What is Cyanuric Acid? A Beginner’s Guide to Pool Stabilizer
Maintaining balance in pool chemicals requires a bit of chemistry knowledge! If pool water becomes unbalanced, germs like E. Coli can become present and create a dangerous swimming environment. So, what is cyanuric acid, what does it do, and why do we use it to properly balance pool chemicals?
Cyanuric acid is the stabilizer, or conditioner, for chlorine. That basically means that cyanuric acid acts as a sunscreen for chlorine in order to protect it from harmful UV rays. Without cyanuric acid pool conditioner, chlorine is broken down by the sun more rapidly. While maintaining the right levels will kill harmful germs and bacteria, too much or too little cause the function of chlorine to be inhibited, resulting in discoloration and ineffectiveness.
Cyanuric acid levels should remain between 30 and 50 ppm. Levels above 50 ppm do not provide any additional protection (sunscreen) for your pool’s chlorine. (*Saltwater pools need cyanuric acid levels between 60-80 ppm to maintain a healthy balance.) Once this pool conditioner is added it will remain in the water, so it is typically only needed when you open your pool or if you experience significant water loss due to evaporation or extreme splashing and need to add a significant amount of water. Remember, cyanuric acid does the work of protecting the chlorine, so it is necessary to continue checking levels (best at about 7.5% or between 1 and 3 ppm) and adding chlorine to your water.
High Cyanuric Acid Levels
The good and, sometimes bad, news is that cyanuric acid levels stay consistent. Because cyanuric acid does not get “used up,” high levels may require a bit of work. It is important to start with knowing why the level is so high. It could be that the chlorine you are using already has a pool stabilizer or pool conditioner added in. Look for ingredients such as trichloroisocyanurate, sodium dichloroisocyanurate, or potassium dichloroisocyanurate to know if the chlorine you are using is also adding to the cyanuric acid levels. If this is what is causing high levels, start by switching to a different brand without cyanuric acid. Give a bit of time for evaporation and splashing to change the levels. If the levels are still high, it may be necessary to drain some water and add new water. After a refill, test levels and only add more cyanuric acid if necessary.
Cyanuric acid reducers can be purchased and added. However, these treatments are biologically based and may take more than a week to begin working. It really is best to dilute your water rather than purchasing additional and expensive chemicals.
Millennium Pools and Spas
Millennium Pools and Spas offer services which include maintenance, cleaning, opening and closing packages, energy efficient upgrades and renovations/ construction. We proudly serve Springfield, VA, the DC area and Ijamsville, MD regions. Give us a call at 703-939-5062 (VA/DC) or 301-591-3750 (MD) or visit our website at www.millenniumpool.com for more information!