What is free chlorine in a swimming pool?

DailyStoke Team

Chlorine is a naturally occurring element commonly used to sanitize water the water through clarification processes. It is the most commonly used ingredient in the sanitation of public and private swimming pools.

As chlorine is added to water, it can undergo a quick reaction when coming into contact with other contaminants present. Other contaminants can include urine, oils, perspiration, etc. that enter pools via swimmers’ bodies.

‘Free’ chlorine is the unused chlorine in the water that is still able to sanitize. In order words, it’s the available chlorine in your water and it’s what you measure when testing pool water. Per Medallion Energy, you can think of free chlorine as chlorine that is active. An ideal range for free chlorine sits between 1 -3 parts per million.

Palintest, a water testing technology company says that, “Testing the water for both free and combined chlorine allows you to know whether the water you’ve chlorinated is of sufficient quality to drink or disinfect your process, depending upon your application.”

Additionally, the American Chemistry Council recommends taking the following “SENSE-ABLE” steps before entering a pool.

  • Sight – you should be able to see through the pool water and down to the drain or lane stripes.
  • Touch – pool walls and gutters should not feel slimy.
  • Smell – check with the pool manager if there is a strong chemical odor surrounding the pool.
  • Hear – Listen for pool-cleaning equipment.
  • Taste – do not intentionally swallow pool water.
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