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How to Maintain your Hot Tub with Bromine
Bromine is slightly easier to use, less toxic and less smelly than chlorine.
Bromine behaves in a very similar way to chlorine, but it forms its own equivalent of chloramines called bromamines. Bromamines do not smell much and they are nowhere near as irritating to the skin and eyes as chloramines. Also they are actually a disinfectant in their own right, so they enhance the bacteria killing capability of the bromine. The result is that you need to use less chemical to achieve the same results than if you were using chlorine. Bromine is also better suited to hot tubs than chlorine because it is more tolerant of high pH and more stable at the higher spa water temperatures.
In order to use bromine to sanitize you spa you'll need to perform the following steps:
At Each 3 Monthly Water Change
- Clean the Plumbing:
- Add a spa flush or plumbing cleaner to your existing hot tub water and turn on all jets and pumps for at least 30 minutes. Remove the filter(s) during this process if you are able to run your pumps without the filters in place. It’s preferable to leave the plumbing cleaner to work overnight if possible.
- Drain the Tub:
- Use a non-scouring pad to wipe away any deposits left on the shell as the water drains. For significantly dirty spas use a specialist spa surface cleaner. DO NOT use any household cleaners.
- Clean the Filter(s):
- Rinse any debris from between the filter pleats under a running tap, or use a specialist filter cleaning adapter on your garden hose if possible. Sprinkle a powedered filter cleaner all over the surface of the filter(s) and place them on the bottom shelf of your (clean) dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on a normal 50ºC wash cycle. If your filter(s) won’t fit in the dishwasher then soak them overnight in a suitable container, again using a powdered filter cleaner, then rinse them thoroughly.
- Allow your filter(s) to dry naturally before replacing them in the tub. This is important because the filter material will last much longer if it is allowed to thoroughly dry between uses. Filters can take a very long time to dry so it’s a good idea to keep a spare set and to rotate them each time you clean them.
- Refill the tub with clean water from the tap. Do not use softened water.
- Balance the Water:
- Test the water using bromine test strips and adjust the Total Alkalinity and pH , using the directions on the water balance product containers:
- the Total Alkalinity should be within the range: 80 - 120 ppm
- the pH should be within the range: 7.2 – 7.8
- the Total Hardness should be in the range: 250 - 500 ppm
- You should first adjust the Total Alkalinity, then when that is in the correct range adjust the pH and finally the Total Hardness, if necessary. You must persevere until you get the correct balance because the bromine won't work effectively if the pH is outside the required range.
- Add the Bromine:
- You will need to use bromine granules to give an initial shock dose of sanitiser to a freshly filled spa. Pre-dissolve the weight of granules recommended on the product container (dependant on the amount of water in your hot tub) in water in a clean container, stirring well to make sure that the granules are completely dissolved. Apply the solution to the hot tub water whilst the pumps are turned on to aid distribution. You should aim to maintain a bromine level of 30ppm for 1 hour, you may need to add additional bromine to maintain this level.
- After the initial shock, allow the bromine level to reduce to 3-5ppm. Test the water after 30 minutes and at intervals, if necessary, and do not get into the water until the level has reduced to less than 5ppm.
- Every other day:
- Check the water balance using bromine test strips and adjust as necessary to maintain the range specified above.
- Apply a maintenance dose of bromine by pre-dissolving granules in a clean plastic container and applying to the spa with the pumps running to maintain a reading of 3-5ppm of bromine.
- As an alternative to applying bromine granules, you could use 20g Bromine tablets either in your spa's in-built chemical dispenser or in a floating dispenser. Bromine tablets dissolve slowly and evenly to give consistent and long lasting bromination, avoiding the need for frequent dosing, so they can be easier and less time consuming to use. Do not place bromine tablets directly into a skimmer basket or elsewhere in your tub.
- Use a shock treatment to remove non-filterable organic contaminates. You should shock your tub weekly as a matter of course. It is also a good idea to shock after any period of very heavy use or if children have been in the tub (let’s be honest, it’s not a very attractive proposition to get out of that lovely hot water to find the loo!).
- NB. Don’t check the bromine level for at least 12 hours after you have applied the shock because you will get an incorrect reading.
- Clean your filters weekly as described above.
- Clean the plumbing and change the water as described above.