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Hot Tub Shock reviewed: What you should know

What is a Hot Tub Shock?

Is the water in your hot tub a little bit cloudy or does it smell a little? Wondering how you can clear it all up without the hassle of emptying the entire hot tub? Well, you may want to look into something called the ‘hot tub shock’. We are going to talk about everything that you need to know on this page!

When you own a hot tub, you will regularly need to add a sanitizing chemical to it. This will, normally, be either chlorine or bromine. We do recommend bromine as it works better at higher temperatures than chlorine, but either one of them should be sufficient.

As you use your hot tub, the chemical that you are using should do a pretty good job at breaking down organic matter and eliminating bacteria. However, there are some situations where the chemicals in the hot tub may become ‘overwhelmed’.

When the chemicals in the hot tub get overwhelmed, they will find it difficult to remove everything that shouldn’t be there. This means that you need to add more chemicals than normal to help out. When you overload your hot tub with a sanitizer, this is known as a ‘hot tub shock’. This is something that you may need to do fairly regularly if you own a hot tub.

When Should You Carry Out a Hot Tub Shock?

You will know when you need to carry out a hot tub shock.

If the water is starting to look a little bit cloudy, or there is a little bit of a smell coming off of it, then this could indicate that there is a little bit too much organic matter and bacteria in your hot tub.

It is worth noting that there is no guarantee that the hot tub shock will resolve all of your problems. In some cases, the problem is going to be so bad that you have little choice but to empty the pool and start over.

Some people will also recommend that you carry out a hot tub shock each time you refill your hot tub. We can’t see the harm in that. At least it means you will be starting off on the right foot when it comes to the water. It means that if there is any organic matter in the water, it will be broken down before it becomes a problem.

You should not be shocking your water regularly. Some people do. However, eventually, you need to realize that regular shocking isn’t getting to the heart of the problem. 

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What type of Hot Tub Shock Should You Use?

When you are buying a hot tub shock, you have two ‘main’ options:

  • Chlorine Shock (known as Dichlor)
  • Non-Chlorine Shock (known as MPS, in most cases)

Generally speaking, if you are just maintaining the water, then you should be using a non-chlorine shock. Although, do bear in mind that the non-chlorine shock is not going to disinfect the water. It will help to break up organic compounds, though. The purpose of the non-chlorine shock will be to ‘reactivate’ the chemicals in your hot tub i.e. your chlorine or bromine. By ‘reactivating’ them, it will allow those compounds to clean the pool up again. Basically, it is going to remove whatever organic particles are stuck to the sanitizer. These compounds will get stuck in the filters, and the chlorine or bromine can get to work again.

The chlorine shock is for when your hot tub is incredibly filthy, or if you have just refilled the water. This is because the chlorine shock will allow you to bring chemical levels back in line rather quickly. The problem with constantly shocking your hot tub with chlorine is that the chemicals are harsh and could damage the hot tub. It is, therefore, important that the Dichlor is diluted before being added to the hot tub. That being said, the chlorine shock is going to be fantastic for cleaning everything in the pool out. If you are lucky, then it will completely clean out your water and you will not need to empty your hot tub.

How Should You Shock Your Hot Tub?

It is worth noting that this guide to a hot tub shock should not be taken as gospel. There are a lot of products for a hot tub shock on the market. Each of them will need to be used in a slightly different way. We suggest that you always consult the instructions for any shock that you have. If you do not use it correctly, then the best case is that you can’t use your hot tub for a while. The worst-case scenario is that you damage the shell of your hot tub with the chemicals.

Before you shock the hot tub, you will want to leave the cover of your hot tub off for about an hour. You should NOT switch off the hot tub. Leave it warm. 

Once the cover has been off for an hour, you can check the PH levels of the hot tub. You should NOT shock the hot tub if the PH levels are off. This will make the hot tub shock meaningless. You will need to look for a PH level of:

  • If your hot tub uses chlorine as the sanitizer, then it should be a PH of 7.2 to 7.6
  • If your hot tub uses bromine as a sanitizer, then it should be between 7.0 and 7.4

If PH levels are off, do not continue until you have them lined up properly. If you really can’t do that, or the PH levels are really far off, then you will probably find it better to empty your hot tub before the hot tub shock.

Once you have the PH levels up properly, turn the circulation in the hot tub on. This is important because the shock isn’t going to work if the chemicals are not filtering their way through the system. It is vital that you do NOT turn on the blower for your hot tub. You do not want anything other than water circulation.

Once this is up and running, it is time to add the shock to the hot tub. How you do this will be dependent on the chemical that you are using. As we said; it is important that you read the instructions for your selected chemicals. We do recommend that if you are using a chlorine shock, you dilute it in water before you add it to the hot tub. It will reduce the risk of the chemicals causing issues to the hot tub shell.

It is important to remember that you can’t really ‘over shock’ a hot tub. Start with a small amount first, and leave it for 24-hours. If you do not notice a change in the look and smell of the water, then you can add a bit more shock to the water. It isn’t going to cause issues. However, honestly, if you are finding it tough to remove the dirt and grime from the hot tub, it is probably going to be better to just completely empty the hot tub and clean the filters out. This is certainly going to deal with the issue. It also means that you are not going to be wasting the shocking chemical!

Once you have added the shock to the water, there is nothing you can really do but sit back and wait. Leave the lid off of the hot tub. Check back every hour or so. If the water wasn’t that filthy to begin with, then it is likely that you will notice a change in the water quality in not too long at all (assuming you are allowing the water to circulate)

How long before you can use your hot tub again after a hot tub shock?

It depends. If you are using a non-chlorine shock, then you may be able to get back into the hot tub within around 30-minutes of you shocking it. There won’t be any chemicals that will harm your skin, so this is going to be fine.

If you are using a chlorine shock, however, the wait is going to be a bit longer. In fact, you probably will not be able to enter the hot tub for at least 24-hours. Sometimes a bit longer, dependent on how much hot tub shock you used. It is important that you regularly measure chlorine levels in the hot tub. This should be at the most 5 PPM before you climb back into the hot tub. If it has yet to reach that level, then you will be risking skin irritation.

Remember; in all cases, you should only be shocking your hot tub when it is absolutely required. This is not something that you should be doing regularly. It is going to be done as somewhat of a ‘last resort’. If you still can’t shock the hot tub clean, then you will want to completely empty the hot tub and start over again. In fact, if you haven’t emptied your hot tub in 3-months, this may be the better option anyway.

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Posted in hot tubs

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