What Are Chloramines

Chlorine is the most widely used sanitizer in the world for swimming pools. However, for chlorine to work effectively the levels must be checked on a regular basis to ensure there is adequate free chlorine in the pool to destroy organic waste and pathogens in the water. Some of the first indications there is not enough chlorine in the pool is when the water smells like chlorine, cloudiness of the water, skin irritation or red eye.  As long as the PH is correct these symptoms are likely the result of chloramine levels building in the water.

Chloramines are formed when free chlorine molecules bond with nitrogen, ammonia, urine, sweat, fecal matter, perspiration, and other organic waste rendering the new chlorine molecule useless as a sanitizer and oxidizing agent. Chloramines are highly ineffective chlorine compounds and must be removed from the water to provide safe and sanitary waters. Many individuals believe they have a sensitivity to free chlorine molecules when in reality it is the chloramine molecule holding all the bather waste that is the irritation. Once these chloramines reach a level about .04 ppm you must shock the pool to remove the chloramines from the water. After the pool is "Shocked" most bathers notice the chlorine smell of the water is gone despite there being a fresh supply of free chlorine in the water.

Chloramine is up to 80 times less powerful then free chlorine molecules so it's best to insure chloramine levels are kept to a minimum in order avoid bather discomfort.