How Cyanuric Acid Works
Cyanuric acid is used in swimming pools to lower the rate of photochemical reduction of chlorine, hypochlorous acid, and hypochlorite ion. Thats just a fancy way of saying it protects your pools chlorine from the effects of sunlight.
Once you add chlorine to your pool, the big yellow thing in the sky goes to work burning off the chlorine through chemical reactions, seriously decreasing the power of the chlorine in your pool water. In fact, the sun can eat up to 1 ppm of chlorine every hour if its not protected.
The cyanuric acid extends the life of the chlorine by shielding it from ultraviolet rays. Without it, the ultraviolet rays from the sun would break apart the chlorite ions, allowing the chlorine to just evaporate into thin air. It literally stabilizes the ion, making it resistant to any chemical changes.
When you add cyanuric acid to your pool, it binds to the free chlorine floating around to form a compound thats stable in sunlight. The reaction can also go the other way and release free chlorine.
As free chlorine gets used up, the cyanuric acid provides a backup of cleaning potential thats safe from the sun. The free chlorine in your pool will then be available for sanitizing far longer than it would be without using stabilizer.
But just like wishing for immortality from a magical genie, theres a catch. The increased lifespan of chlorine means its weaker than it was before.
Longer life = Decreased cleaning power
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Why Would You Want To Use It In Your Pool
CYA is necessary for outdoor pools, but not in indoor pools. When the suns UV rays hit your pool, they can rapidly break down the chlorine in the water in just a few hours.
Chlorine is the most important chemical when it comes to sanitizing the pool. So having it essentially burnt out of the water on sunny days is not good for your pool. In fact, without cyanuric acid, youd have to use up to eight times the chlorine to keep your levels right.
There are the different types of chlorine that you should know about:
- Combined chlorine: the chlorine that is used up and has already killed bacteria or algae
- Free chlorine: unused chlorine that is freshly added to the water and actively sanitizing your pool
- Total chlorine: sum of combined chlorine and free chlorine
Cyanuric acid is a stabilizer that bonds with the free chlorine in your water until it has killed bacteria or algae. Too much CYA can cause even worse problems for your pool, so it is really important to test your levels and be aware of the cyanuric acid content.
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Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Pool Test Strips
Pool testing strips can quickly measure pH, alkaline, and chlorine levels. You can also purchase specialty pool strips to measure total dissolved solids , salt or other substances. Heres how to use them:
Test Pool Water Chemistry Using Digital Pool Testers
You can connect digital pool testers to smartphones or other devices, which offer convenience and detail. However, electronic testers tend to be more costly and often, less accurate than alternatives like kits and strips. Since digital testers vary widely in their quality and design, be sure to follow the app or devices instructions.
Still have questions about how to test your pool water? Just contact a Latham dealer, and well handle the testing for you! You can even bring your sample to us for testing. Our expert technicians will explain exactly what you should add, remove, increase or decrease to achieve the perfect swimming pool water chemistry.
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How To Bring Cyanuric Acid Back Down
In cases where your CYA level is way above 50 ppm, youll need to take some steps to lower it so you dont end up with a whole new set of pool problems.
There are 3 ways you can do this:
- Water dilution. This method requires you to drain the pool and refill it, and doing it slowly through multiple partial drains is recommended. While this will make the process take longer, it will protect your pool from potentially popping out of the ground which will be very costly to resolve!
- CYA reducer. Products like Bio-Active are inexpensive, easy to add to the pool, and its safe to swim right after its application. The only drawback is you have to wait at least 1 week if you need multiple applications.
- Reverse osmosis system. RO is basically a specialized filter that purifies and recycles the pool water, so youre not wasting it. An added benefit is that RO also reduces calcium hardness and total dissolved solids in the water. The downside is its a very expensive treatment option at $500 a pop.
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What If The Cya Level Is Too High
If you find the CYA level is too high, take a look at the type of chlorine youre adding. If its stabilized chlorine, it contains CYA as well. But theyre all labeled differently so its hard to tell sometimes. Look on the ingredient label. If you see one of these chemicals, then youll know it has CYA in it:
- sodium dichloroisocyanurate
- potassium dichloroisocyanurate
What youll need to do now is to switch to a chlorine without CYA to prevent levels from rising. If you make the switch and find CYA is still a bit too high, allow some splashout and evaporation, then top off your pool with fresh water to dilute the CYA levels.
If CYA is very high, you may need to actually drain your pool and refill it. But always test the CYA after a refill before you add any more. This is because CYA can linger in the pool filter system as well as the plaster and calcium scale. And whats leftover may be as much or even more than you need.
Factors To Consider In Testing Pool Water
Some parameters can be checked on a semi-annual or annual basis depending upon the frequency of use, weather conditions, and the amount of make-up water required. However, there are some parameters, such as chlorine, which should be checked weekly at a minimum. Intec does recommend testing of the water at least twice a week during the peak usage seasons. Below are some variables you should test for on a chlorinated or salt water chlorinated pool. Keep in mind, commercial pools would have to be checked and maintained more frequently.
Are you a private pool owner and looking for better alternatives to chlorine? If yes, ensure you approach a reliable player such as Intec America, which offers safe water treatment solutions for swimming pools. They do offer solutions regarding how and when you should test your pool water to maintain its overall quality. Intec America was the first company in the US to popularize the copper ionization technology developed by NASA. Since then, copper ionizers have been largely used in the swimming pools for water treatment.
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Beginners Guide To Pool Water Testing
We have all heard of testing the waters but when comes to swimming pool maintenance, water testing is the best route to an easy-to-maintain pool.
You have to do more than touch the water to test anything more than the temperature. Test kits, strips and readers are used to check pool water balance levels.
The Cdcs Model Aquatic Health Code
The Committee that writes the Model Aquatic Health Code released a 2016 update that indicates anupper limit of CYA in pools with a fecal incident. That upper CYA limit? Just 15 ppm. Yes, that may sound low, but there are practical reasons why. See Figure 2, showing how much more free available chlorine you needwith raised levels of CYAto obtain similar levels of Hypochlorous Acid :
This chart basically shows that more CYA in your water means you need significantly more chlorine to have the same sanitization power. The CDCs recommended limit of 15ppm CYA is not necessarily a hard limit, but a practical one. Just look at how much chlorine is required to achieve the desired sanitation result. To keep water safe, sanitation is critical, and it needs to be practical.
If you have read the Orenda Blog, you already know our opinion of CYA is that it is a double-edged sword. At low levels it provides tremendous benefits, but at high levels, big problems. It slows chlorine dramatically, which lowers ORP. The problem is not stabilization of chlorine, it’s over-stabilization of chlorine. Here are three related articles:
x = 7.5 ppm FC minimum needed to prevent algae
x = 4.5 ppm FC minimum needed to prevent algae
x = 2.25 FC minimum needed to prevent algae
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How To Test Your Pool Water For Cya Levels
Levels should be at 30-60 ppm in salt-water pools and 70-80 ppm in non salt-water pools. You can test these levels with most pool test strips, the Taylor test kit or by taking a water sample to your local swimming pool store.
You can see what the different levels of cyanuric acid mean in terms of the amount of chlorine you need here:
|* Not recommended|
How To Reduce Cyanuric Acid In A Swimming Pool
High levels of Cyanuric Acid in pool water can cause issues. That’s why Minimal CYA is Orenda’s Fourth Pillar of Proactive Pool Care.
And yet, we encounter many people that are hesitant to drainor even dilutetheir pool to reduce CYA levels. Perhaps there are valid reasonscosts, structural risks, labor, environmental concernsfor not draining high CYA pool water. That being said, draining and/or diluting water is still the most economical way to lower CYA levels in a pool.
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Ways To Raise Cyanuric Acid In A Pool
- |March 8, 2021
Cyanuric acidalso called CYA, pool stabilizer, or pool conditioneris a weak acid that protects your chlorine from the suns ultraviolet rays, allowing it to work for much longer periods without constant top-ups.
The ideal range for cyanuric acid in your pool is between 30 and 50 ppm . Anything lower and you will likely see some undesirable side effects when it comes to your water chemistry.
Lets talk about why this happens, why it matters, and how to raise cyanuric acid in your swimming pool.
How To Add Cyanuric Acid To Pool
1.) Check Your Pool Water Level is Correct
If not, add water and run the pump for an hour to mix in the recently added water.
2.) Test CYA/Stabilizer levels
Use a pool water test kit or take a water sample to your local pool store.
3.) Calculate the Required CYA
Read the manufacturers instructions then calculate how much you need to raise the pool stabilizer by.
Next work out the dose and measure it. Youll need to know your pool water volume to do this.
e.g. lets say you have a 24,000 gal pool. After testing your water you determine your CYA level is 40 ppm. The ideal level is 50 ppm. You need to bring up the level by 10 ppm.
After reading the instructions on your stabilizer/conditioner, you see that to raise the cyanuric acid level by 10 ppm, you need to add 1lb of CYA for every 12,000 gal of water.
So youll need to add 2 lbs of stabilizer/conditioner to your pool.
4.) Add the CYA to the water
Make sure you wear safety goggles and gloves you dont want that stuff in your eyes.
Some manufacturers instruct you to dissolve the CYA in a bucket first and pour it around the pool. This isnt great as youll have undissolved CYA sitting on the bottom of your pool and this could damage your pool liner , plus it doesnt feel great on your feet.
You also shouldnt put CYA directly in the skimmer box.
There are two methods to add cyanuric acid to your pool depending on if youre using granular or chlorine stabilizer:
Method 1 For Granular Pool Conditioner/CYA
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Optimal Levels Of Cyanuric Acid
According to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, the ideal range for cyanuric acid should be between 30 and 50 ppm when used. The concentration should not exceed 100 ppm, which is the absolute upper limit prescribed by the World Health Organization.
Keeping your levels around 50 ppm will ensure that your chlorine is still able to do its job without getting demolished by sunlight. Remember, more cyanuric acid doesnt mean more protection, it will actually just decrease your chlorines efficacy.
Note: Cyanuric acid is not recommended for indoor pools that do not receive direct sunlight.
What Are Cyanuric Acid Reducers
CYA reducers are new to the market and many pool owners are using them as an alternative to draining the pool. At the molecular level, they will attach to cyanuric acid and break down the chemical.
It can be tough to bring your water to the ideal CYA level with only CYA reducers. Generally, if cyanuric levels are too high, the best method is to use a CYA reducer to remove some CYA and dilute the water afterward.
Since CYA reducers are a new product, there has not been much research on their overall effectiveness. But the consensus from pool owners is that the reducers do work and can save a lot of time and money from draining and refilling the pool.
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How To Test Cyanuric Acid Levels
How does one test for cyanuric acid?
Testing for cyanuric acid is as simple as carrying out your regular pool water testing. Most pool water test kits, such as test strips and liquid test kits, test for CYA levels in addition to other essential levels such as Free Chlorine , Total Chlorine , Alkalinity and pH levels.
If you dont have a pool water test kit , you can also take a sample of pool water to your pool store for testing.
Its not necessary to test CYA too regularly. But you may as well keep an eye on it when you perform your other water testing you should be doing that at least once a week.
And if youve had a lot of rain, loss of water levels, topped up the pool water or recently added CYA or used a stabilised chlorine product, youll want to test the levels to make sure they correct.
Do I Need Cyanuric Acid In An Indoor Pool
Cyanuric acid helps prevent chlorine from breaking down in the suns UV rays. If you have an indoor pool that is not exposed to sunlight, you do not need to use CYA.
Cyanuric acid does not evaporate like other chemicals and too much CYA in the water can inhibit your chlorines ability as a sanitizer. In fact, the CDC has limited CYA levels to 15 ppm in public pools.
But if you have an indoor pool and it receives some UV ray exposure, and your chlorine levels keep dropping, you may want to consider maintaining a low level of CYA.
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