Why Does My Chlorine Test Dark Orange? + SOLUTION!

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If an OTO chlorine test dark orange, then you have a REALLY high chlorine content, above 4PPM in your pool or spa.

Theoretically speaking, you will need to drain 50% of your water if your CYA is very close to 100. But if it were me, I’d drain 1/3rd and retest. You can do this a couple of times to get it down to around 40-50.

If you don’t already own a test kit, then I recommend getting one. I suggest the TF-100 (BUY ON AMAZON). It’s a huge lifesaver.

For even quicker results, use a chlorine neutralizer to bring chlorine back into the proper range.

Table of Contents

Why Does My Chlorine Test Dark Orange?

OTO orange equals chlorine levels greater than 20 ppm.

If it remains that high for up to 30 days, then your CYA (stabilizer) is also really high.

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Free chlorine levels of 20ppm can be really irritation (and very hard on swimwear). If there is the absence of stabilizer in the water. But it could also disappear within a day of full sun.

The stabilizer ‘inactivates” a portion of the chlorine and “puts it in a reserve”, so you may have what is effectively 1 ppm FC + 19 ppm “inactive reserve chlorine”.

When the 1 ppm gets used up, another 1 ppm is released (more or less) to “active duty”.

Remember, you will need the K2006 test kit to properly test your water levels accurately.

ALSO SEE: Radiant Metric Pool Review

Can I swim in Pool if it tests Orange?

Yeah, you can swim. I suggest you keep new swimsuits and dyed or permed hair out of the pool, and all will be well. The human skin is resistant to chlorine.

Meanwhile, do these things:

  • Check Your Tile Line for “scale”

Areas with scale build up at the water line will require draining of 50-75% and refill. Doing so will reduce your CYA greatly, lower your chlorine and lower your scale producing salts. But, check on water restrictions and cost.

  • Get a K2006 test kit

Order the K2006(BUY ON AMAZON)

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and read the Best Guess page.

  • Understand how this Issue Began

If your CYA levels are (possibly > 200 ppm) then that could mean someone has been chlorinating with stabilized chlorine (trichlor or dichlor) which adds BOTH chlorine AND stabilizer to the pool.

So, that will mean you wither need to lower CYA (=drain a lot of water) and run “normal” chlorine levels or you’ll need to run high chlorine levels to compensate for your high CYA.

chlorine test dark orange

Why is My Chlorine Test Orange?

I assume that you’re talking about the OTO chlorine test which is a vial with a color chart, you simply add 5 drops, which normally turns the sample different shades of yellow, which are then matched against samples on the color chart.

The OTO test is generally used to measure TC levels between 0 and 5. You can, however, use this test to paint a mental picture of how high your TC levels really are.

If the sample turns:

  • Vivid yellow = 5-15 TC levels
  • Light Orange = 10-15 TC levels
  • Dark Orange = 15-30 TC levels
  • Brown = 30 or higher.

How do I Lower the Chlorine Level in My Pool?

Your largest issue here would be your CYA level (too high). So, first I recommend water replacement where possible. That will help in the reduction of your CYA levels down below 100.

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Before starting on that, ensure you are somewhat confident of your CYA test results. One approach to double check is to mix equal amounts of pool water and tap water together and then do a CYA test with that and multiply the result by two.

Finally, a CC reading of 1.0 is too high. You never want CC above 0.5. But I wouldn’t worry about that too much just at first. If the CC level remains high for a couple of days after you get CYA down to something more reasonable, then work on the CC level.

Is a Bright Orange in an OTO Chlorine Test dangerous to your health?

A bright orange in an OTO chlorine test is an indicator of a high FC (Free Chlorine) level. I wouldn’t drink the water, but being in it won’t harm you. However, I would still recommend you wait until the FC drops to at least below 10 ppm before swimming.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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