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Cyanuric acid is a harsh compound used for various industrial processes. However, it’s best known for its use in outdoor swimming pools since it helps lower pH levels. 

It’s commonly sold as a “pool conditioner” since it’s essential to balance the chemistry of the water. It also stabilizes chlorine and prevents bacteria from developing in the water and causing diseases. 

Testing and applying this acidic compound can seem complicated on the surface. But we created this guide to help you navigate the more difficult parts. Once you get your acid and pH levels balanced, keeping your pool clean becomes more manageable. 

Why Should You Use Cyanuric Acid in Your Swimming Pool? 

Cyanuric acid is a complex acidic compound. While some swimming pool supply stores sell it as cyanuric acid, it’s also called chlorine stabilizer or pool conditioner. 

This acidic compound compliments the pool water chemistry and helps clean the water. Cyanuric acid compliments the pool’s chlorine, making it more potent and long-lasting.

Using cyanuric acid in your pool will help enhance the potency of your chlorine. It blocks UV rays, which have the effect of depleting chlorine from pools

Most estimates state that UV rays can deplete up to half the chlorine in your pool after 12 hours. This rate can be even more exacerbated if you have a saltwater pool or live in a warm, sunny region. 

Cyanuric acid effectively cuts the damage caused by the sun’s UV rays and preserves your pool’s chlorine. This can help keep your pool clean and prevent algae development.

How to Add Cyanuric Acid to Your Swimming Pool? 

The first step to adding cyanuric acid to your pool is to test the water’s acid levels. The ideal levels are between 30-50 parts per million. Once you determine your acidic levels, you need to prep your CYA to add to your pool. 

This is how to prep the acid for your swimming pool: 

  • Add warm water to a 5-10 gallon bucket
  • Wear protective gear (goggles and rubber gloves)
  • Add cyanuric acid
  • Pour in the skimmer
  • Run the pump for 6-8 hours 

Running your pump will integrate the acid into your pool water so it won’t accumulate on the pool bottom. Test your pool levels within the next 24 hours to ensure your water is balanced properly. 

What Lowers the Cyanuric Acid Levels in Your Pool? 

Cyanuric acid does not deplete over time, unlike chlorine. This means your pool should have similar cyanuric acid levels month-by-month. 

However, your levels can decrease if you add fresh water to your pool or experience heavy rain. The cyanuric acid lowers once the old treated water is displaced with new untreated water. 

To avoid adding too much cyanuric acid to your swimming pool, test the water before adding more. Your pool’s cyanuric levels should be between 30-50 parts per million. If your readings indicate the levels are above 100, then you should drain some of the water out and add fresh, untreated water. 

Covering your pool when you’re not using it will help maintain proper chlorine and cyanuric levels. Since the UV rays deplete unstabilized chlorine, you’ll need to constantly add more stabilizer and chlorine to counteract the loss. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep your pool covered and use stabilized chlorine. 

How Much Cyanuric Acid Should You Add to Your Pool? 

You shouldn’t have to add cyanuric acid more than twice per year. The amount you add varies depending on the current levels in your pool water. 

We already established that anywhere between 30-50 ppm is ideal. However, you’ll need to add more cyanuric acid if your reading says 7ppm than if they say 15ppm.

The easiest way to determine exactly how much to add is to check the manufacturer’s directions. Most chlorine stabilizers have measurements on their packaging explaining how much to add. 

To add cyanuric acid to your pool, start with the following supplies: 

  • Cyanuric acid (or chlorine stabilizer)
  • Large bucket (ideally 5-10 gallons)
  • Safety gloves 
  • Safety goggles 
  • Warm water

Always wear protective gear when handling abrasive chemicals like cyanuric acid. Next, add the warm water to your bucket until it’s half full. Gradually add the chlorine stabilizer to the water. 

Specific dosing varies depending on the brand. But most require approximately 13oz to raise cyanuric acid levels by ten ppm for every 10,000 gallons of water. 

If you have a 15,000-gallon pool, you’ll need approximately 20oz of cyanuric acid to raise the levels by ten ppm. 

Where is the Best Place to Add Cyanuric Acid in Your Pool?

There are two main ways to add cyanuric acid to your pool, depending on the type of stabilizer you purchase. Liquid stabilizer dissolves much quicker than powdered stabilizer and thus can be added directly to the water. 

Once you add this to your water, use a skimmer or pool broom to stir it into the water. 

We don’t recommend adding granular cyanuric acid directly to the pool. Rather it’s wiser to add this to the skimmer to it can be distributed evenly through the water. This will prevent it from accumulating on the bottom of the pool. 

Do You Have to Dilute Cyanuric Acid Before Using It? 

You should dilute cyanuric acid in water before adding it to your pool water. This is especially true if you use granular acid because it won’t dissolve properly in the pool. 

Keep the pool pump running for 4-6 hours to encourage the cyanuric acid to dissolve fully. 

How Do You Know if Your Pool Needs More Cyanuric Acid? 

Raising your cyanuric acid is necessary if you notice your chlorine is no longer keeping your water clear. You should add more if the pool liner feels slimy, the water’s cloudy, or you test the levels, and it reads below 20-50 ppm.

You should add chlorine stabilizer to keep the chlorine tablets working properly. This will keep your pool chemistry balanced and the water fresh.

How Do You Know if Your Pool Has High Cyanuric Acid Levels?

The best way to check your cyanuric acid levels is to use test strips to check the acidic levels. You should check your pool water chemistry about once a week to determine if the levels are balanced.

If your pool’s cyanuric acid levels are above 70-100 ppm, it can interfere with your pool’s chlorine levels. This can cause the water to look cloudy or feel slimy since it won’t have the proper potency.

Is it Dangerous For Your Pool to Have High Levels of Cyanuric Acid?

It can be dangerous to your health and your pool’s stability for the cyanuric acid levels to be off balance. Cyanuric acid enables chlorine to keep algae and bacteria out of the water. If the cyanuric acid is too low or too high, it interferes with the efficacy of the chlorine.

Improperly balanced chlorine levels can cause bacteria to build up dangerously in your swimming pool. This can cause things such as swimming-related illnesses to develop. These are typically ear, throat, and eye infections resulting from contact with dangerous bacteria in the water.

A high cyanuric acid level can also damage your pool long term. Since it’s an acidic compound, it can damage any metal touching the water and potentially weaken the pool liner.

How Do You Lower The Pool’s Cyanuric Acid Level?

The most effective way to lower your pool water cyanuric acid levels is to add fresh water. This will help bring the cyanuric acid in the pool water back to appropriate levels.

Alternatively, you can add chemical cyanuric acid reducers. These cyanuric acid reducers are designed to react with cyanuric acid and reduce its effectiveness. 

This will lower cyanuric acid in your pool. But if you drain your pool, it’s much more effective and quick, but it wastes more water.

Is Cyanuric Acid Dangerous?

Cyanuric acid is ranked as moderately dangerous on most product warning labels. This makes it dangerous to handle with your bare hands. But it’s not as dangerous as some abrasive materials like hydrochloric acid.

You should always wear thick rubber gloves and protective goggles when handling it. While most cyanuric acids sold at the local pool store are not highly dangerous, they can burn your skin.

Never hold them with your bare hands, and avoid breathing in the fumes.

Conclusion

Stabilizing your chlorine levels is important to the safety of your pool. Not only will it keep your pool looking sharp and clean, but it will also protect the health of those in the water.

Cyanuric acid is an important part of the effectiveness of chlorine. It keeps it balanced and prevents the sun’s UV rays from depleting it before it purifies the water.

Using chlorine stabilizers will help keep your pool clean and safe for all who use it.

Commonly Asked Questions About Cyanuric acid

Is Stabilized chlorine the Same as Cyanuric acid?

Stabilized chlorine is the same as cyanuric acid. However, cyanuric acid does not normally include chlorine.

Stabilized chlorine is chlorine with the acid added to it. This prevents the sun’s UV rays from depleting and saves you the time of having to add cyanuric acid later.

Does An Outdoor Pool Need More Cyanuric Acid Than an Indoor Pool?

An indoor pool does not require cyanuric acid unless it’s exposed to the sun’s UV rays. You should avoid using stabilized chlorine in your pool indoors since it can cause an imbalance of chemicals.

Outdoor pools must have cyanuric acid to keep the chlorine working properly. However, this does not apply to hot tubs or jacuzzis, even if they’re outdoors. This is because hot tubs are more prone to preserve the cyanuric acid and thus lead to a chemical imbalance.

Is Cyanuric Acid The Same as Baking Soda?

Baking soda is not the same as cyanuric acid. Baking soda is a base compound, meaning it raises the overall alkalinity of the water. Cyanuric acid raises the acidity of the water.

What Else is Cyanuric Acid Used For?

Some common uses of cyanuric acid include several industrial processes, such as:

  • Electrical wiring
  • Plastic production
  • Resin
  • Flame resistance

It’s primarily used for cleaning pools but also serves as a key ingredient in creating sealants.

Does Cyanuric Acid Affect Pool pH?

Cyanuric acid lowers the pH of swimming pools. Adding it directly to your pool pump is the most effective way of distributing it in your pool and lowering pH levels.