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
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.
Why Low Cyanuric Acid Is Bad News
Yes, cyanuric really is that important. Heres what low CYA in the water will do to your pool water:
- Increased chlorine consumption. Chlorine is naturally destroyed by sunlight, and an entire pools worth can be decimated in a matter of hours. Low CYA levels wont adequately protect it, which means youll be constantly feeding the pool more chlorine to keep it sanitized.
- With chlorine becoming less present in the pool due to sunlight consuming it, sanitation suffers. This allows pollutants, viruses, and bacterias in the water to take up space and even replicate.
- Green pool problems.A green pool is caused by a lack of clean water, which leads to algae growth. Depending on your situation, you can also develop pink slime or black algae, both of which leave your pool a nasty shade of ugh!
- Water chemistry imbalance. With low CYA not protecting chlorine, the chlorine level drops. This drop makes it inadequate for keeping the water clean, causing a chain reaction that affects other areas of the water chemistry such as the pools pH level and total alkalinity.
- Nasty pool smell. When free chlorine binds to ammonia pollutants such as sunblock, sweat, and urine in the water, it becomes combined chlorine . Not only is this form of chlorine a much less effective sanitizer, it also kicks up a pungent chlorine smell.
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The Bottom Line On Cya And Your Pool
Pool care means keeping your levels balanced, including pH, sanitizer, and CYA. Chlorine is vulnerable to the sun, and CYA can protect it, but the trade-off is lower efficacy of your chlorine.
Striking the right balance, starting around 50 ppm and never over 100 ppm, is essential.
If levels in your pool are too low, under 30 ppm, youll need to get a lot of chlorine to adjust. If theyre too high, youre going to need to dilute them, by at least partially draining and refilling your pool.
Your familys healthy use of your pool depends on your sanitizer, stabilizer, and pH working together to keep your water safe and clear.
What Levels Of Cyanuric Acid Are Optimal
Even a small amount of cyanuric acid is good for your pool, so if youre afraid of going overboard, you can opt for adding trace amounts.
But the optimum level is considered 30-50 ppm .
Any higher and it will keep the chlorine from being killed by the sun, but it will lose virtually all effectiveness in killing bacteria.
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Use A Stabilizer Only If Necessary
If possible, always avoid stabilizers unless you have an outdoor pool in a hot and humid climate. Stabilizer is mainly used to help keep free chlorine stable by protecting it from exhaustion by sunlight and high water temperatures. The recommended levels of a stabilizer is between 40 and 80 ppm for saltwater pools.
The correct value of cyanuric may also differ with geographic locations, depending on temperature and how much sunlight is available during the day. This explains why a saltwater pool in Canada will need between 40 and 60 ppm and one in the USA may need up to 80 ppm of cyanuric acid during the summer. Also, the amount of cyanuric acid you need will depend on the amount of free available chlorine. Very high levels of cyanuric acid will reduce the levels of free chlorine; you can use the CYA/Chlorine chart linked above to determine the correct level to add at given level of free chlorine.
Shocking Your Pool When Using The Clear Comfort System
When shocking your pool with a Clear Comfort system it is important to understand when and how much shock you will need to use for best results. It is also important to know when your pool is chlorine free and safe to swim.;Only shock the pool as needed this will be the case during the hot summer months or during periods of high use. During winter months or low bather load periods, the Clear Comfort system alone will keep your pool clear and clean without shock.
Only shock at dusk or night and leave the cover off. ;Ensure your pH is in the appropriate range of 7.2-7.4. ;It is important to run pump and filter the water for one hour after shocking the pool and vacuum the debris that falls to the pool floor after the shock the following morning.
For residential pools, measure the cyanuric acid level prior to shocking your pool as cyanuric acid will hold onto the chlorine delivered by shock. ;Add chlorine shock, in the form of calcium hypochlorite or bleach, and allow chlorine to dissipate overnight while no one is swimming. By morning, chlorine will be gone allowing you to swim in a chlorine free pool.
This can only be achieved with little or no cyanuric acid in the water. ;High levels of cyanuric acid will not allow for chlorine levels to quickly dissipate back to zero. If there is a high level of cyanuric acid in the pool water , use sodium monopersulfate as the shock of choice.
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Ph Rise In A Saltwater Pool
In a salt pool, when electrolysis occurs , the products are hypochlorous acid, which is very acidic , and sodium hydroxide which is very basic. However, the acids and bases created by your salt cell will neutralize each other with very little net pH change.
The pH rise noticed by some salt chlorinator users may be a result of the outgassing of carbon dioxide, as water is agitated through the salt cell with hydrogen production.
A simpler answer is that Trichlor tablets, which have a very low pH, tends to suppress pH levels, or drive them lower over time, and in their absence, pH levels will naturally drift higher.
How To Use Cyanuric Acid And Muriatic Acid To Your Advantage
Maintaining your pools cleanliness is important. Apart from the cleanliness, the acidity level of your pools should be kept stabilized. Most personal or industrial pools use certain chemicals to maintain both aspects. Commonly, chlorine is a chemical added in swimming pools. Adding chlorine is essential to help kill bacteria; however, it might harm swimmers.
Businesses that have swimming pools and Jacuzzis always keep an eye out on the chlorine levels present. Too little of the chemical wont help kill bacteria while too much may cause health issues. Some of the very common health issues would be the itchiness of the pool water. But just like any other chemical, its power degrades after a certain period or under certain circumstances. So, how do household or industries maintain the chlorines effectiveness?
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Can I Use Cyanuric Acid To Lower My Ph
Technically, CYA;is an acid, and is in the family of Sulfuric acid with a pH level of around 4.0. It will slightly reduce your pH level when added to the pool in measureable quantities, but may be hard to notice. So, no Cyanuric acid is best used for shielding your expensive chlorine from the sun but for lowering your pH, better to use Sodium Bisulfate.
Does Baking Soda Raise Cyanuric Acid
4.1/5baking sodabaking sodaraiseCYANURIC ACID
Baking Soda is used for raising the total alkalinity of the pool, which is the key to keeping the ph in balance. It’s not a stabilizer. That’s cyanuric acid.
Secondly, what does baking soda do to a pool? Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate is naturally alkaline, with a pH of 8. When you add baking soda to your pool water, you will raise both the pH and the alkalinity, improving stability and clarity. Many commercial pool products for raising alkalinity utilize baking soda as their main active ingredient.
In this way, how does baking soda raise your pH?
To take baking soda internally, mix ½ to 1 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink periodically throughout the day . You want to get your pH to a range between 7.35 and 7.45, which you can test using urine strips or a blood test.
What raises cyanuric acid in a pool?
Use test kits or strips designed to measure cyanuric acid, so you can determine how much acid to add to your pool. To significantly raise levels, dissolve powdered cyanuric acid or add a liquid version. You can also add stabilized chlorine for regular maintenance.
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Draining Your Pool Is A Distant Memory
In 2015, a revolutionary product was introduced to the pool industry. It is called Cyanuric Acid Reducer. Bio-Active Products Inc developed this outstanding product in partnership with BiOWiSH Technologies. As the name would suggest, Cyanuric Acid Reducer reduces cyanuric acid without draining your pool.
Bio-Active Cyanuric Acid Reducer is a naturally-biodegradable product that works safely in your pool to reduce cyanuric acid levels. It has been designed to specifically to lower the levels cyanuric acid levels in pools with more than 100ppm. And it never leaves residue that affects swimmers or plumbing.
The Relationship Of Ph Chlorine And Cyanuric Acid Levels
If your pH goes down, the effectiveness of your chlorine goes up. This is commonly understood. But in the presence of cyanuric acid, the relationship between pH and chlorine is substantially altered.; For example, if your pool maintains a pH of 7.2, about 63 percent of the chlorine is in its active form. If you introduce just 30 ppm of cyanuric acid to the pool, this drops to 1.6 percent of the chlorine being in its active form.
Depending on the size of a pool and jurisdiction, public pools have regulated limits for cyanuric levels of 40-100 ppm to prevent problems from over chlorination or unbalanced pH. Although cyanuric acid offers a low level of toxicity without any serious health concerns, having high-levels of this chemical in a pool puts people at risk because of the chlorines diminished ability to kill bacteria and viruses. In Florida, the Department of Health states that a pools cyanuric levels may not exceed 100ppm to prevent gastrointestinal illness, skin rashes, and other diseases.
Despite these ongoing issues, the industry has never found a cost-effective solution and environmentally safe way to remedy this problem.
On top of the pool chemistry problems, draining your pool presents environmental hazards:
If you were able to manage the levels of cyanuric acid in your swimming pool without draining it all these issues could be avoided.
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A Guide To Pool Shock
Pool shock is a great tool for keeping your pools chemistry balanced, and it is the best way to eliminate algae and return you water to pristine condition.;When done at a regular frequency during the summer and high bather load months it is also a helpful and proactive way to retain a minimal level of chemical exposure to you, your family and, if you are a commercial facility, your staff and patrons.
Assess Free Available Chlorine
Monitor free chlorine levels by testing and adjusting on a regular basis. The recommended free chlorine levels should always be between 2-5 ppm, depending on the level of cyanuric acid in the pool as indicated in this chlorine/CYA chart.
Low salinity levels reduce free chlorine. If your free chlorine falls below the recommended levels, you need to measure salinity and increase it if it is below the recommended levels before even thinking of adding chlorine shock in the pool.
Very low salinity levels may bring down your available free chlorine to 0 ppm, which will almost certainly encourage algae to thrive.
Apart from low salinity levels, low free chlorine can be caused by:
- Calcium buildup on the salt cell
- An expired cell
- Excess stabilizer
- Poor circulation
If the salinity and everything mentioned above is just fine, but free chlorine is too low, this may be the result of heavy pool usage and you may need to add a small amount of regular chlorine .
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Chlorine Works More Slowly
Even a small amount of cyanuric acid makes chlorine work more slowly. Similar to the point we made above, however, this exchange is generally worth it because the chlorine sticks around longer.
When chlorine isnt effective, you will notice that the water becomes cloudy and more bacteria will build up. The issue, then, becomes finding a way to keep the amount of cyanuric acid in your pool at the correct level.
Why Use Cyanuric Acid
CYA plays an important role in your pool, but before you can fully appreciate what it does, you need to know a little bit about how the sun affects chlorine. Your pool contains three types of chlorine: total, free, and combined.
Free chlorine is the amount of sanitizer available to clean your pool water. Its present when you add chlorine directly to your water, or when its created by a salt water chlorinator. Whichever way it gets there, its necessary for safe, sanitary swimming.
Combined chlorine is the amount of sanitizer thats been used up killing bacteria and other nasty stuff in your water.
Total chlorine is, as the name suggests, the total amount of sanitizer in your poolthe sum of free and combined chlorine.
When you put chlorine into your pool water, it transforms into sodium hypochlorite ions. When ultraviolet rays from the sun hit those ions, they break apart. The chlorine part evaporates, leaving very little free chlorine in your pool water.
In fact, within 17 minutes of exposure to UV rays, half of your free chlorine will be gone.
In addition, for chlorine to destroy contaminants for the same amount of time without CYA, you would need as much as eight times more chlorine than if you added CYA. Right there, adding cyanuric acid to your pool can save you a lot of money.
Unless you want to take out a second mortgage to pay for truckloads of chlorine to add to your pool every hour, add some cyanuric acid to help you get a little more life out of your sanitizer.
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How Much Stabilizer Does Your Pool Need
Opinions vary a little among experts about the proper level of CYA a pool should have, but as a general rule, it should not dip below 30 ppm or rise above 50 ppm.
Some experts argue that it will be okay up to 80 ppm, but I disagree.
Most of the time, levels above 50 ppm cause chlorine lock, which is where you have added plenty of chlorine but your tests are reading 0.
You’ll still need to monitor your available chlorine levels with your chlorine stabilizer at 50 ppm or lower; you can do this with consistent water testing.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your sanitizer levels at round 7.5 percent of your stabilizer. So, doing the quick math, if your pool conditioner is 50 ppm, you should shoot for free chlorine levels between 3 ppm and 4 ppm.
You should use about 4 lbs of CYA per 10,000 gallons of water for every 30 ppm it needs to be raised. Some product instructions vary, though, so be sure to read the label for proper dosage.;
Most of the time, you will need to add CYA at the beginning of swim season and wont have to mess with it much after that.;
P.S. this handy little calculator helps with dosage calculations for your pool chemicals.;