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BREAKPOINT CHLORINATION: A term which refers to adding chlorine in sufficient amounts to assure the complete removal of ALL of the Combined Chlorine (Chloramines) present in a body of water. It is generally accepted that in order to achieve "Breakpoint Chlorination", one must add an amount of Free Chlorine to the water which is equal to 10 times the amount of Combined Chlorine present. (EXAMPLE:  Let's assume that we are wishing to achieve Breakpoint Chlorination in a backyard pool containing 20,000 gallons of water.  After testing the water with a good DPD test kit or test strip, we determine that the combined chlorine content of the water is 1.0 PPM. Our choice of chlorine for "Super Chlorinating" purposes to achieve "Breakpoint" is Sodium Hypochlorite, aka: Liquid Chlorine (10-12% Available Chlorine)  We know from reading the label on the container that in order to achieve 1 PPM in our 20,000 gal pool, we will need to add approximately 25 oz.; but since we need to add 10 times the amount of Combined Chlorine present (which was 1 PPM) we will need to add 10 times this amount, or 250 oz.  Since there is 128 oz. in a gallon, this would mean that 2 gallons would be the required amount in order to achieve Breakpoint Chlorination.)  Note: When ever determining how much is the proper amount of chlorine to be used, it is ALWAYS better to error on the side of adding too much than adding too little!   If "Breakpoint" is not achieved, it will usually make the problems associated with having "Chloramines" present, only worse!

"Broadcast": A term used to describe the method of applying powdered or granular chemicals to a pool. Same as "feeding chickens". (REMEMBER: Some pool chemicals are hazardous to people, pets, and plant life.  Care should be taken to avoid having the product being used from blowing in the wind!)

CHLORAMINES: (aka: COMBINED CHLORINE) When FREE CHLORINE reacts with ammonia, nitrogen compounds and other contaminants in pool and spa water, a class of combined chlorine compounds are formed.  These are sometimes referred to as CHLORAMINES or COMBINED CHLORINE.  When in this "combined" state, the chlorine looses most of it's ability to kill bacteria and oxidize, plus it is the main source of eye burning complaints and also the source of that notorious "CHLORINE STINK" which is noticed around pools and spas.  For these reasons, CHLORAMINES or COMBINED CHLORINE should be monitored and maintained at a level never to exceed 1/2 of 1 Part Per Million (< .5 PPM).  The accepted method for removal of chloramines from the water is referred to as "Breakpoint Chlorination", more often referred to as "Shocking" or "Super Chlorinating".

COMBINED CHLORINE: (aka: CHLORAMINES)This refers to a test result in pool or spa water being sanitized with any form of chlorine, indicating the amount of sanitizer which has been attached to or "combined with" ammonia, nitrogen containing compounds or other contaminants in the water.  It is generally accepted that this amount of COMBINED CHLORINE be maintained at a level of .5 ppm or less. Any chlorine present will either be "Free Available Chlorine" or "Combined Chlorine"

DPD: One of two categories of water testing protocols available, used to determine low levels of Chlorine/Bromine in the water sample being tested.  Actually DPD is an abbreviation for (N,N-diethyl-p-phenylenediamine).  The other choice for testing is referred to as OTO, which is an abbreviation for "Orthotolodiene".  When adding the DPD reagents to the sample being tested, (or when dipping a DPD Test Strip into the sample) the result will always be a change to varying shades of pink or red in the presence of Chlorine and/or Bromine.  ONLY DPD tests can differentiate between chlorine which is FREE ACTIVE CHLORINE (FAC) and that which is in a COMBINED state (bonded to ammonia, organic nitrogen or other contaminants in the water.)

EROSION FEEDER: Any device which dispenses solid tablets or "sticks" into a pool or spa by means of diverting water from the circulation system through this device.  As the water flows over the tablets, the tablets are "eroded" or dissolved into the water and carried into the pool or spa.

FREE CHLORINE: (aka: FREE AVAILABLE CHLORINE or FAC) This refers to a test result in pool or spa water being sanitized with any form of chlorine, indicating the amount of chlorine which is in an "un-attached" or unencumbered form, whereby being fully available to assist in doing the work of keeping the pool or spa clear and sanitary.  Any chlorine present must always either be "Free Available Chlorine" or "Combined Chlorine"

OTO: (Abbreviation for Orthotolodiene) One of two choices available for use in testing low levels of Chlorine in residential pools or spas, with the other being DPD.  (NOTE:  The OTO Method is only capable of testing TOTAL CHLORINE and incapable of determining amounts of FREE CHLORINE or COMBINED CHLORINE present in water being analyzed.  For this reason, it has been disallowed for use in all commercial applications.   OTO will change a sample varying shades of yellow when added to a sample containing chlorine and should be compared against a color "Standard" to achieve the results.

PPM (Parts Per Million): A unit of concentration which is commonly used to measure very small amounts of a particular substance in relationship to the whole. (Example #1: If you had only 10 green golf balls in a field containing one million golf balls, the green golf balls could be measured as 10 parts per million. Example #2: If 1 lb. of sugar were added to one million pounds of water (which incidentally would be 120,000 gallons) the amount of sugar would equal 1 ppm (METRIC: 1 ppm = 1 mg/L or one milligram per liter). NOTE: As a practical example, an accepted recommended level of FREE CHLORINE in a residential swimming pool is between 2 and 3 PPM

"SHOCK": A term used to describe the addition of a large dose of chlorine for the purpose of destroying and removing undesirable organic compounds from pool and spa water. (Used interchangeably with the term "SUPER CHLORINATE:

"SUPER CHLORINATE": By definition, this term refers to the addition of an appropriate amount of free chlorine to a body of water sufficient to reach "Breakpoint Chlorination", or in other words, a sufficient amount to remove all of the "Combined Chlorine" (aka: "Chloramines") from the water.

TOTAL CHLORINE:  This term is used to indicate the sum total of chlorine in pool or spa water and includes both the amounts of FREE CHLORINE and the amounts of COMBINED CHLORINE added together as one. (A good test DPD test kit will always allow the user to test for FREE CHLORINE first and then using that same sample, to then add an additional reagent to determine the amount of TOTAL CHLORINE next.  It is a simple matter then of subtracting the amount of FREE CHLORINE from the TOTAL CHLORINE to determine the level of COMBINED CHLORINE. (EXAMPLE:  TOTAL CHLORINE - FREE CHLORINE = COMBINED CHLORINE)

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids): The accumulated total of ALL materials which have been dissolved in water, which at some point were solid materials. (Example: By stirring a teaspoon of sugar into a glass of iced tea, the TDS is raised in the tea from it's former level.) Excessive TDS levels in pool and spas can be very problematic. It is commonly believed that acceptable ranges of TDS in pool and spa water is less that 1500 ppm.



Last Modified: April 10, 2014