Algae can be caused by a number of factors. These include storms, sun exposure, poor filtration, a lack of chemical balance, or high cyanuric acid. Even a dog swimming in your pool or a pool party can lower the chlorine levels enough that you start to lose the war on algae.
Fortunately, pool experts long ago figured out how to defeat this problem: shock. “Shocking” your pool is the process of adding chemicals to your pool to quickly destroy the contaminants in it. Granular chlorine is generally used to shock a pool, but liquid chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals may be used, depending on the situation.
Shock treatments can quickly bring your pool’s chlorine levels back into balance, but they require swinging the chlorine levels from too low to too high for a bit. For this reason, you’ll need to wait for an appropriate period of time before swimming. Keep reading to learn how long you should wait to swim after shocking your pool.
Factors to Consider
There’s not a single answer to the question. The answer will depend on a number of factors. The most important factors are how dirty the pool is and the type of shock used.
1. How Dirty Is the Pool?
Has one day passed since a mild storm? Or has it been weeks since a raging storm and there’s algae growing in your pool? Different levels of dirty will require different levels of shock. In general, you’ll need 3-5 times your usual chlorine to shock your pool. However, if your pool’s in bad enough shape, you may need 5-10 times the usual amount of chlorine.
2. What Type of Shock Has Been Used?
Most types of shock are chlorine-based. In general, granular chlorine is used to shock a pool, but liquid chlorine may also be used.
How Long Should You Wait?
While everyone agrees that you should wait, there is no standard answer to this question. The simple fact is that it will depend. For a routine shock in a clean pool, the average will be around three hours. As you add more shock to a single treatment, the time goes up. As a rule, doubling the amount of chemical doubles the time it takes for things to normalize, but you should always check the chemical levels before swimming to be sure it really is safe.
It’s important to know that shocking a pool has a huge effect on the pH levels of your pool. It’s important to counterbalance the addition of shock with muriatic acid and make sure that the alkalinity is at a slightly high level to counter the addition of acid. If not, your pool may not be swimmable even after waiting a few hours. It’s important to make sure that your pool chemicals are properly balanced before swimming in a post-shock pool.
If you want to take the guesswork out of the equation, it’s best to get a trained pool professional to treat and monitor your pool. An experienced pool technician will know exactly how much shock your pool needs, what type of shock to use, and how long you should wait to swim after shocking.
For help with pool remodeling or pool equipment installation in North Dallas, turn to the experts at Select Pool Services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our pool technicians.