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Thread: Can't get any bromine readings!

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    Can't get any bromine readings!

    I opened up by bromine pool this spring the same way I have for the past 14 years. Found my brominator did not survive the winter, so I bought and identical replacement. Used last years pucks and didn't see any bromine on test strips. Filled it up with brand new bromine pucks turned the dial to FULL and have been running the pump/filter for 2.5 weeks now. Cannot get any bromine reading at all. The water is clear-ish finally, but what could be wrong?

    Is there a chemical reason why the bromine cannot "get into" the water?

    Steps taken;
    - the pool was not drained and had a high-reading when I closed the pool last sept. Therefore should be no issue with bromine reserve.
    - I did top up about 8 inches of water with the garden hose, which I do every spring.
    - I have verified the brominator is connected properly "in" line just past pump, "out" line just past heater/filter.
    - I ran the pump with the brominator "out" disconnected and a strong stream was coming out.
    - The test strips are the same ones I have used for 2 years (same jar) and used all winter for spa.
    - Bought new test strips and also did a free chlorine and combined chlorine test using my Taylor K-2006 kit.


    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    What I would do is use liquid bleach to bring up your bromine. Since you believe you have a bromide reserve, the bleach will convert that bromide bank quickly to bromine. How much to add depends on your pool volume. Please update your signature with details about your pool, including the volume. Edit Signature
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    I've got 16.5k gallons in my pool. How much bleach would you suggest? I assume any old plain bleach would suffice?
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybergy View Post
    I've got 16.5k gallons in my pool. How much bleach would you suggest? I assume any old plain bleach would suffice?
    2 gallons of 8.25% bleach (standard household) will raise your FC by about 10 ppm. Check with Pool Math: http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html Only use plain, unscented bleach. Not outdoor or splashless or scented as they contain surfactants that will cause foaming or extra chemicals you don't want in your pool. I'm think this should translate into a 10 ppm increase in your bromine level for testing but I'm a bit rusty on the bromide to bromine conversion by bleach ratio.

    Don't trust the strips for testing. Stick with the K-2006 results. Even with a bromine pool, you don't have to continue using bromine tablets for sanitation. Once you have a bromide bank, you could exclusively use bleach to refresh your bromide to bromine.

    Long term, bromine pools are more expensive and lose sanitizer more quickly to sunlight than a chlorine pool as bromine doesn't have an analog to cyanuric acid that protects your sanitizer from UV burn off.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    I know the deal on bromine, but as they say; once bromine - always bromine. Ain't no turning back now even if I wanted to.

    I know this forum's leaders do not like the strips, but they work just fine for me. Maybe it's because I'm using bromine but they are an excellent and quick way to get a read on my pool/spa.

    Thank for the advice JVTrain. I added 2gal of bleach and finally saw my bromine levels register. Hopefully the pool stops looking like do-do tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    If you use only bleach long enough, the bromide/bromine slowly outgasses, so eventually you could have a chlorine pool but it would take some time depending on your bromide levels.

    Sent from mobile device. Beware of brevity and spelling errors!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    Interesting. Everything I've read here says you can't go back to chlorine once you switch to bromine (it even says so inside the Taylor test kit.). I've even been told I would have to drain, fill, drain and fill again to remove all traces of bromine from the pool and equipment, sand, etc.

    By the way, 2 gals of bleach yesterday and my pool looks beauty today and bromine numbers are right where I want them.

    Thanks JVTrain!
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    Nice work guys! We like beautiful pools!
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    On the same topic, I noticed my water looking a wee bit cloudy again today. No big deal, I was called out of town for nearly a week and figured the bromine tablets in the new brominator are probably all gone. It happens. But they are almost exactly as I left them almost a week and a half ago - the thing is practically full! Huh?

    The brominator is a hayward CL220EF. When I installed it, I verified that the water was flowing in and out via the labeled ports, as expected. I left the dial set to 6 (out of 10). I have cranked it up to 10 now but I'm starting to think the only thing that has sanitized my pool this year is the 2 gallons of bleach that JVTrain suggested I dump in.

    I have long believed that the pool water absorbs chemicals better when it's not too cold, and the water was only 65F until I turned on the heater yesterday.

    Anyone have an idea why my bromine tabs are not dissolving?? I buy the same brand every year. This is a new on on me, I must admit.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    What specific bromine tablets are you using? Can you post a link to them from the internet?
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    What specific bromine tablets are you using? Can you post a link to them from the internet?
    Bromine Tablets - Maintenance - Chemicals
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    Just wanted to see which type of tablets you're using, it's the BCDMH type, which is adding both bromine and chlorine as they dissolve. Did you use these tablets all of last year? Previous years? If so and you haven't done a large water replacement, you likely have a substantial bromide bank. You could change your sanitation method completely over to just using bleach to convert that bromide bank back to bromine to maintain bromine levels at this point.

    What you're likely running into is that BCDMH and other bromine tablets are designed mostly with hot tubs in mind. They don't dissolve all that well at cooler temperatures. They will start to dissolve and help sanitize your pool once your temperatures get higher, but at lower temps, I'd rely on bleach for more consistent, reliable bromide->bromine reactivation.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    I assume that the bromine tablets will dissolve regardless if there is a bromide bank or not, I just may not get any decent bromine level accumulation - is that correct? If so, then the fact the tablets are still undissolved could be due to the water temperature, as you suggest.

    So my theory of not dissolving in cooler water, holds water - so to speak?

    To answer your questions; I have used those tablets exclusively for approx 10 years. I initially started the pool with the remaining tablets from last year and then bought some new ones to determine if the old tabs were the problem.
    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get any bromine readings!

    It sure does hold water.

    Tablets will dissolve no matter what bromide bank you might have. At this point, you might have a 100 ppm bromide bank or more... but they will still dissolve... if your temperature was more conducive to it.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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