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Thread: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

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    Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Hi everyone,

    A little while ago I started using the dichlor-then-bleach approach. I like the approach and it's really (cost) effective, however recently I started to learn a little about Bromine water treatment.

    First of all, I am wondering how much more the Bromine approach is going to cost me on a yearly basis (just a rough estimate is fine). Bleach is really cheaps obviously especially when bought in larger units. But bromine tabs seems more expensive. I live in the Netherlands so it's somewhat limited to what I can order, but I found these HTH bromine tabs for a little below 25$. It's 1 KG (2.2 pounds) (HTH Whirlpool Spa Chemie Brom Tabletten 1.0 kg (21,95 € 1 kg) online ordern.) . How long on average can I last on such package? The tabs are 0,044 pounds per tab.

    Also, doing a little research, to me it seems like maintaining proper water quality with Bromine is actually quite a bit easier. Since it uses tabs that slowly dissolve, it can save me quite some time. Plus I am away often, like every 2 weeks I am away for 3-5 days. It seems like this is no problem at all with Bromine.

    The only downside I could find is probably the cost of Bromine. Apart from that, I mainly see upsides. Am I missing something?

    Lastly, over here they sell Trichlor tabs. Why does no one use those in their tub? Apart from the CYA building up if you use it for too long period of time, why does everyone use Dichlor? I mean instead of starting with dichlor, I can also start the first month by adding a Trichlor tab weekly and switch to bleach afterwards. Seems easier to me.

    Thanks a lot! Learned so much from this and poolspaforum already and really grateful for everyone investing time to help others here.
    333 gallon spa - Outdoors and above ground, but covered from rain and extreme wether conditions - Manufactured at SunbeltSpas - Using dichlor-then-bleach approach - Testkit: Taylor K-2006 - Spa is 2 years old

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    No ideas from me but here is a bump.
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    From what I've read Trichlor is too acidic to use in spas. If it's used in the hot water of a spa the tablets dissolve too fast and the water becomes an acid bath that corrodes things. From what I've read using Trichlor will void the warranty on many tubs. Pool stores will sell it to you for that use though!
    500 gallon acrylic spa, cartridge filter, chlorine only sanitation, boric acid, Taylor K-2006 test kit. Extremely off the chart alkaline well water with 0 hardness.

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Ok, thanks for that. Our dealer recommends the use of trichlor tabs as the only water treatment... Just use trichlor and refill tub after 3 months. That's their advice lol.

    In regards to my other question, are there any downsides of using Bromine that I'm missing? To me this seems like a way easier and fool proof approach overall, so I'm seriously considering switching to that..
    333 gallon spa - Outdoors and above ground, but covered from rain and extreme wether conditions - Manufactured at SunbeltSpas - Using dichlor-then-bleach approach - Testkit: Taylor K-2006 - Spa is 2 years old

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    tucsontico's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Quote Originally Posted by bassie123456 View Post
    Ok, thanks for that. Our dealer recommends the use of trichlor tabs as the only water treatment... Just use trichlor and refill tub after 3 months. That's their advice lol.

    In regards to my other question, are there any downsides of using Bromine that I'm missing? To me this seems like a way easier and fool proof approach overall, so I'm seriously considering switching to that..
    I've been using bromine tabs exclusively in my spa for over 7 years. If you follow the TFP guidelines in this article: How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)? you cannot go wrong. I refill my spa about every 4-5 months as we have a low bather load (just my wife and I, mostly). The benefits of using bromine in warm water far outweigh the small downside. The only detractor I am aware of is some people complain of "dry, itchy skin" after bathing in a bromine spa. Usually, that can be overcome by using borates and keeping the water balanced.

    Here in Arizona the water costs are very reasonable and I could simply drain and refill my 400 gal spa every month for less than it costs for the chemicals! I estimate I spend about $30 per year on bromine, dry acid and boric acid. It is very inexpensive to keep the spa water balanced because you use so little of each chemical, e.g., about a tablespoon per week. Of course, having a preferred test kit is a must to follow the TFP method. Get a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006 for testing your water.

    Good Luck!
    19,500 gal, 16' x 38' PebbleTec IG Pool, Built 4/2013; Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3050 3 HP Pump, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Pentair IntellipH, Pentair 520 sq ft/150 GPM Cartridge Filter, A&A In-Floor Cleaner, Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robot (aka "Robbie"), Pentair EasyTouch Power Panel w/ Quick Touch 4 Remote Control, Autelis WiFi controller, Clear 12 mil Solar Cover on Presto SS Reel, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit.

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Quote Originally Posted by tucsontico View Post
    I've been using bromine tabs exclusively in my spa for over 7 years. If you follow the TFP guidelines in this article: How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)? you cannot go wrong. I refill my spa about every 4-5 months as we have a low bather load (just my wife and I, mostly). The benefits of using bromine in warm water far outweigh the small downside. The only detractor I am aware of is some people complain of "dry, itchy skin" after bathing in a bromine spa. Usually, that can be overcome by using borates and keeping the water balanced.

    Here in Arizona the water costs are very reasonable and I could simply drain and refill my 400 gal spa every month for less than it costs for the chemicals! I estimate I spend about $30 per year on bromine, dry acid and boric acid. It is very inexpensive to keep the spa water balanced because you use so little of each chemical, e.g., about a tablespoon per week. Of course, having a preferred test kit is a must to follow the TFP method. Get a TF-100 or Taylor K-2006 for testing your water.

    Good Luck!
    Thanks a lot. Great info. I am going to read through the article. I have a taylor k-2006 testkit so I should be fine. Do you shock the spa often? I have 12,5% bleach (natrium hypochlorite) which I used for my dichlor-then-bleach approach. I have read some add bleach weekly or after every use of the spa to bring up the bromine levels a bit. I'm not sure this is nessecary though especially since we have a low bather load and we shower before every use.
    333 gallon spa - Outdoors and above ground, but covered from rain and extreme wether conditions - Manufactured at SunbeltSpas - Using dichlor-then-bleach approach - Testkit: Taylor K-2006 - Spa is 2 years old

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    tucsontico's Avatar
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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    I use a small bromine tab floater to keep the bromine level stable. I find I only add 1 tablet (1" size) about every other week to keep bromine at 3-5 ppm. I do not "shock" the spa–that is unnecessary if you maintain a steady bromine level. I do test my spa water twice per week. I will occasionally add a small amount of 12.5% bleach (½ cup) but only after using the spa to boost the bromine levels a bit and kill any organic materials we brought into the water. (Especially if we didn't shower before entering.)

    My biggest issue was keeping pH stable. Bromine tabs are a bit acidic and tend to drop pH. About two years ago, after each drain/clean and refill, I began adding boric acid after balancing the water (via the method in the article I linked to you). The borates act as a pH buffer and give the water a "silky feel". Since finding the right TA for my situation and adding borates my pH has remained very solid with our light bather load.
    19,500 gal, 16' x 38' PebbleTec IG Pool, Built 4/2013; Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3050 3 HP Pump, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Pentair IntellipH, Pentair 520 sq ft/150 GPM Cartridge Filter, A&A In-Floor Cleaner, Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robot (aka "Robbie"), Pentair EasyTouch Power Panel w/ Quick Touch 4 Remote Control, Autelis WiFi controller, Clear 12 mil Solar Cover on Presto SS Reel, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit.

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Ok, thanks a lot! Will do some further research. It seems like it's really hard here to get ahold of bromine products over here, so not sure if I can make the switch, but thanks for all the help!
    333 gallon spa - Outdoors and above ground, but covered from rain and extreme wether conditions - Manufactured at SunbeltSpas - Using dichlor-then-bleach approach - Testkit: Taylor K-2006 - Spa is 2 years old

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    I'm a big fan of bromine, and I find that there's just too much over thinking going on out there! Just treat with bromide salts at startup and then sanitize just like a chlorine spa -- dichlor then switch to bleach

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    Hi, thanks for all the help. Unfortunately it's as good as impossible to get hands on bromine products over here. It's forbidden to use so it's not sold.. Will stick with dichlor-then-bleach for now. Thanks anyway
    333 gallon spa - Outdoors and above ground, but covered from rain and extreme wether conditions - Manufactured at SunbeltSpas - Using dichlor-then-bleach approach - Testkit: Taylor K-2006 - Spa is 2 years old

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    Re: Bromine vs trichlor tabs + cost and (hidden) downsides?

    I'd just like to note that I use trichlor pucks in my spa. It's certainly not a TTP method, but I find that it works for me.

    I keep track of PH, and CYA levels through testing, along with FC, according to TFP guidelines. So long as PH is 7.5 or higher, and CYA levels are below 100, I bust up a 3 inch trichlor puck into smaller chunks, and add it to a floater like what is sold for bromine tabs. I dial the floater back to dissolve the trichlor as slow as possible.

    PH needs to be higher in order for to be able to add the acidic trichlor. I still use bleach as my workhorse chlorine source. I use the trichlor as my source of acid.

    If i need CYA levels to increase, I add very small amounts of baking soda each day. This put upward pressure on PH, and allows me to add more trichlor.

    I've found that I have much better water quality using trichlor in this way, in place of dichlor. The slow release rate of the trichlor keeps things much more stable, and allows me to let the tub be for 4-5 days with out attention, so long as I turn the temps down.

    It's important to not let PH fall. Low PH means corrosive water that ruins heaters. This is the danger.
    340 gallon stand alone spa.

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