Is High Bromine In A Hot Tub Dangerous?

As a hot tub owner, you must be familiar with the world of sanitizers, shocks, chlorination, and bromination. Most of the time, you may be confused as to how much is too much, or what amount of chemicals you can use without having side effects.

To answer the question above, the answer is a resounding yes.

Follow me in this article as I break down all you need to know about brominating your pool. Any questions you have with regards to the amount and side effects of bromination will be answered duly.

Is it safe to swim in a hot tub with high bromine?

Bromine is a good sanitizer for your hot tub. It is usually preferred to chlorine because it can withstand the hotter temperatures in a hot tub. In addition, it is milder on the skin and eyes. All these are excellent functions that bromine can perform.

However, in excess, bromine can be uncomfortable for hot tub owners to soak in. High levels of bromine can trigger reactions in a person’s skin and eyes. It can lead to redness on the skin and in the eyes. The respiratory system is also at risk.

Additionally, there may be negative effects on the lungs. People who are quite sensitive to high bromine levels will experience an immediate reaction to raised levels of bromine.

Bromine can cause irritation to the mucosal membranes of your body. When it reacts with water, it forms hypobromite ions. This compound is quite toxic to humans. This chemical can lead to the following in the human body.

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A burning sensation in the mouth
  • Throat pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Stools with blood.

Airways inflammation: The bromine vapor can cause you to cough and have difficulty breathing. Attacks are very likely in people who are already asthmatic. Bromine can be a great irritant to the air passages like the nostrils, trachea, and lungs. Irritation of these pathways in someone already having respiratory issues poses a health risk.

Eye irritation: Swimming in a pool with too much bromine can cause bromine to enter your eyes. The hypobromite ions can be quite corrosive to your eyes. It can react with your eye surface, stripping the tear film away. This can lead to a series of problems because your eyes are now more susceptible to infections. Conjunctivitis, teary eyes, and other complications are possible outcomes.

Gastrointestinal issues: Swallowing bromine from water can lead to issues for you. It can cause irritation to the gastrointestinal lining. It can also lead to nausea and vomiting.

How much bromine is too much in a hot tub?

When bromine exceeds 4 parts per million, you are beginning to tread in dangerous waters (pun intended). From 5 ppm and above, you should avoid bathing in the tub. Get out your test strips and check the bromine concentrations before entering.

What should the bromine level be in a hot tub?

The CDC recommends a level of 1–3 parts per million of bromine. As discussed above, bromine levels above that can lead to several complications.

Why is my bromine high?

There are two major ways bromine levels can drastically increase.

  • During regular maintenance: During your day-to-day sanitizing, it is possible to accidentally add way too much bromine to your hot tub.
  • During shocking: When shocking your tub, you can also add more shock than necessary. This can drastically increase the sanitizer levels in your hot tub.

How do I lower the bromine level in my hot tub?

You put in your test kit and discover your bromine levels are way too high. Below are some solutions to lower that bromine in your tub.

  • You simply wait it out: One thing you can do is simply wait for the bromine levels to drop on their own. Bromine on its own will outgas and leave the tub. All you need to do is stop adding more sanitizer. If you have an automatic chlorinator, you could just shut it off. Give it a day or two and the bromine levels will reduce. Removing the hot tub cover speeds up this process as it allows the sanitizer to evaporate freely.
  • Drain and dilute the pool: If you want even faster results, you could decide to either fully or partially drain the pool. To effectively drain your pool, follow these steps:
    1. Turn off your tub: You should never drain your pool while still connected to an electric socket.
    2. Connect a hose to the drain plug, and lead the hose to an area where it is okay to drain waste water. Then either partially or fully drain the tub.
    3. You can alternatively use a submersible pump. This will drain your tub faster. In less than 15 minutes, you are done.
    4. Then fill up the tub and test again with your test strips. If it is a full drain, you are going to add fresh water before adding the appropriate chemicals in their required concentrations. This involves checking for acidity, pH levels, and alkalinity. The pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. The alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm. However, bromine concentrations should be between 2 and 4 ppm.
  • Use neutralizers: Neutralizers are simple chemicals that can react with bromine to reduce its concentration. One common one is sodium thiosulfate. You must take care when using neutralizers. This is because most neutralizers will keep on reacting with the bromine till the entire neutralizer is used up. You don’t want your entire sanitizer used up, but just to be brought down to safe levels. This is how you use it.
    1. Test the water for the bromine levels.
    2. Calculate the amount (ppm) you need to reduce it by.
    3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the required dosage.
    4. Measure out the neutralizer and pour it into the hot tub.
    5. Turn on the water jets so the neutralizer can circulate properly.
    6. Test the water again, and then make the proper adjustments, if any.

How long does it take for bromine levels to drop?

This greatly depends on the concentration of bromine in the water. Higher concentrations will take longer to dissipate. However, any time from 2 to 24 hours is enough for the bromine levels to drop. In some cases, it can stay up to 48 hours before dropping reasonably.

Can too much bromine cause cloudy water?

No, it doesn’t. If your spa’s water is cloudy, it could be as a result of low bromine rather than an excess of it. In this case, algae and bacteria would have been left to grow unchecked due to low sanitizer levels. When they accumulate in your hot tub, it can cause it to look turbid or hazy.

Other factors that can cause cloudiness in your hot tub are: high calcium hardness, high alkalinity, spa filter problems, etc. However, in essence, too much bromine will never be responsible for your hot tub‘s having cloudy water.

Does high bromine cause high pH?

No, it doesn’t. Bromine has a low pH. It has a pH of 4. Therefore, adding bromine tablets to your hot tub will cause a reduction in pH over time. In addition, bromine will also cause a reduction in the alkalinity of your hot tub water.

Can you use chlorine shock in a bromine hot tub?

Yes, you can. It is perfectly okay to use chlorine shock in a bromine tub. However, you must take a major precaution. You must never mix chlorine and bromine in their powdered state. The reaction can be dangerous.

This is due to the fact that when the sanitizers are in their powdered form, they are very reactive. Mixing them together can cause an unstable reaction.

Now as to chlorine shock. When you add chlorine shock to a bromine hot tub, it creates more bromine. The bromide ions convert the chlorine you added into free bromine. In addition, shock generally helps to break up bromamines and helps to make available more free bromine in your hot tub.

Can I switch from bromine to chlorine?

Yes, you can. The best way to do this is to drain the tub. This is because adding chlorine to your tub just converts the bromide back to bromine. But if you don’t want to completely drain the pool, you can do the following:

  1. Monitor the bromine levels until they are minimal.
  2. Change your brominator to a chlorinator;
  3. Begin your chlorine treatment with non-stabilized chlorine. Then, switch to stabilized chlorine when there is no bromine or stabilizer left in your water. It is the presence of a stabilizer that can cause dangerous chemical reactions with chlorine.

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