First of all, what is bromine? Bromine is used as a disinfectant in pools, in much the same way as chlorine is. It is effective in combating the growth and spread of harmful bacteria, algae, foul odors and other contaminants in pools. Bromine can be put in swimming pool water in tablet form or in liquid mixture form. It is important to remember that bromine, though widely used as an alternative to chlorine in disinfecting water, must never be used to purify drinking water (apart from it’s too harsh and strong for ingestion, bromine can also make water taste like medicine).
If you’re considering different alternatives to chlorine as disinfectant to your swimming pool, bromine might be one of your options. The advantages of using bromine over chlorine are numerous. For instance, bromine is more stable than chlorine and is much less harsh to the skin. Also, smaller amounts of bromine is necessary to apply to the pool, since bromine remains to be an active disinfectant even while it reacts with bacteria in the water. This is unlike chlorine, wherein most of it is used up whenever it combines with bacteria. However, some disadvantages to using bromine include the following: it tends to deteriorate when exposed to sunlight, it is more effective when applied to hot water and to smaller water volumes, and it is generally more expensive than chlorine. Bromine is more commonly used in hot tubs and spas, though it remains a popular choice for regular-sized swimming pools. With that being said, here are some of the things you should know in order to effective maintain a bromine pool:
- Before you add the bromine tablets or fluid, you have to make sure first that the pool has a safe pH (or acidity) level. This is important because bromine works only if the water’s pH level is within the range of 7.2 to 7.6. If the pH is too low, you may apply muriatic acid to increase it; if pH is too high, you may apply soda ash or baking soda to decrease it. It is very, very important that you wear protective gear when handling muriatic acid, since it is dangerous when handled incorrectly.
- Know how much bromine you need to add. Basically how much you need depends on how big your pool is and the volume of water it contains. You should always monitor the bromine levels in your pool, to maintain them at the ideal range of 3-5 ppm, or parts per million (the ideal range for hot tubs is from 4-6 ppm). You could purchase bromine test kits from pool supply stores and hardware stores. Make sure to monitor bromine levels constantly, as many factors, such as how many people are using the pool and what the environmental conditions are, could lead to fluctuating bromine levels. And remember, too little bromine won’t be that effective as a disinfectant, while too much may dry out your skin and will be generally unhealthy to swim in.
- Because bromine dissolves less fast than chlorine, you may need to install brominators, also known as automatic feeders, in your pool. Brominators help in dissolving and distributing the bromine evenly throughout your pool.
These are just some of the things you need to know when using bromine for your pool. Remember to also ask for assistance from your pool contractor for you to get more specific instructions with regards to your own pool. Good luck!