The Definitive Guide to Using Cyanuric Acid I

It takes a combination of chemicals to keep your pool clean and swimmable. You need something to sanitize your water, something to balance it, something to keep algae from forming, possibly something to control metal content, and maybe a couple more, depending on your location and pool type.

But sometimes just adding a chemical isn’t enough. You also need to ensure that chemical can do their job properly by adding a sort of “assistant” chemical.

One of those chemicals is cyanuric acid. Its sole function is to stabilize the chlorine in your pool so the sanitizer lasts longer, thereby keeping your water clean longer.

But what exactly is it, and why do you need it to help chlorine do its job?

What is Cyanuric Acid?

Before you start pouring things into your pool just because we told you to, you’d probably like to know what exactly this stuff is, right? Let’s take you back to high school chemistry for a quick second, except this time no pop quizzes—we promise.

Cyanuric acid is a type of chemical compound called a triazine, which simply means it contains three nitrogen atoms and three carbon atoms. Other triazines include polyurethane resins, herbicides, and disinfectants. Cyanuric acid is a precursor to those, meaning what you put in your pool is not the same substance you use to kill dandelions in your driveway.

Cyanuric acid is sometimes abbreviated as CYA, and it’s also called pool conditioner or pool stabilizer. It’s sold in liquid or granule form. You can even get it mixed in with chlorine tablets or sticks, called trichlor, and in chlorine shock, called dichlor.

These combination products are referred to as stabilized chlorine because the stabilizer is mixed right in with the sanitizer, saving you the trouble of measuring and adding them separately.

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. It’s present when you add chlorine directly to your water, or when it’s created by a salt water chlorinator. Whichever way it gets there, it’s necessary for safe, sanitary swimming.

Combined chlorine is the amount of sanitizer that’s 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 pool—the sum of free and combined chlorine.

When you put chlorine into your pool water, it transforms into sodium hypochlorite ions. When ultraviolet (UV) 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.

Post time: Feb-02-2021
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