What are Bromine Tablets?
Sanitization is one of the most critical pools maintenance tasks. It helps in killing bacteria, algae and other micro-organisms that can easily infect your pool destroying its appearance and making it unsafe for use. In sanitization, chlorine is the most commonly used chemical and perhaps the best especially when it comes to cleaning swimming pools. Not a lot of people know that Bromine too is another decent option. This chemical is particularly useful in spas sanitization where it helps to keep your water clear and safe without leaving behind a strong odor.
Bromine belongs to the same chemical family as chlorine, and hence they both work in the same way when used for sanitization. However, a few people prefer Bromine over chlorine, especially when sanitizing spas. This is because even though Chlorine may be superior to bromine in pool sanitization, it does come with a few shortcomings that you won’t experience if you decide to use Bromine instead. The following information should help you understand everything about Bromine tablets and why they might just be your new favorite sanitizer:
Bromine tablets are pretty easy to apply thanks to bromine feeders and floaters. The exact method of application depends on the specific form of the bromine tablets you are using. The common forms of bromine tablets are 5-dimethylhydantoin (BCDMH) and 1-Bromo-3-chloro-5. You can also find a tablet containing 5-dimethylhydantoin (DCDMH), BCDMH, 1,3-dichloro-5 and 1,3-dichloro-5-ethyl-5- methylhydantoin (DCEMH). Each of these forms dissolves at different rates, and this determines which method of application is more appropriate.
Once introduced into the pool, they dissolve and break down to form either hypobromite ion (OBr-) or hypobromous acid (HOBr). HOBr is the primary sanitizer responsible for fighting bacteria and other microorganisms in the pool.
When sanitizers are introduced into the pool, they combine with organic contaminants present, and this affects their performance. This is one area where bromine outshines chlorine sanitizers. When using chlorine tablets, once they mix up with these contaminants their effectiveness usually drops rapidly. Bromine, on the other hand, combines with the pollutants to form bromamines. These won’t be as effective as pure bromine, but they still perform a lot better compared to combined chlorine.
Something else amazing about bromine sanitizers is how they continue to perform relatively well even when the pH levels in your pool are unstable. The recommended pH level ranges between 7.2 to 7.8. At this level, the formation of HOBr remains at 90%. If the pH goes up to say 8.0, HOBr formation will drop slightly to 83% which is still high enough for it to keep your pool clean. If you use Chlorine in a similar pool with a pH of 8.0, HOCl levels will drop massively to around 23%! It’s for this reason that you find Bromine a much reliable sanitizer when dealing with water whose pH levels may shoot up over a short period of time.
In using sanitizer, one thing that affects their performance significantly is exposure to sunlight. The UV rays from the sun usually break down both bromine and chlorine causing them to evaporate thus reducing the amount of free chlorine in your pool. With Bromine tablets, the best way to stabilize and extend its presence in your pool is by mixing it with dimethylhydantoin (DMH) and not Cyanuric acid which is commonly used with chlorine.
Testing Bromine Levels
Ideally, you should maintain bromine levels at 4 – 6 ppm when used in spas and 3 – 4 ppm if used in pools. These are the safest levels where the tablets will be effective enough to sanitize the pool while also remain safe for usage.
There are various ways through which you can measure bromine levels in your pool. Specialized bromine test kits available online and in pool equipment stores. You can even use a chlorine test kit, but you will have to multiply the results by 2.25 to get the accurate bromine concentration.
One problem with bromine test kits is that they never show the difference between combined and free bromine. The results from these kits will always read as free bromine even though some of it has already mixed up with the contaminants in the pool to form various brominated disinfection byproducts. In such cases, it is very easy to overlook the importance of oxidation, and this may result in skin irritation or other similar issues. It’s therefore important to frequently oxidize bromine pools even when the test kits are showing high levels of free bromine. Most bromine tablet products are usually labeled with details showing how frequent you should oxidize your pool.
Which is the Best Bromine Tablet?
The following is the best bromine tablets in the market. These are effective for use with spas and hot tubs.
Leisure Time Spa Disinfectant Bromine Tablets
Leisure Time is one of the leading manufacturers of spa water care products. This company has been around for over two decades now, and they are responsible for some of the best water care products including the Leisure Time Spa Disinfectant Bromine Tablets.
These tablets are formulated with the Dantabrom chemistry which provides 10% more active sanitizer than your typical BCDMH. The tablets will also dissolve into your pool much faster than other brominating tablets. This is very useful as the pills will start working as soon as they are introduced into the water.
Another good thing with the tablets is that their potency doesn’t put your pool equipment into danger. These bromine tablets are compatible with different types of bromine sanitizing systems, and they are also safe enough to keep your pool liner and other equipment safe.
Leisure Time Spa Disinfectant Bromine tablets are very easy to doze. This has reduced cases of over or under dozing the sanitizer.
Since Bromine tablets aren’t very easy to stabilize, they are not the best option for outdoor pools, but they will work relatively well if your pool is indoors. When it comes to hot tubs and spas, bromine tablets are definitely better than chlorine sanitizers. Bromine will keep your water clean for a long time while remaining active even when the water pH levels drop. Even better, these tablets do not have an odor as is common with chlorine. They are effective enough to keep bacteria and other microorganisms away from your hot tubs and spas all while being gentle enough for you and your swimming costume.