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What's The Step By Step To Bromine Treatment?

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As I'm new to hot tubs and new to Bromine I would love some of the experienced member to give us step by step to using Bromine as a form of water treatment.

Thanks in advance.

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When testing water do NOT use strips, get a good drop based test kit. Your best bet for Bromine is the Taylor k-2106 and for chlorine the K-2006 (NOT the K-2005). THE TEST KIT IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN OWN FOR EASY SPA MAINTENANCE. GET A GOOD ONE! I cannot stress this enough!!!!!

On to bromine:

1. fill the spa and balance the water.Do not turn the heat up yet. If you have well water or know your water has metals then add a metal sequestrant at this point. You will need to continue with weekly maintenace doses of the metal sequestrant if your water has metals. A better solution is to fill from a water softener or purchase a "spa stick" filter that attaches to your hose to fill the spa to help remove the metals.

A,adjust TA to about 100 ppm (here is how to lower TA by using acid and aeration here is a more detailed explanation and howto), raise TA with baking soda, it's the same chemical sold as TA increaser for much less money!

B. Once TA is adjusted then adjust pH to between 7.4 and 7.8 Use dry acid to lower pH if too high (above 8.0). Use borax from the laundry aisle to raise it if too low (below 7.2) .Do NOT use pH up because it will make your TA go too high!!!!!!!! pH up is sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda and raises both pH AND TA!

C. IF you calcium hardness is below 130 ppm raise it to 130-150. If it is above 400 then add an anti stain and scale or calcium reducer to the spa weekly. If it is between 130-400 you are fine.

2. Add 1/2 oz of sodium bromide per 100 gallons of water to create your bromide reserve in the water. This is the MOST important step with a bromine spa and the one most people ignore. If you omit this step you will not have a bromine spa for several weeks until enough tablets dissolve in the water to create the bromide bank and you will not have sanitized water! Sodium Bromide is available in packets and jars from several companies. You will need to re add it on each drain and fill.

Make sure that you get sodium bromide in either powder or liquid form that is sold to start the bromide reserve or 'bromide bank' and not a one step bromine product that is a mixture of mostly dichlor and a little blt of sodium bromide. READ THE LABEL! It should only contain sodium bromide (and water if in liquid form).

3. Shock the spa to 'activate' (oxidize) the sodium bromide into hypobromous acid (this is your 'bromine' sanitizer that you test for with your strips or test kit.) You can use MPS to shock but chlorine works just as well if not better and is much less expensive. One of the best sources of chlorine you can use with a bromine spa is sodium hypochlorite and that can also be found in the laundry aisle. It is ordinary liquid chlorine bleach. You want the regular, unscented bleach, not a thickened or scented one. It will come in either 5.25% or 6%. Read the label to see which you have. Use 2.5 oz (5 tablespoons) of the 5.25% or 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of the 6% per 100 gallons of spa water to shock. Your bromine will go very high. Uncover the spa and circulate until the bromine drops below 10 ppm before you use the spa. Now heat the spa up to temperature.

4. Put in the floater with your bromine tabs (which usually contain BOTH bromine and chlorine to activate the bromine, btw) and adjust the floater to maintain your bromine at about 4-6 ppm. this can take a bit of trial and error. Check your pH and bromine before you go ineach time and if bromine is low add a few tablespoons of bleach and retest until it is above 4 but below 10 ppm. It really only takes seconds for the chlorine to oxidize your bromide reserve into bromine sanitizer. If pH is not between 7.2 and 8.0 then you should adjust it before entering the spa and wait abot 30 minutes then retest it to make sure it is in the proper range. If both are off then adjust pH first then the bromine. If your bromine is always low open the floater a bit more. If high then close it down a bit. If it is above 10 then take out the floater and open the spa until the bromine level drops below 10 before entering the water and close the floater down a bit. Once you get the floater adjusted the bromne level will stay pretty constant and it becomes much easier! Remember to keep tablets in the floater at all times!

You are done!

Weekly test pH, Keep pH between 7.2 -8.0 and then when you have finished adjusting shock the spa with bleach just like when you added the sodium bromide but you do not need more sodium bromide. Add anti scale or calcium reducer if your calcium tested above 400 ppm.

Monthly check and adjust TA and calcium before you adjust pH and shock.

Every 3-4 months drain, refill, balance the water, add the sodium bromide, shock, and put the bromine tablets back in.

Actually pretty easy!

If you follow these steps you will not need to waste money on defoamers, clarifier, enzymes, etc.!

Hope this helps.

Chlorne is a bit cheaper than bromine but it really does require daily attention. Bromine (and what I described above is known as 3 step bromine and is the most forgiving) is not as fussy (acceptable pH range is wider and water balance is easier than chlorine or 2 step bromine) and really only needs attention once or twice a week after you get it set up, besides checking sanitizer level and pH before you enter the spa each time.

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Thank you waterbear, you are a gentleman.

... and a scholar.

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Thank you waterbear, you are a gentleman.

... and a scholar.

And here I thought I was just a showoff!biggrin.gif

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And here I thought I was just a showoff!biggrin.gif

You may well think that of yourself but to me who is unsure of how to approach this tricky business of managing the water in a hot tub your input and advice is much appreciated and I sincerely mean that.

So thanks. (add big thumbs up here)

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Bromine is easy if done right! Most people do not understand the chemistry and do it wrong, including many dealers!

When testing water do NOT use strips, get a good drop based test kit. Your best bet for Bromine is the Taylor k-2106 and for chlorine the K-2006 (NOT the K-2005). THE TEST KIT IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN OWN FOR EASY SPA MAINTENANCE. GET A GOOD ONE! I cannot stress this enough!!!!!

On to bromine:

1. fill the spa and balance the water. If you have well water or know your water has metals then add a metal sequestrant at this point. You will need to continue with weekly maintenace doses of the metal sequestrant if your water has metals. A better solution is to fill from a water softener or purchase a "spa stick" filter that attaches to your hose to fill the spa to help remove the metals.

A,adjust TA to about 100 ppm (search the forum for how to lower TA by using acid and aeration, raise TA with baking soda, it;s the same chemical sold as TA increaser for much less money!

B. Once TA is adjusted then adjust pH to between 7.4 and 7.8 Use dry acid to lower pH if too high, Use borax from the laundry aisle to raise it if too low.Do NOT use pH up because it will make your TA go too high!!!!!!!! pH up is sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda and raises both pH AND TA!

C. IF you calcium hardness is below 130 ppm raise it to 130-150. If it is above 400 then add an anti stain and scale or calcium reducer to the spa weekly. If it is between 130-400 you are fine.

2. Add 1/2 oz of sodium bromide per 100 gallons of water to create your bromide reserve in the water. This is the MOST important step with a bromine spa and the one most people ignore. If you omit this step you will not have a bromine spa for several weeks until enough tablets dissolve in the water to create the bromide bank and you will not have sanitized water! Sodium Bromide is available in packets and jars from several companies. You will need to re add it on each drain and fill.

3. Shock the spa to 'activate' (oxidize) the sodium bromide into hypobromous acid (this is your 'bromine' sanitizer that you test for with your strips or test kit.) You can use MPS to shock but chlorine works just as well if not better and is much less expensive. One of the best sources of chlorine you can use with a bromine spa is sodium hypochlorite and that can also be found in the laundry aisle. It is ordinary liquid chlorine bleach. You want the regular, unscented bleach, not a thickened or scented one. It will come in either 5.25% or 6%. Read the label to see which you have. Use 2.5 oz (5 tablespoons) of the 5.25% or 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of the 6% per 100 gallons of spa water to shock. Your bromine will go very high. Uncover the spa and circulate until the bromine drops below 10 ppm before you use the spa.

4. Put in the floater with your bromine tabs (which usually contain BOTH bromine and chlorine to activate the bromine, btw) and adjust the floater to maintain your bromine at about 4-6 ppm. this can take a bit of trial and error. Check your pH and bromine before you go ineach time and if bromine is low add a few tablespoons of bleach and retest until it is above 4 but below 10 ppm. It really only takes seconds for the chlorine to oxidize your bromide reserve into bromine sanitizer. If pH is not between 7.2 and 8.0 then you should adjust it before entering the spa and wait abot 30 minutes then retest it to make sure it is in the proper range. If both are off then adjust pH first then the bromine. If your bromine is always low open the floater a bit more. If high then close it down a bit. If it is above 10 then take out the floater and open the spa until the bromine level drops below 10 before entering the water and close the floater down a bit. Once you get the floater adjusted the bromne level will stay pretty constant and it becomes much easier! Remember to keep tablets in the floater at all times!

You are done!

Weekly test pH, Keep pH between 7.2 -8.0 and then when you have finished adjusting shock the spa with bleach just like when you added the sodium bromide but you do not need more sodium bromide. Add anti scale or calcium reducer if your calcium tested above 400 ppm.

Monthly check and adjust TA and calcium before you adjust pH and shock.

Every 3-4 months drain, refill, balance the water, add the sodium bromide, shock, and put the bromine tablets back in.

Actually pretty easy!

If you follow these steps you will not need to waste money on defoamers, clarifier, enzymes, etc.!

Hope this helps.

Chlorne is a bit cheaper than bromine but it really does require daily attention. Bromine (and what I described above is known as 3 step bromine and is the most forgiving) is not as fussy (acceptable pH range is wider and water balance is easier than chlorine or 2 step bromine) and really only needs attention once or twice a week after you get it set up, besides checking sanitizer level and pH before you enter the spa each time.

I appreciate your post, but what you describe does not at all seem simple. If I had read this before I bought my hot tub, I never would have bought one. It's more work than marriage! I am totally frustrated with my tub right now. Since I filled it, I cannot get it to balance. I add PH decreaser and PH goes down one time, up the next. I add Baking Soda and Alkalinity goes up one time, down the next. I cannot get a consistent reading. I have tested and added chemicals indicated every day for the last two weeks, and it is still not ballanced.

Here are some test readings (most recent first);

ph-8.1 alk-42

ph-8.5 alk-50

ph-hi alk-63 (ph too high to read)

ph-hi alk-63

ph-7.9 alk-54

ph-8.6 alk-80

ph-8.7 alk-51

ph-hi alk-162

ph-8.4 alk-71

This is just the last week. The week before, the numbers were really crazy. I have been adding PH down and Baking soda after each reading. As you can see the alkalinity is fairly consistent, but not going up despite 2lbs of baking soda, and the ph goes up and down despite almost 32 oz of ph down. I'm using an accucheck meter, and I double check it with regular test strips - they seem to be in agreement. I run the pumps 15-30 minutes before I test. The tub has only been used 3 times in the last two weeks, and I have only been able to test and treat once a day due to my schedule.

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Stop trying to raise the Total Alkalinity (TA) level. Since your spa is tending to rise in pH, you do not want a higher TA. Though waterbear's post says to target a 100 ppm TA and usually when using bromine tabs which are acidic that is reasonable, for whatever reason in your case the water tends to rise in pH so just keep the TA at a lower level -- even 50 ppm is fine. If you want the pH to rise more slowly, you can add 50 ppm borates (using boric acid such as in ProTeam Gentle Spa).

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I learned early on that PH increaser and decreaser effect both Ph and TA much more than Dry Acid and Baking Soda themselves but the other thing I learned was that you need to find a happy medium between both Ph and TA, mine is Ph of 7.4 with TA of 80-90. Water is comfortable, clean and now all I do is test twice a week, occasionally adding a little here or there but not the extent I did at the start when I tried to follow the guidelines closely and ultimately failed as you are doing now.

Chill out and it will come good.

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Here are some test readings (most recent first);

ph-8.1 alk-42

ph-8.5 alk-50

ph-hi alk-63 (ph too high to read)

ph-hi alk-63

ph-7.9 alk-54

ph-8.6 alk-80

ph-8.7 alk-51

ph-hi alk-162

ph-8.4 alk-71

How are you testing pH? IF you are using the normal phenol red test for pH that is used for pools and spas then the numbers in bold are impossible since they are outside the testable range for that indicator.

Also, how are you getting the alk readings. If you are not using a titration (which I suspect you are not because of the results of your TA test) but rather a colormetic test (such as used in the LaMotte ColorQ and Waterlink systems) the ALK can read low when sanitizer levels are high. Without knowing what the bromine levels are when you made these tests and how they were done it makes your test results suspect since there are interactions between the different chemical levels that can give inaccurate test results. When you post test results you should really post ALL of them for this reason.

If you are using a strip reader and strips then you need to get a better testing method and your results are bogus. (Strips also use phenol red for pH and cannot read above 8.4!) Strips and strip readers do NOT produce valid testing results. Period.

I add PH decreaser and PH goes down one time, up the next. I add Baking Soda and Alkalinity goes up one time, down the next. I cannot get a consistent reading. I have tested and added chemicals indicated every day for the last two weeks, and it is still not ballanced.

First, it is impossible for pH to go up when adding pH down (dry acid). Likewise, it is impossible for ALK to go down when adding baking soda. This makes your testing method suspect nand your results bogus! Without good tst results you cannot balance the water. This is why a good test kit is recommended time and again on here and our collective experience keeps pointing to the Taylor test kits and the LaMotte drop based kits, not their electronic testers. Our collective experience also does not recommend strips either by themself or with a strip reader! Strips and strip readers are worthless.

Second, When adjusting do NOT add the chemicals every day and do not try to raise TA and lower pH at the same time, it is impossible. Once you get a decent testing method (I strongly recommend a Taylor K-2106 test kit for bromine) then get your TA adjusted first if too low (and I suspect yours is actually too high based on your post) THEN lower the pH to your target.

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I got mine from amazon.com

k2106 just recieved it yesterday. really easy to use.

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The least expensive source is Amato Industries here, but will take up to a week for you to receive. You can also get it here but at a higher cost, but probably within 2 days.

[EDIT] The above is for the chlorine test kit. Though that can also be used from bromine with some adjustment to the calculation, the bromine test kit is the K-2106 at Amato Industries here. [END-EDIT]

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Ok, I've ordered a Taylor test kit. I hope this gets simpler, because right now I'm thinking Coy pond.

Once you get your kit post a full set of results in this thread (don't start a new one) and we can help you from there.

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I don't believe you can get Taylor kits in the U.K., but you can get Palintest.

The Palintest SP 316 is a complete test for bromine (the SP 315C is what one would use for chlorine). The only downside is that the bromine/chlorine tests are DPD-based. Palintest does have a FAS-DPD chlorine test called the SP 300 (and that could be used for bromine as well with suitable unit adjustment), but that may only be available in the U.S.

I think the SP 316 should work well for your bromine spa.

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I don't believe you can get Taylor kits in the U.K., but you can get Palintest.

The Palintest SP 316 is a complete test for bromine (the SP 315C is what one would use for chlorine). The only downside is that the bromine/chlorine tests are DPD-based. Palintest does have a FAS-DPD chlorine test called the SP 300 (and that could be used for bromine as well with suitable unit adjustment), but that may only be available in the U.S.

I think the SP 316 should work well for your bromine spa.

I have tried my hardest but so far I can't find the bromine version, only the chlorine. Is there any UK member that know of anyone selling this product?

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Ok, I've ordered a Taylor test kit. I hope this gets simpler, because right now I'm thinking Coy pond.

Once you get your kit post a full set of results in this thread (don't start a new one) and we can help you from there.

Will do, thanks. I hope it will come in Monday.

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I have tried my hardest but so far I can't find the bromine version, only the chlorine. Is there any UK member that know of anyone selling this product?

You can go ahead and use the chlorine version. You just multiply the result you get by 2.25 for ppm Bromine units. The Free Chlorine test will essentially test for Total Bromine (bromamine measures as free chlorine in the test). The rest of the tests are the same (i.e. pH, TA, CH, CYA though you don't need the CYA test so could get the SP 315 instead of the SP 315C, if you like).

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Thanks chem geek for this advice, between you and waterbear I am not sure who I love most. :wub: (j/k)

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Thanks chem geek for this advice, between you and waterbear I am not sure who I love most. :wub: (j/k)

Well, we are both pretty lovable. cool.gif

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After sourcing a supplier of the Palintest products I asked about the SP316 as you guys suggested but they are suggesting two alternatives which they say are more accurate, first is the Palintest Cool Pool Tester and the other is the Pooltest 3. The Pooltest 3 is more comprehensive in what tests it can do but I don't think I need most of them, plus it's over seven times as expensive.

Any thoughts.

P.S.

I forgot to add earlier, Palintest suggest that Bromine spa can run the pH higher than a Chlorine spa, suggesting 7.6-8.2 for Bromine as suitable. Does this sound right to you guys because I have been finding that to maintain a TA of 100 my pH goes to between 7.8-8.0.

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After sourcing a supplier of the Palintest products I asked about the SP316 as you guys suggested but they are suggesting two alternatives which they say are more accurate, first is the Palintest Cool Pool Tester and the other is the Pooltest 3. The Pooltest 3 is more comprehensive in what tests it can do but I don't think I need most of them, plus it's over seven times as expensive.

Any thoughts.

P.S.

I forgot to add earlier, Palintest suggest that Bromine spa can run the pH higher than a Chlorine spa, suggesting 7.6-8.2 for Bromine as suitable. Does this sound right to you guys because I have been finding that to maintain a TA of 100 my pH goes to between 7.8-8.0.

On the second point, bromine is effective at a wider pH range than chlorine but I prefer to keep it at a pH of 8.0 or less.

As far as the testers go, if I am not mistaken the pooltest3 is usless for bromine since you are not testing CYA (one of the three tests) and cannot test TA or CH., which you need. The CoolPooltester does not test for CH.

Also realize that inexpensive electronic photometers are not going to be that good. You get what you pay for really applies here and you have to consider that professional models cost into the thousands of dollars..

However, it is a GREAT way for whoever is selling it to you to make a bigger profit and a bigger sale!

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On the second point, bromine is effective at a wider pH range than chlorine but I prefer to keep it at a pH of 8.0 or less.

That's good to know because I have been struggling to get it down to the 7.4 mark, other than that the water appears to be plain sailing to look after, tablets in the floater, shock it once a week and clean the filter fortnightly, lovely jovely. :P

As far as the testers go, if I am not mistaken the pooltest3 is usless for bromine since you are not testing CYA (one of the three tests) and cannot test TA or CH., which you need. The CoolPooltester does not test for CH.

Also realize that inexpensive electronic photometers are not going to be that good. You get what you pay for really applies here and you have to consider that professional models cost into the thousands of dollars..

However, it is a GREAT way for whoever is selling it to you to make a bigger profit and a bigger sale!

Both the cool pooltester and pooltest 3HR (it's the one which tests all) provide measurements for (Chlorine (Free and Total), pH, Cyanuric Acid, Alkalinity, Calcicol, Bromine), though the cool pooltester is slightly less accurate but according to them will still far more accurate than guessing yourself with the SP316. BTW price of the cool pooltester (model SP166 which tests Br,TA & pH) is only 55 euros but the pooltest 3 is a eye watering 399 euros.

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