How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?

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chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#81
Bromine tabs will lower the pH if there is no carbon dioxide outgassing. So if your TA is higher or you have more aeration, then you can have pH balance or even the pH rising. So if your pH tends to consistently fall over time, you can raise your TA level (within reason). I wouldn't go much above 120 ppm unless your CH level is low and you don't need it higher to prevent foaming. I'll bet that having a TA in the 80-100 range might be sufficient for better pH stability, but it really depends on the amount of aeration and use of your spa.

For a short term increase in pH, you can add a base such as 20 Mule Team Borax or pH Up (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda) where the latter will raise the TA more than the former.

Remember to measure your pH at a consistent point in time, such as just before your soak. The pH and bromine levels vary quite a bit during and after your soak especially after you add an oxidizer to the water. The pH and bromine level will go up after adding an oxidizer and will come back down as your bather waste gets oxidized.
 

GuinnessPhish

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2012
434
Herndon, VA
#82
I just added about 3 oz of pH up a short while ago.

Planning on soaking for about an hour (half hour X 2 people).


How much 6% bleach should I be adding afterward?

Right after bleach goes in, put the bromine floater back in, let it stay open for 20 minutes or so?
 

chem geek

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#83
GuinnessPhish said:
How much 6% bleach should I be adding afterward?

Right after bleach goes in, put the bromine floater back in, let it stay open for 20 minutes or so?
Every person-hour of soaking needs around 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (43% MPS) to oxidize the bather waste. This assumes a hot (104ºF) spa and no ozonator and minimal background oxidizer (bromine from the bromine tabs). So you can try 5 fluid ounces and then see what the bromine reading is when you start your next soak. If the bromine level is too high at the start of your next soak, then scale back the amount you add per person-hour.

Yes, keep the cover open for a bit -- 30 minutes would be better but anything to let the oxidized bather waste outgas would be good. Some of the chemicals that outgas not only smell but are more damaging for the cover and most of these are produced in the first hour after adding the oxidizer.
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#85
The bromine tabs are to provide a background level of bromine in between soaks. If you used the tub every day or two, you wouldn't need the bromine tabs and would instead just reactivate bromide to bromine by adding an oxidizer after your soak where the bromine would last by the time you next soak. Think of bromine tabs as being a convenient way to continuously dose bromine.
 
Nov 15, 2012
6
#86
Had a question about bromine to anyone that can answer it. I switched from chlorine to bromine in my spa about a week ago. I purchased bromine tablets and a floater not realizing that I needed to establish a "reserve". I went to the spa store and told them I needed to establish a bromine reserve in my tub and they handed me some granular bromine. Took it home and then realized that it was not pure sodium bromide but bromide and oxidizer mixed. I used it as per instructions and have got a bromine level of about 3 now. All is good...right? My concern is that with my floater and adding granular also that my bromine levels will continue to rise even with oxidizer in the mix. Is this a correct assumption and if so is it bad to have the bromine level increasing? How would I test for total bromine?
 

UnderWaterVanya

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Jun 14, 2012
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Mint Hill, NC
#87
plwhorse said:
Had a question about bromine to anyone that can answer it. I switched from chlorine to bromine in my spa about a week ago. I purchased bromine tablets and a floater not realizing that I needed to establish a "reserve". I went to the spa store and told them I needed to establish a bromine reserve in my tub and they handed me some granular bromine. Took it home and then realized that it was not pure sodium bromide but bromide and oxidizer mixed. I used it as per instructions and have got a bromine level of about 3 now. All is good...right? My concern is that with my floater and adding granular also that my bromine levels will continue to rise even with oxidizer in the mix. Is this a correct assumption and if so is it bad to have the bromine level increasing? How would I test for total bromine?
Chem geek mentioned recently that you can add one drop of ammonia to your sample and that will convert the FC to CC and leave the bromine measuring as FC and then you multiply by 2.25 to get the bromine level - I think. I will look for the post.
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#88
If you keep using tabs or the bromide with oxidizer, the bromide level will increase over time. It's a slow way to increase your bromide bank, but it will happen. Even after a week, you'll probably be mostly a bromine spa and I wouldn't worry about it not being fully bromine right away. The chlorine and bromine test kits do not distinguish between the two -- the FC portion of the tests will test for Free Chlorine or Total Bromine with the only difference being the units of measurement (bromine units are 2.25 times the chlorine units). You can use the bromine tabs in the floater for a background level of bromine and use the bromide+oxidizer for a bromine boost added right after each soak to oxidize bather waste. Once you've built up a bromide bank, you can then just add an oxidizer after your soak and won't need any more bromide (the bromine from the tabs should be more than enough to make up for any bromide lost from bromine outgassing).
 

GuinnessPhish

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2012
434
Herndon, VA
#89
chem geek said:
Bromine tabs will lower the pH if there is no carbon dioxide outgassing. So if your TA is higher or you have more aeration, then you can have pH balance or even the pH rising. So if your pH tends to consistently fall over time, you can raise your TA level (within reason). I wouldn't go much above 120 ppm unless your CH level is low and you don't need it higher to prevent foaming. I'll bet that having a TA in the 80-100 range might be sufficient for better pH stability, but it really depends on the amount of aeration and use of your spa.

For a short term increase in pH, you can add a base such as 20 Mule Team Borax or pH Up (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda) where the latter will raise the TA more than the former.

Remember to measure your pH at a consistent point in time, such as just before your soak. The pH and bromine levels vary quite a bit during and after your soak especially after you add an oxidizer to the water. The pH and bromine level will go up after adding an oxidizer and will come back down as your bather waste gets oxidized.

Question regarding TA.

I just added some water to my hot tub because it was getting a little low.

I retested TA and CH: TA is 50, CH is 150.


I added some bleach to bring FC up to 2 (or more accurately, bromine up to 4.5).


Prior to adding the water, my pH seemed to have leveled out at about 7.5, with me adding bleach every other day or so to reactivate bromide.

Is my TA fine for now? or should I try increasing it? or should I just try to see how my pH is holding?
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#90
Just see how the pH is holding. If it is dropping over time, then increase the TA. If it's stable, just leave it as is. If it's rising over time, also leave it but consider using 50 ppm Borates if you aren't doing so already.
 
Dec 5, 2012
7
#91
On a previous post you wrote:" If you add sodium bromide to your water and have an ozonator you might be able to achieve the constant bromine level without the floater since the ozone is constantly oxidizing the bromide while it is on. However, you might deplete the bromide reserve quickly this way, leading to a shorter time between drain and refills"

Why drain and refill? Could i just shock or add sodium bromide?
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#92
Welcome to TFP! :wave:

Yes, you could just add more sodium bromide if it gets lower. It gets lower from a slow outgassing of bromine (and some bromine combining with organics and getting caught in the filter and washed away during cleaning).

It was waterbear that wrote the post with the statement you quoted, not me. Not that I don't make mistakes as well; I do. What he said was accurate, but incomplete since as you point out you can work around the bromide depletion by simply adding more.

Of course, you will need to eventually change the water when the buildup of unoxidized organics becomes intolerable such that the water gets dull/cloudy or smelly or otherwise undesirable (and where chlorine shocking doesn't clear it).
 

chem geek

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#94
You may still need to add more oxidizer after your soak. It depends on how much you soak and on the power of your ozonator. See if you have a measurable bromine level around 12 hours after your soak and again just before your next soak. If the bromine level is close to zero, then you'll need to manually add some oxidizer after each soak. Usually, ozonators are able to handle about half the usual bather load.
 

chem geek

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#96
No, there isn't a simple test for bromide; the chloride test will measure both and the chlorine test will also measure bromine. There is a complicated way of measuring smaller levels, but it's not standard.
 

TIMMAH

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2009
56
#97
i'm trying to use the 2 step but want to make use i understand this right.
after i do step one and shock it to get bromine.

daily maintance would be adding a oxidizer to up the bromine levels right?

how often would i have to add sodium bromide? this has me confused since with the 3 step the tablets i looked at are around 45% sodium bromide and 55% dichlor. so with the 3 step way you are always adding sodium bromide. but i didn't see anything about adding sodium bromide in the 2 step after you setup the bromide bank.
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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#98
You've got the process described correctly. You just add an oxidizer (bleach, Dichlor, MPS) to convert bromide to bromine. When the bromine gets used up, it converts back to bromide.

As for how often you need to add more bromide, it's not very often. The bromide only goes away through splash-out or carry-out so basic dilution of the water and some leaves from bromine outgassing and some leaves from combined bromine attached to organics that may get stuck in the filter so removed when the filter gets cleaned. The initial bromide bank of 30 ppm (in ppm Br2 units) added with 1/2 ounce of sodium bromide per 100 gallons might need 10% replacement (pretty much a guess on my part) once a month unless you use the spa heavily in which case it might be every couple of weeks. That would be 0.05 ounces per 100 gallons so maybe 1/3rd teaspoon per 100 gallons or thereabouts. And again, this is just a guess on my part and might be too conservative. Having too much sodium bromide in the water, however, doesn't cause any problems.
 
Dec 5, 2012
7
#99
Thanks a lot to take time to respond.

Very clear, and useful.

Since i have found your site and i buy a Taylor kit my Spa is perfect!

At a fraction of the money that i spend before. :)
 

TIMMAH

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2009
56
my tub went cloudy about 8 day after i got it and i was using the chlorine system. i switched over to bromine 2 stage because i was having a hard time keeping the chlorine levels up. my guess was the tub was funky when i got it. so then i had a hard time keeping the bromide levels up. bromine was gone about 8 hours after shocking with chlorine or mps. so i switched over to the 3 step system, i shocked with a little over a cup of 8% bleach and threw 2 tabs in the floater and almost had no bromine after 8 hours. so i added twice the amount of mps to shock and added 2 more tabs to the floater. after 24 hours bromine is still over 10 that my test reads up too. color looks the same as it did 24 hours ago. water has been clear for a few days

so here is where i'm a little lost. i know with a chlorine system you just keep the chlorine high until you are good. but with a bromine system do i keep the bromine levels high with extra tabs in the floater? or is it the chlorine or mps that cleans up the spa? if it's the chlorine or mps i need to clean it up with, i should run 1 tablet and keep shocking until the brmine holds?
 
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