Select Page

Chlorine is an essential element used to help keep many outdoor swimming pools and spas clean and safe for swimming. People accustomed to swimming in chlorinated pools are familiar with what chlorine does and how it smells. However, it is important to know that not all chlorine is the same. There are two different types of chlorine that have different functions, total and free chlorine. Knowing the difference between the two will help ensure that your pool or spa remains clean and safe to swim in.

What is Total Chlorine?

The Chemistry of Total Chlorine

Total chlorine is defined as the combination of both free chlorine and combined chlorine. It is typically expressed in parts per million, or PPM. Total chlorine is formed when free chlorine reacts with pollutants, such as wide range of organic materials like sweat, body oils, leaf debris, lotictions and cosmetics, or dissolved solids like calcium and nitrates all of which can cloud your pool and make it difficult for adequate level of chlorine to be present.

Differentiating Total Chlorine from Free Chlorine

Total chlorine differs from free chlorine in one important way. Free chlorine is a very active form of chlorine and is the “good” chlorine that is used to keep your pool clean and safe to swim in. Total chlorine, however, does not remain in its active state for very long and is quickly transformed into combined chlorine, or chloramines. Since this form of chlorine is not effective at sanitizing your pool, it should be regularly monitored and addressed.

What is Free Chlorine?

The Basics

Free chlorine is the type of chlorine that is present in your pool or spa to actively sanitize it. It works hard to keep the swimming environment clean and helps to keep swimmers safe from contamination, bacteria and germs. Free chlorine is typically added to a pool or spa in the form of liquid chlorine or a chlorine tablet.

The Benefits of Free Chlorine

The primary benefit of free chlorine is that it is effective at sanitizing your pool or spa and keeping it free from germs and contamination. Free chlorine helps to reduce the presence of algae, which can make your pool cloudy and unsafe to swim in. It also helps to balance the pH levels of your pool water, which will help prevent skin, eye and hot tub surface damage.

How to Test Your Pool Water For Free Chlorine

It is important to test your pool water on a regular basis to ensure that your swimming environment is safe and sanitized. The most common method for testing for free chlorine is to use a high quality pool testing kit. Pool testing kits are inexpensive and can be purchased from many local retailers, as well as from online suppliers. Once you have your kit, simply follow the instructions on the label and make adjustments to your pool water, if necessary.

People Also Ask:

What are the ideal levels of Total and Free Chlorine in a pool?

Ideally, total chlorine should be between 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and free chlorine between 1-3 ppm.

What is the difference between Total Chlorine and Chloramines?

The difference between total chlorine and chloramines is that total chlorine is the combination of both free chlorine and combined chlorine, while chloramines are formed when free chlorine has reacted with pollutants.

How often should I test my pool water?

It is recommended to test your pool water weekly, or after heavy use or extreme weather.

What is the relationship between chlorine and pH levels in a pool?

Chlorine helps to balance the pH levels in a pool, reducing acidity or alkalinity and preventing skin, eye, and hot tub surface damage.

Final Words

Total and free chlorine are two important factors to consider when maintaining a safe and sanitary swimming environment. Knowing the difference between the two and testing for them regularly can not only help to keep your pool clean and safe, but can also help to ensure a comfortable swimming experience.