Knowing how to shock your pool is only half the battle when it comes to keeping your pool clear of nasty algae overgrowth and bacteria (see Parts 1 & 2). You also need to know when to shock it. Preferably, you’ll perform weekly shocks on your pool as part of your regular maintenance routine. In case you neglect to do so, however, there are certain times when shocking your pool should become a definite priority. We’ll take a look at some examples of times when you absolutely need to shock the pool in this article below.
Shock Your Pool at the Beginning and End of the Pool Season
If you live in an area of the country where you close your pool for the winter, it’s important to shock the pool before the first time you use it each season, as well as just before you cover it up for the winter season.
When you take the cover off in the early spring, you may find that some contaminants have managed to get into the pool during the winter months. You want to make sure the water is clear, clean, and ready for action before it encounters you, your family, your guests, and all those germs which your first pool party is likely to bring.
Giving the water a good shock before you put the cover on for the winter makes sense. After all, you don’t want to leave any undetected algae growing in there during the winter months when you won’t be carefully inspecting the pool water like you normally do during the swimming season.
Shock Your Pool Whenever You See Evidence of Algae
If you notice any signs of algae in your pool at all, act quickly to get rid of it by giving it a shock treatment. Algae spores are notorious for rapidly spreading after they bloom. If the water appears to have a greenish tint, that’s a sign of blue-green algae. If you notice black spots along the pool walls, especially in cracks and crevices, you could have black algae growing. Mustard yellow spots at the bottom that resemble sand could be yellow algae. Any time the water looks discolored or cloudy, algae may be the culprit.
Shock Your Pool if Chlorine Levels are Lower than 3 ppm
The chlorine in your pool can be grouped into three different categories: free chlorine, combined chlorine, and total chlorine. Free chlorine is a chemical that works to clean the water. You use cyanuric acid to balance out the level of free chlorine in your pool. Combined chlorine is the chlorine that’s already in use. As such, it isn’t free to actively perform a cleaning function in the pool water. Combined chlorine plus free chlorine equals your total chlorine. Ideally, you’ll want your level of free chlorine to be ten times as great as your combined chlorine. In order to test to see if you have the right level, you’ll need to invest in an actual test kit for the pool rather than just rely on a simple test strip. Look at the free chlorine level when you test your pool water. If it’s less than 3ppm, your pool water is definitely due for a shock treatment.
In our next article in this series, we’ll look at a couple of more times you’ll want to shock your pool. Then we’ll turn our attention to different pool shock varieties available on the market.
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