Prep Your Pool for Winter Hibernation

Homeowners in Northern, cooler states are expecting temperatures to drop over the next few weeks. When the first autumn leaves fall, it’s time to start closing your pool for the season – A general rule of thumb is to wait until outdoor temperatures start to steadily fall below 65 degrees. To avoid damage or other issues next pool season, follow these steps and precautions:

  1. Clean the Pool

Before it can be closed, you’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible. Using a vacuum or skimmer, make sure there are no leaves or other debris floating in the water. The pool walls and stairs should be scrubbed with a brush to break up any algae build up. You’ll want to get your pool as clean as possible before it’s closed for the season.

  1. Lower the Water Level

As you’re getting your pool ready for the off season, drain water to avoid problems with ground water and temperature levels if/when they drop below freezing. How much water should you drain? That depends on the climate of the area you live in. If temperatures are generally cold in the winter, you’ll want to drain the water 4 to 6 inches below the tile line to avoid any potential issues with freezing water.

  1. Check and Clean Filters

Even through the winter, check on your filters regularly to make sure they are running properly and keeping the water clean and safe. Pool filters help remove debris from the water but can’t do their job properly if they aren’t cleaned regularly. You’ll be thankful later – this step will help to preserve the lifespan of the filter system and keep your pool clean during the off season for an easier opening in the spring.

  1. Adjust Chemical Levels

Before you close your pool for the winter, test the water’s chemistry levels and get it balanced. Closing your pool with unbalanced levels will make it difficult to open it up the next season. For help checking and correcting the balance, you can turn to pHin. The pHin Smart Water monitor will help you understand if your pool is balanced with color coded discs. pHin’s simplified chemical dosing instructions will help you understand how much of each chemical needs to be added to get the water balanced.

  1. Set to Winterize

pHin has a special setting for winter: Pool owners can get their monitor and pool ready for hibernation by tapping on the “subscription” icon on the app homepage and click “winterize pool.” Then they can remove pHin from the pool and store it in a safe spot until next season.

Chlorine or Bromine? How to Choose the Right Sanitizer for Your Hot Tub

After you’ve bought your hot tub, how do you decide whether bromine or chlorine is right for you? Both chlorine and bromine are popular hot tub sanitizers, but they get the job done differently.

When making the choice between a bromine and a chlorine hot tub, consider factors that impact upkeep, such as maintenance, effectiveness, sun exposure, and more.

Maintenance

Maintaining a hot tub for safe soaking and relaxing can be a challenge. Chlorine hot tubs require more active maintenance and attention than bromine hot tubs since pH levels can rise quickly and bromine is less affected by these pH fluctuations. Chlorine hot tubs also can’t handle large swings as efficiently as bromine hot tubs, requiring s more attention to prevent water from turning cloudy or green.

Recommendation: If you want to spend less time maintaining your hot tub, bromine is your best bet.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

The environment of your hot tub might help decide which chemical system is right for you. While bromine is better at killing bacteria and viruses, chlorine is better at attacking algae.

Efficiency is also a factor – Chlorine acts faster than bromine, but dissipates quicker because it breaks down faster in high water temperatures. Once the chlorine is used, it needs to continue to be replaced with fresh chlorine. On the other hand, bromine tablets take longer to dissolve, but dormant bromine salt stays behind even after the active bromine has killed off unwanted organisms. The bromine can be easily reactivated into active bromine multiple times, which makes it last longer.

Recommendation: It’s a matter of personal preference, depending on what works best for your particular situation. It may be worth trying both options and seeing which best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Water Temperature

Hot tubs have different chemical demands than pools, and the temperature you want your hot tub can also be a deciding factor between chlorine and bromine. Chlorine functions best between about 65 and 99 degrees, and it quickly turns into vapor at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Bromine is less effective at temperatures below 75 degrees, but it thrives in hot water environments, especially over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recommendation: Bromine is better suited than chlorine to handle the temperature of the hot tub and to combat the buildup of waste materials in hot water.

Cost

Many people choose chlorine because it’s less expensive —  at first. Although bromine can cost  20% or more than chlorine, it can give you more bang for your buck.  After it’s added, bromine can easily be reactivated after it has killed all the bacteria which means that, over time, you’ll use less bromine and spend less money.

Recommendation: This is a pretty even decision depending on whether you want to spend less up front, but purchase more often or whether you want to spend a little more up front and have the product last longer.

Sun

If your hot tub is in a sunny spot, you need to consider the effect of UV rays. Chlorine can be protected from the sun with the right amount of stabilizer. Bromine is broken down by the sun faster, which means you will need more to compensate for the UV breakdown. However, when bromine is broken down by the sun’s UV, it leaves behind dormant bromine salt (sodium bromide), which can be reactivated by additional bromine or non-chlorine shock to perform additional sanitization.

Recommendation: Chlorine will help combat algae development and has higher tolerance for the UV rays.

Personal Considerations

Chlorine has a very distinctive odor,  can be an irritant to sensitive eyes and skin, and can also be damaging to hair. Experts say that bromine protects the eyes and skin better, and emits less odor than chlorine.

Recommendation: Bromine is less harsh across the board but still provides quality sanitization.

What Do the Experts Say?

We asked our chemistry expert to give his pick between bromine and chlorine for hot tubs:

Bromine! It remains effective in a wider range of pH levels (7.0 – 8.4) than chlorine (7.4 – 7.8), and therefore, it can better protect your water from bacteria and viruses. Also, bromine in itself is a strong sanitizer. At a high pH level of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active, but bromine remains efficient. And its byproducts, bromamines (a combined substance), produce their own sanitizing action, making bromine an even more powerful bacteria and virus killer. As an added benefit, that bromine already in your water can be reactivated using potassium monopersulfate after it has killed the bacteria. Reactivated bromine means less chemical use and bigger cost savings for you in the long run.”

How Do I Decide Whether Bromine vs Chlorine is Right?

If you want to try bromine instead of chlorine, or vice-versa, you’ll need to drain your hot tub and flush the lines, refill and enjoy. Make sure you keep the bromine and chlorine separate, including the containers, tablets, and granules. Chlorine and bromine combined will create negative chemical reactions that can be unhealthy and even dangerous.

Once you’ve got everything back online, test it for a week or two and decide if it works better for you and your hot tub. Regardless of your choice never underestimate how crucial it is to keep your hot tub clean, sanitized and healthy so that you can enjoy all the benefits.

If you need help monitoring and managing the chemicals for your bromine or chlorine hot tub, consider a smart monitor like pHin. With its built-in analytics, pHin  will take the guesswork out of f how much and how often to add chemicals by sending exact instructions to your smartphone.

Take the Dive: Build and Maintain Your Own Swimming Pool

Our friends at Porch.com share tips for building and maintaining your own swimming pool.

Looking for an epic way to spend your summers? Consider adding a swimming pool to your home to create the ultimate staycation, day after day. Nothing says home like sipping a soda poolside as you watch the kids playing a game of Marco Polo or swimming laps for an all-body cardio workout in a refreshing environment. It’s the perfect way to host family get-togethers or parties for your kids’ friends, and we have some advice to help you plan for, build, and maintain a backyard pool.

Along with ensuring fun for kids or a relaxing oasis for adults, building a swimming pool can give a huge boost to the market value of your home. “Does it have a pool?” is a common question that Realtors field from potential home buyers, especially in warmer climates.

Pre-Pool Considerations

Adding a pool to your life (and yard) is an exciting experience. Before you start making pool plans, though, take a good look at your yard. Will a pool enhance your backyard ambiance? Is your yard big enough, and is there adequate access to your backyard for a contractor to dig dirt (and haul it away) and build your pool? Are there trees or a deck in the way that will need to be removed? Do you have existing utility easements, and are wires or pipes running underneath in that location? Will you need to build retaining walls?

These are some of the considerations you’ll need to investigate before you take the leap into pool ownership.

Start Planning Your Pool

As you move from the dreaming to the planning stage, you’ll need to factor in some things, including how much you’ll need to invest in building and maintaining your pool. During the planning process, there’s plenty to do, from deciding what type of pool you want, hiring a contractor, obtaining financing if needed, getting permits, and preparing the location.

Budgeting for a Pool

There are different kinds of pools: above-ground pools and inground pools. The actual cost of your pool will depend on your region and other factors like the size, materials, and features. The average above-ground pool is more economical, and the price also depends on where you live, what materials you use, the size, and other features like an optional deck around the pool.

Factor in Extra Costs

When you’re budgeting, make sure you set aside extra money for electrical work, plumbing, landscaping, fencing and patio improvements. After it’s built, keep extra funds to spend on repairs for your pool pump, lights, and other parts, along with chemicals and professional cleaning.

You may also need to build a fence around your pool. Many cities and counties require a fence for safety reasons.

Before you build a pool, keep in mind that you’ll have monthly fees for pool maintenance and extra electricity to run the pump and other pool components. If you don’t use your pool year-round, don’t forget to factor in the cost of cleaning, preparing for, and safely covering your pool for the winter. These costs will vary depending on the type and size of the pool you build and where you live.

You’ll also want to budget the cost of adding your pool to your existing house insurance policy. Also, ask your agent about liability insurance in case someone is hurt while using your pool.

Where Do you Put Your New Pool?

It’s location, location, location for your new pool. Some people prefer their pool steps away from the back door, while others place their pool a little farther into the yard. The location is up to you, while still considering what’s already in your yard. You’ll want it to blend beautifully with your home and landscape.

Remember, though, that you’ll need to adhere to your local government’s property setbacks for pools and any restrictions if you have a homeowner’s association.

Building your Pool

Now that you’ve decided a pool is in your future, it’s time to rely on your chosen contractor to handle the designing, building, and installation of your pool.

Your contractor will help you decide on the best size, shape, and materials for your pool, whether it’s made from pre-formed fiberglass, or built on-site with vinyl liners or poured concrete. Some homeowners love the convenience and cleaning ease of a smooth fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are also a popular choice because they arrive assembled and ready to lower into the hole dug by your contractor’s crew. Or, you may opt for a concrete pool or vinyl liner pool. Above-ground pools are made of steel, aluminum, or resin, with liners. You can also purchase affordable inflatable vinyl above-ground pools that you can set up yourself.

How Long Will it Take?

Swimming pools aren’t built within a weekend. All kinds of variables factor into how long you’ll wait before that first delicious dip into sparkling waters.

Above-ground pools can be installed faster than other types of pools, ready within days. Fiberglass inground pools may take a week or two. Vinyl liner pools may take two weeks to over a month before they’re ready to enjoy. The most expensive pool option, concrete, takes the longest time to complete because construction is more complicated and involves pouring and curing concrete. You may wait months for the project’s completion and your first fun pool party. Other factors, like the weather, can affect the timing of completion.

Pool Decor

While you’re designing your pool, add some color and decorative tiles for a special, relaxing touch. Consider other custom options like underwater lighting, an infinity edge, bench seating or a tanning ledge, ensuring years of personalized enjoyment. Do you plan to swim laps, requiring a longer pool, or prefer weekend relaxing on a water float with a drink in your hand? Consider a shaded lounging area with easy-care pavers, concrete or decking.

While your pool’s under construction, pick out lounge seating, landscaping, and outdoor lighting around your pool or even hide those pipes or structures that are not pleasing to the eye in the backyard. Now’s your chance to turn it into your dream oasis. You might also consider installing some type of privacy fencing or shade material to shield your pool from neighbors’ views.

Taking Care of your Swimming Pool

Once your pool is up and running, you’ll need to maintain it regularly. Familiarize yourself with the parts of your pool and how they work. This will help you troubleshoot if something stops working.

Your pool may be basic, or it may have all the bells and whistles like advanced heating and lights or underwater speakers. Your pool may have an automatic pool cover or maybe an above-ground one that the kids spend their weekends in. Either way, all pools share basic components like (of course) water, a filter system, the interior walls or liner, a pool pump, skimmers and returns to circulate the water.

Keep the walls, bottom and/or lining of your pool clean. Those surfaces are always in contact with pool water and can collect debris, algae and mold if not properly cared for.

To keep your pool sparkling clean, you’ll want to buy supplies including a net skimmer, pool brush, and pool vacuum. Use these to help keep bugs, leaves, and other stuff from making your pool unsightly. Residue from shampoos, sunblock, and perfume can also create cleaning issues for your pool.

At least once a week, use the skimmer, brush and vacuum on your pool. Some pool owners find automatic pool cleaners are a huge time-saver. The cleaner patrols your pool whenever you want, brushing the sides and bottom so you don’t have to.

The pool pump keeps your water circulating so your pool doesn’t become polluted and cloudy. Try to run your filter a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a day or more, 7 days a week, according to recommendations from “A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Maintenance”. You’ll also want to backwash your filter regularly, reversing the flow of water so dirty water and contaminants are carried out of your pool.

Chemistry Class

Keeping your pool water clean and balanced is crucial for safe summer fun, according to the Swim University beginner’s guide. Keep a water testing kit nearby so you can tell right away if your pool chemistry is unbalanced, and what to do to bring the water back to sparkling, safe levels.

Your pool’s pH level is important Lower pH levels are considered acidic, and high levels are basic. You should aim for a pH of 7.4 to 7.6. You’ll also need to check the alkalinity, which is a pH buffer so your pool doesn’t have big spikes. Try to keep this between 100 and 150 parts per million, the beginner’s guide advises.

Keep an eye on the level of your chlorine or bromine sanitizer, too. You may need to add chemicals, including an occasional night-time chemical “shock” after rainstorms or heavy pool use. Following directions and safety precautions ensures pool-chemical maintenance success.

Maintenance Schedule

Set up a pool maintenance schedule and stick to it. The more often you regularly skim, clean, backflush, and check chemicals, the more comfortable you’ll become with the routine. Write up a list with dates of the duties and post somewhere that’s easily seen, like on the refrigerator. You can involve the family with the duties, too.

Some homeowners prefer to spend their pool time relaxing so they pay a pool company to maintain the pool chemicals and cleaning schedule.

Enjoying your Swimming Pool

The reward of owning and maintaining a pool is being able to enjoy it whenever you like and the perfect host for all kinds of get-togethers. Your family will cherish this pool for years, and it’s a great incentive for relatives and friends to visit. A pool is the perfect low-impact way to exercise, too, giving a great cardiovascular workout that’s easy on joints and muscles and ensuring less risk of injury.

You can set up a pool basketball hoop or net for hours of fun. Your kids will invent their own pool games, too, under careful supervision of an adult.

Safety First

While a pool brings years of joy, it also comes with the responsibility of making sure swimmers are safe. Make certain your pool meets all fencing and pool signage requirements, and keep a first aid kit nearby. Now is the perfect time to become certified in CPR. In the United States, you can find courses through the American Red Cross, your local YMCA or a swimming organization near you.

Have an adult who knows how to swim watching when kids are in the pool and keep a locking, alarmed fence around your pool when it’s not in use. Parents of smaller children often feel more secure installing alarms on the doors leading to the pool.

Bring on the Fun

Although the price of building and maintaining a swimming pool can be costly, most homeowners discover that having endless days of laughter and fun under the sun, conveniently right outside their back door, is worth every penny.

This piece was originally posted on Porch.com and has be published with permission.

The 9 Common Hot Tub Questions

Hot tubs are a great way to unwind in the privacy of your own home or backyard. Whether it be with family, friends, or even just by yourself after a long day, your hot tub helps melt away stress and lets you relax. Since you never know when opportunity will strike, you want your tub to be ready whenever the mood strikes. This can be difficult if you don’t know how to maintain your spa, but caring for your tub should be just as easy as relaxing in it. Here are the top hot tub questions to consider.

1) How Often Should I Clean My Filters?

You want to thoroughly rinse your filter with fresh water every other week. A garden hose works great for this, since it easily dislodges hair and most other materials from the filter. You should also soak your filter cartridge in a filter-cleaning compound every three to four months, as well as whenever you change your water. Keep two filters on hand – one in the spa and a clean, dry spare. This allows you to pop in the spare while soaking the main filter. Then, after you rinse the cleaning compound off after the original is done soaking, you can replace it and clean the spare. Your filters last longer and you get to keep enjoying your hot tub.

2) How Often Should I Drain My Hot Tub?

The answer mainly depends on how often you use the tub and your sanitizing system. However, draining and refilling your spa every three to four months is a good schedule to follow to ensure that contaminants and solids that dissolve in the water do not become excessive, which makes it difficult to maintain proper sanitation.

3) Why is My Water Cloudy?

Cloudy water in your spa usually means one of two things: either the filtration system is failing to clean smaller particles out of the water or bacteria are growing in your spa. If it is a problem with the filtration system, products that act like a coagulant to trap the dust and dirt should help. Just make sure to pull out and clean your filters once the hot tub is clean, otherwise the coagulants can break down and reintroduce all the dust and dirt they just collected. If it is bacteria you need to act fast and use a double dose of both chlorine and non-chlorine shock.

4) Can I Use Pool Chemicals in My Hot Tub?

It might seem like a good idea to just use pool chemicals for your hot tub, but that is a big mistake. Pool chemicals are much stronger than those meant for a spa and can cause serious damage to your tub. When it comes to buying the chemicals for your spa, remember that you get what you pay for. Cut-rate products are more likely to include fillers and additional chemicals that can cause issues with your water and the filtration systems. A quality product keeps your hot tub running well for years to come. In addition, product labeling differs between pool and hot tub chemicals, particularly as regards acceptable EPA guidelines. Chemical overdosing is very common when you use products specifically intended for a swimming pool in your hot tub.

5) Should I Use Bromine or Chlorine as a Sanitizer?

The chemicals that you use to sanitize your hot tub really come down to personal preference. Chlorine has a stronger odor, but is a very effective sanitizer. However, chlorine can also cause colors to fade, whereas bromine does not. Bromine also causes less eye, skin, and nose irritation and can be an effective sanitizer in its own right when administered properly in a two-part form.

6) Can I Get a Rash From My Hot Tub?

Yes, but it typically means that something is wrong with your chemical routine, not the tub. Skin rashes can be caused by both a surplus of chemicals and a lack of chemicals. For example, pseudomonas folliculitis is a skin rash commonly known as “hot tub rash.” It occurs when hot tub water is not properly sanitized. It is important to make sure the chemical balance of your water is exactly where it needs to be. This is where your pHin device comes in handy. But, when in doubt, drain, clean, and refill your spa.

7) How Should I Care for My Hot Tub Cover?

Twice a month you should remove the cover and wipe the entire surface with a cover cleaning agent. You only need a few squirts, and make sure to use a clean, damp cloth when you wipe it down. To guard against odors and bacteria growth, clean the underside of your cover with a mixture that is one part bleach to nine parts hot water. You may also use a cover cleaner such as 303 Aerospace vinyl cleaner and preserver. These products are available at most local pool and spa retailers.

8) Why is My Hot Tub Green?

Your hot tub should never be green; this means that there is bacteria growth in your spa. Drain the water and scrub every surface with a chlorine solution, then rinse the tub out with water. Refill your spa and shock the water with a dose of chlorine and non-chlorine shock. Remember, you should use your hot tub if the water is not crystal clear.

If the problem persists even after you sanitize the tub, your water may contain excess copper, which attacks the plumbing and equipment. Similarly, chromium may turn the water a lime green Jello  color. Proper water chemistry, especially pH, balances chromium and copper levels in your hot tub water.

9) Why Doesn’t My Hot Tub Get Hot?

The most common culprit when your hot tub goes cold is the filter. When the filter gets clogged, the heater shuts off because it needs water flow to be able to operate properly. Pop out your filter and give it a thorough rinse and soak in a cleaning solution. If your filters are over two years old, it is probably time to replace them. If cleaning the filter does not bring back the heat, turn the heater off for about 15 minutes. If it is still not working when you turn it back on, it is most likely time for a service call. Another common cause of heater failure is scale buildup on the heater core or element, typically caused by not using a stain and scale control. Scale buildup on the heater element of only 1/20” can reduce the heater’s efficiency by 40 percent!

To ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Heaters

A natural gas heater is an efficient way to heat your pool or hot tub all year round. Even during the summer, outdoor temperatures might not stay high enough for long enough to keep your pool’s water warm without the help of a heater. Ideal for cooler climates and those that want their pool or hot tub heated quickly, natural gas heaters also work well when paired with solar heating or pools that don’t need to be heated often. While a natural gas heater is always a viable option, there are some disadvantages, so you should consult a pool professional before making any final decisions. A professional can help you determine what size and type of heater will work best for you.

How Natural Gas Heaters Work

As the pump circulates water from the pool, the water it draws from the pool. Next, it passes through the filter and makes its way to the heater. Gas burns in the heater’s combustion chamber. The water heats as it passes over this chamber and the hot water returns to the pool.

Natural gas heaters are ideal for heating pools for a short period of time and work great when you want to heat a pool quickly. These heaters are ideal for pools that are not used regularly, as gas pool heaters can help to maintain any desired temperature regardless of weather or climate conditions.

Pros of a Natural Gas Heater

  • Convenience: If you have access to a natural gas service, then getting the fuel to your heater is far easier than if you chose propane. Natural gas enters through a permanently fixed line and there is always more available.
  • Speed: If quick heating is what you need, then look no further than a natural gas heater. Unlike electric, solar, or heat pumps, natural gas burns quickly, making it a faster way to heat up your water. Gas heaters are especially effective if you don’t use your pool on a regular basis (since it heats the water quickly there is less need for prep time) or if you are trying to heat a smaller body of water, like a spa or hot tub.
  • Maintenance: Natural gas heaters generate enough heat to warm your pool in a short amount of time, so they don’t have to run as often or as long as some other heating methods, resulting in fewer problems due to wear and tear or consistent use. If you want a heater that requires little maintenance, then a natural gas heater is perfect for you.
  • Cost: While an electric heater or a heat pump may need to be turned on aseveral hours in advance, a natural gas heater only needs about 30 minutes for a typical hot tub or to simply raise the temperature a few degrees in a typical backyard swimming pool. This saves a considerable amount of money through reduced energy usage.

Cons of a Natural Gas Heater

  • Energy Efficiency: While natural gas heaters are more efficient than electric heaters, this does not mean that they are the most efficient way to heat your pool or spa. Solar heaters and heat pumps use the sun and recirculated warm air respectively to heat your pool or spa, making them the more energy efficient options when it comes to heaters. That does not mean you cannot get an energy efficient natural gas heater. Look for one with an efficiency rating of 89 to 95 percent according to energy.gov.
  • Purchase and Install Price: Gas heaters are incredibly efficient when it comes to heating your pool or spa and so might seem like the perfect choice for you, but there are some expenses to running a natural gas heater. In addition to installation and any initial purchase costs, you need to run pipe underground to provide a natural gas source for the heater’s furnace. If a natural gas source or pipe is not close to the pool equipment pad area itself, the cost can be prohibitive.
  • Rising Fuel Prices: Oil and gas prices fluctuate, meaning that operating your natural gas heater will not always cost the same. In the colder months, when oil and gas prices are usually at their highest, the cost of heating your pool can increase as much as 30 to 40 percent.
  • Repair and Replacement: Natural gas heaters are more susceptible to corrosion if your pool water is unbalanced. The amount of use your natural gas heater gets, in addition to outdoor temperatures and desired water temperature, determines how long the heater will last. Most natural gas heaters last about five years before requiring service or maintenance.

To ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced year round, consider pHin. It constantly monitors your water and tells your smartphone what you need to do to keep the water in your pool and hot tub healthy. Use it with your own chemicals for flexibility or get our single-dose, pre-measured chemicals delivered to your door. If you need someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

Your Guide to Chlorine and Bromine Hot Tubs

Your Guide to Chlorine and Bromine Hot Tubs. When you type “bromine or chlorine for a hot tub” into Google, you get about 205,000 search results in just half a second. The age-old debate between chlorine and bromine for hot tubs continues. Is one better than the other? Should you consider using bromine tablets? And if so, what do you have to gain?

Both chlorine and bromine are popular hot tub sanitizers but they get the job done differently. Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each.

1. Maintenance

Chlorine hot tubs require much more active maintenance and attention than bromine hot tubs. Without constant attention, chlorine hot tubs are much more likely to turn cloudy or green.

In addition, pH levels can often rise quickly in hot tubs and bromine is less exposed to these pH fluctuations. Chlorine, on the other hand, can’t handle large swings as efficiently as bromine, requiring frequent attention.

2. Efficiency And Effectiveness

Chlorine acts faster than bromine but dissipates quicker because it breaks down faster in high water temperatures. Once all the chlorine is used up, however, it requires frequent additions. On the other hand, bromine tablets take longer to dissolve, and once the active bromine has killed off unwanted organisms, dormant bromine salt remains behind, which can be reactivated into active bromine over and over. This makes bromine an active sanitizer for a longer period of time.

3. Water Temperature

The sweet spot for chlorine is between about 65 and 99 degrees. It quickly turns into vapor at around 100 degrees. While bromine is less effective at temperatures below 75 degrees, it thrives in hot water environments, especially over 100 degrees.

Hot tubs are, well, hot, small and typically have more people in them at the same time relative to their size. It is said that “4 people soaking in a typical hot tub equates to approximately 160 people in a backyard swimming pool due to chemical demands”. These factors make bathers perspire more, resulting in an increased amount of sweat and oils, and higher demand for sanitization. Bromine is better suited than chlorine to handle the buildup of these waste materials in hot water.

4. Cost

Many people choose chlorine because it’s less expensive at first. Although bromine can cost 20% or more than chlorine, it can stay longer in your water due to its ability to be reactivated after it has killed all the bacteria. This means that in the long run, you’ll use less bromine and hence, will pay less.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunshine all year round, costs related to sun protection may also play a role in your decision. Chlorine can be protected from the sun if you add the right amount of stabilizer to it. Bromine is broken down by the sun faster, requiring you to add bromine to compensate for the UV breakdown. However, when bromine is broken down by the sun’s UV, it leaves behind dormant bromine salt (sodium bromide), which can be reactivated by additional bromine or non-chlorine shock to perform additional sanitization.

5. Personal Considerations

Chlorine has been the subject of many jokes and urban legends. Some people with sensitive skin may find chlorine to be more irritating than bromine. Experts say that bromine protects the eyes and skin better, and emits less odor than chlorine.

 

For Chemistry Lovers

We’ve asked our chemistry expert to give his pick between bromine and chlorine for hot tubs.

This is what he had to say:

Bromine! It remains effective in a wider range of pH levels (7.0 – 8.4) than chlorine (7.4 – 7.8), and therefore, it can better protect your water from bacteria and viruses. Also, bromine in itself is a strong sanitizer. At a high pH level of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active, but bromine remains efficient. And its byproducts, bromamines (a combined substance), produce their own sanitizing action, making bromine an even more powerful bacteria and virus killer. Add to that, that bromine already in your water can be reactivated using potassium monopersulfate after it has killed the bacteria. Reactivated bromine means less chemical use and bigger cost savings for you in the long run.”

Using Bromine Is Easy

Using bromine tablets in your hot tub is simple:

No need to drain your hot tub: you can get started with bromine right away. There’s no need to interrupt your hot tub usage for several days to drain and refill your hot tub. This also means that if you change your mind later and want to switch back to chlorine, you can easily do so.

Get the chemicals you need: To help provide the healthiest water care option and further simplify hot tub care, we will send you the chemicals you need at the time of shipping so you can start using bromine in your hot tub.