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Bromine Spa Sanitizers

Using spa bromine sanitizers, instead of chlorine.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
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A Popular Spa or Hot Tub Sanitizing Alternative to Chlorine.
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SPA and Hot Tub questions and answers.  Please click the Spa Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Spa and Hot Tub Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Spa and Hot Tub Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Spa and Hot Tub Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for Spas and Hot Tubs, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
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Model SV battery-powered Spa Vacuum. The #2056 ColorQ PRO 7, shown above, will perform all the tests, that a bromine-based Spa, Swim Spa or Hot Tub might require.  It is all-digital and eliminates all color-matching a guesswork.  Performs 7 important test factors.  There's a model that will be just right, for your needs. BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas.

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How to use Bromine, for spa, swim spa or hot tub sanitizing? Bromine is much more popular in spas and hot tubs, than in swimming pools. For use in spas and hot tubs, it is available in two forms: slow-dissolving tablets or a quick-dissolving 2-part system. Bromine, in functioning as a sanitizer, produces less odor than chlorine and tends to be less irritating. The use of bromine is popular as a backup sanitizer or oxidizer for Ozonation, Mineral Sanitizers or Ionization. If problems arise, refer to the Spa Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories. Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

 
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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Differences Amongst Bromine Tablets?

Hi Alan, I just started to use brominating tablets in a floating dispenser in my hot tub and when the bromine level was low, I added some brominating concentrate to quickly bring it up to standards. But, it seems to have affected the water. I also notice that brominating tablets from different companies seem to have different ingredients, as well as the concentration. Can you set me straight on this?  Thanks.

Steve C., 3/9/2014

There are slight chemical differences, in the chemical composition of bromine tablets. Primarily, the differences came about, in order to make themPlug-n-Play Spa Salt Chlorine Generators. easier to tabletize. It does not affect performance. All of the bromine becomes active. The chlorine reacts with the spent forms of bromine (bromides) and as it is used up, regenerates new bromine. Even though, it shows chlorine and bromine, it all ends up as bromine. Bromine tablets are acidic and will lower the pH and Total Alkalinity. Care should be taken to make sure that the water does not go acidic, as that will eventually lead to damage to the heater.  There are other ways to sanitize, that could prove more convenient. A salt chlorine generator will generate chlorine, which will react with the bromides to form bromine. These devices will help you maintain a proper bromine or chlorine level, simply by adjusting the chlorine production. All it takes is a small amount of salt and access to a 100 volt GFI protected outlet. There is no installation required, for any of the four Plug-n-Play models.  The addition of a Nano-Stick Clarifier will help destroy ultra-fine particles and help you produce and maintain better water quality. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 3/9/2014
 

Getting The Bromine Right?

Hi Alan. I sure could use your help to understand how to properly use Bromine in my Hot Tub. I have been using the Bromine Pucks in a floater tube but have a very difficult time to keep the Bromine levels between the 3-5 ppm range even with the floater tube chamber opened up all the way and a full stack of pucks in the tube. Although in theory this seems to be an easy way to "feed" sanitizer to the tub, it does not appear to be very effective. Typically when I test the Bromine levels they are below 1ppm, so I have been just crushing up 2-3 pucks to a powder which seems to help for a very short duration and then is back down soon afterwards. I recently read in your help section that this practice is not advisable in any event. As I read more about it, there seems to be more variation to the Bromine method than simply pucks in a float tube. There seems to be a number of different methods such as:

1. Bromine Pucks (in float tube) with non-chlor shock occasionally
2. creating a Bromide "Bank" which I completely do not understand
3. a two-part system of liquid and an "activator" (not sure if this includes the use of pucks or not)
4. have also read about products like "Refresh" and "Peak Boost" to bump up the bromine levels, but I understand there is concern about cyanuric acid build up with these products.

I am confused if these are all different systems, or all parts of the whole system. Can you please help me to understand this whole Bromine thing and simplify all this a bit.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Marty, 10/18/2013


Feeders always need tweaking, as the bromine level depends on usage and how much bromine is being dissolved.  That is where testingUltraPure Ozone Generators comes in. A "bank" refers to a concentration of bromide ions. When you use bromine tablets, you create a reservoir of bromide ions. If the bromine level is low, just add a small amount of sodium dichlor or potassium monopersulfate (non-chlorine shock). This addition will convert the bromides back to bromine. You need not be concerned, about a cyanuric acid level buildup, as the bromine is unaffected. In addition, spas are generally emptied, every 3 months. to avoid such buildups of chemicals and byproducts. Adding a SPA FROG Mineral Sanitizer, can reduce the need to maintain a 3-5 PPM bromine level. You will be able to maintain sanitation with 1/2 that level. Adding an ozone generator will reduce the amount of bromine required, to maintain any given level. It really works well with bromine and a SPA FROG to reduce the overall chemical usage and provide better results. I hope this information is helpful.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/18/2013


Using Chlorine To Generate Bromine?

I hope this is not a redundant question but I could not find a specific answer on your site. After pouring over your site for the last few weeks, I made the decision to switch from chlorine to bromine in our spa. I purchased a product billed as brominating granules: one-step sanitizer & oxidizer. When I got home, I noted that this product has 82.5% Sodium Dichloro-s-triazinetrione and only 14.7% Sodium Bromide. I think I understand from the detailed information on your site that the bromide will be converted to bromine in the presence of some chloride ion, but am I really moving away from chlorine sanitizer with this product? Could you also help me understand 1) how exactly this product works, 2) how I should use this product after a new tub refill and maintenance, and 3) how I should combine the use of these brominating granules with bromine pellets in a dispenser? For example, would I only need to use these brominating granules, only pellets, or some combination of both. If it matters for your answer or our choice of sanitizing, our house came with a very old spa dropped into an above ground deck (not well insulated). We are only weekend spa folks and tend to heat the spa up on Friday afternoons and turn off the heat Sunday night but we do have the pump circulating water 24/7. Thank you so much for your forum. It is by far one of the most detailed and informative that I could find on the web!

Tim, NC, 12/31/2012


Last letter for 2010. Happy New Year!!! With bromine, hypobromous acid is the active sanitizer and with chlorine, it is hypochlorous acid. If you start off with bromine, you build up an excess of bromide ions. If you add chlorine, it converts the bromides toFrog Mineral Hybrid Water Care System hypobromous acid. If you start with chlorine and add bromine, the bromine remains as hypobromous acid, until it is depleted. Then it reverts to bromides. Adding chlorine will convert the bromides to hypobromous acid. In other words, if there is excess bromides ions, it all ends up as bromine, no matter what you add. The chlorine is reduced to chlorine ions and the bromide ions are oxidized to hypobromous acid. The product you are using is merely combing sodium dichlor and sodium bromide. Once added, to the water, it will end up as bromine. You can add a monthly dose of a sodium bromide product and then follow with sodium dichlor or even non-chlorine shock. In the latter case, it is sold as a 2-part bromine system. It really is bromine and the odor, or its greatly reduced lack thereof, is an indication of why most people prefer bromine, for spa use.  You have the option of using bromine, in tablet form, in a floater or feeder. You can use a combination of products, with the intention of maintaining a 3-5 PPM level of bromine. If you add the Spa Frog, which is EPA registered as a Spa Sanitizer and Disinfectant, you should be able to get by with a bromine level of 1-3 PPM. I hope that this helps explain how chlorine ends up as bromine.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/31/2012


Bromine: the 2-part version?
 
I can understand how the bromine tablets work. That's fairly straightforward. The 2-part bromine seems a bit confusing. I'm using it, but I don't really understand how it produces bromine. Can you help?

James H., Plainview, NY, 4/12/2007


There are 2 products that comprise the bromine 2-part system: a liquid product containing a concentrated solution of sodium bromide and a granular product containing the oxidizing agent potassium peroxymonosulfate (also called potassium monopersulfate or monopersulfate compNano-Stick Sparifiers for pools and spas.ound). The liquid product is typically added only once a month. Adding more will not produce more bromine.  The granular product is usually added on a daily basis or, as needed, and it is this product that results in bromine being produced. The potassium peroxymonosulfate reacts with the sodium bromide, already in the water, and forms bromine. Add more potassium peroxymonosulfate and more bromine is produced. After, the bromine has been consumed in the sanitizing process, it reverts back to sodium bromide, allowing for the cycle to be repeated. The sodium bromide product is added monthly to assure that there is always an excess amount of bromide, available to be converted into bromine. The water can be tested for Bromine and adjusted accordingly. The advantage of this method is that it is quick dissolving and allows for flexible control of the bromine level. The 2-part system produces no organic byproducts and contributes only harmless, innocuous salts to the water, after the sanitizing is completed. Hence, never a build-up problem. These products are pH buffered, so as not to have a major impact on the pH. The only downside is that you have to add it more or less on a daily basis.
Adding a Nano-Stick Clarifier, which requires no installation, will help destroy ultra-fine particles and help you produce and maintain better water quality.  I hope that I succeeded in explaining the product. Enjoy the spa.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/13/2007


Start Up Problems?

We purchased a spa a month or so ago. The chemicals that came with the spa were not bromine or chlorine, so two weeks ago I drained the spa and started using bromine tablets and a pH balancer that they suggested I add. .However, every time I test the water the levels for Bromine are at 0 - very low, even though there are tablets in a floater. Also, the pH is around 6.8 and the alkalinity is very high - 240. What chemicals should I add to get the water in balance? I have read of lot of your website, and it appears as though I need to get a bromine shock treatment, but I want to confirm before I do it. Thank you for your help.

Angela P., Orlando, Florida, 10/30/2008

Bromine tablets are slow dissolving and, as such, do not play catch up very well. You need to add shock treatment - either dichlor or a non-chlorine shock - to boost the bromine level into the 3-5 PPM range. Thereafter, keep the bromine floater full and add more shock after periods of heavy usage, at first signs of loss of water quality or whenever the bromine level falls below optimum. Bromine tablets are acidic and will lower the pH, as they dissolve. Add pH increaser, as necessary, to raise the pH into the 7.2-7.8 range. This is important for bather comfort and to help protect the heater from corrosion. While your TA is high, it may not be necessary to lower it, so long as the water is clear and there are no signs of scaling. The addition of an ozonator is something worthy of consideration, as it will make maintenance easier and produce higher quality water. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the spa and have a happy Halloween.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/31/2008

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Use Of A Floating Feeder?

Hi! I read your article, "Bromine for Spas", but I could not find any information as to how to actually add the tablet to the water using a floater. I was curious as to if you could give me a description of how to do this. For example do I leave all tablets in the bottle and put it in the tub? Or do I put one tablet in the floater? Thanks!

Kait T., 1/8/2011


A simple enough question that seems not to have been asked before! A floating feeder for a spa is relatively small (compared to pool feeders) and probably is able to contain 6-12 tablets, depending upon the actual design. Start by filling the feeder and trying to keep the feeder relatively full, by adding more tablets 1-2 times weekly. Do not allow the tablets to completely dissolve before adding more! Keeping the feeder reasonably full will help allow for a more consistent dissolution of the product. Use the adjustments for opening and closing the water vents, to help maintain the bromine level at 3-5 PPM. Bromine tablets are slow dissolving and do not play catch up very well. You should add some shock, after periods of heavy bather usage or whenever the bromine level has bottomed out. Consider adding an ozone generator, as it will reduce the amount of bromine necessary and allow you to maintain a low level of 1-3 PPM. I hope that I have been helpful and enjoy the spa.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/9/2011


Not Keeping Up?

I have a question for you and I hope you can help me. I was using the part 2 Bromine system (Part A and B) I had no problem but I changed to the Bromine tablets and automatic dispenser (floating device) because I found that the 2 part requires more care and If you are not home for a few days than the chloride (bromine) level will be too low. Now since I have the tablets I can not get the level to be appropriate, I am using the sticks and there is no Bromine at all! I open the dispenser to the maximum and still no Chlorine on my results? any ideas? Thanks.

Reinaldo B., 7/3/2010


The bromine tablets are very slow dissolving. They do not play "catch up" very well. Depending upon how your spa is being used, you may have to supplement the bromine tablets with some addition of the oxidizer portion of the 2-part system. This will give an instant boost to the bromine level and make it easier for the tablets to keep pace with the demand. Adding some of the product after each use of the spa is another way to help maintain a proper level. Have you ever considered an ozonator? Combined with the bromine floater, it should provide very good results with less bother. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/3/2010


Wanting To Use Less Bromine?

I have been using bromine tablets in my spa. The results, so far, have been good, but I would like to use less bromine and fewer chemicals. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Regards and thanks.

Barry M., Poughkeepsie, NY, 11/12/2005

The simplest thing to do would be to add a Mineral Sanitizer. Because you are using bromine, you can't use just any mineral sanitizer, as some cannot be used in spas that contain bromine. The SPA FROG Mineral Sanitizer can be used in spas, that use bromine or chlorine and it will not interfere with the expected 6-month life of the cartridge. The presence of the mineral sanitizer will allow you to maintain a lower bromine level and because less bromine will be used, the overall water chemistry will be easier to control. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/12/2005


Bromine To Chlorine?

Alan, we used bromine in our hot tub but it irritated our skin, in order to switch to a chlorine, do we need to empty our hot tub and start it from scratch with chlorine, or can we just convert over? Thanks.

Lisa, 4/11/2008


You must completely drain the spa, removing as much water as possible. Otherwise, the bromide salts, remaining in the spa water will convert the chlorine to bromine.  The fact that you described the rash in the plural (we) leads me to believe that the problem may not be the bromine. Bromine tends to less irritating than chlorine. A rash could be the result of too much bromine, too high or low a pH or inadequate spa water sanitizing. If after converting to chlorine, the problems cease: great! However, if problems continue, I suggest that you consider the addition of an ozonator and reducing the level of chlorine or bromine. The use of a mineral sanitizer or ionizer and an ozonator is a viable option, that utilizes a very low level of chlorine or bromine. I hope this information will solve the problem. Good luck.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 4/11/2008


Bromine And Chlorine?

My husband and I have been given 2 pieces of advice and wish to find out which one we should follow. At the present time in our Hot Tub we chlorinate and then we test the level and add Bromine tablets to the floater to maintain the chlorine level.. This was told to us by one company. This past month we went to the place we bought the hot tub to purchase needed chemicals and told them what we needed and were told to NEVER use chlorine and bromine together. We have not had any trouble before this advice and were wondering which method of maintaining the chlorine? I would appreciate your advice on this. Thank you.

Cheryl J., 3/15/2007

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There is nothing wrong with what you are doing. After bromine has reacted with wastes, it forms bromide ions. Adding chlo
rine converts the bromide ions back into bromine. Read the label on the bromine tablets. It contains both chemicals and works, as I outlined. What you are doing is maintaining the spa on bromine and using chlorine to shock and that is normal. You should be testing for bromine and trying to maintain 3-5 PPM. If you want to be able to lower the bromine level, add The Spa Frog Mineral Sanitizer. Make sure that you are testing for Bromine. A product, such as the LaMotte Insta-Test Strips, provides the right kind of information and is ideal for this purpose. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/15/2007



Using Bromides With A Salt Chlorine Generator?

We have a 400 gallon hot tub that we sanitize by way of a salt water chlorinator. My question is that if we were to add a product such as sodium bromide to the hot tub, would it convert it to a bromine base versus a chlorine base? Would the salt water generator still work and would it then produce bromine instead of chlorine? I had read somewhere, that if this was done, then you would have to add enough bromide ions as to equal 50 ppm? Is this correct? Any info you can provide on this would be appreciated.

Bob From Canada, 12/18/2008

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If you have bromide ions present, the chlorine (hypochlorous acid) will react with the bromides and convert it to bromine (hypobromous
acid). This will happen with a salt chlorine generator or any other method of adding chlorine.  It will end up as a bromine spa. However, not all manufacturers of salt chlorine generators recommend that their product be used, in this manner, as it could shorten the salt-cell life. However, the reasoning behind this applies to pools or spas that are constantly exposed to the Sun. Most spas to do fall into this category. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/18/2008


Using Chlorine and Bromine Together?

My husband uses bromine tablets in a floating feeder and uses a chlorine shock treatment in our small hot tub. Is it okay to mix these or should he be using a non-chlorine shock? I ask because sometimes I go into the hot tub and there's an odor that slightly hurts my lungs to breathe and makes me cough. He says bromine and chlorine are the same and it's fine, but I'd like your opinion. Also, how often should you use shock? I think he does it once a week even if the bromine level is fine. Thanks.

Nancy, 10/25/2007


There is nothing wrong with using bromine and chlorine together in the same spa, but they are NOT the same chemical. Bromine tablets actually contain both chlorine and bromide. In the presence of bromide ions, which will come from the bromine tablets, the chlorine will convert to bromine. Adding some granular dichlor is an easy way to boost the bromine level, after periods of heavy bather use or due to low bromine levels. Bromine tablets are acidic and will cause the pH to drop, unless soda ash is added. The low pH is corrosive to equipment and very likely to lead to irritating vapors. Check the pH!  You should shock, after periods of heavy bather use, whenever the bromine level bottoms out, at first signs of a loss of water quality or periodically to prevent the buildup of contaminants and resistant microorganisms. The use of a Spa Frog Mineral Sanitizer can reduce the amount of bromine required and provide more consistent conditions. I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/25/2007


The Shocking Facts?

I am using bromine tablets in my hot tub. I work hard at keep the level in the 3-5 PPM and the water seems to be in excellent shape. Do I still need to shock?

Bob, Tiburon, CA, 3/5/2009


Good question! If you add a shock treatment, such as a non-chlorine shock, on a weekly basis or after heavy bather usage or at the first signs of a loss of water quality, you will help destroy the buildup of organic byproducts and help prevent the development of resistant microorganisms. On the other hand, if you rarely shock the water, you increase the likelihood of organic byproducts building up and the development of resistant microorganisms. At the very least, consider adding some non-chlorine shock after periods of heavy usage, in order to quickly re-established the bromine level. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/5/2009


Environmental Concerns?

Hi there. Just wondering how environmentally friendly bromine is when you empty your spa water containing bromine on your lawn. Thanks.

Wondering, 1/8/2005

Draining a spa onto a landscaped area is always second best to draining it away from vegetation. However, ultimately it all ends up in the same place. The spa does not contain herbicides or chemicals that are expected to cause landscaping or environmental damage. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/9/2005


Chlorine Tabs Vs. Bromine Tabs?

The other day, while picking up some more bromine tablets, I was browsing the chemical department and came across a product that was 1" chlorine tablets. It contains 90% chlorine and will fit into my bromine floating feeder. It was a lot less expensive. Can this be used?

Jeff. N., 12/1/2008


The bromine tablets that you are using are slow dissolving in your spa. This is important in order to provide a continuous release of bromine into the water. The chlorine product that you described is intended to be used in a swimming pool. This product is slow dissolving, as used in a swimming pool. However, at the temperature of most spas (104ļF), these tablets will dissolve too quickly, making it difficult to control the chlorine and pH. Trichlor is not recommended for use in a spa, in any form. Stick with the bromine -- you'll have less work and less odor. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/1/2008


Test Results Not Matching Colors?

Well, here's the deal. I switch to bromine I never emptied tube I was told no need to. Anyway, I added the bromine tablets to feeder and I added the bromine shock to start a bank as well. got no reading so I shocked it with non-chlorine well that gave me a good dark reading above twenty plus. I did this since the place I brought my water sample to said I needed to break the barrier. I know I got bromine you can smell it now. After the non-chlorine burns off the next day I take a test and itís a off pink color on a DPD tester I have added tap water to tester as well to see how it brings it down, but color never seems to match the test block really well. I let it go down to the point on tester were there was no color and added more non-chlorine again today and it went back up, but color still off. The place I bring the water to said just let it burn off you will be fine, but, as I said before it goes from a pink to nothing. Can you help? Must be something to get it to look right on tester. Itís a 1000 gal. hot tub Please help.

Leonard, B., 1/12/2007


Find another way to add tablets! Otherwise, you could destroy the heater, if the pH falls into the acidic ranges. Bromine tablets a
re acidic.  Try a floater or a inline bromine feeder, placed after the heater and equipped with a check valve. Depending on bather usage, bromine alone might not be the best solution. Consider adding an ozonator, ultraviolet sanitizer or mineral sanitizer. It sounds like there was a lot of material for the bromine to react with and it may take a day or more for all of the organics to be destroy. Try and keep a bromine level at 3-5 PPM. Unless you added sodium bromide, the chlorine part of the bromine tablets, may take a while to convert to bromine. Bring in a water sample to a local dealer and compare the test results, with your own. Your test chemicals may be outdated or need replacement. Personally, I would prefer using a test strip, such as the LaMotte Insta-Test Strip. High bromine levels can destroy DPD and provide inaccurate results. Under these circumstances, these test strips work well. Even better would be a ColorQ PRO 7, which is all-digital and eliminates all color-matching. I hope that this information proves helpful.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/12/2007


Commercial Spa And Bromine?

We just started taking care of our spas at work. I have a 330 gallon and a 550 gallon spa. We are using bromine tablets in them. The bromine levels seem to be low as the tablets are slow to dissolve, but that is not too much of a concern. My main concern is that the pH is always reading about an 8. I did some research and it said to add a drop of the chlorine neutralizer and that should work, but it doesn't seem to change at all. Also we drain the spa twice a week which is hard to keep the bromine level up. Any suggestions?

Dominique, Florida, 1/3/2007


I think it is nearly impossible to maintain conditions in a commercial spa, using only bromine. I suggest that you add an ozonator and a Ultraviolet (UV) Sanitizer. Otherwise, the bather usage will deplete the sanitizer level too quickly and replenishment will take too long, as the tablets are slow dissolving.
If reduced chemical usage is the intent, UV sanitizing is the place to start!  UV treatment will reduce the microbial populations in the return flow to near zero, without the use of chemicals. However, it cannot oxidize wastes or totally eliminate the microbial population in pool or spa water or prevent the growth of biofilm on the underwater surfaces. Products such as chlorine, bromine) or non-chlorine shock must be used, in conjunction with UV. How much will be required will depend upon actual bather usage. More usage will require more chemicals. In order to assure that adequate oxidation and sanitation exist at all times, I suggest that you add an ozonator and try and maintain a 3-5 PPM level of bromine. The ozonator will make it easier to maintain the bromine level, by providing oxidation. Bromine will provide the necessary oxidation and sanitizing, while reducing odor. The UV unit will help decrease microbial populations and reduce the amount of bromine necessary to maintain any given PPM level. Over time, charting the amount of chemicals added, the bather usage and the bromine level will provide the best indication of actual chemical requirements. Your pH problem does not seem to be one of bromine interference: the pH seems simply too high. Add the equipment, as recommended, and the water will not have to be changed as often. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/4/2007


Ozonator And Bromine?

What a great Q&A page. After a great deal of research, your page finally answered many questions. Here is one that has been bothering me. My spa is, overall, NO trouble at all. It uses bromine tabs, has ozone and I shock (non-chlorine) regularly to maintain a +/- 2.0 level in the spa. The real question is: what is the practical difference between using tabs which contain dichlor (up to 30% it seems) and using just 96% bromine tabs? Since I am "activating" regularly, I don't seem to see the difference. I realize that bromine requires an "activator", but does it need to be in the tabs? What is your recommendation on the "ideal" management of the spa chemistry? Thanks!

Chris P., 1/9/2005


You seem to have things well in hand. The fact that you have an ozone generator, allows you get by with a lower level of bromine. This combination works very well. Once you have an established bromide level, all chlorine or bromine will exist as bromine. The various bromine tabletized products contain various amounts of bromine and chlorine: it all converts to bromide in normal spa use. Using bromine tablets in a floater is very convenient and allows the product to dissolve slowly over time and no additional sodium bromide is usually required. If you use granular dichlor or a tabletized dichlor product, sodium bromide needs to be present in the water, for the chlorine to convert to bromine. It must be added separately, if not present in the product. Bromine has several advantages over chlorine: less odor, less irritation and more flexibility with the pH. The presence of a bromine residual confirms that the ozonator's output and overall maintenance are satisfactory. If bather usage is high, adding some non-chlorine shock will quickly boost the bromide level. I would stick with the ozonator, bromine tablets and non-chlorine shock. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/9/2005


What Is A Bromide Bank?

I am using bromine tablets and was told that I need to add something to create a bromide bank. Why? What is it? Thanks.

No Name, State, 11/12/2008


A "bromide bank" means that there is excess sodium bromide present in the water. The bromine tablets actually contain a mixture of bromine and chlorine. As the tablets dissolve, the chlorine will react with BROMIDES present in the water and will be converted into BROMINE. In a freshly filled spa, there are no BROMIDES present. To make sure BROMIDES are present and available to react with chlorine, a liquid sodium bromide solution (The Bromide Bank) is added. This is only done when the spa is freshly filled or refilled. By doing this, there will be none of the odor that can be associated with chlorine usage. I hope that I have explained the product. Enjoy the spa experience.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/12/2008


Bromine Levels That Spike?

Hi Alan: I am writing because our bromine levels, that remain steady at 3-5ppm (we have an ozonator), will sometimes jump up to 20+ ppm, after shocking the spa. Both my wife and I are somewhat sensitive to high bromine levels and can't use the spa for at least a couple of days when this happens. We use a float for the Bromine pucks. When the Br spikes, we have to leave the float out to bring the levels down. It does not happen every time I shock the tub. All other water parameters are within range. The water in our area is the hardest in the country, so a lot of chemicals are initially used to bring the hardness down, then the pH up and to get the alkalinity in line. But, once that is done everything remains stable except the Br levels. Any ideas?

Stephen L., 4/2/2009


Because you are maintaining your spa on bromine, excess mps or chlorine will convert to bromine. When there is nothing for the shock to react with, the bromine level can only go up. The ozone generator is doing a lot of the oxidation, so there is no need to shock as often or with a much product. You might only do it monthly, when you don't expect to use the spa. You can quickly drop the bromine level, by adding a chlorine neutralizer product. Use as directed. I am sure that this will explain what is happening, in your spa.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/3/2009


Very High Bromine Levels?

We have emptied and refilled the hot tub twice now and the bromine count still reads almost 20. The second time the alkalinity and pH came into the acceptable ranges, but the bromine is way too high. The tub was emptied due to folliculitis. Is there any other way to decrease the bromine level so it is comfortable to use the spa again. Thanks.

Lori, Canada, 12/28/2009


Only two possibilities. Your test kit is not reading properly or you are really adding too much bromine. A level of 3-5 PPM is recommended. The folliculitis could very well have been caused by too little bromine, which lead to inadequate sanitation. Sometimes with bromine there is interference with the pH test. Are you positive that you are reading PPM of bromine? Have you had a dealer confirm these test results? You could be adding too much product at a time. If you are using a monopersulfate shock, it WILL raise the bromine level, as will all forms of chlorine. There is no reason that a refilled spa should have a very high reading, unless too much product has been added. If you have added too much, you can lower the level by adding a chlorine/bromine neutralizer product. As a means of simplifying the sanitizing, you might think about adding an ozonator and a mineral sanitizing system. It will allow you to maintain a low level of bromine 1-2 PPM, with fewer chemicals and afford better water quality. I hope that the information proves helpful. Enjoy the new year.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/29/2009


Bromine / Sodium Bromide?

Well I think I goofed up big time. I have a spa and read on the internet that after refilling with new water, a bromide bank should be established. I fully understand how it works now I have read this on your Q and A page, but before I discovered your page I was trying to figure out why after adding Sodium Bromide I wasn't getting a Bromine reading. Please note ONLY after reading your page did I even realize here was a difference between BROMIDE and BROMINE. Back to the story: I wasn't getting a bromine reading on the test kit,. so I added more, and more. Still nothing. (Note there is a bromine feeder floating in the spa also). A new pool guy came by and said he doesn't use Sodium Bromide, and instead just crushes the BROMINE tablets and tosses it into the water, to get the thing going and get a reading. So we did that. Well, now the bromine level on the test kit is THROUGH THE ROOF. (I used a total of one pound of Sodium Bromide in about 600 gallons of water. The new guy added about 7 crushed BROMINE tablets.) How do I bring it down? (the bromine level on the test kit). Do I need to redrain it and start all over again?

Nameless, 7/1/2006


The crushing the tablets, as a means of speeding up the dissolution of the bromine will certainly work. But, I would never recommend the practice. The chemical is very slow dissolving. Suppose a bather were to get a speck of the solid bromine in their eye! Not worth the risk. You leaned that a bromide bank is not bromine. Now I am going to tell you that the quickest way to boost the bromine level is to add some non-chlorine shock (preferably a spa formula). This will react with the bromides and form bromine. It is quick and completely soluble. It is possible to lower the bromine level. Many pool or spa dealers carry a product called chlorine neutralizer. Adding this product will eliminate some of the bromine very quickly. Use as per the directions. In the future, remember, you can always add more - you can't take out. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/1/2006

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