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What Is Hot Tub Shock?

If you’ve been researching the specifics about owning a hot tub, you might’ve come across the term, “shock.”  What is hot tub shock?  A term like this could put you off of hot tubs altogether.  It may sound frightening or even dangerous.  Well, you’ll be relieved to know that it has nothing to do with electrocution, nor does it have anything to do with Halloween or horror movies.  To put it simply, shocking your hot tub is a regular cleaning procedure performed to keep your hot tub water clean, clear and free of bacteria and algae.

Why Do You Need to Shock A Hot Tub?

When people enter a hot tub the natural oils, soap residues and other organic particles on their skin get left behind in the water.  When these contaminants build up, they can promote the growth of bacteria and algae while making the water foul smelling and cloudy.  By shocking your hot tub, you rid the tub of contaminants leaving clear, clean and safe water for soaking.  You should shock your hot tub on a regular basis.  It’s typically done weekly, but it may need to be performed more often if the hot tub gets a lot of use or large amounts of organic materials end up in the tub. 

What Do You Use to Shock A Hot Tub?

There are typically two types of hot tub shock chemicals available to owners – chlorine based and bromine based.  Chlorine based shocks clean the water through a process called oxidization.  Bromine based shocks break the chemical bonds of the contaminants by a process called ionization.  Despite working faster, chlorine-based shocks can be quite hard on the various components of the hot tub as well as the bather’s lungs and eyes.  Chlorine also breaks down quite quickly.  Bromine, on the other hand, is relatively stable and works for a longer time than chlorine, but it takes longer to be effective.  Because of this you’ll need to apply chlorine shocks more often than bromine shocks. 

What’s the Process of Hot Tub Shocking?

The first thing to remember is that you’re actually using chemicals, so the appropriate safety precautions need to be taken.  It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves, long sleeves and eye protection.  Take special care adding chemicals on windy days or you may end up wearing them.  If you spill anything, be sure to clean it up completely.  Do not use both chlorine and bromine shocks at the same time as you may end up with a dangerous chemical reaction. You’ll need to make sure the pH levels of the hot tub water are within the correct range.  Simply follow the directions on the package to find out what that range is and the right amount of chemicals to add to the water.  Once you’ve added the shock, leave the hot tub uncovered until the levels come back into line.

How Long Does Shocking Take?

Your shock chemicals will come with test strips to allow you to measure the levels.  You’ll have to wait at least 20 minutes before testing.  The length of time it takes before your tub is ready to use again depends on the amount and type of shock you use as well as how dirty the water is. 

More Information

If you want to find out more about hot tub maintenance or the various types of models available, download your hot tub buyer’s guide today.