Are your chlorine or bromine levels out of control in your hot tub?

Did you add too much sanitizer to your water?

Don’t worry. It’s a common problem that affects all owners - whether you've spent a lot or those that have gone for cheap hot tubs - they're all affected at one time or another, whether you have a 13A Plug & Play hot tub or a 32A hard wired spa. You can lower the chlorine and bromine levels in your hot tub so the water is safe and clean when you’re ready for a soak.


What Are Chlorine and Bromine?

Getting the chemical balance right in your hot tub is absolutely vital to good spa health, and means you can enjoy lovely, crystal clear and clean water when you're soaking. Chlorine and bromine are halogen sanitizers that clean the water of any contaminants. Because there's a small volume of hot water in your tub, it's a great breeding ground for legionella, which causes Legionnaire's Disease.

But don't panic, it's easy to manage once you get the hang of it... good chemical treatment routine is essential for hot tub ownership. Read our guide to hot tub water care, for extra tips.

hot tub chlorine bromine


Determine if Your Chlorine or Bromine Levels Are Too High

Most owners assume their levels are too high because the water irritates their eyes. Or there is a strong chemical smell around the spa. But, these aren’t caused by your sanitizer at all.

More often they’re symptoms of pH imbalances, excess chloramines, and copper in the water.

If you want to know if your chlorine or bromine levels are too high, you must test your water.

The recommended level of chlorine or bromine in your hot tub is between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). When you test your water, any reading above 3 is on the high side.


Three Methods to Lower Chlorine or Bromine Levels

You’ve tested your water and your sanitizer levels are too high. What do you do?

Don’t worry, this isn’t that serious of a problem unless you want to use your hot tub immediately.

If your chlorine and bromine levels are too high, you can try these three methods to lower your levels.


Method 1: Wait it Out

This is the easiest method, but it requires patience.

Remove your hot tub cover and let your hot tub breath. If you can give it a little sunlight, even better. The sanitizer won’t remain in your hot tub forever. Over time, it will break down.

Give your hot tub a day or two to use up some of the extra chlorine or bromine in the water before you use it. In a day or so those excess levels will vanish into thin air.


Method 2: Dilute the Water

If waiting isn’t an option, then it is time to get to work. The quickest way to lower your sanitizer levels is by diluting the water in your spa.

Grab a bucket and remove some of the water in your tub. Start with one or two buckets full of water if you are only lowering it. You may need to remove as much as half the water to make a difference.

Once you have removed the water, refill it with fresh water. Give your jets a chance to circulate the water and then test it.

In extreme circumstances, you may need a complete water change so you can reset your levels back to 0 ppm.

This will give you a fresh start and allow you to get control of your sanitizer levels from the get go.


Method 3: Use a Neutralizer

If your sanitizer levels are too high and you want to use your hot tub soon, then you could try a neutralizer.

We recommend that you allow the sanitizer levels to break down naturally. But if you have to use your hot tub, then you can add sodium thiosulfate to the water.

Sodium thiosulfate will break down both chlorine and bromine in your water. This will lower the bromine or chlorine levels fast so you can soak sooner.


Don’t Forget to Check Your Chemicals

No matter what method you choose to use, before you hop in for a soak in your hot tub make sure you test the water. Changing the sanitizer levels in your hot tub can other chemicals in your water as well.

Recheck your pH, Alkalinity (TA), and your calcium hardness levels before getting in.

Here's a great video from SwimUniversity teaching you about testing your spa water...


Closing Thoughts

Sometimes we can let the chlorine or bromine levels get out of control. It could be after a shock or just because you added too much to the water.

No matter what, using these methods will help you lower the levels of chlorine and bromine in your water. By doing so, you can rest easy knowing your water is both clean and safe.

For more tips, or if you're new to hot tubs, then read our guide to hot tub ownership.

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