You add the weekly dose of hot tub sanitizers to your spa water but just then, the weather gets chilly and you feel like soaking in the hot tub. So you are wondering– can I use my hot tub when the sanitizer level is still high?
You shouldn’t use a hot tub when the chlorine level is above 3 parts per million or when the bromine level is above 5 parts per million on your test strip. Any level above these is too high for you to soak in and can cause serious health problems if you do.
This post discusses everything you need to know about high chlorine or bromine levels including an expert strategy to detect and lower high sanitizer levels in the hot tub. So let’s get going.
Why is My Chlorine Level Always High?
The chlorine level in your hot tub is always high because the water pH is off balance, there is too much chlorine in the water, and the chlorine isn’t being used.
Chlorine sanitizer needs to be added to the water in the right amount. If you add too much chlorine to your hot tub water continuously, it will alter the pH levels and cause a consistent level of high chlorine in the water.
Chlorine like many other hot tub sanitizers works best at low pH levels. When you add chlorine to the water, hypochlorous acid is released. This is a weak acid but it will lower the pH level in the water to allow the chlorine sanitizer to work better. The more chlorine you add to the water, the more the amount of hypochlorous acid in the water and the lower the pH level drops.
So, if you accidentally use too much chlorine in your hot tub, the excess chlorine will lower the pH of the water below the recommended range and cause the water pH level to be very low.
Since the water pH is very low, germs can’t grow in the water which means that you will constantly have active chlorine in the water with no germs or scum to destroy. So you end up with consistent levels of high chlorine in the water because the chlorine is not being used up.
High chlorine levels can be caused by many things. It could be because you got careless with your hot tub’s weekly dose of chlorine.
It could also be because you used too much hot tub shock or chlorine tablets in the water. Any of these is enough to cause the chlorine levels in your hot tub to get very high but if the chlorine level is consistently high, then it’s because the pH level of the hot tub is too low or off.
Related Read >>> How To Lower Chlorine or Bromine Levels in a Hot Tub?
Why is My Bromine Level Always High?
The bromine level in your hot tub is always high because the pH level of the water is off and there is too much bromine in the water. When you add too much bromine into the hot tub water, the chemical will drop the pH level in the water and lead to a consistently high bromine level.
Like every other hot tub chemical, bromine needs to be added to the water in the right amount. When you add bromine into the water, the chemical releases bromamines. Bromamines are the chemicals that clean the water.
Only that they don’t just clean the water, they also lower the pH levels of the water a bit to make it tough for germs to survive. The more bromine you add to the water, the more bromamines are released, and the lower the pH level drops.
So if you add too much bromine into the water, the pH level would be lowered below the recommended range and this will cause acidic water. Hot tub germs can’t survive in acidic water so there wouldn’t be any germs in the water. While this is a big plus, it is also a big concern. If there is no germ or scum in the acidic water, there is nothing that the bromine is fighting.
So you end up with too much bromine in your hot tub and no hot tub scum. This will quickly lower the pH level of the water and you will end up with a consistent level of high bromine level since the pH level is off and the bromine isn’t being used.
Related Read >>> Can You Mix Different Brands of Hot Tub Chemicals?
Can Too Much Chlorine or Bromine Hurt Your Hot Tub?
It hurts the hot tub when there is too much chlorine or bromine in it because the high sanitizer level will cause acidic water that can corrode and damage the working parts of the hot tub.
Too much chlorine or bromine in the hot tub isn’t only bad for you. It’s also bad for the performance of the hot tub. When there is too much chlorine or bromine in the water, the water pH will be very low.
The right pH level for hot tubs is between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale. Most chlorine sanitizers have a pH level of 3 on the pH scale while most bromine sanitizers have a pH level around 4 on the pH scale.
This shows that the chlorine and bromine you add to the hot tub are already strong enough. So if you add too much chlorine or bromine to the water, it will produce acidic water in the hot tub and nothing degrades a hot tub faster than acidic water.
The acidic water can cause corrosion or etching. This means the water will start to eat away at the metal parts of your hot tub like the heater and circulation pump.
Hot tub water with high chlorine or bromine level can also damage the vinyl or acrylic walls of your hot tub by causing discoloration and staining. The hot tub pillows and filters will also get damaged when exposed to high chlorine or bromine levels in the water.
Related Read >>> Can You Use Chlorine Shock in a Bromine Spa?
How To Know If You Have High Chlorine or High Bromine in Your Hot Tub?
The best way to detect if you have high chlorine or bromine levels in the hot tub is to test the water. You can use hot tub test strips, a digital tester, or any other water testing kit to detect high chlorine or bromine levels in the water.
When the chlorine or bromine level in your hot tub is high, you will start to notice an offensive smell being produced from the hot tub. You will also notice discoloration, staining, and corrosion on different parts of the hot tub.
The filters and headrests of the hot tub will also get damaged quickly indicating that the sanitizer level is high. You will also start to feel uncomfortable when you sit in the hot tub.
All of these are indicators that the chlorine or bromine level in the hot tub is not right. But they can also be indicators of other hot tub issues like unbalanced water chemistry. So the best way to detect high sanitizer levels is to test the water.
When the chlorine or bromine level is high in a hot tub, you can lower it by diluting the water or by allowing the sanitizer to get used up in the water.
Related Read >>> What Do You Do if the Spa pH Is Too High?
What Should the Chlorine or Bromine Level Be in Your Hot Tub?
The ideal chlorine level in your hot tub should be between 1 ppm and 3 ppm while the ideal bromine level should be between 3 ppm and 5ppm ( where PPM means parts per million). Chlorine and bromine level within this range is safe to soak in and will not damage the hot tub.
Many chlorine and bromine brands also have specific instructions on how much chlorine should be added into the hot tub water. If you add below the recommended amount of chlorine or bromine to your hot tub water, the hot tub can be affected by scale.
Scale is a whitish chalky substance that appears on several parts of your hot tub like the heater when the sanitizer level is low. Asides from the hot tub scale, low chlorine or bromine level can also affect the total alkalinity of the water, cause foamy hot tub water, cloudy and smelly spa water, algae bloom, and green water.
On the other hand, if the chlorine or bromine level is too high or higher than the recommended amount, it can cause etching or corrosion. Etching is a process where the water starts to eat away at metal parts of the hot tub. This can cause malfunction of the working parts of your spa like the jets, filtration system, and heating mechanism. Asides from etching, high sanitizer levels will also make the water unsafe for soaking in.
So it’s important to keep the chlorine and bromine level in your hot tub within the recommended level (1-3 ppm for chlorine and 3-5 ppm for bromine). Any chlorine or bromine reading above or below this range in your hot tub is dangerous and can cause health issues and damages to the hot tub.
Related Read: How To Raise Chlorine Levels in a Hot Tub?
Overall, you should never use a hot tub when the chlorine or bromine level is high because the water at that time is unsafe.
You should also keep tabs on the sanitizer level in the water by testing the water and adding only the recommended amount at regular intervals. If the chlorine or bromine level gets higher than recommended, you should lower it before you use the hot tub.