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How to Shock a Swimming Pool

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You should shock your pool every week or two with the correct amount of shock, but what is shock?

Shock Treatment – The addition of an oxidizing compound or a mixture of oxidizing compounds to the water to destroy chloramines and other undesirable compounds. – Bioguard

When you add chlorine to your pool, the chlorine molecules attach themselves to bacteria and other unwanted material, and it forms a chloramine. Chloramines are essentially dead chlorine. They do nothing and you should get rid of them – this is where shock comes in.

Shock oxidizes the chloramines turning it into a gas. When you smell chlorine, you are smelling chlorine that is NOT in the water because it’s oxidized.

How to Shock a Swimming Pool

Now that we’ve given you the reason on WHY you should shock your pool, let’s talk about how to shock your pool.

4 Types of Pool Shock

There are 3 different types of pool shock on the market today:

It is important to understand the difference between these 4 types of shock, as they all work differently.

Calcium Hypochlorite

This is the most popular chlorine pool shock. It contains about 65% available chlorine and is cheaper than the rest. When adding to the water, you must first pre-dissolve each pound in a 5 gallon bucket of water to prevent bleaching. This type of shock is slow dissolving, so it will not completely dissolve before it hits the bottom of the your pool. Once added, you will need to wait 8 hours before swimming.

In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock - 24 X 1 lb. bags

In The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock - 24 X 1 lb. bags

List Price:  $83.99
Price:  $66.99
You Save:  $17.00 (20%)

A very effective pool shock that uses calcium hypochlorite (chlorine) to instantly kill bacteria in your swimming pool.

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Lithium Hypochlorite

This type of shock is commonly used in areas that have a high amount of calcium in the water since this shock doesn’t use calcium. It contains about 35% available chlorine and is more expensive than using calcium hypochlorite. The one positive is you don’t have to pre-dissolve this type of shock, but you still need to wait 8 hours before swimming.

In The Swim Lithium Pool Shock - 24 x 1 Pound Bags

In The Swim Lithium Pool Shock - 24 x 1 Pound Bags

List Price:  $174.99
Price:  $174.99
You Save:  

A very effective pool shock that uses lithium hypochlorite to instantly kill bacteria in your swimming pool.

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Di-Chlor (Grandular Chlorine)

Grandular chlorine is simply 60% chlorine that you can pour directly into the water. You will need to wait 8 hours before swimming again, but no need to pre-dissolve and it contains cyanuric acid (chlorine stabilizer) that protects the chlorine from being burned off by the sun. It’s more expensive than calcium hypochlorite, but you can use it for regular chlorine dosages and shock treatments.

StarPlus 1-1301-24 24-Pack Chlorinating Shock Treatment for Swimming Pools, 1-Pound

StarPlus 1-1301-24 24-Pack Chlorinating Shock Treatment for Swimming Pools, 1-Pound

List Price:  $103.78
Price:  $103.78
You Save:  

A very effective pool shock that uses di-chlor to instantly kill bacteria in your swimming pool.

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Potassium Peroxymonosulfate (non-chlorine shock)

Non-chlorine shock is typically used in bromine pools, but you can use it in chlorine pools as well. You do not need to pre-dissolve and it only takes 15 minutes before you can swim again. However, this type of shock can get very expensive.

In The Swim Chlorine-Free Pool Swimming Pool Shock - 24 x 1 Pound Bags

In The Swim Chlorine-Free Pool Swimming Pool Shock - 24 x 1 Pound Bags

List Price:  $69.99
Price:  $69.99
You Save:  

An effective pool shock that allows you to swim 15 minutes after shocking.

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How to Shock a Pool: Quick Tips

Happy Swimming!

Recommended Reading

Automatic Chlorinators Vs. Putting Pucks In Your Skimmer
Should you put chlorine pucks in your skimmer or use an automatic chlorinators to dispense? We can all agree to at least get rid of the floater.
How to Cure Chlorine Demand and Chlorine Lock
Sometimes, when you have a lot of debris and other organic material in your pool, it may require chlorine to handle it. This is called chlorine demand.
The Difference Between Free and Total Chlorine
Learn and understand the difference between free and total chlorine so you can better care for your pool and keep those sanitizer levels in check.
What’s the Difference Between Stabilized and Unstabilized Chlorine?
Find out once and for all the difference between stabilized and unstabilized chlorine so you can decide what works best for your pool.
The Art of Pool Care

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Last Updated: Sunday, July 28th, 2013