What is Pool Shock, and What Does it Do?

by Pool Builders on 04-20-2010 in Articles

Does "shock" sound like something you want around your swimming pool? Well, not to worry. You do. This pool maintenance chemical is the ideal substance for keeping your water clean and clear.

Maintenance chemicals - chlorine, bromine, algaecides, and more - kill organisms that inhabit your pool. A cover can keep their numbers down, but they will always find a way in. They're water borne and flow in when you fill the pool. Some are airborne and waft in with a gentle breeze, settling on the surface, then sinking. Others come in on swimmers feet.

So, those pool chemicals are a must. But they do have a downside. What happens to all the things they kill? They don't vanish into thin water, so to speak. Their 'carcasses' are still around and even the most efficient filtration system can't get them all out just as they are.

Also, those chemicals now exist in combined form - combined not only with the tiny plant-like algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms, but in simple chemical combinations, too. Ammonia, skin oils, and more can be 'gobbled up' by good pool maintenance chemicals. But the byproducts of the reactions don't disappear. They're still hanging around in your pool water.

Pool shock is designed to solve those problems.

Some use chlorine, but many compounds are formulated as oxidizers. Oxygen ions dissolved in water have very potent cleansing power. An oxidizing agent can not only kill bacteria but drive chemical reactions that rid your pool of a range of byproducts from other pool maintenance chemicals.

A pool shock can perform those functions without altering the pH of the pool water, so all your efforts to keep it balanced are not wasted. It becomes part of your maintenance routine, but works with it not against it.

It may sound like you're just using one chemical to deal with the 'side effects' of using others, and in a sense that's true. But there is no way around it with current technology.

Using purely electronic or thermal or ultraviolet means to kill and filter harmful organisms and clarify water is possible. But it would be incredibly expensive. That kind of super-high tech solution is reserved for very specialized applications. The ordinary home owner probably wouldn't want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars initially and hundreds more per month to use NASA-like devices just to maintain the pool water.

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