Although the average person may think that a swim spa is nothing but fun and games, the swim spa owner knows that this is far from the truth. Keeping the water clean is an important job that ensures the safety of all those who use it. Dirty swim spa water can cause all sorts of health problems ranging from skin rashes to Legionnaires’ disease. When you think of it in those terms, it becomes obvious that water cleanliness is not something to take lightly. So, beyond regularly adding a sanitizer and testing the water chemistry, what do you need to do to keep the water clean? The water also requires a regular shock. This has nothing to do with electricity but has more to do with adding chemicals that break down organic compounds. This probably has you asking, “How often should I shock my swim spa?” To find out this and more, continue reading.
How Often Should I Shock My Swim Spa?
It’s generally assumed that you should shock your swim spa water a minimum of once a week. If the swim spa is getting more use than normal or you’ve had a bunch of different people in the water over a short time period, you should think about shocking the water more often – maybe two or three times a week. If the swim spa isn’t getting that much use you may be able to get away with shocking it less often.
What Are the Benefits of Swim Spa Shock?
The main function of swim spa shock is to eliminate the buildup of organic compounds in the water. These contaminants originate from many sources, but most often they come from the swim spa users themselves. Soap, laundry detergent and shampoo residues, oils, lotions, makeup and deodorants all add to the amount of organics in the water. Insects, bird droppings and plant material also contribute to organic contamination. Adding shock to the water will break down these organic compounds and reduce the likelihood of the formation of foam and scum while clearing the water up of any cloudiness.
Shocking the water will also reinvigorate the sanitizer by converting chloramines or bromamines back into chlorine and bromine. This will reduce the chlorine-like odour that swimming pools and hot tubs are so well known for. It will also help eliminate bacteria and viruses.
What’s in Swim Spa Shock?
There are a few different kinds of shock that can be used in swim spas. Some are more suitable for swimming pool use while others are better for hot tubs. Because many swim spas are a combination of both, it’ll depend on the temperature you keep your water at. As we’ll see, certain shocks aren’t as stable at higher temperatures.
This is commonly referred to as cal hypo. Because it’s composed of unstabilized chlorine it breaks down quickly in the presence of heat. For this reason, it’s much better for cooler swimming pools rather than hot tubs. The calcium component can also cause problems in saltwater systems or smaller tanks. Cal hypo is sensitive to the sun so should be applied in the evenings for maximum effectiveness.
Dichlor is most often used in hot tubs because it’s more stable in the heat. It uses cyanuric acid to create this stability, but it can have a side effect of reducing the effectiveness of chlorine. Dichlor’s stability protects it from sunlight allowing it to be added during the daylight hours.
Non-chlorine shocks are effective at breaking down organic compounds and removing cloudiness and murkiness from the water, but they do not kill off bacteria and viruses. That said, if you’re using a chlorine based sanitizer, a non-chlorine shock can reactivate chlorine which can take care of bacteria.
Now that you’ve learned something about swim spa shocking, download a free buyer’s guide to find out more information.