We’ve just looked at basic saltwater pool maintenance. Now, it’s that time of year again. Here in beautiful, sunny Sarasota, swimming season is definitely upon us, with temperatures reaching into the mid 80’s and the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay warming nicely. We can round up some good eats and icy cold beverages, head out to the white sands and watch the sunset over the horizon. For those who have a swimming pool right in their backyard, it’s time to break out the grilling utensils and get the pool ready for family and guests.
This might be the year you install or upgrade an outdoor kitchen, complete with plenty of landing and working space, as well as all the conveniences of appliances and storage space. It’s also time to get the pool ready for a cool and relaxing retreat. There’s nothing like taking a dip and floating about on those warm, balmy days that we all know so well here in on the west coast of Florida. Getting your pool ready for use includes checking the equipment, including the pump and heater, even if you’re not going to be using it for the next several months.
Your pool has likely been dormant for many months and you’ve wrestled with those pesky leaves and all that pollen that’s fallen recently. What’s more, there’s more organic and chemical waste that’s been permeating in your swimming pool water, from pet waste, rainfall, and pesticides, as well as herbicides. Bugs, twigs, leaves, and all kinds of stuff falls or runs into your pool and even if you’ve been diligent in skimming the water, there’s still a lot more stuff at the bottom you don’t necessarily see.
What is Pool Shock?
As the nearby quote explains, pool shock is composed chiefly of powdered chlorine or granular chlorine. The chemicals are key to maintaining a healthy and safe pool environment, particularly the quality of the water. These chemicals are used to combat the many contaminants found in swimming pools, which include such things as bacteria, algae, and other microscopic contaminants. These all have an adverse impact on swimmers’ health, as being exposed to these can cause illness.
Pool shock treatments are essential when opening your pool in the spring, along with pool maintenance during the swimming season. Also known as granular chlorine or powdered chlorine, pool shock can be used to kill algae, remove bacteria and other micro-contaminants, and is also used when chlorine is low and needs a quick boost. —In the Swim.com
In addition to chemical treatments, you can also use non-chemical treatments to keep your water free of contaminants. Either choice will make the “free chlorine” level rise and the water will appear more clear. The reason to shock, or super chlorinate, a pool is to break-up what’s known as the chloramine molecule, that’s the stuff which causes red eyes and gives pools a strong chlorine smell. Though this is usually necessary when you first open your pool in the spring, it’s not something you have to continue doing on a weekly basis, though there are homeowners who do just that.
Times When You should Shock a Pool
A pool should be shocked or super chlorinated when you first begin using it as the weather warms the water temperature. Just a few weeks of daytime highs reaching into the mid to upper 80’s will bring the water temperature up substantially. The ideal swimming pool water temperature is 84 degrees to 86 degrees, though here in Sarasota, pool water does reach higher temps. That might be enough to kill off some things, but it’s not nearly enough to do the job.
What’s confusing is the formula that’s used to know when it’s time to shock your pool. The best times to super chlorinate are when algae blooms begin to appear, the level of free chlorine falls to zero, the combined chlorine level rises to or above 0.5, or you’re opening your pool for its first use of the year. The goal is to reach what’s called the “breakpoint chlorination” level, or, when the parts per million of chlorine reaches 10 times the amount of chloramines in the water.
To shock your pool with the right amount of chemicals, you first need to calculate its size, if you don’t remember its size. This can be done by multiplying the length, times the width, times the average depth, and then times 7.5. The results of the L x W x Average Depth x 7.5 will determine how much shock is necessary to get the levels right. Most manufacturer also provide you with on the package instructions, which include pouring the chemicals into a bucket and then adding pool water, stirring it until well blended, then pouring the mixture into your pool. You should distribute the shock evenly across the surface so it reaches all the water.
When do do shock your pool, do not mix the shock with any other chemicals, always use the whole bag, and don’t spread it down wind.