOW exactly you can use chlorine to clean your pool and making it safe and odor-free to use.
  • When a chlorine compound is added to the water, it reacts with the water and other chemicals (nitrogen, ammonia, urine, sweat, etc.) to form hypochlorous acid and other such compounds. This contaminated chlorine is called chloramine or Combined Available Chlorine (CAC).
  • CAC is not useful to the water and this is what causes reactions and the unpleasant odor in most pools.
  • You need to find out how much chlorine is required to rid the water of the CAC and convert it into Free Available Chlorine (FAC).
  • FAC is the real chlorine that goes about killing the bacteria and other contaminating agents.
  • So now, the pool has FAC and CAC which together amount to the total chlorine content in the pool.
  • To separate the two, you must first check how much combined chlorine is actually present in the water.
  • To do this, you can use test kits that show you the levels of FAC, CAC, pH level, Calcium hardness, and total alkalinity in the water.
  • Once you have the amounts, calculate how much chlorine you need to add as per the given chart. It tells you how much of each of these must be present in the water, to ensure a safe swimming environment.
FAC (ppm) 2.0-4.0
CAC (ppm) 0
pH 7.4-7.6
Alkalinity 80-120
Calcium Hardness (ppm) 200-400

*These figures have been prescribed by THE ASSOCIATION OF POOL & SPA PROFESSIONALS as Suggested Chemical Standards for Swimming Pool.
  • Add chlorine (in any form, granulated or liquid) till your test kit shows you the mentioned figures.
  • When you see these figures, your pool can be used after half an hour or so.

FAQs about Pool Shock Treatment

Given next are answers to some simple questions that you may have about shock treatment.

Q)How often should I shock my pool?
A)Shock your pool on a weekly basis, especially in summers, when it is used frequently. Otherwise, when not in frequent use, shock it when you see organic matter (during rainfall, or thunderstorms, etc).
Q)When is the best time to shock my pool?
A)The best time of the day to shock the pool is before sundown or just before sunrise, to avoid the UV rays of the sun disturbing the process.
Q)What is the process of adding chlorine in the pool?
A)You can add liquid chlorine through the swimming pool filter. For granulated chlorine, pre dissolve it in a container of water (add chlorine to the water, not water to the chlorine). Pour the mixture in the filter system. Drain the last bits of undissolved grains by adding more water to the container.
Q)Are there any precautions that I should take while shocking my pool?
A)Yes, avoid coming in direct contact with the chemical. Wear protective goggles and gloves. Also, read the instructions manual of the pool shock products that you use.
Those were some tips for a pool shock treatment. So, go right on and get everything that you need to shock your pool. Make it clean, safe, and odorless, for you and your family!