Bromine Spa initial setup - newbie questions

ideas8

New member
Sep 30, 2015
3
Nashville, TN
I'm a newbie who just installed a small (200 gallon) hot tub. I read the sticky here about bromine systems and decided to go with a 3 step bromine system with a floater. I'm attempting to set up my spa for the first time today. Please excuse if I'm asking this in the wrong place.

Background info: I'm using 4-in-1 bromine test strips, not a test kit, so my measurements are imperfect, but my initial hardness from the tap seems to be around 100, alkalinity is 120, and pH is 7.8. I added 2 oz. calcium chloride to increase hardness and 1 oz sodium bisulfate, pH decreaser. I followed that with 1 oz sodium bromide booster and 1.5 oz MPS shock. These amounts are my best estimates based on my owner's manual and product instructions.

Testing the water six hours later, it looks like my bromine level is now over 20. So, my first question involves this sentence from the sticky:

"2) Shock with your preferred oxidizer (chlorine or MPS) and turn on the ozone if you are using it. Your bromine levels should now be above 10 ppm. Wait until they drop below 10 ppm before entering spa."

How long does it generally take for the levels to drop below 10 ppm? My spa does not have an ozone system. Also I don't yet have a lot of confidence in my testing system, and I don't want to get in the water before it is safe to do so.

My second question would be, is there anything obvious here that I'm missing? I have my bromine floater ready to go with three tablets, but have not put it into the spa yet.

Any help or advice is much appreciated.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Welcome to TFP! :wave:

It sounds like everything is right. Keep the floater out (or empty) until the bromine level comes down. 1.5 ounces of MPS shock is a lot and would produce 35 ppm Total Bromine in 200 gallons. You basically overdosed. Your 200 gallon hot tub is small so you need to be careful not to add too much in chemicals.

I know that for chlorine one can use hydrogen peroxide to easily lower its level but I don't think that works the same from bromine so you may need to get a traditional chlorine/bromine neutralizer from the pool/spa store -- usually it's sodium thiosulfate or similar product.
 

Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
57
South County, Rhode Island
Hello Ideas and welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your new spa. I would recommend that you create your signature line so we all know what you have and can give advice accordingly. First off, you didn't mention that you used Ahh Some spa cleaner in your new tub. I highly recommend doing so. My own tub is only 4 weeks old and I used the Ahh Some purge the day I filled it up. Yes, I did get some crud out of it! Secondly, I highly recommend that you obtain a Taylor K-2106 Bromine Test kit. Amazon seems to have good prices.

As far as the high bromine level, I once lowered mine by adding a little hydrogen peroxide. I had put an ounce of bleach in and it flew to 9, I put in an ounce of peroxide and it dropped to 6. There is a learning curve to every spa. Do not panic nor get frustrated, there is a solution for every issue. The experts here, like Chem Geek and Waterbear and the absolute best. I have followed their advice and am one happy camper.
 

ideas8

New member
Sep 30, 2015
3
Nashville, TN
So it was the MPS that was out of line, not the bromine booster? Next time I will definitely cut that down. Any recommendation as to how much MPS I should have used? As far as hydrogen peroxide, is there any downside to trying that first? I've had trouble finding a good local spa store and have been relying on mail order thus far. Finally, will the bromine level ever come down on its own? I'm just curious how it all works.

I definitely need to get a test kit. It's possible I might have been a bit, um... unprepared... when my new spa delivered. :)

Thanks for the help!
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Yes, you can't really overdo the bromide (at least when you don't have an ozonator). It's the oxidizer (MPS in this case) that was overdone.

The harm with the hydrogen peroxide is that it might end up making even more bromine from the bromide. You could add one drop of 3% hydrogen peroxide to one cup of your spa water since if that works it will lower bromine by 24.5 ppm.