Swimming Pool Shocking: Basics and Timing

There are a few concepts that pool owners will be considering as they look to maintain their swimming pool and keep it clean, and one of these is pH balance. Between chlorine and other chemicals that may be involved in sanitizing your pool and its water, it’s possible for pH levels to get out of whack — and one process that may be used to remedy this situation is known as shocking the pool.

At Packman’s Pools, we’re here to assist clients not only with the planning and design of a fantastic swimming pool, but also with important themes for cleaning and sanitation. What exactly is shocking a pool, what happens when you shock your pool, and when and how should you be going about this process? This multi-part blog will go over everything you need to know.

swimming pool shocking basics timing

Pool Shocking Basics

The term “pool shock” refers to both a product and a specific process. The product in question is typically a form of chlorine, or other chemicals that are used to clean or sanitize the water of your pool. The process is known as superchlorinating, and it helps to shock the water of your swimming pool into a state where chlorine levels are increased for a short period of time.

This allows the pool to be properly cleaned from top to bottom, killing off any bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that may have accumulated. If your pool is not superchlorinated enough or with the correct form of chlorine, it can cause problems in the long run.

What Pool Shock Does to Your Pool

When you apply shocking products to a pool, its job is to fight off chloramine and other contaminants that may have made their way in. In addition, it will also heavily increase the levels of “free chlorine” in your pool water. This is an important distinction, because it’s not the same thing as free chlorine levels in isolation.

When you shock your pool, two actions will take place: 1) It will destroy organic compounds that are responsible for chloramine formation; 2) It will oxidize nitrogen compounds into harmless nitrate particles. This helps to get rid of contaminants that can’t be completely removed by normal chemical sanitization, but that will eventually cause problems in the long run.

In addition, this process will turn harmful chloramine into a gas, which will evaporate into the atmosphere.

Timing for Pool Shocking

If you’ve decided it’s time to shock the pool (more on shocking frequency in part two of our series), the ideal time tends to be at night. This is for one primary reason: Chlorine can be neutralized by UV rays from the sun, meaning you’ll have to add more chlorine within a few days.

However, the pool water won’t be exposed to direct sunlight during this process if you do it at night, and with no UV rays or wind around, it’ll allow for maximum chlorine action.

For more on shocking a pool, or to learn about any of our swimming pool products or services, speak to the staff at Packman’s Pools today.