Shocking a Pool

Shocking a Pool – How Long Should You Wait Before Swimming

In Pool Maintenance How To by Swimming Pool Expert

An oasis is an essential part of a backyard for southern states like Texas.  We do not have to wait for the swimming season; we never close or cover a pool.  However, swimming pools need to be maintained and kept in optimal condition.

Shocking is critical to clean a pool, but it requires some pretty hefty chemicals, including chlorine.  It’s only natural to wonder when you’ll be able to dive in after all that.  Experts say you should not rush the process – here is why.

What Does it Mean to Shock a Pool?

If you deal with pools, you have probably heard the term from time to time, but you may not know exactly what it entails.  According to experts, shocking is a process of adding chemicals to the pool to make the water composition such that chlorine or non-chlorine alternatives can work best.

The importance of shocking the pool is to increase the level of “free chlorine” to kill algae and bacteria.  Free chlorine is a chemical not designed to neutralize harmful buildup in the pool.  Some chemicals are available, including calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, dichlor, and potassium peroxymonosulfate.

When is it Safe to go in After Shocking the Pool?

According to experts, it is best not to get into the pool until after twenty-four hours of the shock treatment. If you oversee pool maintenance, do a pH and chlorine level testing of the water, and ensure that it is in the proper range before you or anyone else enters the pool.  Chlorine levels should be between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million, and the pH should be between 7.2 and 7.8.

What can Happen if you Enter a Pool Right After Shocking?

There are a couple of potential problems.  Because chlorine reacts with water to form acid, the effects can vary depending on whether you inhale the chlorine or come in contact with skin or eyes.

If you have a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it could cause a flare-up and even deal with symptoms such as burning, redness, pain, and blisters.

Inhalation effects tend to be the most severe and include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and fluid in the lungs.  The water can also affect your eyes and lungs.  Effects on the eyes include pain, redness, blurred vision, and watery eyes.  And if you accidentally drink some pool water, you may even feel nauseous and vomit.

If you jump into a pool too soon after being shocked and notice symptoms, it’s crucial to get out ASAP and get away from the pool.  Fortunately, the effects are usually reversible.  Remove all exposed clothing and wash all affected areas thoroughly with soap and water.  Remove them and rinse your eyes “thoroughly” with saline solution for those who wear contact lenses.

If your skin feels uncomfortable after cleansing, use a moisturizer and even a topical steroid cream if your symptoms do not improve.  If you are having trouble breathing, call 911.

It’s hard to wait to jump into a pool, but it’s not worth risking your health.