Weekly newsletter for spa owners and prospective spa
Spa Care Tips
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Updated Aug 2008
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Bromine and Ozone
This is a letter written in response to questions sent in by one of our
"I am running ozone and was wondering how effective you think it is?
Some spa manufacturers say it is a hoax."
"I am using brominating disinfectant tablets in a floating dispenser
along with ozone. Do you think this is the most effective sanitizing
Any one today who thinks ozone is a hoax, is not using
In my class I teach bromine and ozone as one method for
care, because it is very effective, and least expensive.
Ozone is a gas created from oxygen. Out in the upper
created by the high levels of UV intensity of sunlight.
Normally oxygen is a diatomic structure, with two
When ultraviolet light strikes oxygen, it breaks apart, and then the
come back together with an extra atom, called O3. It is sort of a
oxygen which is now a blue gas and does effect the color of the sky.
It is an effective sanitizer, because all sanitizers
bacteria to kill it. Ozone gas is used in hospital air ducts, and water
treatment plants, as well as water supplies.
In order for it to work the best in a spa. 1. It has to
have a dedicated ozone jet in the bottom of the spa. 2. Jets in the spa
have to be pointed at the ozone cluster of bubbles. 3. The ozonator
must be in good shape. (or CD chamber) 4. The ozone must be rated to
volume of water in the spa. (2003 revision; The ozone in a spa needs to
be much stronger than in a swimming pool, because of the amount of body
bacteria, and orgainic compounds per gallon of water.)5. Run the low
pump for at least 8 hours per day. 6. Use a thermal blanket to stop the
from escaping so fast and from oxidizing the cover and head rests.
can get a bit more effective ozone with most all the ozone
methods, except the SC ozone, by placing a blanket in direct contact
with the water.
(2003 update; my reasearch has shown the most
way to use ozone is the SC ozone system in which the tiny ozone bubble
slowly moved throught a contact chamber pipe of 20 feet at 2 feet per
This will absorb most of the ozone and really makes for the most
effective ozone treatment there is. The thermal blanket is not needed
help the ozone, because the ozone is already used and absorbed before
ozonated water it is let back into the spa. )
Ozone is not as effective with tiny circ pumps at below
GPM. In my opinion small circ pumps verge on consumer fraud. All those
tiny pumps do is recirculate the same water over and over directly in
of the filter area. If you watch the action of a tiny 3 to 7 GPM pump,
water is not agitated. This leaves almost stagnant "dead spots"
circulation and water movement in areas of the spa that are farther
the ozone outlet. It takes too long for the ozone to reach all of
All the customers I have talked to, who own those types
spas, have trouble with dirt in the spa, and they use way too much in
trying to clean up the water. Ozone is like bromine, it is circulation
dependent. If it doesn't get to the little "bugs" it can't kill them.
Small circ pumps fail at doing that. That is why the "dog dish" company
chlorine and lots of it. They also have a "10 minute" button to run the
jets on high after people get out. Why run the therapy jets on high in
empty spa? Who are we giving therapy to? It is the only time the spa
any action through the filters, forcing debris to move. If you own a
dish" or other low flow pump spa, you must run the jets to get clean
(We have a retro fit kit that you can install on your
Spring spa to increase the filtering and improve the performance of the
You can't put this on your spa while it is under warranty. And
kit voids the bogus UL listing of those spas. READ)
Bromine is more circulation dependant. Chlorine works
a "shotgun", the reason why all bromine tabs have chlorine mixed in
is to activate the bromine. Bromine is more stable in hot, highly
water. It is much more effective at higher or low pH. Bromine is about
96% effective at a pH of 7.5. Chloring is about 66% effective at
pH. Using chlorine alone is more expensive than bromine tablets,
the Chlorine is less effective and it dissipates so fast. (One of the
reasons we recommend it with ionizers.)
Long before non-chlorine shock, people would shock with
in their spas. It still is a good way to shock. Get the chlorine levels
to about 8 to 10 PPM and if "fries" all the bugs and organic matter in
the water. After about an 24 hours the levels drop to below 3 PPM. You
want to shock at a pH of 7.2 for most effectiveness. However, I prefer
and recommend the non-chlorine shock with potassium peroxymonosulfate
with dichlor at a ratio of 1 tablespoon MPS shock to 1 teaspoon of
This way you will have a sharp rise in the oxidizer which burns
the garbage from the water. Then it rapidly falls to below 3 PPM
less than one or two hours.
It is good to burn out all the orgainic contaminents
a week and remove any residual "dead and smelly" bromamines. It
Bromine lowers pH and ozone raise your pH very
slightly. Chlorine (dichlor) lowers pH very slightly. The products
Bromine" are about 50/50 chlorine and bromine, and are almost neutral
pH. MPS shock has the effect of lowering pH, but it is one of the
ways to burn out organic contaminents without raising the resudual
levels too high. When you use MPS (non-chlorine shock), you
the Total Alkalininty to help hold up the pH against the acids of both
bromine and the shock. That is why a bromine or chlorine spa
to have a higher total alkalininty than an ionized spa, with much less
being introduced into the water.
Bromine tabs in a floating feeder, is the most
way to use bromine. The feeder must be placed away from the filter, and
not in direct flow of the jets, otherwise the bromine dissolves too
fast. By keeping the feeder away from the filter, the bromine doesn't
in front of the filter and harm the equipment. If your spas has a
feeded in the filter door, this is the worst design there is. The
goes up and then dies as the tablets dissolve way too fast.
The levels can get as high as 30 to 40 PPM directly in
of the filter, and then go straight into the equipment, helping it to
corrode. I have always disliked the weir door feeder or feeders inside
housing for that reason. My Sun;;;ce customers complain that the
dissolve too fast, and they can't maintain a steady level of bromine.
just goes up and down. Coleman finally stopped making spas with a
bromine feeder for the same reason. In the store where I worked
were told by Coleman to open the filter and throw the filter feeders in
You want to keep a residual amount of bromine in the
at all times, with chlorine, this is nearly impossible. It bounces all
the place in hot , highly agitated and areated water. You can keep a
residual of bromine with a floating feeder kept away from too much
flow. It can be supplimented with granular bromine (about 50/50
bromine/chlorine. The chlorine, in the mix, activates the soduim
bromine tablets require regular applications of either granular
(dichlor) or non-chlorine, potassiumperoximonsulfate, shock to activate
bromine (convert sodium bromide into bromine)
If you have the Taylor test kit, the booklet tells how
calculate the number of days between drain and refill. What happens in
spa water is similar to taking sugar and adding it to a jar of water.
you keep adding sugar, eventually the sugar stops dissolving and
solid in the bottom of the jar. It recommends that you divide the
volume of water by 3 to get the number of daily bathers. To me
is a little short on time with ions or other methods that do not
high levels of solids to the water. With ionized (and the Eco
spas you can go much longer between drain and fill.
In a spa, the water starts to have a "slow response" to
powders we add. For instance, you might look up in the table and it
to ad two tablespoons of pH down. After you add the pH down, the pH
change as much as it "should". If the water doesn't respond it needs to
be changed. In an average spa the time between changes is from three to
six months. ( This is also the reason for using the "acid demand"
to determine how much pH down to put in. As the water naturally
it takes on more pH change resistance and the ONLY way to tell exactly
much product to put in is the "demand" tests, "base demand" or "acid
There are other methods besides bromine which we will
in other issues of Spa Care Tips.
The experts on hot tubs and spas.3
Broomfield, Co 8002
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