The term “shocking a pool” sounds more interesting than it really is! The short version of shocking simply refers to adding chemicals to the pool to kill algae and bacteria. In other words, it’s a necessary part of pool maintenance.
Of course, it’s all a bit more complicated than that, like most things with keeping your pool clean and healthy. However, your family isn’t interested in the process of keeping the pool clean; they simply want to know “How soon after shocking the pool can I swim?” Let’s look at how “shocking” it can be!
Have you ever noticed a strong chemical smell coming from a pool? It might be logical to think the pool was just cleaned. Logic or not, you would be wrong. In fact, the strong smell happens when there is a lack of chemicals in the water and the bacteria that loves pool water is multiplying. This is the source of the strong smell. And don’t forget, some bacteria can cause a variety of diseases. Not a pleasant thought on a hot, sunny day when everyone wants to swim.
Shocking the pool means adding appropriate chemicals to the water so the contaminants–algae and bacteria–are killed. There is also the issue of the combined chlorines created when the chlorines bind with the contaminants. Everything else you do for or to the pool will be pointless and a waste of money if you don’t treat the pool water properly on a regular basis.
Chlorine in pool water occurs in three ways: free chlorine, combined chlorine, and total chlorine.
It is free in the sense that it can interact freely with other chemicals, bacteria, and algae. And it does a really good job of it, killing them off and then emitting them out into the atmosphere.
As mentioned above, combined chlorine is created when chlorine finds the opportunity to latch onto ammonia or nitrogen. And it smells when it can’t interact with water and loses its ability to sanitize pool water.
As the name suggests, total chlorine is a combination of free and combined chlorine. It is measured as the total amount of chlorine in the water.
It’s important to understand how these three work. Shocking the water releases the combined chlorine, sending the contaminants into the atmosphere and away from your pool. This increases the amount of free chlorine in your pool. That’s a good thing.
If this all sounds like your high school chemistry class, you’re right. It gets complicated when you’re trying to determine when and what kind of shock to use: chlorinated or non-chlorinated. As a rule, free chlorine needs to be raised to 10 times your combined chlorine to hit what is known as the “breakpoint.” Another headache.
Our videos here at Pool School Videos offer simple instructions on which shock to use and when to use it. We can help make pool maintenance easier, faster, and more effective. Then you can get the family back into the pool with confidence.
So, you’ve shocked your pool with the appropriate chlorine, the pH is balanced, and the water is sparkling clean. Your family is gathering up the pool toys and changing into their swimsuits. Is it safe for everyone to get into the water right away or do they need to wait? If so, how long?
These are important questions because there are real dangers involved in jumping in too soon. The temporary high level of chlorine that shock causes is great for removing algae and other contaminants but can be extremely harsh on both skin and eyes.
Those are serious issues, so you need to get this right. Plus, certain concentrations of chlorine can be highly corrosive, so pay attention when experts say “Don’t swallow the water! If you do, get immediate medical attention!” Are you worn out with worry right about now?
The main thing to keep in mind is that, in general, you need to wait at least 8 hours after shocking your pool or whenever the water’s chlorine level drops back to a safe range (ideally 5 parts per million or less). At that level, the water is safe to get in and there shouldn’t be any problems.
When shocking a pool, it is important to be patient to let the shock not only do its job but allow the water to come back down to a safe chlorine level. But, it’s understandable that there may be some confusion around this topic as well as exactly what kind of shock to use, etc. Pool School Videos is here to help!
We offer a specific video in our series of 20 self-paced videos that answer questions like this for you. In watching our videos and then carrying out the clear, easy-to-understand instructions yourself, you will also learn how to save money on pool maintenance and prevent costly problems in the future. No need to hire a pricey pool service!
You also get customized guidance through our private Facebook group when you buy the videos. You can even post specific questions in the group and we will respond within 24 hours!
Mike Steele, a pool professional with over 30 years of professional experience in swimming pool maintenance, is the man behind Pool School Videos. In these videos that he has created, you’ll get professional solutions that you won’t find anywhere else.
The information is clear, accurate, and easy to follow, so you can solve both current pool maintenance problems as well as preventing future problems. You will save both time and money, allowing you more opportunity to actually enjoy your pool with your family instead of worrying about putting them at risk of skin and eye issues or worse.