Swimming Pool Shock

Easy Pool Shock Treatment and Chlorine Safety. Best Way To Learn Pool Chlorine Shock For Swimming Pool Care and Maintenance. 

Mistakes to avoid for above ground, salt water swimming pools and in ground swimming pools for the best pool water care.

Why should I shock my pool?

Doesn't everyone do it?

Is it Saturday again?

Isn't super chlorination right? 

Here are the real answers every pool owner needs to know.

Pool Shock - The Right Way

It must be stated here that shock is NOT a product you buy. It's a process you do. Regardless of what anyone has told you. Regardless of any product you've seen at your pool store with the name "Shock" on it. 

The packages of shock are nothing more than stabilized or unstabilized chlorine. They're not super chlorine. Or mega chlorine. It's simply regular granular chlorine.

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What Are Chloramines?

Chloramines (combined chlorine) are when your pool chlorine (sanitizer) comes into contact with organic matter (swimmer waste, sweat, urine, etc...).

The pool chlorine kills the bacteria and organic matter and we all know what happens when an organism dies, it releases gas. 

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This is the chlorine smell when you enter a pool area. This can also result in a high chlorine demand and high free available chlorine.  Too much chlorine may cause a swimming pool rash or a chlorine rash.

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This problem is persistent with mostly indoor swimming pools as the sun and wind takes care of chloramines, bacteria, and other contaminants in outdoor pools or a chemical free pool.

How Your Pool Gets Chloramines

Far too often people say that too much chlorine is used when the opposite is true. There’s not enough pool chlorine to take care of the waste, bacteria, and contaminants in the pool or the effectiveness of the chlorine has been compromised.

Chloramines are the result of insufficient free available chlorine and usually results in that “chlorine odor” or smell and may result in a higher residual chlorine demand. 

Problems Associated With Chloramines Are:

  • Red, burning eyes
  • Burning sensation in the nose, throat and lungs
  • Dry, itchy skin and dry hair
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Asthmatic bronchitis
  • Chronic cough
  • Coughing up mucus
  • Your asthmatic bronchitis might flare up, especially in younger children
  • Bad chlorine smell
  • Use Your Pool Shock

    In dealing with chloramines, the best and most cost effective way to get rid of them is to use a good pool shock and literally “blast” them out of the pool with a high dose of pool chlorine.

    pool chlorine, swimming pool chlorine, how to shock a pool, shocking a pool, swimming pool care, basic pool care, how to take care of a pool

    This is also called “super chlorination”. Normally, you’ll want to bring up the chlorine level 10 times per every 1ppm of pool chlorine, or a 10:1 ratio. Get a good water testing kit for accurate pool water testing. 

    There are also many non chlorine shock products on the market such as potassium monopersulfate.  MPS does not shock the pool in the same way as chlorine does. It will not beak down cloramines already in the water.

    How To Shock A Pool & Chlorine Safety

    Always remember it's safety first.

    To start you'll need:

    1. Pair of heavy duty rubber gloves
    2. Goggles
    3. Pool chlorine.  I prefer liquid chlorine opposed to calcium hypochlorite especially if you have hard water levels.  
    4. Large bucket
    5. A stir stick or pool pole

    You'll want to shock your pool either in the late afternoon or early evening to allow the chlorine to do its job for the longest amount of time.

    Be sure all of the other readings are in line; the pH, total alkalinity, and hardness.

    First is to be sure your filtration system is properly working.

    • Scoop out as much debris as possible. The only thing you want soaking up your good pool shock is the water.
    • Fill the bucket up about 1/2 full of water
    • Add the correct amount of pool chlorine into the bucket.  It's 1 gallon of liquid chlorine per 10,000 gallons of pool water.
    • Stir the mixture with a good stir stick (PVC pipe works nicely)
    • Broadcast it around the perimeter of the pool starting in the deep-end and working aroundBe sure the filtration system is running and everything is working properly.
    • Test the water in the morning to be sure your super-chlorination was successful

    If you need to use the pool you can add another chemical called Thiosulphate which can remove chlorine from water or reduce it tremendously.  

    I don't recommend this because if you're not careful it can skew your other readings. And it's a real pain if you put too much in.   

    How Much Pool Chlorine Do I Need?

    The basic formula is to bring your pool chlorine level up 10 times per every 1ppm of free available chlorine or a 10:1 ratio.

    This is called breakpoint or super chlorination.

    To reach your breakpoint chlorination with a chloramine level of 1.0ppm or less you may follow this chart:

    Chart - Super Chlorinate Your Pool
    (Amount Needed to Reach 10 ppm)

    Type Of Swimming Pool Chlorine POOL GALLONS
    1,000 5,000 10,000 12,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 50,000
    Sodium Hypo 10 oz. 1 3/4 qts. 3 1/4 qts. 1 1/4 gal. 1 2/3 gal. 2 gal. 4 gal. 6 gal.
    Lithium Hypo 4 oz. 1 1/4 lbs. 2 1/3 lbs. 3 1/2 lbs. 4 3/4 lbs. 6 lbs. 12 lbs 18 lbs.
    Dichlor 2 1/4 oz. 11 oz. 1 1/3 lbs. 2 lbs. 2 2/3 lbs. 3 1/3 lbs. 6 3/4 lbs. 14 lbs.
    Calcium Hypo 2 oz. 10 oz. 1 1/4 lbs. 2 lbs. 2 1/2 lbs. 3 1/4 lbs. 6 1/2 lbs. 13 lbs.

    It’s all “all or nothing” approach so don’t skimp on the pool chlorine.

    When you super-chlorinate your pool you must go all out and pool shock it all at once, not over a few hours or days.

    Using less or skimping on pool chlorine will only make your swimming pool problems worse and the chloramines and bacteria will only get stronger and more resistant to future pool shocking treatments.

    Remember, you must use your pool chlorine and “slam it” or the chloramines, bacteria, and contaminants will return. 

    Ways To Control Chloramines

    You cannot eliminate chloramines or that pool chlorine smell altogether by simply shocking the pool. 

    However, you can take steps to contain them by trying a combination of the following:

    • Good filtration
    • Good pool water chemistry and swimming pool care
    • Good circulation
    • Good ventilation (mainly for indoor pools and spas)
    • Volcanic Ash retains the ammonia from chloramines in the filter rather than in the pool
    • Boost the pool chlorine level up 1.0ppm-2.0ppm from your normal level prior to having a heavy bather load
    • Require all swimmers to take a hot soapy shower prior to entering the pool. This is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce chloramines up to 50%.
    • Drain and refill (up to 1/3 of your pool volume) with fresh water
    • Nicely ask people to use the restroom prior to entering the pool
    • You can vacuum the bottom at least once per week and brush the steps and sides of the pool on a daily basis

    For the indoor pool at the YMCA, I have reduced my pool shock and experienced a vast decrease in the chloramines by adding two high powered fans at the deep end of the pool.

    We turn them on "high" blowing over the pool and toward the exhaust fan. We started doing this when we close at night and I gotta say this little extra step sure does work.

    We still need a good pool shock every now and then, but it has reduced the amount of pool chlorine and the frequency of the pool shocking.

    While a heavily used indoor pool may never be totally free of chloramines and bacteria, taking charge of the situation with a correct pool shock and doing these steps can greatly reduce both chloramines and your frustrations.

    For salt water swimming pools I would recommend you turning off your salt chlorine generators before a pool shock. The added amount of pool chlorine to a salt water pool may burn up you salt cell which will cost you in the long run.

    Just turn on the salt generator when the shock is over and the chlorine reaches a safe level of 2 - 4ppm.

    Obviously with natural swimming pools you would never add any kind of pool shock.

    Well, there you have it. Everything you need to know about having a successful pool shock.

    Good luck and keep swimming. 

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    What Other Visitors Have Said

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

    Pool Shocking 
    I'd like to thank you for all the info, guides on how to videos and all your effort for all the above. Also i have to let you know that your books are …

    Green Pool With Cloudy Water 
    Thanks so much for your website. We are new to taking care of a 10,000 gallon in-ground pool. We live in south Texas where it is muggy and hot. Our …

    Do I need to adjust PH immediately after shocking my pool? 
    I shocked my pool with chlorine and noticed my acid dosing machine measured the pH at 8.8, though before the chlorine addition the pH was only 7.6. …

    Superchlorinating A Swimming Pool Shock & CYA Level 
    If my pool is 80,000 litres,what is the calculation to superchlorinate with calcium hypochlorite (HTC)? Is it better to use sodium hypochlorite and …

    Not Starting Off Too Good.....Really Need Some Help! 
    I have a Pro Series Rectangular above ground pool, 18' L x 9' W, 52" height. Water level is 45.5" and holds 4,480 gallons of water. I just bought …

    Shocking A Salt Water Pool 
    Can "regular" "Super Shock & Swim" be used in a salt water pool? It seems that I am cleaning my salt cell weekly - what am I doing wrong? Also, scale …

    Haven't Used The Pool But Overshocked It Run Pump 
    We have not shocked the pool in a while (a week and a half). I was wondering is it safe to swim in while it is not shocked or treated? My children …

    Shock The Pool & Chlorine Tabs 
    I would like to know if it is safe to shock my pool while there are still chlorine tabs floating, or should I take the chlorine tabs out first? I don't …

    Grey Debris In Pool 
    Let me start by describing my pool. It's an Endless Pool, i.e. it has a propellor in the front that generates a current when on. This allows you to swim …

    Question On Your Video On Chlorine Not rated yet
    Just watched your video on FC, TC, & CC. You said you would shock the pools when the CC was greater than 0.6. Am i confused or should it be "LESS" than …

    Rusty Iron Bolt Stain Not rated yet
    I have a dark brown iron stain from a rusty bolt that the kids threw in my cement pool. The local pool place here told me that I could put some PH-DOWN …

    Cloudy Pool Won't Clear After Shock Not rated yet
    I have a 1500 gallon pool and I didn't see my kind of chlorine in your list. So I was wondering how many ounces of the powder shock (brand kem-tek. …

    Pool Has Chlorine Scent No Reading & Mixing Pool Chemicals Not rated yet
    The water in the pool is cloudy. I have a high chlorine level, but it still smells like chlorine. I've tried the clarifiers? Your literature …

    Shock & Swim The Same Day Itching Burning Eyes Not rated yet
    I was just wondering if you can shock your pool and swim in it the same day? My water has become a bit cloudy and I was told that I need to shock my …

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