Understanding Pool Shock in Your Search For Swimming Pool Supplies

by Pool Builders on 02-27-2009 in Articles

When your swimming pool just won't stay clean anymore, it may be time to take more powerful pool cleaning steps. With the right swimming pool supplies, pool shock may do the trick.
 
Chlorine is a Temporary Cleaning Solution
 
Chlorine is a very proficient cleaning product. It quickly combines with other materials in your pool. This both quickly removes unwanted substances from your pool and quickly removes the chlorine from your pool. The chlorine must then be replaced.
 
It isn't just what is floating around in your pool that depletes the pool's chlorine levels. Sunlight not only causes your pool water to evaporate, but the chlorine as well. The chlorine simply leaches on to any elements in the gases and fluids around it when sunlight is applied.
 
When your chlorine levels get below six parts per million, your pool may become infested with bacteria and algae. This can be counteracted very effectively with pool shock. You can cause pool shock by increasing the amount of chlorine to more than 10 parts per million. But be careful, as this amount of chlorine is not safe for swimmers. In most cases the chlorine levels will be back into a safe range within 24 hours, as the chlorine will react and combine quickly with your pool's impurities. The result will be a clean pool.
 
Applying Chlorine the Traditional Way
 
You may be surprised to learn that there is more than one way to apply chlorine. The traditional application of chlorine involves simply adding a chlorinating product to the pool.
 
One of the chlorinating products you can add to induce pool shock is lithium hypochlorite. This product will rapidly increase your pool's chlorine ratio. It works very quickly because it does not come with a stabilizing agent. This also means that it dissipates very quickly.
 
Calcium hypochlorite, or Cal Hypo, works in a similar fashion to lithium hypochlorite. It also lacks a stabilizing agent. However, it must be dissolved in water, which is then added to start the pool shock process. It acts very quickly when it is added.

Dichlor acts in a much more deliberate fashion. Sodium is used as a stabilizing agent in Dichlor. This product can be added even on a hot, sunny day. As you might expect, after using this product for pool shock you will have to wait much longer before chlorine levels drop to safe levels. But, it will continue cleaning over a longer period of time.

Applying Chlorine That's Already There

You can cause what is sometimes referred to as non-chlorinated pool shock by simply restoring the independence of the chlorine molecules already in your pool. It is simply a matter of apply an agent to unbind the chlorine molecules.

Chlorine is very responsive to the elements around it. You can use this to your advantage to break up the bonds that have formed between chlorine and the other elements in your pool. The bonded chlorine molecules, often called chloramines, remain in your pool and can get all over you when you swim if they are just left in the pool. So, you can use non-chlorinated pool shock to put them back to use, rather than simply increasing the amount of chlorine in the pool.

Potassium mono-sulfate, or PMP, is one of the substances you can apply to restore the cleaning action of the chlorine in your pool. Keep in mind, however, that the new chlorine levels will only be proportionate to the amount of chloramines remaining in your pool. Over time the chloramine levels will naturally be decreased by evaporation, filters, and splashing water. If you haven't performed non-chlorinated pool shock recently, the chances are that your chloramine levels will be high enough to rapidly increase chlorine levels in your pool with the application of PMP.

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