Shocking a pool is the process of adding chemicals to your pool to remove chloramines and make the pool safe for swimming. The following instructions give you a few options for shock treatments and calculators for your individual pool. Note that there are chlorinated and non-chlorinated options for shocking your pool and that some protective gear may not be needed for non-toxic shock treatment options.
Instructions for shocking a pool:
1. Buy a shock treatment.
For this step, I recommend using a non-toxic, non-chlorine based shock treatment powder such as Formula “O” for treating your pool water. There are regular chlorine shock treatments that will work, but using a non-toxic formula makes it safe to swim in your pool after you shock the pool water. Using a non-toxic non-chlorine shock treatment also eliminates much of the protective equipment and measuring tools for the other steps in the process, such as calculating levels for chlorination. Using a non-toxic formula such as Formula “O” makes it quick and easy to shock your pool once a week without worrying about chemical levels.
2. Buy protective gear
If using a toxic chlorine shock treatment, you will definitely need a set of protective gloves and protective eyewear and a mask for adding the shock treatment to the pool. Wear long sleeves and long pants or jeans to protect your skin and eyes from chlorine, and a mask to prevent toxic chlorine inhalation.
3. Buy a chemical testing kit and a 5-gallon bucket
Read the instructions on the shock treatment carefully. For chlorine shock treatments, you will need to calculate the amount of chlorine you add to the pool in parts per million per gallon of water in the pool. To be exact, I recommend punching in the numbers to a pool chemical calculator online, such as poolchemicalcalculator.com. Once you have your numbers, mix the recommended amount of shock treatment in the 5-gallon bucket with some of the pool’s water to add back into the pool water. If you are using a non-toxic, non-chlorine shock treatment such as Formula “O”, you can skip some steps, because you will just be adding the powder directly to the pool water once a week to keep it clear, no chemical calculators needed.
4. Add the shock treatment solution to the pool water and wait the recommended amount of time before swimming.
For chlorinated pools, this will require waiting a day before swimming after the pool is shocked. For non-chlorine pool systems, the water is safe for swimming as soon as 15 minutes after adding pool shock powder. For chlorinated pools, you will need to test the chemical levels again later the same day to ensure the shock treatment worked in reducing chloramines levels. And swimming in a chlorine shocked pool will still be dangerous directly after being shocked because the chlorine creates toxic chlorine gas vapors from evaporating water and irritates the skin. Follow the directions on your pool shock treatment container closely for safe handling and wait time instructions.