Pool Chemicals - Chlorine vs Bromine?

 

Difference Between Bromine and Chlorine

 Bromine and chlorine are two chemicals for cleaning pools, spas, and hot tubs. The traditional choice has typically been chlorine because of its ease of use and commercial availability. However, there are a few distinct differences between bromine and chlorine which you, as ahealth-conscious pool owner, should understand before selecting the right cleaner for your pool.

Function

 To understand the differences, let’s start by taking a brief look at the science behind bromine and chlorine and how they work to eliminate bacteria in your pool. When bromine or choline is added to a pool, they have different chemical reactions and act differently when it comes to killing unwanted bacteria.

Chlorineworks by dissolving bacteria which purifies the water after washing it out completely. However, chlorine also reacts with the water and other chemicals  in the pool which begins to form new chemicals called chloramines. These chloramines lose their ability to eliminate bacteria which requires more chlorine to be added to a pool.

Bromineworks quite differently from chlorine because it is a much more stable chemical. When bromine is added to a pool,  it eliminates bacteria by neutralizing their activity. This allows for pools to stay sanitary for much longer than chlorine. As an added benefit, when bromine reacts with water and any other chemicals in the pool and becomes a bromamine, it retains its sanitary effects.

 Odor

One concern that most people have when it comes to choosing a chemical to clean there pool is odor. You are probably familiar with the strong smell that chlorine gives off, especially when you’re swimming in the water and breathing the fumes directly from the water’s surface.

You may have experienced a burning sensation in the eyes or choking taste in the mouth. Even though chlorine is used to clean pools and has been approved for use, intuition often suggest that these fumes cannot be good for the body. This is a problem with chlorine as  it becomes a chloramine and turns into a gas when it evaporates out of the pool.

 Bromine, on the other hand, is much less likely to become a gas as it remains stable in its bromamine form. So, when bromine is added to a pool it remains a liquid, and, as previously mentioned, continues to provide bacteria fighting protection.

 Health

 If you or the people using your pool has sensitive skin, bromine is the recommended chemical to use. The bleaching ability of chlorine tends to have a harsh effects on some skin types and can lead to dry skin. Some research studies have even linked excessive exposure to chlorine to various health hazards.

 Since bromine doesn’t contain bleach content, it is becoming a safer alternative for pool cleaning products. It has also been noted that bromine causes little to no irritation on skin and eyes, which makes swimming in the pool or relaxing in a spa more enjoyable.

Benefits

 Chlorine and bromine have similar yet different benefits. If your pool has a excess of grease, oils, and lotions, you can use chlorine to “shock treat” water and make it clean.

For indoor pools, chlorine poses a problem due to gases being trapped inside and maintaining that strong chlorine smell. In this case, a natural cleanerwould be most beneficial.

For outdoor pools, chlorine is the ideal choice because it dissolve well at temperatures below 75 fahrenheit. In contrast, bromine is much better at temperatures above 75 fahrenheit which makes it the go-to chemical for hot tubs and spas.

 Cost

When it comes to the cost of pool chemicalsand hot tub chemicals, chlorine is the cheaper of the two. Since chlorine has been the common chemical to clean water, it has had a long history of development to reduce prices. However, unlike chlorine, bromine has the ability to remain in the water for a lot longer than chlorine and requires smaller amounts. This makes bromine slightly more cost effective in the long run.

 Ease of Use

 Chlorine comes in various forms, such as granulesand fast-acting pucks. To extend the life of chlorine, you can also use a stabilizer to protect the chlorine from UV rays. Using a combination of chlorine and a stabilizer is also a great way to keep pool waters clear.

Bromine also comes in various forms of tabsand slow-dissolving pucks. The ability to dissolve slowly in a pool requires less cleaning and longer periods of time before more chemical is needed. They also work toward bacteria, algae, and other unwanted pollutants from water.

Both chemicals can be used for balancing hot tub water and ultimately, used as disinfectors. Whether you choose to chlorinate or brominate your water, comes down to the type of pool you have (i.e. indoor vs. outdoor), the temperature of the water (i.e. pool vs. hot tub water), and personal preference.   

 Looking for chemical-free alternatives for your pool? Consider using one of these pool cleaners.