Cleaning Your Pool: How to Measure, Interpret, and Act on Chlorine Readings

If you are a new swimming pool owner, you might not be accustomed to interpreting and acting on your pool’s chlorine readings. Naturally, this is one of the most common struggles that new pool owners face. Chlorine readings are the most important thing that you will need to understand in order to avoid your water becoming unsanitary. Because it’s so important, let’s discuss the best ways to read and react to different chlorine readings in your pool.

Chlorine strip test

Measuring chlorine concentration in your pool water can be easily done using a strip test. You will need to hold a strip underwater for a few seconds and wait for it to change colour. When the colour has fully changed, you then compare the strip to an established colour standard provided by the test kit. The colour of the strip will tell you the chlorine concentration contained in the water sample. The standard chlorine concentration that you should maintain for your pool ranges between 1 to 3 parts per million. There are three different types of chlorine that you could measure: free chlorine (chlorine ions that are available to react and disinfect germs), combined chlorine (when chlorine reacts with other elements and become a compound), and total chlorine (the combination of both). You should only measure the free chlorine concentration, as it shows how many chlorine ions are available to sterilize the water.

Too high or too low?

After using the strip kit, you could then determine whether your pool’s chlorine level is ideal, too low, or too high compared to the 1 to 3ppm benchmark.

  1. If the reading is within the benchmark, then you do not need to worry!
  2. If the reading is too low, then you have to manually add more chlorine to the pool to keep the water safe. If you own a chlorinator, then simply adds more chlorine to the device. However, if you do not, then you have to either use chlorine tablets or granules. Be sure to measure the amount of chlorine that you will need to add to ensure that proper chlorine level will be attained.
  3. If your chlorine concentration is too high, then there are 3 different options you could do to neutralize the chemical. First, you could let the chlorine naturally oxidize under bright sunlight. This process could take several days depending on your chlorine level. Second, you could partially drain the water and refill with new pool water. Lastly, you could also add a chlorine neutralizing solution to your pool if you need a quick fix.

As a swimming pool owner, keeping your pool water clean and safe should always be a priority. Dirty or unsanitary water could pose serious health dangers to those who swim in your pool, especially when bacteria is present in the water. If you are a new swimming pool owner, or are unsure on how to read and maintain your chlorine readings, feel free to consult with our experts by phone at 905-294-8030 or by email at

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