Excessive Sanitizer (Bromine and Chlorine) in Hot Tubs

We are often asked what is the most important thing to take care of in your hot tub…. the answer is easy: sanitizer – it is the one thing that keeps you and your loved ones safe while having spa fun. Bromine/Chlorine levels are very important to maintain at ideal levels. When bromine/chlorine levels are in the recommended range they kill bacteria very effectively. When bromine/chlorine levels are high, they can cause some issues.

Side Effects of High Hot Tub Sanitizer on your body

When they are too high in a hot tub this can be uncomfortable for hot tub owners to sit in. High bromine/chlorine levels can be very irritating on a person’s skin, eyes and respiratory system. It can cause red itchy skin, red itchy eyes, and effect the lungs in a negative way. People who are more sensitive to bromine/chlorine can almost notice an insistent reaction to a higher level of bromine/chlorine. The ideal range for bromine/chlorine is between 3-5 ppm.

Side Effects of High Hot Tub Sanitizer on your hot tub

The effect that high bromine/chlorine has on hot tub water is that is can degrade surfaces a lot quicker. Exposed surfaces that can degrade quicker with a higher sanitizer level are: pillows, acrylic surfaces, filters, etc. Bromine and chlorine are strong chemical compounds which deteriorate surfaces. Keeping bromine/chlorine levels in range also helps with prolonging the life of equipment on hot tubs. Take a look at your hot tub cover – was the inside black and now it is white and brittle? Double check your sanitizer levels.

oversanitized spa cover

Uh oh – my test strips shows my chlorine or bromine as too high – what do I do now?

To correct the issue of high bromine/chlorine levels in a hot tub is to not add any more bromine/chlorine until the levels have come down. Chlorine/bromine are difficult and time consuming to chemically remove from the water; so it is best to allow the ‘bank account’ you have built up to come down naturally. In order to speed up this process, you should take the cover of your hot tub. By taking the hot tub cover off this allows the bromine/chlorine to evaporate/escape the hot tub and lower levels. If this is not fast enough you can add water to dilute the high bromine/chlorine level. By diluting the water, this will help lower the bromine/chlorine level to the recommended range. We sometimes also recommend to not add any more oxidizer (shock) to your spa water because oxidizers help maximize chlorine/bromine consumption. Oxidizers also tend to have added sanitizer to help maintain bromine/chlorine in hot tub water.

Whenever you encounter a high bromine or chlorine level, it is also recommended to not add anymore sanitizer – wait for the levels to come down. If the level is not too high, have a hot tub party – let that smelly uncle or the sweaty hockey team come over. Just make sure they bring their own towels!


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