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Conditioner Level and the Condition of Your Pool...

Many pool owners struggle with maintaining chlorine levels in their pools especially in our warm climate. Adding conditioner is one way to prevent the sun from burning off your chlorine.

Balancing the conditioner levels in your pool is very important. As with all your pool chemicals, if the conditioner level is not within a certain range, you will have problems in your pool. We wanted to take a look at conditioner and why you should properly balance the levels in your pool.

We've quoted an article by Nick Rancis on the website discussing high amounts of swimming pool conditioner, also known as stabilizer or cyanuric acid.


Cyanuric acid, as it’s name suggests, is an acid. Albeit a weak acid, it is commonly sold as white crystalline powder, which is able to dissolve in water and has little overall effect on a pool’s pH. It is commonly referred to as a chlorine stabilizer or conditioner, forming a weak and temporary bond with chlorine. This means it will chemically hold onto free chlorine in the water and protect it from the sun’s UV rays until the chlorine is consumed for oxidation or disinfection of material in the pool.

The primary benefit of cyanuric acid in pools

A chlorinated pool with cyanuric acid will remain chlorinated in direct sunlight, whereas without a stabilizer, chlorine will dissipate and leave the pool unprotected without free chlorine in a matter of hours. Most important, cyanuric acid will not be consumed in this helpful work and will, over time, start to build up in pool water.

Cyanuric acid is a miracle worker in many ways. It has allowed the typical homeowner, HOA and pool service professional to manage a pool’s water chemistry with less effort and with higher consistency. Allowing for weekly water maintenance instead of daily has created an opportunity for service companies to take care of more pools with less hassle and emergency house calls.

The point of this article is to investigate the importance of cyanuric measurement in keeping our pools clean and safe.

Consequences of a high cyanuric acid level

Chlorine’s potential to oxidize, often measured as oxidation reduction potential (ORP), is a good indicator of the effectiveness of chlorine to oxidize and sanitize swimming pool water.

Over the years, numerous independent and academic research has come to show that when cyanuric levels build up in the pool, ORP levels consistently drop indicating that the effectiveness of chlorine diminishes. In addition, there is a clear correlation to increased levels of cyanuric acid and the time it takes to effectively kill bacteria present in pool water. The chart below demonstrates the amount of time to kill 99 percent of bacteria at various levels of cyanuric acid and different levels of chlorine. Taking one example from the data, at cyanuric acid levels of 100 ppm, it takes 20 to 50 times the amount of time to kill 99 percent than at 0 ppm of cyanuric acid.

Furthermore, at high levels of cyanuric acid, chlorine is rendered ineffective in killing the most dangerous microorganisms in the water: Cryptosporidium parvum.

Moving forward

Responsible training and education on the benefits and misuse of cyanuric acid is critical. Poolside kits that can accurately test for cyanuric acid are available commercially although are underused or not used at all. Although more people are becoming aware of the consequences of high cyanuric levels, it is still not measured to the degree of other water constituents, like free chlorine.

What happens when your cyanuric acid level is too high? It is simple — the only reliable method to remove cyanuric acid from swimming pools is through draining/dilution or removal through reverse osmosis.


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