Can You Shock a Saltwater Pool?

Pool shock is an incredibly important part of caring for your swimming pool. It works to disinfect the water and make it healthy and safe for everyone who uses it. Pool shock – usually chlorine or a similarly powerful oxidizing agent – is added in a very concentrated form. This increases the amount of “available chlorine” in the pool, which then breaks down into free radicals that eliminate bacteria and other toxic substances from the water.

Because it’s so effective, pool shock can be used after heavy use or as part of a regular maintenance schedule to keep your pool clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.

Shocking a saltwater pool is possible, although it might seem counterintuitive. Saltwater pools are theoretically self-cleaning, which means that shocks are not typically needed to sanitize the water. That said, most people still choose to shock their saltwater pools periodically to keep the water even cleaner. In this post we’ll talk about how to shock a saltwater pool and how to do it. We’ll also discuss how often you should shock your saltwater pool.

When should you shock a saltwater pool?

When it comes to deciding when to shock a saltwater pool, there are a few factors to consider. First, you might need to shock your pool if you notice the chlorine level dropping below 1ppm or if algae is forming in the pool. You might also need to shock your pool if you’re expecting numerous guests and people will be getting in and out of the pool often.

It is highly recommended to shock your saltwater swimming pool after rain events; this helps keep back any contaminants that accumulate during storms. Once you know these key signs that indicate when it’s time for a shock treatment, all that’s left is selecting an appropriate product and following manufacturer instructions for use.

How to shock a saltwater pool?

To shock a saltwater pool, you only need to follow a few relatively simple steps.

  1. Make sure your pool chemistry is in order. Test your pH levels, calcium hardness and alkalinity then adjust as necessary to make sure those chemicals are balanced. This may seem unnecessary, but if these levels are out of whack a sudden jolt of chlorine can damage your pool.
  2. Figure out how much shock you need. Follow the instructions on your shock’s packaging on how to achieve a 30ppm chlorination level. Most products will tell you how much you need to add per 10,000-gallon volume. If you don’t know the volume of your pool, you can check out our pool volume calculator on our “How long should a pool pump run” post.
  3. Fire up your filter. Running your pool filter will help to distribute the shock once it’s added, making sure it spreads throughout your pool.
  4. Add your shock. If you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool you may need to dilute the shock so it doesn’t stain your surfaces.
  5. Turn your chlorine generator down. With the sudden introduction of so much chlorine, you won’t need your salt cell system to be producing at its normal level until the new chlorine has started to dissipate.

How often do you shock a saltwater pool?

A lot of pool maintenance folks recommend shocking a saltwater pool once a week, especially during the busiest parts of swim season. That said, there are some reasons to shock a saltwater pool more or less often. If your pool is in near constant use during swim season, or if your pool has been subjected to a lot of rain, you’ll likely have to shock your pool more often.

If you rarely use your pool, or your use dials down at the beginning and end of swim season, you might be able to dial back your shocking schedule to once every two or three weeks. You’ll want to regularly test your chlorine levels until you figure out what cadence works best for shocking your pool during these times.

Want more pool tips?

Check back with us regularly for more helpful pool tips. If you’re looking to make any pool upgrades to your equipment and accessories be sure to check out our American-made swim up bars, pool slides, ladders, railings, diving boards, and pool games.

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