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Difference Between Total Chlorine & Free Chlorine & How To Eliminate Chloramines.

Free chlorine refers to the amount of chlorine that is available to react with and kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms in the water. It exists in the form of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ions (OCl-). Free chlorine is also known as residual chlorine, as it is the remaining chlorine that has not reacted with contaminants in the water.


Total chlorine, on the other hand, refers to the total amount of chlorine in the water, including both free chlorine and combined chlorine. Combined chlorine refers to the chlorine that has reacted with contaminants in the water, such as ammonia or organic compounds. This type of chlorine is not effective for disinfection.

Therefore, the difference between total chlorine and free chlorine is that total chlorine measures the total amount of chlorine in the water, including both free and combined chlorine, while free chlorine measures the amount of chlorine that is available for disinfection.

Shocking a pool is a process of adding a large amount of chlorine to the pool water in order to raise the free chlorine level and eliminate combined chlorine, also known as chloramines. Chloramines can cause eye irritation, skin irritation, and an unpleasant odor in the pool water.

To shock a pool, follow these steps:

  1. Test the pool water: Use a pool test kit to measure the chlorine level in the pool water. If the combined chlorine level is high, it's time to shock the pool.

  2. Choose a shock product: There are different types of shock products available, such as calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite. Follow the instructions on the product label to determine the correct amount to add to the pool based on its gallon size

  3. Add the shock: With the pool pump running, add the shock product to the pool water slowly and evenly around the edges of the pool. Use a pool brush or skimmer to help distribute the shock evenly throughout the water.

  4. Run the pool pump and filter: Keep the pool pump and filter running for at least 8 hours after adding the shock product to the pool. This will help circulate the water and ensure that the shock is evenly distributed.

  5. Retest the pool water: After the recommended time has elapsed, test the pool water again to ensure that the free chlorine level has risen to a safe and effective level. If necessary, repeat the shock treatment until the combined chlorine level is eliminated.

It's important to follow the instructions on the shock product carefully, as adding too much chlorine can be dangerous and damage the pool equipment. Also, make sure to keep people and pets out of the pool during the shock treatment and until the free chlorine level has returned to a safe level.

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