Low Sanitizer (Bromine and Chlorine) in Hot Tubs

Oh no! I have low sanitizer in my hot tub! In hot tub water, it is very important to ensure you have a proper sanitizer level. Sanitizer is a chemical substance that kills bacteria in hot tub water. Different types of sanitizers are chlorine and bromine. Low bromine/chlorine levels in a hot tub mean that the bromine/chlorine levels are not in the recommended range that is effective to kill bacteria. Bromine/chlorine is needed in hot tubs to make sure bacteria are kept at bay. Good bromine/chlorine also ensures water is safe to sit in. 

What happens if I have low sanitizer in my spa?

When bromine/chlorine levels are too low, hot tub water can be a dangerous place for people to sit in. Bacterial levels in hot tub water start to rise and make them unsafe. Certain bacteria in hot tub water thrive off of low sanitization and hot water. Bacteria like pseudomonas folliculitis, is highly contagious bacterium that infects the skin of people with poorly sanitized hot tubs. Also with low bromine/chlorine, water in hot tubs can turn cloudy. This gives the water an unpleasant look and can take a couple of oxidizing treatments to get rid of and cost you money that would otherwise ne be spent. Hot tub water odours can also form with a low bromine/chlorine level. This indicates that there is a build-up of organics in the water which makes the water smell unpleasant.

low chlorine test kit

How to fix low chlorine or bromine in your hot tub.

The first step in troubleshooting low sanitizer is to determine if there are problems ESTABLISHING a sanitizer level or problems MAINTAINING the level. If the challenge is getting the sanitizer level to the ideal range, oxidize (shock) your hot tub with a SANITIZING shock (if you see the word ‘oxy’ or ‘monopersulfate’ on the label, chances are it will not work – check with your product provider to ensure there is active chlorine or bromine in the product) to ensure that your bromine/chlorine is not being used up by unwanted contaminates that could be floating around in the water. Alternatively, you can add a granular bromine/chlorine according to the package directions to increase your sanitizer level to the 3-5 ppm ideal range.
If the problem is MAINTAINING a bromine or chlorine level, make sure you are using bromine/chlorine tablets to help maintain sanitizer levels. These tablets are slowing dissolving and can help keep a stable level of sanitizer in hot tubs, almost automatically. Use as many or as few tablets in a floating dispenser to keep 3-5 ppm of sanitizer as is required by your bather use and water temperature.

chlorine floater

Long story short, in order to adjust a low bromine/chlorine level the best thing to do is add more sanitizer – just add it smartly – the right product at the right time.

smart tabs 2




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