Common misconception: All chlorine is created equal. When it comes to disinfecting drinking water a lot of people think chlorine in their water is just… chlorine in their water. Well, it’s not that simple.
‘TomToo’ very recently — as in a few minutes ago — asked about chlorine testing and which chlorine test he should use:
“Saw your chlorine sale announcement and have a question. The water in our beach house stinks really bad of chlorine when we first get there and we want to test to make sure it’s safe to use but you have free and total chlorine strips. How do you know which to use?”
Thanks for your inquiry, TomToo, and believe us when we say others share your confusion when it comes to knowing which type of chlorine they need to test for.
Lucky for you, though, we have simple answer if your concern deals only with worrying about having too much chlorine in the water. You should test for total chlorine.
The USEPA set the Maximum Contaminant Level for chlorine in drinking water at 4 ppm (parts per million) and that number takes into account ALL of the chlorine in a water sample, meaning both free and combined chlorine.
Moral of the story?
If you need to know the FULL amount of chlorine in a drinking water sample, testing for total chlorine makes the most sense.