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Balance is one of the most important parts of pool chemistry. You want your pH, acidity, and alkalinity levels right so your water isn’t contaminated with bacteria and algae. Most don’t realize how vital proper cyanuric acid levels are to pool health, though!

Cyanuric acid keeps your chlorine working well and prevents it from being destroyed by the sun’s radiation. If these levels are too high or too low, it can prevent your chlorine from doing its job.

Adding a chlorine pool stabilizer can keep all your sanitizers working efficiently. If you want to know more about how to add pool stabilizer to your pool, keep reading.

What Exactly is Pool Stabilizer? 

A pool stabilizer is a compound used in pool water to regulate your swimming pool’s chlorine levels. Without stabilizers, your pool will lose more than half of the chlorine in the water in under an hour.

Chlorine can’t resist the sun’s UV rays. Ultraviolet rays can break down the molecular bonds of the chlorine in the water, making it evaporate with the pool’s water.

Using a stabilizer in your pool will protect your pool’s chlorine, but it will also slow down its efficacy. Most pool shock treatments don’t have stabilizers, and pool owners should to add pool shock in the evening at sunset.

However, some shock contains stabilized chlorine, known as dichlor, making them safe to use during the day. Unstabilized chlorine is faster-acting and more potent, so specific shock treatments don’t contain stabilized chlorine, known as calcium-hypochlorite.

How Does Pool Stabilizer Protect Your Pool’s Chlorine Levels? 

Chlorine becomes hypochlorite ions in the water, susceptible to the sun’s UV rays. These UV rays break down these ions, causing them to be released into the air as gas when the water evaporates.

Pool stabilizer levels are an essential part of your pool’s chemistry balance. Most pool stabilizers contain an acidic compound called cyanuric acid. Cyanuric acid is a highly acidic and corrosive compound that’s a popular chlorine stabilizer.

Cyanuric acid binds to free chlorine in the pool’s water, creating a protective barrier against the sun’s rays. This allows the chlorine to be released into the pool water over time rather than all at once. This allows your pool to have a constant supply of chlorine that’s free from being destroyed by the sun’s light.

Your pool’s cyanuric acid levels indicate the overall chemical health of your pool water. It keeps the sanitizer levels safe, preventing bacteria and fungal spores from accumulating in the water.

Can Too Much Stabilizer Impact Pool Sanitizer? 

Too much stabilizer in your pool can impact how effectively your pool’s sanitizer, or chlorine, cleans the water. When your stabilizer is too high, it’s called creep. If your pool stabilizer levels creep, it can affect all of your other pool additives and chemicals.

Since the pool stabilizer binds with the pool’s chlorine, it impacts how well it binds to contaminants in the pool water. If your chlorine is not working correctly, it can impede how well it can kill bacteria in the water.

When your pool stabilizer levels are properly balanced, it enhances how your chlorine cleans your pool water. If the pool stabilizer levels are too high or too low, it can either bind your chlorine or insufficiently protect it against the sun’s rays.

There isn’t one single accepted stabilizer level by pool experts. However, most agree that the sweet spot is between 50-100 parts per million. Although, keeping your pool stabilizer levels at an even 50 is the best spot.

There’s enough pool stabilizer at 50 parts per million to keep your pool balanced. However, there’s not so much that your chlorine cannot bind with the contaminants in your pool water.

How Do You Add Stabilizer to Your Swimming Pool? 

You can add pool stabilizer in several ways, but generally, you can add it directly or in compound pool chemicals. Adding pure cyanuric acid to your pool is the fastest and most potent way to add a pool stabilizer to your pool.

If you need to boost your pool stabilizer levels quickly, pure cyanuric acid is the quickest and most effective method. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you might need to dissolve the cyanuric acid in warm water before adding it to your pool.

Pool owners should be careful when handling this compound since it’s very acidic. While it’s not as potent as acids, it can still burn your skin and eyes if it makes contact with them.

Wear protective gear whenever handling this chemical compound.

Other manufacturers will direct you to add cyanuric acid to your pool filter. The pool filter is one of the most effective ways to move the cyanuric acid in your water and evenly distribute it.

Alternatively, you can add chlorine with a stabilizer already added, which is called stabilized chlorine. This is the more straightforward way of increasing your pool stabilizer, but it may not be enough to significantly increase your levels and protect the chlorine molecules.

Make sure you know whether or not your chlorine is stabilized chlorine or not. If you’re unsure about this, check the manufacturer’s label and use test strips to determine your current pool levels. Otherwise, or else your pool stabilizer levels creep beyond the proper levels and impact your chlorine.

How Do You Know if Your Pool Water Needs Stabilizer?

Testing your pool with CYA stabilizer test strips is the best way to determine how much pool stabilizer to add to your pool. Although, if you don’t have test strips, there are other ways to decide if your pool needs stabilized chlorine or cyanuric acid.

If your pool is growing a lot of mold or algae, it could mean your chlorine isn’t cleaning the pool as it should. Many pool owners notice algae and mold developing in the corners of their pools, even after shocking their pool water. If you see continuous organic growth in your pool that won’t go away, your water’s cyanuric acid levels might be low.

Additionally, pools with low cyanuric acid levels often don’t break down bodily fluids correctly. If the pool is unbalanced, sweat, soap, and bodily oils will likely build up, making your pool look cloudy.

Before adding cyanuric acid, though, always utilize a test kit to determine the CYA level of your pool. You won’t want your pool to exceed the proper balance of cyanuric acid, or it can impact your pool’s sanitizer. If your pool is cloudy, the water smells bad, or you have a persistent algae issue, it’s time to pull out your test kit!

Is it Dangerous if Your Pool Experiences A lot of Chlorine Loss?

Having insufficient chlorine is bad for your pool and anyone in it. Since chlorine will kill bacteria and other dangerous elements, it’s crucial for keeping your water safe.

Pool stabilizer keeps your chlorine working right and prevents pools from becoming breeding grounds for germs. Pools with insufficient chlorine will likely have E. Coli and other bacteria that can harm your digestive tract.

Chlorine also keeps pools working properly and prevents mold and algae from forming in your pool systems. Chlorine breaks down minerals and calcium buildup in the water, preventing clogs in your pool pump and harm to your pool walls and floor.

Pool stabilizers keep your water safe and will protect your swimming pool from damage. An investment in a pool stabilizer is an investment in your future.


One of the easiest ways to stabilize your pool is to use stabilized chlorine. Stabilized chlorine products already contain a chemical additive that prevents the molecular bonds of chlorine from breaking down.

Using a chlorine stabilizer is a good idea when stabilized chlorine isn’t enough. To prevent algae and other contaminants from developing in your pool, always keep a stabilizer on hand!

If you want to learn more about the different kinds of pool chemicals, check out our article on chlorine vs. bromine!


Is Cyanuric Acid the Only Pool Stabilizer?

Cyanuric acid is the only pool stabilizer aside from a pool conditioner. However, even pool conditioner contains cyanuric acid since this is the most critical chemical additive. Without cyanuric acid, the chlorine stabilizer won’t work to prevent UV damage to your sanitizer.

Can You Use Muriatic Acid in Your Swimming Pool to Stabilize the Water?

No, muriatic acid cannot be substituted for cyanuric acid. Muriatic acid does help keep chlorine pools clean and balance pH levels, but it is not a chlorine stabilizer.

What Does it Mean to Have creep?

Creep refers to the ever-increasing levels of cyanuric acid in your swimming pool. Every time you add stabilizer to your pool, the levels increase. Unless there’s a leak or you add fresh water to your pool, the cyanuric acid levels will remain unchanged.

Is a High CYA Level Bad for Your Pool?

Yes, ironically, having a high CYA level in your pool can impact the effectiveness of your chlorine. Too much chlorine stabilizer can prevent the chlorine from breaking down and converting contaminants into gas.