The decision to buy a hot tub is an exciting one. You've chosen the exact hot tub you were looking for and already have the perfect place to put it, and you are now presently prepared to dive in and unwind. Before jumping in, however, there are some things to consider about owning a hot tub. Like the right chemicals to treat the water with.
Figuring out how to manage the water chemistry in your hot tub may seem challenging, however, it is the exact opposite and anybody can do it. The fundamental factors that go into keeping up and adjusting your spa water chemistry includes the utilization of chlorine or bromine. While your knowledge of chemistry may or may not be vast, remembering the end goal of always having clean water in your hot tub is essential. In this article, I am going to share some of our chlorine and bromine knowledge to help you have a better understanding of what they are and how to use them. If you’re looking for how to start, don't fret, we are here to help you in your hot tub adventures!
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical element that is commonly used in pools and spas. It is a building block of matter and gives essential nutrients to plants and animals while dispersed throughout the rocks in the Earth and salty oceans. Millions of people around the world can thank chlorine for their clean and safe drinking water. Since the use of chlorine in drinking water, waterborne diseases have diminished.
Maintaining a clean hot tub with well-balanced chemicals is much like taking care of a pool, only a little more complex. Because of heat and aeration, hot tubs go through chemical changes at a faster rate. Thus, needing more attention and upkeep. Chlorine has a tendency to be the less expensive chemical than its counterpart, bromine, yet requires more maintenance. Chlorine dissolves immediately after fighting off the bacteria.
How to Use Chlorine Step by Step
There are two primary things happening when your spa is being sterilized. Natural waste is being oxidized, and bacteria is being executed. Chlorine does both, exceptionally well. That is the reason it's the most mainstream sanitizer in pools and spas. Nonetheless, with the objective of chlorine to do its job against germs, there should be a balanced level in your tub constantly. On the off chance that it drops to zero, bacteria will duplicate quickly and painfully. So, never let the chlorine level drop to zero is the number one rule when treating your hot tub with chlorine. Now, let’s get to it.
Before filling your new hot tub, or if you have an existing filled hot tub you will need to drain the hot tub water and use a diluted solution made from half a cup of chlorine bleach and three gallons of warm water to clean the tub shell. Wipe it down thoroughly using a large sponge. Next, rinse the tub with cold water and use a big absorbent towel to dry it off. Change the filter if needed. If needed wash the scum off the filter bags outside of the hot tub and replace.
Fill with water to the halfway point of the upper skimmer. Bleed off some air in the pumps and filter unit to prime them. Turn on the water heater until the temperature reaches 80°F. For the next twelve hours, use a timer to run the filter for three of them.
Adjust the pH up or down after testing the water. You should aim for a tested level between 7.6 and 8.2. Include water clarifier and stain control if the manufacturer suggests it. The alkalinity of the water should be tested next. The ideal level to adjust the alkaline to is between 100 and 150 parts per million.
Chlorine and non-chlorine chemicals are detailed to cooperate to keep hot tub water protected and cleaned. Include a spa-particular chlorine two days or more to meet testing standards. After the chlorine has disintegrated, include two ounces of a non-chlorine equation. Test the water to guarantee the chlorine content is at 3 ppm.
Maintaining Your Chlorine Content
It is essential that you check the chlorine content, pH, and alkalinity levels each and every week. Granular chlorine should be added every week as well, and don’t forget to clean out the filter along with the scum bag.
Once a month the water levels in your hot tub should be dropped and the built up scale from the hot water around the skimmers should be cleaned using a scale remover.
When you notice your hot tub water losing that glow, it might be time to give your filter a thorough clean using a cartridge cleaning solution. We recommend doing this once a month.
When done right, you can easily keep up with your chlorine treatments, and have hot tub water that sparkles.
The constant maintenance and upkeep that is needed with chlorine to treat the water in your hot tub is why it is at a disadvantage when it comes to efficiency compared to treatment using bromine.
What is Bromine?
The substance "Bromine" is fundamentally the same as chlorine in the way that it eliminates bacteria and unsafe contaminants, however, the two chemicals respond differently. Bromine is a common choice among hot tub owners to sanitize the water because it is more steady than chlorine while taking on hot temperatures. The points of interest to utilizing bromine are self-evident, and if you suffer from sensitive skin, bromine might be the choice for you. In spite of the fact that bromine delivers a far less chemical aroma than chlorine, the bromine smell stays on your skin much harsher than chlorine. Bromine comes in the form of a tablet and is recommended to be inserted into water using a chemical feeder for dissolving.
The major difference between chlorine and bromine is that bromine will stay in the water long after killing all bacteria. In contrast, chlorine will die off quickly along with the bacteria that it kills once it has done so. Your weekly shock treatment using chlorine will still be successful in neutralizing spa water, but it is often filtered out immediately after use. Bromine, on the other hand, remains in the pool longer to continually neutralize your spa water, hence while bromine takes far less maintenance.
Although bromine is very beneficial to sensitive skin, keep in mind that it is still chlorine-based and it should not be used as an alternative to chlorine if you have a chlorine allergy.
The cost of bromine per pound is considerably more than the cost of chlorine which is a big detriment to it. However, if you look at the advantages of bromine over chlorine, you can see it might be worth it in the long run.
How to Use Bromine Step by Step
As long as you know the right steps to take to setup and maintain bromide treatments in your hot tub you should soon be having an efficient cleaning procedure for your spa.
Much like when using chlorine, the first thing you want to do in a water treatment using bromine is test the alkalinity and pH level of your water. However, the bromine alkalinity level should be at 80-120 PPM. At that PPM, it assists in keeping the pH levels at bay. The pH levels should keep steady between 7.4 and 7.5. Add more to balance as needed.
Calcium can harden with high heat so you should check if it has built up every so often. Calcium Hardening in your hot tub can damage your equipment if not tested for corrosion. You should keep the level at 150-250 ideally.
After balancing your water, you can now add your bromine. Bromine is best utilized when establishing a bromide reserve using granular sodium bromide. Every 100 gallons of water should have 1/2 ounce of bromine solution. They come in tablets that are about a 1/2 ounce each, so for that, we recommended 1 tablet per 200 gallons. You can put the tablets in a floating container to control how fast they dissolve.
Kill off any remaining contaminants by applying a non-chlorine shock treatment to your hot tub water. You'll want to stay up on this once a week. Be sure to turn up the jets to maximize efficiency. Keep at 3-5 parts per million and you’re shining.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Chlorine or Bromine
Just like every decision you make, you have to weigh the pros and cons. I consider the cleanliness of a spa to be an important matter so it shouldn't be taken without thought. With chlorine and bromine, one’s advantage might be the other solution’s disadvantage as there is many factors that go into play when treating a hot tub. They are a similar chemical, but the differences are evident. Let’s take a look at the primary advantages and disadvantages of each chemical.
Advantages of Chlorine:
- Saves money
- Tried and true
- Easier to utilize
- Faster to treat
- Easier for chemical residue to deteriorate
Disadvantages of Chlorine:
- Harder to kill bacteria
- You need to use more chemicals
- Usually more frequent treatments
- Easier for bacteria to come back
- Many allergies associated
Advantages of Bromine:
- Stronger bacteria-killing solution
- Less chemical needed
- Fewer treatments required
- Keeps away bacteria better
- Less sensitive to skin
Disadvantages of Bromine:
- More expensive per pound than chlorine
- Still a chlorine based chemical and many allergies may still exist
After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of how to keep up with your spa cleaning. It is important to have the know-how to recognize the advantages and disadvantages in both cleaning solutions. The knowledge and experience with both spa treatments allows you to use either one with confidence and puts you at ease knowing that your hot tub is well taken care of.
Keep in mind that all chlorine of bromine products may have different measurements and strengths. We recommend using this guide as a general know how when dealing with these chemicals. Please carefully look over each product you purchase and familiarize yourself with what their recommended dosages are before adding the chemicals.
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