Proper Care, Storage & Shelf Life of Reagents

Proper Care & Storage of ReagentsReagents that are stored properly maintain have a much longer shelf life and maintain their maximum effectiveness than those that are improperly stored. This includes all reagents including liquids, powders, crystals, tablets and test-strips.

Reagents should not be stored in moist or damp areas and should be kept dry and moisture free at all times. Powders, crystals and acids are very stable and have an excellent shelf life if kept dry and aren’t exposed to sunlight.

The date of manufacture is not the controlling factor when it comes to reagent shelf life; the storage conditions are much more important. As with all perishables, reagents are sensitive to environmental influences and will last longer under controlled conditions.

1424128986730Taylor Technologies Recommends the Following Care for Reagents

Storing reagents at a consistent temperature in the range of 36°–85°F (2°–29°C). Dramatic temperature fluctuations, such as being stored near a refrigerator or in the trunk of a hot car, causes reagents to rapidly deteriorate.

Avoid exposing reagents to prolonged direct sunlight. Most manufacturers use brown plastic bottles to help protect light sensitive reagents for this very reason, but prolonged overexposure to direct sunlight will quickly deteriorate any reagents effectiveness.

Keep reagents separate from other non-reagent water treatment chemicals.

Replacing reagent caps immediately after use and tighten them carefully to limit their exposure to air and humidity.

Don’t switch reagent bottle caps. Placing bottle caps on soiled surfaces, re-pouring reagents into possibly contaminated containers and touching test strip pads can easily contaminate reagents.

The experts at Taylor formulate their reagents to remain fully effective for a minimum of one year, with very few exceptions.

As a general precaution and rule of thumb, you should replace any reagents that are more than one year old or at the beginning of each new testing season.

Hot Tub Ionizers

Hot Tub Ionizers

SunIon3Nobody enjoys soaking in a dirty or unhealthy hot tub and owners go to great lengths to ensure an enjoyable and relaxing soaking experience in water that’s as clean, safe and healthy as possible.

How do we get our tub and spa water as clean and safe as possible? Simple, by adding chemical sanitizers, pH balancers, oxidizers, clarifiers, calcium boosters, metal removers, water softeners, enzymes and algaecides etc…

chemicals1If you’re tired of trying to relax in a tub full of chemicals and want to drastically reduce your use of costly chemicals by 80% – 90%, then the Hot Tub Ionizer is the system for you.

In all cases, Ionization is safer and more forgiving than typical chemical treatments.  Ionizers provide softer, gentler water and a more comfortable environment.

It’s much less expensive than chemical treatments and it will increase the life expectancy of everything around the hot tub. That includes bathing suits, pumps, filters, heaters and the rest of your spa equipment.

The Hot Tub Ionizer will save you time and money every year as well as provide you with the following benefits:

Benefits:

• Low Initial Cost
• Superior Water Quality
• Reduces Chemical Use by 80-90 %.
• Lifetime Warranty
• Adds Years of Life to Spa Covers & Equipment
• Reduced Maintenance
• No More Algae Problems
• No More Red Itchy Eyes
• No More Dried Out Skin
• Simple to Install & Operate
• Weatherproofed for Outdoor Installation

How Do Ionizers Work?

how-it-worksIonizers use a natural water purification process called electrolysis. It starts with an ultra-low voltage charge running through a sacrificial mineral electrode installed in the return line.

This direct current causes the release of copper and zinc ions into the flow of water which aids in the destruction of algae, bacteria, viruses and mold.

To maintain clean, clear, safe and healthy water all you need to do is add a small amount of chlorine or non chlorine shock to your hot tub after each use to kill any organic material in your hot tub.

Why try to relax in a tub full of harsh expensive chemicals when a soothing hot spring-like hot tub experience is just an Ionizer away!

SunIonElectrodeWhat’s So Different About Our Hot Tub Ionizer?

Our electrodes are custom made from a copper and zinc alloy specifically designed for water treatment. They are four times larger than most spa ionizers, so our electrodes last longer and the replacement electrodes are a better value.

What About Passive Cartridge Ionizers like Nature 2?

You should not use cartridge ionizers. Not only are they very expensive and need to be replaced every few months, you also have little or no control as to the amount of ionization being produced.

Cartridge Ionizers are sold without test kits so you never know what the ion level is or if it’s safe to reduce the sanitizer level. Hands down, the best and most cost effective method of ionizing a hot tub is with an electronic ionizer.

Please note that all hot tub ionizers are created equally. Beware of copper only ionizers with electrodes and a control box that may look like our Hot Tub Ionizer, but are nothing more than cheap knock-offs made from outdated electronics.

Features of our Hot Tub Ionizer include:features

• Treats up to 1,200 Gallons
• Adjustable Output for Precise Metering of Ion Production.
• IP66 Rated Weatherproof Controller Protects Electronics from Moisture, Corrosion, and Harsh Environments.
• High Efficiency UL, CSA, and CE listed Auto Ranging (120 or 240 volt) Switching Power Supply which provides 5 volts DC to the controller (must be wired to the pump timer so it has power only when the pump is running.)
• Solid State Electronic Circuitry with Automatic Sequential Polarity Switching to keep Electrodes Clean and Even Wearing.
• Light Emitting Diodes Display Power, Cell Power, and Polarity.
• Has Threaded Electrode Cell with a 2″ Tee Fitting, Sealed Electrical Connections so there are No Corrosion Problems, and 1-1/2″ Reducing Bushings if Needed.
• Lifetime Warranty.

Specifications

• INPUT VOLTAGE: 120 or 240 Volts AC.
• INPUT FREQUENCY: 50 to 60 Hertz
• OUTPUT VOLTAGE: 5 VoltsDC
• OUTPUT CURRENT: 2 Amps. Max
• CONTROLLER: Plastic Weather Proof
• FLOW RATE: 10 To 120 GPM
• CELL: 2″ Tee with Extention and 2″Threaded Fitting
• CELL REPLACEMENT: 2″ Threaded Male Fitting
• ELECTRODE SIZE AND TYPE: 1-1/2″ Half Round x 2-1/2″ LONG – COPPER & ZINC
• ELECTRODE WEIGHT: 1.5 LB
• TYPICAL ELECTRODE LIFE: 8 To 20 Years
• CAPACITY: UP TO 1,200 Gallons

Hot Tub Ionizer Operation

1. Turn on the Hot Tub pump.
2. Test the Hot Tub water and make sure the water is properly balanced and sanitized. Test the water with the copper test kit to see if there is copper already present. If copper is already present it may be from a copper based algaecide or from a previous pH problem.
3. Turn the controller output to MAX. The power light and the cell power light should come on. The cell power light will change color from red to green every few minutes to indicate the cleaning circuit is operating properly. Turning the control down towards MIN decreases the voltage and current to the cell. The Cell Power light will dim slightly as the control is turned down.
4. Now you can stop using heavy sanitizer levels! All you need to do is maintain a constant chlorine level as low as 0.2 pp. It has been proven that maintaining 0.2 ppm chlorine and 0.2 ppm copper is more effective sanitation than using just chlorine at 2.0 ppm.
5. Test the copper level at least once a week until you have found the proper setting for your spa. Now you should only need to test the copper level once or twice a month because the copper level does not dissipate like sanitizers.
6. Do not over ionize your spa. When the level reaches 0.3 ppm turn the control down and adjust as necessary to maintain 0.3 ppm. If the copper level reaches 0.5 ppm turn the ionizer to MIN until the level drops to 0.3 ppm. Maintain the pH at 7.2 to 7.6. Failure to maintain your pH could result in staining if the pH is allowed to drift above 8.0.

Installation-Guide1 - CopyHot Tub Ionizer Installation

1. Before installing the Ionizer the Hot Tub should be clean, pH balanced, sanitized and the filter cleaned.
2. Turn off the power to the spa equipment.
3. Install the cell after the hot tub heater if possible. The electrode cell must be at the bottom or side so that no air will be trapped in the cell. Cut a section of pipe out where the electrode cell will be installed. Glue the TEE in place using PVC glue making sure it is oriented so no air will be trapped in the cell.
4. Mount the Controller on a vertical surface at least 5 ft from the Hot Tub. Fasten with the 4 #6 x 3/4′ screws provided, so that the cord to the cell and the power cord will reach. It is best to install the controller where it is protected from the sun and weather.
5. Wire the ionizer controller into the same circuit as the low speed of the pump (some spa controllers have a circuit designated for “ozone”, which can also be used).  If connected to 120 volts the brown wire is the hot wire, the blue wire is the neutral wire, and the green wire is the ground. If connected to 240 volts the brown and blue are the hot wires and the green is the ground. The ionizer controller automatically adjusts to the incoming voltage.

Ozone vs. Ultra Violet Light Hot Tub Sanitizing

The comparison chart below breaks down the features and benefits of Ozone versus UV technology for hot tub and spa water sanitation and purification.

The upfront cost is about the same for Ozone and UV, but the minimal maintenance and reduced chemical requirements of an ozone system create significant benefits. On the other hand, UV lamps must be replaced every 3 to 12 months and must be figured into the maintenance costs for these systems.

Screenshot_1

Scientific Facts About Ozone Use in Hot Tubs

What is Ozone?

ozone_nature

• Ozone is “active oxygen”, nature’s special element. Each ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms.
• Ozone is a natural purifier.
• Ozone is created in nature by the combination of oxygen in air and the ultraviolet rays of the sun or by the corona discharge during a lightning storm.
• Ozone has a clean, fresh scent noticed after a rainstorm.
• Ozone is the most powerful oxidizer safely used.
• Ozone is the alternative water purifier to traditional chemicals such as chlorine and bromine.

What Does Ozone Do?

• The Ozone layer in the atmosphere protects the earth from deadly radiation.
• Ozone destroys bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew.
• Ozone eliminates spores, cysts, yeast and fungus.
• Ozone oxidizes iron, sulfur, manganese and hydrogen sulfate.
• Ozone eliminates oils and other contaminants in water.
• Ozone eliminates odors in air, such as smoke.
• Ozone keeps water clean and sparkling clear.
• Ozone keeps water fresh.

Ozone is Healthy

ozone-safety• Ozone leaves no chemical by-products in water.
• Ozone leaves no chemical taste or smell.
• Ozone will not burn eyes or make them red or irritated. Ozone will not irritate or dry out skin, nose, or ears.
• Ozone will not leave a chemical film on material or skin.
• Ozone will not discolor or damage hair or clothing.
• Ozone adds no contaminants or by-products to water. Ozone rids water and air of unhealthy microorganisms.
• Ozone is NOT a carcinogen.

Where is Ozone Used?

• Nice, France built the first water purification plant to use ozone in 1906
• Los Angeles has the largest ozone drinking water treatment plant in the world.
• Most bottled water is purified by ozone.
• Ozone is used to clean waste water and toxic waste.
• Ozone purifies water in wells and home drinking water systems.
• Ozone systems have brought life back to “dead” contaminated lakes and pools.
• Ozone is used to purify air in hotel rooms, boats, RVs, cars and smoke/fire damaged structures.
• Ozone is used in thousands of residential and commercial pools, hot tubs and spas all over the world.

How is Ozone Made?

ozone_graphic

Ozone Is Safe for the Environment as well as Spa & Pool Equipment

• Ozone will not explode.
• Ozone is not a fire hazard.
• In the dose required for excellent purification, ozone does not produce harmful fumes.
• Ozone will not damage plumbing fittings or pipes.

Ozone Is Convenient for Hot Tubs, Spas & Pools

• Ozone does not have to be purchased or stored. Ozone is generated “on site” and is introduced into the water or air automatically.
• Ozone does not affect the pH balance of water, thus minimizing pH adjustments.
• Ozone helps reduce total dissolved solids in water so that the water does not have to be changed as often.
• Ozone eliminates much of the routine maintenance because it does such an effective job keeping the water clean.

Information About Chloramines

What are chloraminesWhen any type of chlorine is added to water, it usually forms hypochlorous acid (HOCl), the most powerful killing form of chlorine in water, and hypochlorite ion (OCl-), a relatively weak form of chlorine in water.

The percentage of HOCl and OCl- is determined by the pH of the water. As the pH goes up, less of the chlorine is in the killing form and more of the chlorine is in the weaker form. The total of HOCl and OCl- is the free available chlorine.

Chlorine can combine with ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water to form chloramines, sometimes called combined chlorine. By combining with ammonia and nitrogen, free chlorine in the water is disabled.

Chloramines are 60 to 80 times less effective than free chlorine. Chloramines are formed any time ammonia and nitrogen are in the water. Some of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds are introduced into the water by swimmers and bathers in the form of perspiration, urine, saliva, sputum and fecal matter.

An active swimmer sweats one pint per hour. The average person sweats three pints per hour in a heated spa. Ammonia and nitrogen compounds are also introduced into the water by rain. Each drop of rain has some dissolved nitrogen from our atmosphere and from automobile emissions.

Chloramine_DiagramChloramines smell bad. This is the smell most often associated with pools and spas in health clubs and YMCAs. Chloramines are eye and skin irritants, and they cloud the water.

Chloramines can be removed from the water by the following three methods:

1. Chlorine Shock Treatment or Super-Chlorination: By adding a mega-dose of chlorine. Usually 3 to 6 times more chlorine than a normal dose is added to the water, or the level of chlorine is raised to 5 to 10 ppm and held there for 4 hours.

This is called super chlorination. To remove chloramines, the ratio of chlorine to ammonia must be at least 7.6 to 1. If this ratio is not obtained, then more chloramines will be produced. Swimmers and bathers should not enter the water until the level of chlorine has dropped to 3 ppm or less.

2. Non-Chlorine Shock Treatment: By adding a non-chlorine shock to the water. The most common chemical used for this is potassium peroxymonosulfate.

3. Adding Ozone to the Water: If an ozone generator is installed on a pool or spa, then oxidation of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds will take place whenever the ozone system is operating. The longer the system operates, the more the ozone can destroy the ammonia and nitrogen.

Ozone oxidizes soap, deodorant, hair spray, cologne, makeup, perfume, body lotion, hand cream, sun tan lotion, saliva and urine. In addition, ozone kills all pathogenic bacteria, germs and viruses.

Ozone takes care of the big job of oxidizing all these organic contaminants. Ozone frees up the combined chlorine, thus leaving the chlorine free to provide a residual. Ozone ultimately enhances the performance of chlorine and bromine.

Less chlorine or bromine will be needed to maintain a residual. Commonly, ozone reduces chlorine or bromine use by 60-90 percent. The quality of water will be dramatically better with the combination of ozone and chlorine or the combination of ozone and bromine than with chlorine or bromine alone.

Non-Chlorine Shock Treatments

Non-Chlorine Shock

Cl_and_BrFor years, hot tub and spa owners have been keeping their water crystal clear by “Shocking” it on a weekly basis with Chlorine or Bromine.

Shocking your hot tub or spa quickly raises the sanitizer level of the spa water, killing off any of the bacteria that may be present.

Unwanted bacteria in spa water can cause skin irritation, rashes, odors and cloudy water. The down side of “shocking” your hot tub or spa with chlorine is that it leaves a strong chlorine-like chemical odor, causes skin and eye irritation and can wreak cause bathing suits and hot tub covers to prematurely fade.

DuPont_RedOvalThe folks at DuPont have come up with a great alternative product called Potassium Monopersulfate or more commonly referred to as “Non-Chlorine Shock.”

The benefits of Potassium Monopersulfate is that it is easy and convenient to use, it maximizes your existing sanitizer efficiency of Chlorine or Bromine by killing and eliminating contaminating waste and it doesn’t produce irritating and foul smelling chemical odors.

It restores sparkle and clarity to dull water and doesn’t bleach or fade bathing suits or spa covers. It also assists with the bacteria killing, with no unwanted side effects.
Potassium Monopersulfate is a powerful, odorless oxygen-based versatile oxidizer that works in conjunction with chlorine, bromine and most alternative sanitizing systems including ozone.

sanitizersSanitizers are used in hot tubs and spas to protect soakers and bathers from harmful pathogens, but sanitizing alone is not enough.  Soaker and bather waste, along with external factors, contribute to the buildup of organic contamination, especially in residential hot tubs and spas.

Two people in an average hot tub holding 250-350 gallons of water is equivalent to 200 people in a 20,000 gallon swimming pool! Regular oxidation is necessary to eliminate these contaminants and promote maximum sanitizer efficiency and water clarity.

Potassium Monopersulfate is ideal for oxidizing spa water because it reacts very quickly to eliminate bather waste, increases existing sanitizer efficiency, enhances water clarity and soaker comfort. It also eliminates the need to shock the spa with heavy chlorine-based products which cause foul odors, skin and eye irritation and prematurely fades clothing.

smellofchlorineChlorine Only Shocks also have a few other significant drawbacks. When used in heavy doses, chlorine can react with contaminants in hot tub water to produce foul smelling and irritating combined chlorine compounds called chloramines.

Chloramines can be simple compounds like monochloramine or they can be complex like the organic chloramines. Organic chloramines actually resist oxidation by free chlorine and persist long after chlorine shocking.

Chlorine shocking also raises chlorine residuals, which are not wanted in a brominated hot tub or spa. This can be a real problem if your hot tub is inside, where air circulation is a problem.

One of the big reasons that people use bromine as their main sanitizer is to reduce the chemical odor, both in the water and in the indoor air around the unit. Potassium Monopersulfate will not cause these unwanted odors when used on a weekly shock.

When used properly, it eliminates chloramines, ammoniated compounds, oils, soaps, perspiration, urine and odors as well as enhances the disinfection and sanitation of your hot tub by regenerating some of the existing chlorine and most of the bromine in the water.

*Please Note that Potassium Monopersulfate should not be used during the initial fill up of your hot tub or spa. It is not a disinfectant when used alone and a normal level of sanitizer must already be present in the water for Potassium Monopersulfate to react correctly.

Chlorine Shock Treatment Alternatives

Potassium Monopersulfate from Dupont

chlorinefreeThe use of Potassium Monopersulfate, a non-chlorine shock treatment, has significantly increased in both use and popularity among hot tub and spa owners over the last 10 years.

The benefits of using a non-chlorine shock like Monopersulfate instead of a chlorine or bromine shock include reduced odor, less irritation to your eyes and skin and it requires only a short waiting period before soakers and bathers can re-enter the water.

MPS was developed by DuPont and acts as a highly effective oxidizing agent when used in hot tubs and spas. When used at full strength, many hot tub and spa owners refer to MPS as the Non-Chlorine or Non-Bromine “Shock Treatment Alternative” because of its effectiveness to destroy and remove contaminants and bacteria.

Chlorine Shock

Chlorine-Periodic-TableChlorine is the most widely used water shocking sanitizer for hot tub, spa and pool owners because of its ability to quickly and effectively sanitize pathogenic disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Surprisingly, only 10 per cent of the chlorine added to spa water goes on to kill living organisms. The other 90 per cent of the chlorine oxidizes (destroys) waste products in the water, such as sweat, skin particles, and sun screen introduced into the water by bathers. Chlorine also has to oxidize dust, bugs or grass, which always seem to find their way into the water all by themselves.

The byproducts of chlorine oxidation are chloramines, also known as combined chlorine. Chloramines have a very strong chlorine odor, and they cause nasal and eye irritation. Shocking the water with chlorine will eliminate excessive chloramines, but it requires raising the spa chlorine level to approximately 10 ppm.

After super-chlorinating the water, bathers must wait until the chlorine residual comes down to the acceptable range, between 1 ppm and 5 ppm, before getting back in the water. This can take hours, depending on how high the chlorine level gets. It is difficult to add just the right amount and the higher the level gets, the longer bathers will have to wait to get in.

Non-Chlorine Shock

The negative side-effects of using chlorine as a sanitizer have many hot tub, spa and pool owners turning to non-chlorine or hybrid chlorine/bromine sanitizing and shocking alternatives. Monopersulfate is a non-chlorine shock treatment that has become very popular with hot tub and spa owners and requires only a short waiting period before soakers and bathers can re-enter the water.

It also cuts down on the odors and irritation caused by elevated levels of chlorine. With the rising popularity of mineral purification systems, the increase of hot tub and spa owners switching from chlorine to non-chlorine shock treatments is growing faster than ever before and shows no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future.

Cl-setUsing Monopersulfate With Chlorine Monopersulfate can eliminate wastes in hot tubs and spas without the unpleasant side effects of chlorine. While it cannot effectively sanitize or kill all bacteria in a hot tub or spa, monopersulfate can effectively be used to shock the water.

This allows soakers and bathers to return to the water much sooner than with chlorine shock, typically less than 30 minutes after the monopersulfate shock has been added to the water. Monopersulfate eliminates impurities through oxidation, while conserving the chlorine residual for killing bacteria.

Another added benefit is that monopersulfate doesn’t leave behind any irritating or unpleasant byproducts when it oxidizes wastes.

bromine2Using Monopersulfate With Bromine

Another popular choice for sanitation in hot tubs and spas is bromine. Bromine is a good alternative to chlorine because it’s more stable in hot water, doesn’t produce the same strong chlorine odor and is still an effective sanitizer.

Bromine is slightly more expensive than chlorine, but the benefits are worth it to many hot tub and spa owners.  In a bromine system, Monopersulfate is an activator for the bromine that has been used up and converted into a non-active form.

Monopersulfate oxidizes waste as in the chlorine system, but it also has the capability of reactivating the bromine. This allows it to begin sanitizing and oxidizing your water all over again, whereas chlorine is not capable of this type of reactivation.

As with chlorine, using monopersulfate with a bromine system has the added benefit of allowing soakers and bathers to return to the water faster than with Chlorine or Bromine only shock, typically less than 30 minutes after the monopersulfate has been added to the water.

Using Monopersulfate with Mineral Purification Systems – Another popular and growing form of non-chlorine alternative sanitation is Mineral Purification Systems. These systems use dissolved minerals such as copper to kill algae and silver to kill bacteria.

Minerals can keep your hot tub or spa water safe from pathogenic organisms, but minerals are incapable of destroying waste products and debris. Using monopersulfate with your mineral purification system solves the oxidation problem and leaves a residual amount in your system to oxidize future wastes and debris.

Monopersulfate dissipates very quickly in the presence of high levels of chlorine or bromine, but the residual levels stay in place much longer in mineral purification systems where the levels of chlorine and bromine are much lower.

Testing Monopersulfate Levels – In order to maintain clear, clean water, the Monopersulfate level should be measured after each use, especially if it is being used as the primary shocking agent. This ensures proper oxidation of wastes and safe clear water for soakers and bathers.

Testing Tip – Since chlorine is a strong oxidizer, the readings on most monopersulfate testing kits are tainted due chlorine interference and can cause false positive test results. The trick to getting an accurate reading in the presence of chlorine is to use a subtractive testing method.

Buy a test kit that allows you to measure both the water chemistry’s total oxidized value and the chlorine level. The total oxidized value measurement includes both chlorine and monopersulfate.

The chlorine level test measurement detects the chlorine, but not the level of monopersulfate. Subtract the chlorine level from your total oxidized value measurement and you will get an accurate reading for your hot tub or spas monopersulfate level.

Bromine Information

Bromine

bromine33When bromine is added to a hot tub or spa,  it’s in the form of bromide ions. It’s then activated with an oxidizer to form hypobromous acid. Hypobromous acid is the killing form of bromine.

When hypobromous acid reacts with an organic contaminant it’s reduced back to bromide ions.   The bromide ions can then be reactivated back into hypobromous acid by the addition of an oxidizer.

This is somewhat of a continuous cycle with bromine sanitized spas.  If 100 percent of the bromide ions became hypobromous acid and 100 percent of the hypobromous acid returned to bromide ions, you would never again have to add more bromide salt.

But hypobromous acid can react with certain chemicals in the water that tie up the bromide ions and prevents them from becoming free bromide ions in the water.
This happens when hypobromous acid produces bromate or bromoform for instance.

There are many other combinations that tie up the bromine so it can’t become a free bromide ions. For this reason more bromine salt or bromide ions need to periodically be added. The level of bromide ions should not go below 15 ppm.

bromine23The basis behind 2-part liquid bromine sanitizing systems is to add a salt of bromine (sodium bromide) to the water to get bromide ions and then oxidize the bromide ions with an oxidizer.

Common oxidizers include monopersulfate (MPS), hydrogen peroxide, percarbonate, ozone or any compound of chlorine to produce hypobromous acid.

You need a minimum of 15 ppm of bromide ions for an oxidizer to work and to provide a “bank” of bromide ions for an oxidizer to react with.  Bromine tablets are typically 1-bromo-3-chloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin.

When added to water they hydrolyze to become hypobromous acid. With bromine tablets a separate oxidizer is not necessary to make hypobromous acid, it is already an ingredient in the tablets.

When the hypobromous acid reacts with a contaminant and is reduced, it becomes a bromide ion. You then get a build-up of bromide ions in the water. After a while, you could just start adding an oxidizer to reactivate the bromide ions to hypobromous acid, but most people don’t, they just add more bromine tabs.

Currently, there is no way to test water to find out how much bromide ions are in it. This is because the same test that measures bromide ions also measures chloride ions and all water has chloride ions in it. Other than making an educated guess, there’s no way to tell when the bromide ion level is too low.

The 2-part bromine manufacturers know this and recommend that you add some bromide ions or liquid bromide salts every few weeks or so.  Realistically, a bromine sanitized spa can’t be switched over to chlorine, if there’s still bromine in the water. All the chlorine added to the water is going to convert bromide ions into hypobromous acid.

As long as there’s 15 ppm or more of bromide ions in the water, all the chlorine added is going towards converting bromide ions into hypobromous acid, none of it will provide a chlorine residual.

The spa will continue to be bromine sanitized until the bromide level gets below 15 ppm. But there is no test kit for measuring just bromide ions in the water and therefore no way to know when the bromide level is below 15 ppm. It could take a week. It could take 2 months.

Maintaining a Bromine Sanitized Spa

There are typically two types of bromine systems, a 2-step system and a 3-step system. With a 2-step system sodium bromide, either granular or liquid, is added to the water. An oxidizer, such as chlorine or non-chlorine shock (MPS) is than added on a regular basis to oxidize the bromide into bromine.

One of the more popular 2-step bromine systems is the Enhance/Activate Sanitizing System. It’s chlorine free and easy to use, but does require some daily attention to maintain proper bromine levels in the water.

A 3-step system is similar to the 2-step, but also uses bromine tablets in a floating feeder. Bromine tables consist of a combination of sodium bromide and an oxidizer, typically chlorine. The 3-step system requires less attention and maintains more constant levels of bromine in the water, but costs more than the 2-step system.

A 2-step system with an efficient ozonator might be able to achieve the constant bromine level without the use of, or by using less oxidizer (MPS or chlorine) since the ozone is constantly oxidizing the sodium bromide while it is on.

However, the ozone may also deplete the bromide reserve more quickly, leading to the use of more sodium bromide, or a shorter time between necessary drain and refills. Also, ozone can cause bromates to form in your water. Bromates are a suspected carcinogen in drinking water.

To begin a bromine sanitized system on a freshly filled spa the first thing needed to be done is establish a bromide ion reserve of 30 ppm. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

  • Allowing bromine tablets in a floating feeder to naturally dissolve until there are sufficient bromide ions in the water (it could take weeks for proper bromide levels to be established, and until that time, the spa will actually be sanitized with the chlorine contained in the tablets).
  • Crush up 5 or 6 bromine tablets and add the “crushings” to the water (this can be a bit expensive, and also adds a large amount of whatever other chemicals are in the bromine tablets to the water).
  • Add 99% granular sodium bromide at the rate of 1/2 oz. per 100 gallons of water.
  • Add 32% liquid sodium bromide at the rate of 4 oz. per 250 gallons of water.  With either system the water will need to be shocked on a weekly basis. Shocking is done to completely destroy any organic material in the water and is accomplished by adding enough chlorine or non-chlorine shock (MPS) to raise the bromine level to above 10 ppm.

Simple Step by Step

  • Upon initially filling, balance the water (adjust TA and pH and calcium).
  • If you have metals in your water add a metal sequesterant.
  • On each fill add sodium bromide to the water (following manufacturer’s directions on dosing, you’ll end up with about a 30 ppm concentration of sodium bromide ions).
  • Shock with your preferred oxidizer (chlorine or MPS) and turn on the ozone if you are using it. Your bromine levels should be above 10 ppm (wait until they drop below 10 ppm to use spa).
  • If using a 3-step system add your floating feeder with bromine tablets and adjust it to maintain a 4-6 ppm bromine level. If using a 2-step system add your preferred oxidizer as needed (and adjust your ozone) to maintain a 4-6 ppm bromine level.
  • Shock weekly to burn off organics that collect in the water (if you are using ozone and your bromine levels are staying at 4-6 ppm then you may be able to shock less often).
  • Test bromine and pH each time you use the spa. Test all water parameters (bromine,pH, TA, Calcium Hardness) weekly.
  • Drain and refill about every 3-4 months.