Pool Stabilizer: What It Is & How to Use It
Owning a pool is always an important goal for many homeowners. However, it also comes with a lot of work and requires a massive investment to maintain as you need to keep adding chemicals like chlorine to kill germs and minimize the risk of waterborne diseases.
In reality, the main reason you need to keep adding more chlorine to your pool is that the sun consumes over 90% of any unstabilized chlorine in the pool in just a couple of hours. Hence it is vital to minimize the loss of chlorine by using a pool stabilizer.
A pool stabilizer helps you save money and time while ensuring the pool water is always safe for swimmers. Therefore, it is essential to know what pool stabilizers are all about if you own a pool.
What is Pool Stabilizer?
A pool stabilizer or cyanuric acid (CYA) is a compound that helps stabilize chlorine to minimize the sun’s UV rays’ effects on it, hence ensuring it lasts longer on the pool.
When the sun hits the water in your pool, it leads to a chemical reaction that leads to the breakdown of chlorine. A pool stabilizer helps prevent or slow down this chemical reaction so that chlorine remains helpful in the pool much longer.
The chemical formula of cyanuric acid is C3H3N3O3 (CNOH)₃. When you add it to the pool water, it binds to chlorite ions in the chlorine to make it hard for the sun to break down chlorine.
You can get cyanuric acid in both liquid and granule form. Also, this pool stabilizer sometimes comes mixed in chlorine sticks or tablets, and most swimming pool chlorine products will include it as part of the ingredients.
It is also worth noting pool stabilizers also go by other names like pool conditioner and chlorine stabilizer to avoid confusion when shopping.
How Much Pool Stabilizer is Enough?
The size of your pool determines the amount of pool stabilizer you will need. However, it also depends on the actual product you are using, given the difference in concentration levels. However, for most products, you will need around 1 pound for every 3,000 gallons of water.
A standard pool’s ideal cyanuric acid concentration is between 30 and 50 ppm (parts per million). According to the WHO, it should never exceed 100 ppm. Anything above this poses significant health risks.
It is vital to keep in mind that adding too much stabilizer is as bad as not having any as it affects the effectiveness of chlorine in cleaning water.
You can easily measure the cyanuric levels using a kit like the Varify Pool and Spa Test Strips to ensure you always keep them at the optimal level.
How to Adjust Pool Stabilizer?
When the pool stabilizer levels are not within the recommended 30 to 50 ppm range, you need to intervene, and here is what to do depending on the actual level.
When It is Too High
When you find too much cyanuric acid in the pool, the best way to deal with the problem is to dilute the pool with fresh water.
Although there are CYA reducer chemicals in the market, there is insufficient research on their effectiveness. Therefore, you are better off just diluting the pool water.
It is important to note that having too much CYA leads to chlorine lock, which is where the chlorine in the water is not doing its job. Since this compound will not just deplete on its own or evaporate, you need to balance out things.
When It is Too Low
If your CYA test shows very little pool stabilizer in the pool, you need to add more to raise the level.
In many instances, you will hardly ever need to add any more pool stabilizer after the initial dose as the season is starting. But, when you have to do it, make sure you calculate the exact ppm to determine how much more you need to ensure you do not add too much.
When adding the pool stabilizer, start by mixing it with water in a bucket and then pour it around the pool’s edges. Give it at least 1 day before retesting the levels again.
Benefits of Pool Stabilizer
1. Saves you Money
Chlorine is one of the most expensive items required for swimming pool maintenance, given how fast you go through it as you try to keep your pool in the best shape.
However, you can save money with a pool stabilizer as you will not need to buy as much chlorine. Remember that most of the chlorine will get lost through breakdown by the sun. Therefore, simply using a stabilizer to prove this can save you money.
2. Eliminates the Need to Keep Adding More Chlorine
Besides taking out things like debris and other kinds of dirt that you can see, a lot of the work involved in maintaining a pool entails adding more chlorine.
Using a pool stabilizer eliminates the need to keep adding fresh chlorine, making pool maintenance much easier for you.
3. Contributes to Keeping Pool Clean and Healthy
Although chlorine keeps the pool clean by killing diseases causing germs and pathogens, a pool stabilizer also plays a crucial role by ensuring the chlorine maintains its effectiveness.
When to Use Pool Stabilizer
- If you find that you are using way too much chlorine on your pool as the levels keep dropping fast.
- When you are planning to shock the swimming pool for any reason, it is essential also to remember to add a pool stabilizer.
- Also, pool stabilizers will be vital for those with swimming pools exposed to direct sunlight.
When not to Use Pool Stabilizer
- If you have an indoor pool, it is unnecessary since the swimming pool will not be under direct sunlight.
- Those that treat their pools with stabilized chlorine do not need stabilizers because CYA levels will typically be within the required levels
- Also, avoid using stabilizers on pools that have not been in use for a long time. It is essential you first test the CYA levels in the water.
- Pool stabilizer will not be necessary if you use bromine in your pool, which is more common for Jacuzzis and indoor pools.
How to Use Pool Stabilizer
Step 1: Wear Protective Gear
It is essential to always start by wearing protective gear when dealing with any pool chemicals. It will help if you have at least gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes.
Step 2: Dissolves CYA in Warm Water
Next, add some warm water to a bucket and dissolve the pool stabilizer. Here the actual ratio of water to the pool stabilizer depends on the specific products you are using. However, most manufacturers will provide clear directions on the exact proportions to use.
Step 3: Add the Mixture to the Pool
Once the pool stabilizer is dissolved and mixed, you should pour it directly into the pool around the edges making sure you cover the entire perimeter. Also, you can pour the mixture into the skimmer and run the pump for a while to distribute it evenly.
Step 4: Measure CYA Levels After 24 Hours
The last step is to allow enough time for the CYA to mix with the water before measuring the levels. 24 hours is often enough, and if the levels are still low, you should repeat the steps above. However, if you have added too much, you have to dilute the pool water.
Pool stabilizer or cyanuric acid plays a crucial role in keeping your pool water clean and sanitized by ensuring chlorine does not break down quickly under the sun.
If you have an outdoor pool, the chances are that you will need to use a pool stabilizer at some point. Therefore, it is crucial to know the right amount to use, when to add it, and how to use it correctly to ensure that your pool is always in pristine condition.