Bromine vs Chlorine…The Age Old Question
For many years now there has been differing opinions over which of the two most popular disinfectants should be used for personal hot tubs & pools. Both products are extremely effective in keeping your water crystal clear so that you can enjoy your ultimate bathing experience, but there distinct differences between the two. Today we will give you some of the Pro’s & Con’s of each so that you can see what will work best for you & your family.
Regardless of which sanitizer you choose, it is still important to keep your pH levels balanced. Sometimes pH levels can fluctuate (it happens to the best of us) & it is important to know what can happen to your water chemistry if it does.
Bromine does have the upper hand on unstable pH levels as it remains effective in a wide range of pH levels (7.0 – 8.4).
Unlike Bromine, Chlorine does have a ‘sweet spot’ for pH. If your pH does stray from the ideal range of 7.4 – 7.8, you will find that the Chlorine protection will falter. If your pH range peaks above 7.8 & reaches the 8.0+ range, your Chlorine protection does drastically decrease. It is proven that only approximately 25% of the ‘Free Chlorine’ remains active in higher pH levels ranges making it substantially less effective in killing bacteria. Furthermore, Chlorine remains active if your pH level does creep below the ideal range. It will continue to protect the bathers from the formation of algae & unwanted organics.
You will find that both Bromine & Chlorine has ideal temperature ranges when it comes to disinfecting. Chlorine is extremely effective in temperatures as low as 65°F (18°C) and up to 99°F (37°C). Bromine is not as efficient in water temperatures below 75°F (24°C). Because Bromine is not as efficient in lower temperatures, it is less common to find pool owners using Bromine as their sanitizer.
It is becoming more popular to use Bromine as a sanitizer in hot tubs due to its ability to be more stable at higher water temperatures. There is a larger amount of sweat & oils present in the water at higher temperatures due to the opening of your body’s pores. With that & the ratio of water to bathers the demand for disinfectant in a hot tub is higher. The higher concentration of waste & organics in the water makes it difficult for Chlorine to sanitize sufficiently. This is why it is not uncommon to have a “chloriney” smell & skin irritation when Chlorine is the primary sanitizer in a hot tub.
Ease Of Use
Chlorine is often thought of as the easier to use of the two chemicals. This is due to the immediate reaction to active organics in the water. When there is algae present in a pool or hot tub, the addition of a concentrated dose of Chlorine will rapidly kill off the active organics in the water. This is in part to the higher percentage of available sanitizer in Chlorine compared to Bromine.
Unlike Chlorine, when Bromine is introduced into the water it does take longer for it to dissolve & begin the disinfection process. However, once Bromine has successfully been saturated in the water it becomes a very strong bacteria killer.
When sanitizing a pool, the UV in sunlight is the driving factor in the choice of disinfectant. Both Chlorine & Bromine are burned off when subject to high amounts of sun. Chlorine unlike Bromine can be protected from the sun. With the addition of a stabilizer, Chlorine can be protected from burning off. Bromine does not have the ability to be protected from the sun resulting in the need to continually add Bromine to the water.
When either Bromine or Chlorine ‘attacks’ the bacteria present in the water the disinfectant then changes into Bromanines & Chloramines respectively. The main difference between the two is that once Chlorine has killed the bacteria present, it becomes an unproductive sanitizer & is a primary contributor to the strong chlorine smell as well as itchy skin & red eyes. Bromine continues to remain active as a sanitizer & does not contribute to the odor or itchy skin/red eyes
In today’s society, price is always a driving factor. There is a definite price difference between the cost of Bromine & Chlorine. Bromine costs upwards of 20% more than Chlorine.
Now with that being said, Bromine can last longer in your water. Unlike Chlorine, Bromine can be reactivated after it has killed bacteria in the water. The use of Potassium Monopersulfate (Bromine/Chlorine Free Shock) will reactivate the dormant Bromine already in the water. Due to the ability to rejuvenate the dormant Bromine you will ultimately use less so the chemical does last longer.
As you can see, your choice of chemical is what works better in your environment, budget, temperature & volume of water. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you prefer Chlorine or Bromine for they both assist in keeping your water enjoyable for yourself, your family & your friends. Just remember to keep your water balanced.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding which of the two sanitizers might work best for you or questions on balancing your water, please feel free to call our certified water care specialists at 289-278-3530 or come on into our store with a water sample & we will assist you in caring for your pool and/or hot tub.
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