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Thread: Bromine pool

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    Bromine pool

    We are looking at getting our first IG pool (20x40, gunite, probably 25-28,000 gal). I know almost nothing about pools...

    The PB recommends using bromine. I've read it's more expensive, but less odor and feels nicer. I've read it is usually used in spas and indoor pools (ours is outdoor), and breaks down in the sun. I also understand I can't easily change once I start.

    The PB has a good reputation and says he prefers it over chlorine and the extra expense isn't that much compared to the benefits.

    Anyone have an outdoor bromine pool? Are you happy with it? Is it significantly more expensive than chlorine?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Bromine pool

    chlorine has a bad rap. if you use chlorine and add salt and borates to your pool, I bet it will feel as good as if not better than a bromine pool, and you shouldn't really smell anything. sometimes I smell a faint scent of an open chlorine jug (same scent, just very faint, and it's not every day, only sometimes). I believe there is a mod here from canada who has an outdoor bromine pool. I wouldn't listen to any recommendations from a pool builder other than building type recommendations. here is some brief info on bromine:


    alternative-sanitizers-and-chemical-free-pools-the-truth-t3025.html
    Next, bromine! Bromine can be an effective sanitizer in an indoor pool or hot tub but is not a first choice for a pool exposed to sunlight. Bromine cannot be stabilized against UV light like chlorine can which makes it a poor choice for outdoor pools.. It is also a known sensitizer and has a harsh, chemical smell that many find offensive. If used in conjunction with ozone it can form bromates in the water, which are a suspected carcinogen in drinking water.

    if you decide to go with it, there is some info here:
    how-do-i-use-bromine-in-my-spa-or-pool-t102.html
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Bob_Funk's Avatar
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    Re: Bromine pool

    I am no expert, but as i understand, there is no way to protect the bromine from the sun, so the sun will burn it all off fairly quickly & your pool will be at risk for algae

    reebok is fast
    I consider myself very lucky I found this site before the pool store found me-pool owner since Nov 2008- Stunningly clear 17,000 gal fiberglass pool, thanks to this site, installed in 1982-24" 3.1sq. ft sta-rite sand filter, 1 hp - 2 speed wisperflo pump-WFDS-4

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    Guest

    Re: Bromine pool

    Actually, if you use organic bromine souces (tablets) the dimethylhydantoin does have some slight UV inhibiting ability but no where near what cyanuric acid does for chlorine.
    I think I understand your pool builder's suggestion. He is installing a tablet feeder (and I will bet a cartridge filter) and it is true that bromine will be less problematic than chlorine TABLETS (trichlor) since you will not have the problem of overstabilization. It is certainly an option but not one that I would chose personally (and I wrote those other links on bromine and laternative sanitizers that were quoted and linked to by others in this thread.)
    FWIW, using bromine is certainly a way to prevent overstabilization of a pool when using a tablet feeder system but the problems of bromine and the expense are much greater than chlorine.
    It can give you a trouble free pool but I would not do it if your pool gets a LOT of full sunlight. For a partially shaded pool it can work and if you don't mind the expense (it is quite a bit more than using chlorine) and you do not have a bromine sensitivity then there is nothing wrong with it. I would add borates to the water, however. You still will need a good test kit and for bromine there is only one, the Taylor K-2106. Do not consider any other test kit. THIS is the one you want.
    If you decided that you do not like it after all and want to switch to chlorine you will need to do a complete drain and refill.
    Another option you might want to consider is installing a salt water chlorine generator and staying with chlorine. It will make your pool maintenance very easy in the long run.
    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Bromine pool

    Yes, he does want us to use bromine tablets.

    He also did originally propose a cartridge filter, but as of right now we have changed that to a DE filter (nothing is installed yet). How does the filter relate to using bromine?

    I like the idea of a cartridge filter, but the replacement cartridges for the Sta-Rite 3 450 sqft he proposed cost like $500 for the inner and outer pair. I can't get a good read on how often these need to be replaced, so it sounded to me like DE was more cost effective and only a little more trouble (backwashing).

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    Guest

    Re: Bromine pool

    Quote Originally Posted by mannaggia
    Yes, he does want us to use bromine tablets.

    He also did originally propose a cartridge filter, but as of right now we have changed that to a DE filter (nothing is installed yet). How does the filter relate to using bromine?

    I like the idea of a cartridge filter, but the replacement cartridges for the Sta-Rite 3 450 sqft he proposed cost like $500 for the inner and outer pair. I can't get a good read on how often these need to be replaced, so it sounded to me like DE was more cost effective and only a little more trouble (backwashing).
    Cartrdige filters and trichlor tablets are a sure fire recipe for an overstabilized pool. I would never recommend that combo. That being said, DE and Sand filters also overstabilize on trichlor.

    DE filters will give you the best filtration but you need to do more than backwash. DE filters NEED to be broken down on a regular basis for cleaning. In fact I will go as far as to say that backwashing them is not a good idea at all. When you backwash you never really know how much DE you remove so you never really know how much to put back in. The first time you have to break down a DE and chip away the hardened DE powder from between the grids of an overcharged filter you will understand what I mean! Also, backwashing forces dirty water BACKWARDS through the grids. We are always cautioned about running a DE filter without DE in it so we don't foul the grids but isn't that what we are doing every time we backwash one? Once again a good case for soaking the grids once or twice a year.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Bromine pool

    If you are set on using trichlor, then get a sand filter. Just do your homework and understand the effects trichlor has on your water balance. (For a new gunite pool using trichlor the first year would actually help keep the PH in check). As the CYA level gets higher, so must your FC levels (see the chart).

    The pucks are acidic so they lower PH/TA so you just have to monitor that. Regular backwashing with a sand filter will help keep the CYA down, but if you don't winterize, the CYA level can get too high and then you'll need to have routine partial drains to keep the level in check.

    As for cartridges, with proper care and cleaning, they should last you several years... I've had my pool for 8 seasons and I'm on my second cart, I clean it every 6-8 weeks. It's not that difficult to clean.

    I think you're "as close to ideal" arrangement would be an SWG and cart, with an additional inline chlorinator. You can use the inline chlorinator at first, then use the SWG later. (assuming you can swing the SWG, cost wise).

    I don't think you want to use Bromine.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Bromine pool

    Just want to chime in here. Being a new pool owner myself, I will say I love the Bromine. Been crystal clear all season. Only fill the Brominator around once every 2 weeks. Live in Ohio so its been cold, run the heater and love my water around 90 degrees. Have not had an issue as of yet with the stuff. Shock once a week or when there is the smell of bromine in the water and all is back to normal. LOVE IT!!
    21'X52" AGP
    Brominator
    1 1/2 hp pump
    Cart Filter.
    More to come soon as I am a Newbie!!!

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Bromine pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Discobrian24
    Just want to chime in here. Being a new pool owner myself, I will say I love the Bromine. Been crystal clear all season. Only fill the Brominator around once every 2 weeks. Live in Ohio so its been cold, run the heater and love my water around 90 degrees. Have not had an issue as of yet with the stuff. Shock once a week or when there is the smell of bromine in the water and all is back to normal. LOVE IT!!
    Thanks. I'm still up in the air about it. I've told the pool builder we want to go with chlorine instead, but nothing has been built yet so I could change my mind.

    It's going to be more expensive, but on the other hand seems like less trouble (using the Brominator, not dealing with CYA buildup).

    The PB says he's been using it for many years in outdoor pools, and I'd probably use two 50lb buckets a season (around $180 each).

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Bromine pool

    I'm not positive, but I think that 100 pounds of bromine tablets (assuming they are DBDMH, though BCDMH wouldn't be that different) in 25,000 gallons would be around 585 ppm bromine or equivalent to around 260 ppm chlorine. Over 6 months that's around 1.4 ppm FC per day equivalent. If the pool is in direct sunlight, that sounds too low for the expected bromine usage. Even so, you are talking about $180*2 = $360 for a season.

    For comparison, chlorinating liquid or bleach at 2 ppm FC per day in your pool would take 72 gallons of 12.5% chlorinating liquid and if I assume $3.80 per gallon then that's $274 and with bleach it could be less where 96-ounce bleach at $1.25 would be $243.

    When I first got my pool I also considered bromine but roughly speaking concluded that bromine was about twice as expensive as chlorine for equivalent amounts in the pool and that it took about twice as much bromine as chlorine due to its faster breakdown in sunlight (i.e. about twice the daily usage). I never verified this in a real pool, however.

    So it's a price/convenience tradeoff. If the pool isn't exposed to strong sunlight, then this can make the bromine reasonably economical.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Bromine pool

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    So it's a price/convenience tradeoff. If the pool isn't exposed to strong sunlight, then this can make the bromine reasonably economical.
    OK, let me ask you these questions...

    1) Is using the bromine more convenient? That is, I've read here that with a chlorinator and Trichlor pucks, that eventually the CYA will get high unless there is some dilution, so just loading up it up with pucks every so often will eventually give me problems. Would I have any similar issues with Bromine pucks and a brominator? That is, do I get more of a "set it and forget it" (to an extent) with the Bromine setup? Is there any other similar type of build up that would occur with the long term use of a brominator?

    At a cost difference of $100 - $120 per year, I could justify that expense if were more convenient (for example, over adding liquid chlorine every day or two).

    This pool would mostly have full sun - it would get shade for a few hours in the morning, but that's about it. I know someone else using bromine (same PB) and they are on track with the two buckets for the season, although I think they may get an hour or two more shade than I would get. I would just like to hear more real world experience on a longer term basis - this is their first season with the pool.

    2) Does a solar cover have any effect on the breakdown from the sun? Does it inhibit it any?

    3) I've read many places that to switch from bromine to chlorine requires a drain and refill (although my PB differs with this). Can you go from chlorine to bromine without doing this?

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Bromine pool

    1) The bromine is more convenient without significant side effects because you can use an automatic feeder for the tablets and won't get a buildup of CYA. You will get a buildup of 5,5-dimethylhydantoin (DMH) from the tablets, but it doesn't seem to have the same negative effects as CYA though I couldn't swear that it doesn't have some sort of side effect we just don't know about yet (bromine isn't very common on pool forums). As for the bromine usage in sunlight, going with what a neighbor has as a basis for comparison would be reasonable if the situation is similar and if they are maintaining the proper bromine level in their pool which I would guess is around 4 ppm bromine or thereabouts.

    2) A solar cover that is opaque to UV would significantly help reduce bromine breakdown from sunlight. It seems that the darker blue covers are better in this regard and that the clear ones are not (unfortunately) but there is no standard for covers and we've only got a few data points on this from forum users.

    3) Yes, switching from bromine to chlorine requires a drain/refill. Switching from chlorine to bromine is easy. You just stop using chlorine and start using bromine -- possibly adding sodium bromide if you use a 3-part bromine technique. If you use BCDMH tablets, then this adds both bromine and chlorine to the water where the chlorine reactivates additional bromide to bromine.

    You should check out your neighbor's pool since bromine smells differently than chlorine and some people have some skin sensitivity to it while they don't with chlorine (and a small number of people are sensitive to both).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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