Should I try non chlorine shock dosing?
“Shocking” your hot tub might not sound like a whole lot of fun. But if you want to keep your ‘tubbing experience a happy and healthy one, the difference between chlorine and non-chlorine shock dosing is important to get your head around.
This doesn’t need to complicated. Yet there’s a little to understand before you get started. First of all, it’s important to be aware that these treatments aren’t alternatives to one another.
Both chlorine shocking and non-chlorine shocking should play roles in your hot tub maintenance and sanitisation routine. Here’s how it works:
What Is Hot Tub Shock Dosing?
“Shocking” your hot tub basically involves adding a larger one-off dose of the sanitising chemical you use in your tub (this will be chlorine or bromine). This is normally done about once per week.
The chlorine (or bromine if that’s what you’re using) is there to sanitise the water. The idea of adding a large dose once per week is to break down the contaminants and other unwanted detritus that have built up in your hot tub water, giving your sanitiser a chance to stay on top of things.
This process is usually referred to as “chlorine shock dosing” and is a part of basic hot tub care.
What Is Non Chlorine Shock Dosing?
Adding non chlorine shock to your hot tub is best thought of as a supplementary process that helps your main sanitising chemical do its job.
As you might expect, non chlorine shock doesn’t contain any chlorine. Instead, it’s made of a chemical called potassium monopersulfate (sometimes abbreviated to MPS).
On its own, this chemical won’t disinfect or sanitise your hot tub water. It’s an odourless example of what’s known as an “oxidising agent”. Oxidisation and sanitisation aren’t the same thing:
- Sanitisation – accomplished by the bromine or chlorine you add to your tub, sanitisation is the process of killing any bacteria present in your tub.
- Oxidisation – is the breaking down of oils and unwanted organic contaminants in your tub. Chlorine or bromine do provide a little oxidisation, but they need help. That’s where non-chlorine shock comes in.
What Does Non-Chlorine Shock Do To A Hot Tub?
Non chlorine hot tub shock (this is frequently the name of the product as well as the process) supports the sanitising agent already in your tub.
It does this by oxidising the water. This is a process that creates “free chlorine”, the actual stuff that eliminates the bacteria in your tub.
Weirdly, even though it’s almost always referred to as “non chlorine shock”, this works just as well if you’re using bromine as a cleansing agent.
It is worth underlining the fact that non chlorine shock isn’t a sanitising agent in its own right. It won’t keep your tub water clean without your main sanitising chemical, be it chlorine or bromine.
Should I Use Chlorine Or Non-Chlorine Shock In My Hot Tub?
You really need both if you want to maintain the health and sanitary conditions in your tub:
- Chlorine or bromine shock – use this on a regular basis to keep your hot tub’s sanitiser at a safe level (this is usually said to be between 1.5 and 3 parts per million for chlorine and between 3 and 5 parts per million for bromine).
- Non-chlorine shock – you also want to add hot tub non chlorine shock on a regular basis to help your sanitiser kill bacteria and create the oxidisation that removes the organic detritus too.
Why Use Non Chlorine Shock?
1) Boost Your Sanitiser Power
You’ll use less of your main sanitising agent when you use non-chlorine shock at the same time.
Your chlorine can get on with its main job of sanitising your water, killing that bacteria instead of wasting itself oxidising. Meanwhile, your bromine will actually be regenerated by oxidisation.
That’s right. With the help of MPS, spent bromine – which turns into bromide ions – will form new bromine and get to work sanitising your tub all over again.
2) Deliver That Vital Oxidisation
Some people simply over-use sanitiser to achieve higher oxidisation (remembering that chlorine and bromine do provide a little of this).
Using chlorine shock helps remove oil and other organics in your tub without maxing out on chlorine. This latter approach is sometimes called “super chlorination” which, despite the cool name, actually has a bunch of downsides
These include, but aren’t limited to, bleaching your tub and making it stink of chlorine for an extended period of time. Non-chlorine shock is inarguably better.
3) Break Down By-Products And Clear Your Water
Bromine can be regenerated by non-chlorine shock. Chlorine can’t be – after it reacts with pollutants and kills bacteria, spent chlorine becomes chloramines.
Chloramines do still do a bit of sanitising work, but they’re far less effective than chlorine. They also don’t smell too great.
In fact, the smell that most people associate with too much chlorine is actually usually lots of chloramines in the water. It’s a sign that the chlorine is working, but chloramines do need to be broken down through oxidisation.
The result of this (chlorine doing its job) is water that can appear milky. So, if your hot tub water looks cloudy despite testing fine for pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels, the solution is probably to add some non chlorine shock for hot tubs. This provides that oxidisation, breaking down the chloramines.
How Often Sould I Use Non Chlorine Shock In My Hot Tub?
Like chlorine shock, it’s worth considering adding some non chlorine shock to your hot tub at least once per week. Make it a standard part of your hot tub maintenance routine. It’s simple. Easy. And both your hot tub and your bathers will thank you for it!
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