What To Do If Total Chlorine is Higher Than Free Chlorine?

Who doesn’t want to swim in a clean and crystal-clear swimming pool during hot summer? Undoubtedly, no one can deny what level of fun and enjoyment you will get from swimming in clean water. Here a question may arise like how to make the water clean and crystal clear. The solution lies in using chlorine in the pool water. Chlorine is widely used to kill harmful bacteria and then make the water safe for use.

But applying too much chlorine isn’t safe yet harmful. Here we discuss what to do if total chlorine is higher than free chlorine. So, let’s see the following discussion and apply that method to solve that issue.

Chlorine: Why is it essential for a pool?

Chlorine is famous for its bleaching and disinfecting capabilities; hence we see its application in various cleaning products. Apart from that, chlorine is used in various consumer goods, from paints to paper, even in textiles. Interestingly, chlorine is an integral ingredient of PVC production, especially for vinyl flooring, window frames, and water pipes.

Total Chlorine is Higher Than Free Chlorine

However, in a pool, chlorine does a simple chemical reaction that helps to kill bacteria. You can add chlorine solution to your pool water, and then that solution breaks down into hypochlorite ion (OCl-), hypochlorous acid (HOCl), and many more different chemicals. Our mentioned chemicals are liable to kill bacteria and microorganisms.

Let’s roll eyes on some additional amenities of chlorine in the following section.

  • Your spending on cleaning won’t be too high when you use chlorine as a cleaning solution.
  • In terms of use, you will find it user-friendly along with harmless.
  • When other cleaning solutions can’t ensure long-time safeguard against re-contamination, interestingly, chlorine does well in that area.

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Is Too Much Chlorine Harmful to a Pool?

Naturally, every item has some side effects; likewise, chlorine is responsible for some harmful issues.

When your pool has too much chlorine, it will negatively affect your health. For example, too much chlorine is liable to cause

  • Skin and eye problem.
  • Lunch irritation.
  • Provoke asthma.

So, is too much chlorine harmful only for the users? No, the high amount is also considered bad for the pool.

The high level of chlorine is responsible to minimize the pH level in a pool. Therefore, the water becomes acidic, which may cause corrosion. After that, your pool’s metal equipment, liners, tiles, and concrete will be affected.

Different Types of Chlorine in Water

After researching chlorine in water, we find three different types, and here we discuss them in detail.

  1. Free Chlorine 

Free chlorine is essential for pool water because it helps to kill dangerous microorganisms. Plus, this type of chlorine works actively to sanitize the pool water.

You can quickly check that chlorine level using test strips. If you find your pool’s free chlorine level becomes too low, you can use calcium hypochlorite to uplift the level.

Suggestion: You can conduct a frequent free chlorine test to ensure the recommended level. Plus, if need, you can add chemicals. When you wish to add chemicals, we suggest you add that at night. The hack behind this is that the sun’s UV rays may break down the chlorine compounds at daylight.

  1.  Combined chlorine

You will find this type of chlorine when you sanitize your pool. In the sanitizing process, the existing chlorine may mix with any contaminants that result in combined chlorine. Combined chlorine is also known as chloramines and liable for many health issues. Though it will grow, you have to minimize the level.

Another way to find the combined chlorine level is the difference between the total chlorine and the free chlorine levels.

  1. Total Chlorine

The combination of free and combined chlorine indicates the total chlorine.

The safe level of Chlorine in pool water

You need to know the safe level of Chlorine in pool water to avoid the health risk. Let’s see an example when you find the same level of TC (total chlorine) and FAC (free chlorine) in the pool water, and you don’t need to add any chemicals. Plus, the same level indicates the pool water has no used or combined chlorine.

  1. Free Chlorine

According to the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance, the recommended level of chlorine in pool water should lies between 2.0 to 4.0 ppm (parts per million). Another suggestion comes from InTheSwim, which says 2.0 to 3. 0 ppm is ideal for a pool that is stabilized.

  1. Combined Chlorine 

Expert suggests that the combined chlorine level shouldn’t exceed 0.5 PPM. If the level crosses the recommended level, you will get an odor and take action to reduce it. Moreover, the USA health department suggests keeping the combined chlorine level below 0.4 ppm. However, you may find a pool smell of chloramines when the combined chlorine level exceeds 0.2 ppm.

Attention: If you find a higher level of free chlorine than the combined chlorine, it indicates the pool water is sanitized. We suggest you conduct frequent monitoring and testing to ensure the perfect level. 

What action do you take if total chlorine is higher than free chlorine?

You already know that free chlorine works well to kill bacteria, germs, and bugs. Sometimes, you find the free chlorine level becomes lower, and the total chlorine level increases. Here the difference between those two types indicates your pool water has combined chlorine.

Notably, the high combined chlorine level in a pool may cause a bad smell, skin irritation, and red eyes. So, undoubtedly, you need to keep the free chlorine level up.

Here we give six different ways to fix the issue.

  1. Don’t Add Chlorine

One of the easy processes of lowering the chlorine level from pool water is to stop adding chlorine. If your pool is connected with a chlorine feeder, you need to switch that off. Plus, if you have a chlorine floater or skimmer with a chlorine tablet, you need to remove all those.

  1. Allow the Sunshine on the Pool

You can take help from the warm sunny day to lower the chlorine level easily and quickly. To do that, you need to uncover your pool and allow direct sunlight for 2 hours (minimum). Hopefully, that step will lower your pool water’s chlorine level by 90 percent.

When the water’s chlorine contact with UV rays, chlorine gas will be formed and release into the environment. During the session, you have to monitor and don’t allow the level below two ppm. After finishing the process, you need to sanitize the pool by commencing regular chlorination.


  1. You can Heat your Pool Water

When you heated your pool water, the chlorine level will decrease. Our recommended temperature is 90°F–10°F for a short period.

Note: You have to monitor the chlorine level to avoid dropping below standard.


  1. Reduce the Pool Water

You can drain some water from the pool and then fill that up with fresh water. Sad to say, this chlorine lowering method has some disadvantages such as time-consuming, not cost-effective, need to monitor the chlorine level continuously,


  1. You can use Hydrogen Peroxide

When you mix hydrogen peroxide into the pool water, it will react with chlorine and produce oxygen and water. You can identify whether it is working or not by seeing tiny, effervescent bubbles. If you want the best result, you need to use the pool-specialized hydrogen peroxide.

This chemical will work effectively when the pH level is higher than 7.0. That’s why it will be better if you test the level before using it and also check later to ensure it works effectively.


  1. You can Use a Chlorine Neutralizing Product

You will find multiple chlorine neutralize products in the market specially made to reduce chlorine from the pool water. Don’t worry, and those products won’t disrupt the water hardness, alkalinity, or pH levels. Note: You have to ensure the chlorine level won’t drop significantly so, add gradually.

One word of caution: Try to avoid the chemical adding session when the swimmers use it. 

Final Thought

By now, you can get a lot of information regarding chlorine and its importance. We suggest you don’t show lethargy in monitoring the chlorine level of pool water. However, it’s time to draw the finishing line of what to do if total chlorine is higher than free chlorine. We hope you get all those that we discussed herein and can solve your issue quickly.

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