Bromine is a chemical that many hot tub owners use to sanitize their Jacuzzis and spas instead of chlorine. The smell of bromine is less and it’s gentler on sensitive skin. Well, unless the levels get too high, that is. How can you reduce bromine levels?
To lower bromine levels in your hot tub, you can always dilute the water or allow the bromine to outgas. The former is a faster solution, as outgassing can take a day or two.
If your hot tub’s bromine levels are high and you’re concerned, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes higher-than-usual bromine levels as well as talk more about how to get the levels under control. You won’t want to miss it!
Why Are Your Bromine Levels High?
Let’s take it from the top. What causes high bromine levels, anyway?
The only way your hot tub can have high bromine levels is because you overdid it.
Perhaps you and your spouse or partner both maintain the hot tub. You didn’t realize that the other had already added bromine to the Jacuzzi, so you went ahead and did it anyway.
You might have poured too much in accidentally or measured the wrong amount. Or you may have just shocked your hot tub. Perhaps you need to lower your bromine levels fast, so you can start swimming.
While it’s not ideal to pour too much bromine into your hot tub, it’s usually not the end of the world, either, unless you want to swim now.
Keep reading for more information on how to reduce high bromine levels coming up later in this article!
Related Reading: Chlorine Vs Bromine for Hot Tubs (Which is Better?)
Safe Spa and Hot Tub Bromine Levels
How much bromine is too much? If you don’t know what the baseline is for safe bromine levels, then, of course, it’s a lot easier to overdo it.
The recommended safe levels of bromine in a hot tub are one to three particles per million or ppm. If you use chlorine in your hot tub instead of bromine, the same amount applies.
Speaking of chlorine, you can usually use chlorine test strips to test both the bromine and chlorine level. This test will reveal how much bromine is in the hot tub water. If you’ve had issues with too much bromine in your Jacuzzi in the past, then we recommend doing a total chlorine test.
Anything over 5 ppm bromine in the water is not good.
Signs of High Bromine Levels
Contrary to popular belief, the smell you associate with hot tubs and spas isn’t because there is too much bromine or chlorine. It usually means there isn’t enough.
You see, as the bromine works to neutralize bacteria, bromamines are formed. These are what are responsible for the smell. If your hot tub or spa has a strong smell, you probably don’t have enough bromine in the water.
The only way to accurately know if you have too much bromine in the water is to use a spa test kit. You can use test strips or a drop test kit.
The Risks of High Bromine in a Hot Tub
Do you really have to worry that much about bromine in the hot tub?
After all, it’s not like a swimming pool where people are going underwater. You usually don’t even submerge yourself all the way in the hot tub, so surely, there’s nothing to worry about, right?
Unfortunately, there exist risks to both your health and the health of your hot tub when you use excess bromine. Let’s talk more about these dangers now.
Skin & Respiratory Irritations
As we mentioned in the intro, many hot tubbers like bromine better than chlorine since it’s better suited for sensitive skin than chlorine.
Too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing though, and that goes for bromine in your hot tub as well.
If you touch your face with your wet hands or arms, you might notice that your eyes become itchy, irritated, and red.
Your skin could be inflamed, red, and itchy as well. Even your lungs can be negatively impacted just by breathing the stuff in.
Degrades Hot Tub Parts
As if that’s not bad enough, excessive bromine in your hot tub can also begin to degrade your spa, especially if you make high levels of bromine a frequent habit.
From water filters to acrylic parts and surfaces to hot tub pillows, large quantities of bromine are harsh enough to degrade components of your hot tub so it’s in poorer shape faster.
Are High Bromine Levels Safe to Swim In?
It’s not safe to be in a spa or hot tub with high levels of bromine or even chlorine, for that matter!
As we talked about earlier, you’re often submerging yourself, which now directly exposes your eyes and skin to bromine as well as potentially your lungs as well. Bromine levels above 5 ppm can cause irritated skin and lungs.
So it’s best to sit it out until the bromine levels are back in the safe range, below 5 ppm.
How to Lower Bromine Levels in Your Hot Tub
Wow, you had no idea that it was so unsafe to maintain high levels of bromine in your hot tub. How do you reduce the levels of bromine fast?
Per the intro, let’s go over three options for reducing bromine:
1. Do Nothing
We know how this sounds but bear with us.
As we touched on in the intro, you can allow the bromine to degrade over time. In other words, the chemical will dissipate from the water in your hot tub.
That is if you don’t add any more bromine (or chlorine!) during this time. The bromine will eventually take care of itself. We’ll talk in the next section about how long this takes.
2. Dilute the Water
If you don’t want to wait for the bromine to evaporate on its own, that’s fine. You can also manually dilute the water.
To do this, drain several gallons of water from your hot tub. Make sure you have a bucket or several to redirect the water.
Don’t just dump the buckets of water on your lawn. If the bromine was too irritating for your skin, think of what it will do to your grass and flowers.
You also don’t want the bromine-laced water near the hot tub’s foundation, as the chemical can begin to erode the foundation of your hot tub. Then you’d have a serious problem.
Once you’ve filled a few buckets with the bromine-laced hot tub water, take fresh water and pour it into your hot tub until the water levels are replenished.
You’re not removing 100 percent of the bromine in the hot tub with this method, but for whatever bromine water is left, the freshwater will dilute the bromine’s potency. Now, run the jets to circulate the water, then retest the water.
Repeat the process if bromine levels are still high.
3. Use a Bromine Neutralizer
If you’re in a real hurry to lower your bromine levels, you may consider using a bromine neutralizer. A bromine neutralizer is a chemical that you add to the water to…you guessed it, neutralize the bromine.
Be careful with this approach as it’s easy to use too much and neutralize all of your bromine. That will cost you money if you do that as you’ll now need to add more bromine.
How Long Does It Take to Lower Bromine in a Hot Tub?
You’ve decided that you’d rather just let the bromine naturally evaporate from the hot tub water. Precisely how long is that going to take?
At least 24 hours but more than likely twice that.
Although it’s not fun to give your hot tub a rest for a couple of days, at least you don’t have to deal with the process of draining and refilling. You can just let the bromine problem take care of itself!
Does High Bromine Cause High pH?
Hot tubs, like swimming pools, are supposed to stay at a certain pH. In the case of a hot tub and spa, that pH range is 7.4 to 7.6, which is alkaline or basic. Anything under 7.4 is too acidic.
Bromine itself has a pH rating of 4.0, so it’s quite acidic compared to where your hot tub’s pH should be.
If you add too much, you won’t have to worry about a high pH in your Jacuzzi or spa but a low one instead.
There’s another issue related to hot tub pH and excess bromine. The higher the levels of this chemical in the water, the more skewed your pH test results can be.
You’re likelier to get incorrect readings that could lull you into a false sense of security.
We recommend getting your hot tub’s bromine levels under control first and then doing a pH test. Anything sooner than that is wasting your time and tests.
Related Reading: How to Lower pH in Hot Tub (pH is Too High)
How to Prevent High Bromine Levels
You’ve finally gotten your hot tub’s bromine levels down to a reasonable degree and you don’t want to have to deal with them being so high again. How do you prevent excess bromine levels?
- Use an accurate test kit
- Carefully measure bromine
- Use tablets (which are slow release) instead of powder
- Establish a maintenance schedule
Watch how much bromine you add to your hot tub at once. If you do manage your Jacuzzi with another household member, set up a schedule where they add bromine on certain days, and you do it on the other days.
And finally, make sure you use a quality test kit. Test strips can be inaccurate and give you false readings. Generally, liquid or drop test kits are more accurate.