Saltwater pools offer several benefits over the traditionally chlorinated pools, such as being gentler on your skin and having softer water. But, many saltwater pool owners tend to have issues when it comes to maintenance as most are not sure what to do.
One of the biggest maintenance challenges is often deciding whether it is okay to shock the saltwater pool or not and how to do it. But, because they still use chlorine to sanitize the water, it is okay to shock the pool water now and then.
However, like traditionally chlorinated pools, you not only need to know when to shock your saltwater pool but also how to do it correctly.
When to Shock a Saltwater Pool
Shocking a saltwater pool like chlorinated ones is hyper-chlorinating by adding super high levels of chlorine to the water. Many pool owners tend to shock their pool every few weeks or months, depending on the frequency of use.
While this is a great idea, there are certain situations when shocking your saltwater pool becomes a necessity rather than an option. These situations include the following three.
Chloramines are combined chlorine molecules, and they build up over time as more and more chlorine is added to your saltwater pool. When you have chloramines in your water, you will often notice a strong bleach smell.
While it is easy to assume that the smell is an indication that your water is perfectly chlorinated, this could not be further from the truth. Too much chlorine in the pool is as harmful as not using any. Furthermore, the smell is just a combination of chlorine and body fluids, which means the water is not clean.
The best way to tell if you have chloramines in your pool or not is by testing for chlorine to determine whether the total chlorine levels are higher than the free chlorine level.
While a complete drain and refill of the pool can fix the chloramine issue, shocking your pool provides a more straightforward and relatively faster option.
Algae can grow in almost any water type, including saltwater, and so if you notice a green, yellow or black build up on your pool, this is a sign that you have algae. The best way to deal with the issue and also prevent it is by shocking the water.
By shocking your saltwater pool, you can get rid of both massive blooms and isolated algae spots. But, in most instances, you will still need to combine shocking the pools with a thorough scrubbing of the pool surfaces to remove the algae from its roots so that it does not bloom again.
Read More: How to Get Rid of Algae in Pool
Chlorine provides the most effective way of cleaning your pool, but sometimes you can get more contamination than usual. In such instances, the regular chlorination done by the salt generator on your saltwater pool might not be up to the task and hence the need to shock the pool.
Common instances when you might need to shock the pool to remove contaminants include when someone vomits or bleeds in the water and when large amounts of dirt and soil wash into the pool. Heavy soap and oil contamination from swimmers also necessitates shocking your pool after doing the enzyme treatment.
Note: You may also need to shock your saltwater swimming pool when you want to get rid of surface stains to maintain the aesthetic appeal. Again, shocking becomes necessary for saltwater pools when the salt generator is unable to produce enough chlorine, and hence causing the levels to get dangerously low.
How to Shock a Saltwater Pool
For maximum effectiveness, you need to know how to shock the say water pool effectively. Luckily, this is quite a simple process that involves just a few steps.
Things You Will Need
- Saltwater pool shock (like potassium monopersulfate, calcium hypochlorite, and sodium di-chlor)
- Pool test kit
Step 1: Test Pool Chemistry.
Even if you are sure that your saltwater requires shocking, the first step should always be to test the chemistry of the water. Before you can add anything to the pool, you need to know essential things like alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness.
While this step might not seem necessary, adding lots of chlorine when you have an imbalance in your water might not only make it less effective but can also lead to issues such as staining the surfaces.
Step 2: Adjust Pool Chemistry
This step will only be necessary if step one above reveals that you have an imbalance in your pool. Here, it would be best if you aimed to keep the pH at between 7.4 and 7.6, alkalinity at 80 to 140 ppm, and the calcium hardness at 200 to 400. Once you have the chemistry balanced, you can move to the next step.
Step 3: Calculate the Shock Dosage
For the saltwater pool shock to work, you need to make sure that you get the chlorine dosage right. Also, you cannot afford to add excess chlorine as it will leave your water with too much chlorine, which often forces you to drain and refill the pool.
Hence, it would be best if you calculated the right dosage for your pool size, and the good news is that most shocks will come with clear guidelines on the right amount to use. That said, you need to aim to get about 30 ppm of chlorine in the water.
When using granular chlorine (calcium hypochlorite) to shock your pool, you will typically need to use about 3 pounds for every 10,000 gallons of water in the pool. For the liquid chlorine shock that has a 6% concentration, you need 5 gallons of the product for every 10,000 gallons of pool water.
Step 4: Turn Filtration On and Add Shock
Running the filtration helps circulate the chlorine for maximum effectiveness. When adding the shock, you should follow the manufacturer instructions, but with most products, you can add the shock to the pool water directly.
But, if you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool, it might be necessary to dilute the shock before adding it to the water to ensure you do not stain the surface.
Step 5: Turn Down Salt Cell Production
Typically, the shock will last several days in the water, and so it is okay to turn down the salt cell production on your saltwater pool for some time as it will not be serving any purpose.
Step 6: Check Water and Test Chemistry Again
After the shock, you should filter out the water and then check it to see whether you have achieved the intended purpose of the shock. Check whether the algae or contaminants are gone. Also, check the chemistry of the water and ensure everything is perfectly balanced.
If everything is okay, the pool is ready to use, and you do not have to do anything else as the job is complete, but if not, you can repeat the shock again.
Shocking your saltwater pool is one of the most effective ways of getting rid of algae, chloramines, and other water contaminants. Hence, making it a habit to shock the pool water every few weeks will help keep the water clean and safe.
The good news is that shocking does not take a lot of effort. You only need to add the right amount of a suitable shock type and brand and give the product enough time to circulate in the pool.
Lastly, remember not to use the pool while shocking and give it enough time for the chlorine to get to the safe level, which is typically between 1.0 and 3.0 ppm.