Should I Shock My Pool or Adjust pH First?

It’s crucial to understand how to care for your pool, and ensuring the water is safe and clean for users means regular testing and maintenance.

How to maintain the correct chlorine levels and how to raise the pH in a swimming pool are important factors in pool care. Shocking your pool can help you achieve optimum chlorine levels and sanitation, but should you shock your pool first before adjusting pH levels? 

What Is Shocking a Pool?

Shocking a pool is the process of adding extra chlorine to the water to rapidly raise its chlorine level, thereby eradicating any bacteria, algae, and other contaminants. To manually shock a pool, you must add a concentrated quantity of granular or liquid chlorine to the water, then wait several hours before testing the pool water to confirm that the chlorine level has returned to the correct level.

Automatic pool shock systems utilize nitrogen-based products to periodically disinfect pool water via scheduled injections of chlorine. Oxidation breaks down contaminants such as sweat, urine, and bacteria, leaving the water clean and safe for swimmers. Shocking a pool is usually done when the water begins to look cloudy or if there is a significant increase in users.

The Importance of Correct pH Levels in a Pool

pH levels measure the acidity and alkalinity of a liquid, with pH levels ranging from zero to fourteen. A pH level below seven is acidic and pH above seven is alkaline. The ideal pH range to maintain in a swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.8. 

If pH levels aren’t balanced, pool water can cause skin and eye irritation, damage pool equipment, and foster bacteria. To achieve the right pH, you should consider carefully which methods to use, as a pH increaser is not the same as baking soda and different methods will have different results. It’s also important to know what causes high pH and alkalinity in pool water so you can take the proper steps to correct it.

Should You Shock a Pool Before or After Adjusting pH Levels?

Without doubt, pool owners should always adjust pH levels first, then shock their pool. Shocking a pool before adjusting the pH level could be a waste of chemicals and time. 

High pH levels can affect chlorine’s efficiency in killing bacteria, and low pH levels cause erratic chlorine levels to the extent that adding more chlorine will have no noticeable effect. Therefore, testing the water and adjusting the pH levels to the recommended range of 7.2 to 7.8 first is a crucial part of the shocking process. Once pH levels are balanced, it will be safe and practical to shock the pool to rid it of any bacterial or algae buildup. 

Closing Thoughts

Shocking a pool is a vital part of regular maintenance that gets rid of bacteria, algae, and other harmful contaminants. If you are considering shocking your pool, always adjust the pH levels beforehand to avoid wasting chemicals and damaging pool equipment!

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