How to Convert a Chlorine Pool to Bromine

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Bromine keeps pools clean and healthy while being gentler on swimmer's skin and eyes than chlorine.
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Although bromine is more expensive than chlorine, many pool owners prefer bromine thanks to its numerous advantages. Unlike chlorine, bromine continues disinfecting after coming into contact with bacteria. Bromine also functions without a stabilizer like cyanuric acid, so you can add fewer chemicals to your pool overall. Swimmers will also notice less odor and eye irritation in a bromine pool. Converting a chlorine pool to a bromine one is a simple process. You simply balance your water levels and start adding bromine instead of chlorine. Because chlorine activates bromine, you'll need to periodically shock your pool with household bleach to rejuvenate your bromine and keep it at the right levels.

Warning

Bromine is gentler on the skin and eyes than chlorine, but bromine pools still require some chlorine to work. Bromine pools will affect people with chlorine allergies.

Things You'll Need

  • Pool water test kit

  • Hydrochloric acid or sodium bicarbonate

  • Muriatic acid or sodium carbonate

  • Bromine granules or discs

  • Household bleach

  • Bromine floater

Step 1

Test the water for pH and total alkalinity using a test kit. Different test kits have varying instructions, but generally speaking, kits work in a similar manner. You fill each test vial with pool water; add a few drops of reagent; wait a few minutes, and compare the color of the test sample to a color guide provided with the kit. Some test kits use test strips that you dip into the water and check against the color key that comes with the kit after the prescribed amount of time.

Warning

Test kits that use phenol red to test pH levels don't work properly in bromine pools. Once your pool is converted, you will need a test kit that is compatible with bromine.

Step 2

Adjust the total alkalinity until it is between 80 and 120 ppm. To raise alkalinity, add no more than 1.3 pounds of sodium bicarbonate per 10,000 gallons every four days. To lower it, add hydrochloric acid, diluted 1 part acid to 10 parts water, every three days. Retest the alkalinity before adding more chemicals. Formulas to calculate alkalinity adjustments come with some test kits, or you can find one online.

Warning

Wear goggles and gloves when handling pool chemicals. Use dust masks and goggles when handling chemical powders.

Never add chemicals while swimmers are in the pool. Wait at least four hours, and test the water before letting swimmers back in.

Add acid to water. Do not add water to acid as splashing may occur.

Tip

Continue to circulate the pool during chemical adjustment. Add all chemicals in the deepest end of the pool.

Step 3

Adjust the pH of the pool using diluted muriatic acid to lower the pH and sodium carbonate to increase the pH. Use a calculation table that came with the test kit or find a table online to estimate how much acid or base to add to reach the desired pH range of 7.0 to 7.6. Use the same schedule for adjusting the pH as you did for the total alkalinity.

Step 4

When your water is properly balanced, add powdered sodium bromide to the water, according to the manufacturer's calculation instructions for the size of your pool. Your goal is to reach between 3 and 5 ppm of bromide. When converting from chlorine to bromine you do not have to drain the pool, as chlorine activates the sodium bromide.

Step 5

Add 1 cup of 5.25 percent chlorine bleach per 300 gallons of water in your pool to shock it. Continue this treatment as needed to keep the bromine activated. Test your pool once a week, and add bleach when the bromine levels are low. Skip the shock if your bromine levels are within the desired range or are high.

Step 6

Add a bromine floater to the pool, filled with sodium bromide tablets. Test the pool daily for bromine and pH, adjusting the bromine floater to increase or decrease the release of bromine to keep the pool between 3 and 5 ppm.

Warning

Do not use the pool if the bromine level is above 10 ppm. Wait for the bromine levels to come down.

references & resources

Kasandra Rose

Writing fanzine-based articles since 1985, Kasandra Rose writes and edits articles for political and health blogs and TrueBloodNet.com and has an extensive technical writing background. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Arts in biology from Wayne State University.