Shocking is the process of adding a large amount of chlorine to spa water. While it’s necessary to super chlorinate the water to keep it sanitary, is it possible to add too much?
It is possible to add too much chlorine shock to a hot tub. Unnecessarily high doses can cause damage to your spa and its components. Never bathe in water with excess amounts of chlorine as it can lead to skin irritation, organ damage, and breathing difficulties. It’s especially harmful to pregnant women.
Chlorine shock should only be used when absolutely necessary. If you do it too often, you could end up doing more harm than good.
In this article, we’ll look at:
- The damaging effects of over shocking
- When to use chlorine (and non-chlorine) shock
- How to quickly reduce excess levels of chlorine
Harmful effects of excess shock on your hot tub
High levels of chlorine can be harmful to the hot tub shell. Chlorine is a very powerful oxidizer and can cause the acrylic or polyester shell to discolor and become brittle and crack. It can strip away the finish, causing the surface to become rough and faded.
Additionally, high levels of chlorine in the hot tub can damage the fabric of the pillows, causing them to fade and become brittle.
Chlorine can also cause the hot tub cover to deteriorate. The sun’s ultraviolet rays will break down the chlorine molecules, causing the cover to become brittle and cracked. If you live in an area with high humidity, excess chlorine can also cause the cover to mildew and rot.
Excess chlorine can also damage the pipes and plumbing in your hot tub. Over time, the chlorine will corrode the metal pipes and fittings, leading to leaks and system failure.
Dangers of excess shock to your personal health
The effects of high chlorine levels on the body can be significant. When present at high levels, it can cause adverse health effects such as respiratory problems, skin irritation, and even organ damage.
Excess chlorine can also form carcinogen chloroform and other harmful chemicals. These toxic chemicals can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, leading to a range of health issues such as birth defects, miscarriages, cancer, and death.
High levels of chlorine can cause the chest muscles to contract, leading to pain. It can also cause the airways to constrict, making it difficult to breathe. In extreme cases, chlorine exposure can lead to respiratory failure.
Another effect of bathing in water with excess chlorine is skin irritation. This is because the high chlorine levels can cause the skin to become dry and itchy. In severe cases, it can also cause chemical burns.
When you put too much shock in a hot tub, you can create dangerous levels of chlorine gas. This chlorine gas can be harmful to your respiratory system, and can even cause oxidative injury and inflammation. The damage caused by excess chlorine can result in long-term health problems.
How often can you safely shock a hot tub?
Two types of shock should be used in a hot tub: chlorine and non-chlorine.
If you have just refilled your hot tub with fresh water, you’ll need to balance the water and add your sanitizer of choice. Shocking a freshly filled spa isn’t necessary. Adding sanitizer should be more than to kill any bacteria present in the water.
From there on, it’s recommended that you shock your hot tub every week during the warmer months. If you use your hot tub less frequently during winter, you will likely only need to add shock once every two weeks.
This will help to maintain the chlorine levels and keep your hot tub clean and safe to use. If you have a lot of people using your hot tub, you may need to shock it twice a week.
You shouldn’t need to add chlorinated shock daily. Shocking the hot tub every day can cause the chlorine levels to become too high and can be harmful to the hot tub and its users.
Adding excessive amounts of shock doesn’t speed up the sanitizing process. Cloudiness is normal after shocking, but, if it persists, then you should reduce the amount of shock you’re using.
Note: It’s best to shock your hot tub in the evening so that it has plenty of time to work. Sunlight destroys chlorine, so adding it during the day is not recommended.
Non-chlorine shock can be added to a hot tub on a daily basis if there are a lot of people using it. This will help to maintain the pH levels and keep your hot tub clean and safe to use.
Non-chlorine shock is used to oxidize metals and other contaminants that cannot be killed by chlorine. By doing so, it frees up the chlorinated shock to kill bacteria and other contaminants.
How long does it take for a hot tub to clear after using shock?
You should wait around 24 hours after super chlorinating your hot tub with chlorine-based shock. This gives the chlorine time to work and allows the levels to drop to a suitable bathing level of between 1-3 ppm.
However, if you’ve added far more than was necessary, you may need to wait 48 hours for the chlorine levels to become safe again.
The fact that non-chlorine shock doesn’t contain chlorine means that you can safely use the spa after 15-20 minutes.
Always make sure to test the chlorine levels before getting back into your hot tub using test strips or a liquid test kit.
What should you do if you add too much shock to your hot tub?
If you’ve added too much shock, then you can wait for the levels to fall naturally. This can be sped up by:
- Removing the spa cover or floating blanket so that the sun’s UV rays can break down the chlorine molecules.
- Draining part of the super chlorinated water and adding fresh water to dilute and lower the chlorine levels.
- Running the filtration system for a few hours to reduce chlorine in the water.
If you don’t want to wait around for 24-48 hours, then I suggest using a neutralizer product. It’s the fastest way to lower excess chlorine.
Neutralizer contains sodium thiosulfate, which quickly removes the chlorine from the water, helping to bring the levels back down to a safe and comfortable level.
Check out my full guide for more information on lowering excess chlorine.