Pool and spa: bromine water treatment

Bromine water treatment is effective in combating bacteria and algae proliferation. Although it is less widely used than chlorine treatment due to its relatively high price, it is recommended if you live in a warm, sunny region.Indeed, bromine is particularly UV-resistant, compared with chlorine, for example. What's more, many bathers appreciate the comfort it brings to their water. What are the advantages and disadvantages of bromine treatment? How is it measured? Find out more in this article.

water treatment. ICO is bromine-compatible

What is bromine ?

Bromine is a chemical element belonging to the halogens like fluorine and chlorine. It is also naturally present in seawater. Like chlorine, it is a disinfectant, a preventive algicide and a persistent disinfectant (it purifies water and destroys germs as it goes along). Bromine is ideal for replacing chlorine because it is odorless and gentler on the skin.

Chlorine in all its forms

Bromine is available in pellet, tablet or pebble form.

  • With pebbles: bromine is placed in the skimmer
  • Tablets: For swimming pools, you can use a brominator in your equipment room (automatic bromine dispenser). For spas, use a floating diffuser to slowly melt the bromine into the water for greater effectiveness.

If your pool water is green or cloudy, you can carry out a shock treatment using a bromine regenerator or calcium hypochlorite.

Treating your pool or spa with bromine

Here's how to disinfect your pool or spa water:

  • Adjust pH to between 7.5 and 8 (add pH + or - to readjust it, then test again after activating filtration for 2 hours).
  • Start filtration
  • Dosing :
  • For swimming pools: 1 to 2 mg/l 
  • For a spa: 2 to 3 mg/l 

How do you measure the bromine level in your pool/spa?

To measure bromine levels in water, you can use :

  • A colorimetric strip : dip a strip (specific to bromine treatment) into the water. Depending on the color, you can compare and read the bromine level. This is an economical solution, but reading the results is subjective. What's more, storage conditions (humidity, heat) and expiration dates can affect strip reliability. As with pH, it is possible to purchase a digital strip reader to better interpret results.
  • Electronic tester : dip the electrode in your pond and read the digital display. This type of test is more expensive than strips, but also more accurate. Other electronic testers work with reagent tablets.
  • An all-in-one connected water analyzer : connected water analyzers can measure several water parameters, including bromine, thanks to their probes. This has the advantage of eliminating the need for multiple measuring instruments. These highly accurate devices are also much more reliable, as they measure the water every hour and detect even the slightest changes.

Découvrez ICO, l’analyseur d’eau connecté : il mesure le pH, le désinfectant et la température de l’eau. ICO est compatible avec les piscines et spas au chlore/brome, ou au sel.Découvrez ICO, l’analyseur d’eau connecté : il mesure le pH, le désinfectant et la température de l’eau. ICO est compatible avec les piscines et spas au chlore/brome, ou au sel.

Advantages and drawbacks of bromine treatment

Benefits of bromine treatments for pools and spas

  • Easy to use: Bromine is easy to use and doesn't require daily monitoring (water analysis), as its slow disinfectant action means you can feel confident about water quality. 
  • Little irritant and odorless : bromine is more comfortable for the skin, eyes and mucous membranes than chlorine. It produces bromamines (odorless and non-irritating). Bromine is therefore particularly recommended for pools and spas if you have young children or people with sensitive skin or allergies to chlorine. Totally odorless, bromine is recommended if you are sensitive to chlorine odors, for example.
  • Unaffected by UV rays and high temperatures : if you live in a particularly sunny region and your pool is exposed to UV rays, bromine is an excellent choice. Unlike chlorine treatment, you won't need to add stabilizer. In fact, it's forbidden to use stabilizer in a bromine-treated pool, as it would stop its disinfectant action. Last but not least, it remains active when outside temperatures rise, and is resistant in water above 30°c. This is why it is so widely used in spas and heated pools.
  • Low sensitive to pH variations: bromine is not very sensitive to variations in pH, which is a particularly changeable component depending on bathing or water temperature. However, it needs to be checked regularly, because when it exceeds the threshold of 7.8, bromine loses its action.
  • No over-stabilization risk as bromine contains no stabilizer.

The drawbacks of bromine for your pool or spa

  • High price : the main disadvantage of bromine is its price, which is on average 30% to 40% more expensive than other treatments such as chlorine.
  • Highly corrosive : bromine is naturally highly corrosive to equipment. However, it is harmless when diluted in water.
  • Irritating product : when overdosed, bromine can be aggressive to the eyes. If you have pets, be especially vigilant around your pool, as bromine can be irritating for them too.