How Long Should You Wait to Swim After Shocking Your Pool?
Shocking, or super-chlorinating, your pool is a method of cleaning designed to keep the water clean and safe by adding a large amount of chlorine to the pool water. Usually shocking the pool involves using three to five times the normal amount of chlorine. This will dramatically raise the chlorine level in the water for a short period of time.
Shocking a pool should never be a daily practice. There will be times when you need to shock your pool on occasion such as when the pool is recovering from a storm or it has been a little too long since you last checked the balance of the water.
One big question that comes from pool owners when the need to shock the pool arises is, “How long should I wait to swim after I shock the pool?”
There is no cookie-cutter definitive answer to this question. The answer to when you can get back to swimming will depend upon a few different variants. Ask yourself these questions when determining if the water is safe for swimming again.
How Dirty is the Pool?
In most cases balancing chemicals become part of the water within an hour after adding them to the water. When the chemicals have dissolved into the water it is safe to return to swimming. Shocking a pool, however, takes longer for the pool water to adjust. This will mean it will take longer than just adding the usual amount of chlorine to the pool.
First you will need to assess how dirty the pool water actually is. In some cases when the pool water is especially unbalanced and dirty it can take weeks to get the water to a safe swimmable condition again. The dirtier the pool water before shocking the longer it will take.
What Kind of Shock is Being Used?
The type of shock product that you use will affect how long it will take for the water to be clean and safe again. The big factors lie in the amount of chlorine concentration that is present in the shocking product. Most shocks with chlorine will take longer to work than those that use a non-chlorine approach.
A chlorine-free shock product oxidizes the bacteria and organics in the water without chemicals, most of these shocks allow you to swim about an hour after shocking the pool. A chlorine-based shock product contains high levels of pH and will alter the pH and the chlorine levels in the water causing a longer wait period.
It is always best to follow the instructions on your shock product, reentry into a pool should not be done when the level is above 4 parts per million. The best way to ensure the water is safe for swimming again is to test it. Once the free chlorine levels are holding at safe levels it is safe to swim again.