Shocking your swimming pool is a very important element in maintaining your pool water’s clarity and balance. Using chlorine tablets alone will not kill off all bacteria and algae that grow in the pool water. Also, the chlorine tablets have a very low PH level, and their overuse will lead to a low PH, which is very dangerous to the pool, and its users. By shocking the pool each week, you will be quickly raising the chlorine level, which will rid the pool of contaminants, without lowering the PH of the pool water.
PH is the measure of acidity in the pool water. PH only ranges between 0 – 14, so even a slight change in the PH of your water can greatly effect various elements in your pool. A pool’s PH should be maintained between 7.2 and 7.6. A low PH means that the water is acidic and will dry out your liner, eat away at any stainless steel and copper parts of your pool, as well as cause irritation to swimmer’s eyes and skin. PH can be easily tested for and is inexpensive to adjust.
Backwashing your filter removes debris that gets caught up in your sand or DE so that your filter can continue to work effectively in cleaning your pool. Backwashing should be done whenever the filter pressure increases approximately 10 psi over normal pressure, and the water pressure returning to the pool decreases. Follow your filter systems instructions or contact Empire Pools for directions on backwashing for the system that you have.
Sand filters have a difficult time filtering out very small debris because often times the microscopic particles of dead algae and waste are smaller than the grains of sand themselves. A sand filter can also “channel,” causing pockets in the filter where water passes through easily, without going through sand. To prevent this, you need to chemically clean your sand at the end of each season with a designated filter cleaner, backwash frequently throughout the season, and use clarifiers to help the water remain crystal clear.
We recommend that 1-2 tablets be used for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. During cooler water temperatures and when the pool receives less use, one tablet per 10,000 is sufficient. During the hottest summer months when pool use is high, 2 tablets can be used for every 10,000, but no more than that should be used. Keep in mind that tablets do have a low PH, so overuse of them can disrupt balancing chemical levels. If there is a large amount of algae in the pool, extra shock can always be added without effecting the PH level.
You should always shock your pool in the evening, after the sun has gone down. Shock is an unstabalized chlorine that can burn off easily from sunlight, even on overcast days. By shocking at night, you are giving the chlorine a chance to bond with the chlorine stabilizer so that by the time the sun comes out the next day, your chlorine level won’t dissipate as quickly. Also, this gives the pool enough time to react with the high level of chlorine, so that you can usually swim the next day after a pool has been shocked.
Most balancing chemicals, such as PH, Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness, will become incorporated into the water within an hour of adding them, at which time swimming is safe. Shock takes longer to adjust with the pool water, so waiting overnight after shocking before you swim is recommended.
Testing at home with your strips or drop test kits give you only a limited reading of your balancing chemical levels of your pool water. The average home test kit only reads PH, Chlorine, and sometimes Alkalinity. There are various other levels that are important to your pool that need to be tested on a regular basis to ensure water balance and safety for the swimmers. Also, the professional testing done in store is far more accurate than home tests, leaving you with added security that your pool water is safe and balanced.
While you are away, it is important that your water circulates and is sanitized. A pump timer and automatic chlorinator are the most fool proof ways of ensuring that this is done, because they will automatically turn your pool on and off each day, and distribute chlorine into your water. If a timer and automatic chlorinator are not an option for you, having a neighbor stop by once every day or two to run the pump and check on chemicals will help to keep your water healthy while you are away.
HTH is a calcium based product, which means that although it can be very effective in killing off contaminants in your water, it can also lead to some problems long-term. The high level of chlorine in HTH can more rapidly bleach out liners and bathing suits then other chlorine products. Also, with long-term, high usage of HTH, the pool can develop calcium buildup, which would lead to calcium scaling inside of the filter and in the lines of the pool. This scaling ultimately causes damage to your filtration system, and can be avoided by using HTH in limited amounts, or by using other types of chlorines.
Getting DE back into a pool is an indication of some type of problem within the filter itself. Although it could simply be a matter of using too much DE after backwashes, more often it means that a part inside the filter needs to be replaced. If you have a grid system DE filter, (most inground pools have this type) it could mean that the spider gasket in the multiport needs to be replaced, that the grids inside the filter are torn, or that the manifold, which holds the grids together, has cracked. Filters with “fingers” (most aboveground systems and some older inground systems) the fingers could be torn, the diaphragm gasket may need to be replaced, or the tube sheets may have cracks in them. Check your filter carefully to make sure that all parts are in good condition, and replace necessary parts. Empire also offers a “Clean, Soak, and Inspect” service on filters. This includes cleaning the filter elements of large debris, soaking them for 24 hours in a chemical solution, and inspecting all parts by hand.
Liquid shock is 12.5% sodium hypochlorite. Clorox bleach is 3% sodium hypochlorite. Although they are made of the same chemical, the percentage of chlorine in shock is much greater than Clorox bleach. To treat a 20,000-gallon pool, you would need to use two bottles of liquid shock. To achieve the same amount of chlorination with bleach, you would need to use eight bottles. Additionally, Clorox bleach contains added detergents, which could interfere with the chemical balance of your pool.
Baking soda is similar to the chemical, which is used to raise the Alkalinity of the water, and will give you the same rise that alkalinity powder will. However, baking soda is a much larger granule, and will cloud up the water if used in great amounts. If you need to raise the alkalinity of your pool slightly, with one or two pounds of alkalinity powder, it is usually safe to use baking soda. However, if your water balance requires a significant increase, it is recommended that actual Alkalinity Increaser be used, as it is a finer granule and will rarely cloud the water, even if used in considerable amounts.
Do not lift the vacuum head out of the water or you will lose your prime.
Disregard your filter pressure reading it usually drops while vacuuming.
Disregard air in your pump basket.
Check skimmer basket periodically if the pool has a lot of leaves or other debris in it.
Backwash the filter if the pool is very dirty, and emptying the skimmer basket does not restore suction.
If suction is too strong, open the other skimmer flap 1/8 of the way.
Fill your chlorinator with 6 – 7 chlorine tabs on the same day each week. Do not exceed 7 tabs unless specifically directed to do so. Chlorine tabs dissolve like bars of soap, do not wait until there are none left in your chlorinator. Add them on the same day of the week, 7 days apart. Test your pool water twice a week. If your water test indicates a low chlorine level, turn up your chlorinator. If your test indicates a high chlorine level, lower your chlorinator. Bather load, rainfall and sun exposure will affect the amount of chlorine your pool will require.
Shock your pool at least once a week (we recommend lithium based granular shock), twice per week when it is very hot, or the bather load is high. You should add half a pound of granular shock, premixed in water, for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. You should only shock your pool in the evening, as the sun burns off the chlorine.
Algaecide should be added once per week as a preventative measure. Follow the instructions on the bottle for the “maintenance” dose.
It’s easier to avoid getting algae, then killing off an algae bloom during July and August’s hot sunny days!
Skimmer Water Level: Ensure that the pools water level is halfway up the skimmer faceplate. This is the normal operating level, (even with the third screw on the faceplate as you count from the bottom up).
Skimmer Basket / Throat: Keep the skimmer basket clean and make sure the skimmer throat is not obstructed. Adjust the skimmer flap, (located at the bottom of each skimmer) the one in the skimmer closest to the pump should be half-open, any others should be open all the way.
Pump Strainer: Open pump to ascertain basket is clean, intact and seated properly. Never operate your pump without water or the strainer basket in the pump. Before closing, fill the pump housing with water. Replace the housing cover, making sure the gasket is in position so no dirt or grit will prevent a tight seal.
Filter Pressure Gauge: When starting the pump, it may take a short time for the filter pressure to normalize due to the presence of air in the suction lines. By opening the air bleeder valve located on the top of your filter to expel the air more rapidly. When the air has been expelled, the pressure gauge reading should be 10-15 psi on most filters (15-20 psi on systems with heaters).
Diatomaceous Earth Filters: Add DE to the skimmer closest to the pump (with the skimmer flap wide open) once the water comes out of the returns in a steady stream. Add the DE slowly to the skimmer, or premix the DE in a bucket of water and then add it to the skimmer. Once done, readjust the skimmer flap, and bleed the air out of the filter.
Test – your pool water twice a week. If your water test indicates a low chlorine level, turn up your chlorinator. If your test indicates a high chlorine level, lower your chlorinator. Bather load, rainfall and sun exposure will affect the amount of chlorine your pool will require.
Tabs -fill your chlorinator with 6 – 7 chlorine tabs on the same day each week. Do not exceed 7 tabs unless specifically directed to do so. Chlorine tabs dissolve like bars of soap, do not wait until there are none left in your chlorinator.
Shock -your pool at least once a week, twice per week when it is very hot, or the bather load is high. You should add a half pound of shock, for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. You should only shock your pool in the evening, as the sun burns off the chlorine.
Algaecide -should be added once per week as a preventative measure. Use 5 ounces of 30% Algaecide per ten thousand gallons of pool water. It is less expensive to add this product weekly, then it is to clear up a green pool when it occurs.
pH -needs to be checked twice a week and maintained within 7.2 to 7.6 on your test strip. If your Total Alkalinity is not above 100 PPM your pH will have a tendency to drift, so always adjust Total Alkalinity first then retest and adjust pH if needed.
We suggest that you have your pool water tested professionally twice per month and immediately after opening, and prior to closing your pool.
Preventative maintenance costs less than clearing up your pool after it has turned green!