Bromine Tablets in Spas - Bromochloro-5,5-dimethylimidazolidine-2,4-dione / 1-bromo-3-chloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin / bromo chloro dimethylhydantoin
Bromine tablets for spas has been around for a number of decades. Firstly, Bromine tablets contain both Bromine and Chlorine. The industry simply refers to Bromine tablets as “Bromine.” Bromine is a fantastic sanitizer that produces both hypochloris acid & hypobromous acid. It is effective at killing almost anything in the water, and has a high heat resistance. Even “used” Bromine is still effective at killing microbes. There is a “but” that comes with bromine usage though…
Bromine tablets have a very low pH and are acidic, at around pH of 4. At a low pH, with moderate levels of Bromine, your water generally looks fantastic and sparkling. We often don’t even notice this on our skin.
This low-pH nature of Bromine causes a number of problems:
- The first signs of damage are often seen on the bottom of spa covers, spa headrests, spa acrylics, that backs of jets, and damaged plastics.
- Jets may pop out, and you’ll notice a chalky breakdown on the tails of jets.
- Pump wet-ends that start off black will have a whitening or yellowing of the plastics, often producing a chalky affect that can be scraped with a fingernail. It also prematurely damages mechanicals seals & any o-rings or gaskets.
- It can strip the Teflon coating of many heater elements, before attacking the metals themselves.
- If you have a gas heater, there is a good chance you’ll have a high copper reading in the water, as it’s constantly attacking the copper heat exchangers.
High Bromine with low pH can destroy a gas heater, heater element, seals, etc in a matter of months or even weeks.
Bromine can affect health in many ways:
- If you open the spa cover and get smacked in the face with that strong Bromine smell, you’ve got a problem.
- If the water appears “fizzy” this indicates acidic water (similar to a soda drink).
- Bromine and low pH can cause Dry, Itchy Skin, and difficulty Breathing.
- Bromine produces bromamines, which are irritating to skin, eyes, and lungs.
- Bromine tablets can products bromates, which are known carcinogens.