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What is the Bromine Test?

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  • Written By: Jordan Weagly
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A bromine test is one that determines bromine levels in water, especially in swimming pools and hot tubs. Like chlorine, bromine is a chemical that is highly effective at sanitizing water. Maintaining proper bromine levels will help ensure that the chemical properties of the bromine are used to their fullest sanitizing effect, thus keeping the water safe for use. Ideal levels of bromine in water must be maintained, however, so a regular bromine test of the water should occur regularly. There are a few ways that bromine levels can be tested in pool and spa water.

Bromine tests rely on the fact that bromine reacts to certain chemicals. The most obvious way to observe this might be with a test stick or kit. These kits, which often include a color-changing element, should be used regularly for bromine testing. For instance, high levels of bromine might bleach a test strip. Most test kits include chemicals that will exhibit a range of responses to bromine levels, and color-coded charts are a common method.

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Two major types of bromine test exist, though there are a few more that may be just as effective. The first of the major types is the test kit for bromine, which usually requires that pool water be collected and combined with another chemical or multiple chemicals. Certain reactions between the pool water and the chemicals indicate the level of bromine in the pool water. These bromine test kits are usually more complex than test strips, so they might be considered less effective.

A popular bromine test comes in the form of test strips. These also rely on the effects of bromine when added to certain chemicals and often include test pads for bromine, pH levels, and alkalinity. All of these factors might alter the effectiveness of the bromine. Test strips usually change color according to the level of bromine present in the water, and a chart accompanying the test strips usually indicates what the colors mean. With all bromine test methods, it is usually important to read and understand the instructions.

Color-changing tests depend heavily on the chemical properties of bromine and other chemicals used in bromine testing. For instance, when combined with certain chemical elements, bromine binds with those chemicals and changes configuration entirely. As bromine combines with those other elements, a bromine test might show lower levels overall. Bromine is usually more stable than chlorine at higher temperatures, making it a potentially important option for spa water sanitation. One potential pitfall of bromine, however, is that it breaks down in direct sunlight, meaning a bromine test might be necessary every day in the summer.

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