Should You Use Bromine Tablets for Your Hot Tub?
As a pool - or in this case - a hot tub owner, you will have no shortage of matters to tend to as it respects your hot tub. Though it will probably not be the most salient or important matter on your list, you will have to ensure that your water is clear. Clear water is part of what makes the time you spend in your hot tub so enjoyable, and it should not be taken for granted because within a matter of a few days, clear water can turn into cloudy or green water.
There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from high alkalinity in the water to an algae bloom. There are also a number of methods for dealing with it, and just about as many effective solutions as there are potential problems. For example, you can balance your pH to keep the alkalinity in check to deal with cloudy water before it becomes a problem. At the same time, if you are dealing with an algae problem, you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of algicides out there that are plenty effective at removing that blight from the water.
That being said, you could also use a clarifier to restore the sparkle to your water as well as a flocculant to help your pool vacuum or your pool’s filter more efficiently remove the particulate matter from the pool. As you can see, there are a number of ways you can deal with issues like these.
You know what’s even more telling? The fact that you can prevent matters like these with a proper sanitation routine and testing. This is literally only one of the many things that can happen to your hot tub to affect the water clarity and quality. There are just as many more colorful issues that could arise as you might have the desire to imagine. Yet, just as with problems associated with algae, most of them can be forestalled from a simple sanitation routine that involves balancing the levels of sanitizer in your hot tub as well as a routine shocking procedure to prevent the growth of biofilm.
The point here, through a laboriously illustrated and somewhat circuitous example, is that you could forestall and prevent a lot of issues that you might otherwise face as a hot tub owner, simply by reliably administering the right levels of sanitizer to your hot tub water. Considering the fact that this is necessary even if you are not trying to prevent specific issues, you have just one more reason to do so. You need to keep your hot tub water well sanitized even if only for day to day use. If not, you will be allowing a safe haven for pathogens and parasites to colonize the water. Additionally, without routine sanitation, the microbes that do find their way into the water will begin to develop a biofilm that is even more impossible to dislodge.
Routine sanitation will keep your water clear in the first place, but it will also prevent the establishment of the aforementioned pathogens. In addition, it will keep your water fresh and help prevent your water from developing unpleasant odors.
Sounds easy - all you need to do is sanitize your hot tub, right? Well, by right it should be pretty simple, but just like all things in life, anything worth doing properly requires some exploring and investigating options. In the case of hot tub sanitation, that requires some research into chlorine and bromine as well as different options like granules and tablets.
When it comes to sanitizer for your hot tub, most of the time you will come across options for chlorine or bromine. If you are new to this, or don’t own a hot tub yet but are familiar with pools, then you are probably familiar with chlorine as a sanitizer for the water. It is far more common than bromine, especially in pools, for a number of reasons. More often than not, is it more commonly used because it is not only easier to come by but it is also more affordable. Additionally, since pools spend a lot of time baking in the sun, chlorine is more popular with them because it is slightly more stable under the influence of UV radiation. Ultraviolet light, though it destabilizes both chlorine and bromine, is significantly more effective at destabilizing chlorine and so that is another mark in the camp of chlorine for use as pool sanitizer.
As far as bromine is concerned, considering a few factors, most of the time it is every ounce as effective and chlorine and in fact there are a number of reasons why you might want to consider it as the sanitizer for your hot tub instead of chlorine. Sure, chlorine is generally more affordable than bromine, and bromine might be less stable under the influence of ultraviolet light, but most of the time hot tubs are covered when not in use anyway. Therefore, take a look at this following list of reasons why you might want to evaluate bromine for your hot tub, either for a new one or to replace your current model.
Bromine Lasts Longer in the Water
The first reason you might wish to use bromine instead of chlorine has to do with the way that bromine works to remove pathogens from circulation. Without boring you with the chemistry or overloading you with details you didn’t come for, know that bromine generally lasts longer in the water than chlorine, which means that it can be more convenient for some hot tub owners.
While chlorine needs to be maintained at a level of between 1 to 3 parts per million in the water and bromine needs to be balanced at a higher level of between 3 and 5 ppm (with the higher end near 5 ppm being ideal) the ideal levels of bromine will remain active longer. Therefore, all other things being equal, you won’t need to add bromine to your hot tub as frequently as you had to add chlorine. In fact, because of this little fact that bromine lasts longer in the water, you might even be able to strike cost from the list of chlorine’s benefits. Yes, you’ll spend more up front on bromine, but since you won’t be adding it to the hot tub as frequently, you might even end up saving.
More Remains Active after Destroying Pathogens
Bromine is slightly less reactive than chlorine, and also by means of the methods by which it destroys pathogens, it not only stays active in the water longer, more of it is able to remain free and in circulation. That means that the levels don’t just stay higher longer, but it makes bromine capable of removing some pathogens after it destroys some. Chlorine oxidizes bacteria and other pathogens and in the process produces chloramines. After that chlorine kills them, it is “used up” so to speak. The same doesn’t happen with bromine which means more of it remains active and able to destroy contaminants.
Bromine destroys contaminants by ionizing them and there is a chemical cycle called the bromine cycle, by which bromine destroys contaminants, turns into bromamines and bromine ions, recombines with an oxidizing agent in the water, and can get right back to work destroying harmful pathogens. Just a fun fact about the effectiveness of bromine that shouldn’t go unknown.
More Stable in Hot Water
Something else to keep in mind is that bromine, while it is less stable under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, is more stable in hot water.
Picture the ideal hot tub setting; the water bubbling, the perfect mood lights lit for ambiance, some good company present along with refreshment. Perhaps there is even a bit of a chill in the air. What portion of this puzzle is not chilled? The hot tub - that’s the point of a hot tub; it’s hot. By design, a hot tub is pleasantly warm, that’s half of the point of owning one if not more. Sure, some of them offer massaging jets, but the chief comfort of a hot tub lies in the fact that they are maintained at a warm temperature for comfort and relaxation.
The point has been made. A hot tub is hot by definition and since bromine is more stable in hot water that makes it a potentially more economical choice for spas than it does for pools. In fact, this is a bit of a one-two hit here, since pools are often uncovered and cooler, whereas hot tubs are warm and covered. That protects them from ultraviolet light and preserves the benefit of the fact that bromine lasts longer better in hot water.
More Gentle on Skin and Hair
Then of course there is the fact that as chlorine works to destroy contaminants, it will produce compounds known as chloramines, which we will address in the following section. For the purposes of this argument, know that bromine is much gentler on hair and skin than chloramines are. Some people experience irritation of their eyes, skin and hair from the influence of chloramines. In fact, a high density of chloramines in the air can even be involved in causing asthma attacks or breathing problems to certain sensitive individuals.
This alone is not a reason that you should make the switch from chlorine to bromine, especially since you would have to drain your hot tub outright to do so, but if you or someone in your family has certain sensitivities to chlorine, then it might be a good thing for you to think about. On that note, consider the following.
Say Goodbye to Chloramines!
If you make the switch to bromine or start out with it, another benefit that will come along with it is that you can say goodbye to chloramines completely. In addition to the fact that you won’t have the same problems with bromine if you have sensitive skin or eyes, you won’t have to deal with that classic ‘pool chlorine’ smell.
That smell you’re thinking of and probably associate with large or public pools is not actually the free chlorine you are smelling but the chloramines that are produced as the chlorine oxidizes contaminants. Some people find it unpleasant, and we wouldn’t blame you if you do, but we’re just here to tell you that that will be a thing of the past if you end up using bromine instead.
These are some of the reasons that you might seriously want to consider using bromine instead of chlorine for the sanitizer in your hot tub, but we’ll also take a look at some of the reasons that you might want to use bromine tablets for your hot tub. Whereas chlorine is commonly sold in granular form as well as in tablets, you can also find bromine in tablet form and there are a number of reasons that this might be more serviceable for you than granules.
So why use bromine tablets for your hot tub? In the first place, it might be able to save you time. Whereas you would have to laboriously measure out the granules you would need to add to the feeder or the water, with tablets you only really have to determine the measurement once. Once you know how many tablets to enter into the feeder at once, you can just count them out, drop them in the feeder and it will do the rest of the work for you. That convenience can save you a lot of time and probably some work as well, so you can get back to enjoying the hot tub as it was meant to be.
Are you thinking about going with bromine tablets for your hot tub instead of using chlorine, but you’d like a little more information? Please reach out to our team at 866-546-8882 and we’d be glad to help you answer any questions you have on the fine points of chlorine or bromine use. We’ll fill you in on some more of the strengths as well as offering suggestions for your unique situation. Give us a call; but till then, shop through our collection of pool and hot tub chemicals and accessories to find what you need today.