When to Shock a Pool
When people, including but not limited to, friends, relatives, children and uninvited skinny dippers enter a pool, they bring biological and chemical agents with them. These include sweat, skin cells, popsicle residue, deodorant, lotions and well, worse. The great outdoors also finds its way into our pool water: leaves, feathers, frogs and of course lots of bugs like to have a good swim from time to time, too. All of these things combined with water create bacteria.
The best way to get that gunk out of there is by shocking your pool. Shocking the pool means getting enough chemicals into the water to attack those bacteria. Shocking often uses a combo of chlorine, ozone or bromine. They attack the bad stuff by oxidizing them.
Oxidizing occurs when an oxygen molecule strikes a contaminant. After oxygenation, tiny particles sometimes stick around in their broken down components. Over time, that leads to a build up of contaminants and microorganisms. This can transform your pool from a haven of fresh fun to a swamp full of moldy bacteria.
When you are killing bacteria, the biggest challenge is getting rid of any leftover contaminants. A real problem happens when shocking is unable to attack the contaminants. Sometimes, they fail to latch onto bacteria and instead attach to other organic matter. Your cleaning agents then ends up effecting the least important elements in your pool, causing the bacteria to multiply into a cloud in your pool.
Increasing the amount of oxidizing sanitizer can get rid of the mass of bacteria. By boosting the amount of sanitizer, you could even get rid of 99% of your shock treatments. However, this new strategy is best if your pool is at a constant rate of use. If it’s used sparingly, this method could be wasteful and end up costing you more time and money than it’s worth.
How Should I Shock My Pool?
If you chlorinate your pool often, you probably know when your pool needs to get shocked. When you get a pool, you should be able to get a test kit, which has tests for two types of chlorine in your pool: free and total. Total chlorine is exactly what it sounds like; it is the total amount of chlorine that you’ve used in your pool. Free chlorine is the amount that is supposed to be used to kill bacteria. Ideally, free chlorine and total chlorine should be the same amount. However, when the total amount of chlorine has gone past the amount of free chlorine, you need to get it reduced.
We’ve all been in a swimming pool and been knocked over by the chlorine smell. It can even burn our eyes and nasal passages, not to mention turn beautiful blond hair into a weird shade of green usually reserved for sea monsters. It might surprise you to learn, though, that this was probably the result of too little chlorine rather than too much. If the level of organics in the water has gotten out of hand, what you smell is the unfortunate byproduct of chloramines, which is a combination of chlorine and ammonia.
You should get a regular shock schedule going as soon as possible. However, there is not one single formula you can use to find out what the schedule should be. Each pool can have its own shock schedule due to environmental conditions and different kinds of pool usage. If your pool begins to get cloudy before treatments and clears up rapidly afterward, then do less shocking. Also, put more oxidizing agent into your pool. Finally, if your pool is smaller, it will need to be shocked more.
Finding the right chemical balance in your beloved pool can be hard. But no worries, Sanchez Pools is here to help! Contact us today for help with any part of pool maintenance or even our pool cleaning services. Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you in any way we can.