Introduction to Cyanuric Acid
Behind every glowing and a fresh smelling swimming pool is a highly dedicated owner who takes his/her maintenance tasks seriously. Keeping a pool clean involves the use of lots of chemicals and equipment. You need a compound to get rid of the algae, another one to sanitize your water, another one to balance the water and other chemicals to promote the function of yet another compound. Yes, this is really complicated and tiresome, but it is the price you have to pay to enjoy a refreshing time at your pool.
An excellent example of a useful chemical used to aid with the performance of another compound is Cyanuric acid. This chemical is a pool stabilizer used in stabilizing the chlorine added in your pool. By doing so, cyanuric acid makes sure that the chlorine lasts for a long time in the pool thus keeping your water clean for extended periods.
The following information should help you understand the crucial role played by this compound and why you cannot afford not to use it.
What is Cyanuric Acid?
Cyanuric acid or CYA is a known pool conditioner/stabilizer or a chlorine stabilizer that falls under a group of chemicals known as triazine. These are compounds that contain three carbon atoms and three nitrogen atoms.
This chemical is usually available in either granule or liquid form both of which work pretty well to keep your water sparkling clean. In some cases, you can have the acid mixed with a chlorine shock forming a compound known as dichlor, or it is combined with chlorine sticks or tablets making a trichlor. These compounds are known as stabilized chlorine. Most pool owners prefer buying these products because the chlorine comes readily stabilized and hence you won’t have to go through the headache of measuring and balancing the chemicals yourself.
Why is Cyanuric Acid Important?
To fully understand why you need this chemical in your pool, you need to know the types of chlorine contained in a pool and how they are affected by sun and other factors.
Typically, a pool contains three types of chlorine; free, combined and total chlorine.
- Free chlorine is the chlorine that’s available for cleaning your pool. Your pool can either get this sanitizer from the chlorine that you add directly or from a salt water chlorinator.
- Combined chlorine is the end product of the sanitizer that has just been used to kill algae, bacteria and other contaminants in your pool.
- Total Chlorine is a combination of both the free and the combined chlorine. This gives the summary figure of all the chlorine contained in your pool.
When you add chlorine into your pool, it starts working on all the algae and bacteria in the pool right away. While this is happening, UV rays from the sun also start breaking down chlorine to sodium hypochlorite ions. This causes some chlorine to evaporate from the pool thus reducing the amount of free chlorine available. Data shows us that on average, UV rays can reduce the amount of free chlorine in your pool by 50% within 17 minutes! This is just crazy, and the figures can get even worse for people living in extremely hot areas. 17 minutes alone isn’t even enough to clean your pool effectively and hence you could lose all the free chlorine in your pool in less than one hour while your pool is still contaminated. You can quickly end up wasting your time and money buying loads of chlorine without seeing any results.
Cyanuric Acid is the solution to this problem. This chemical helps to increase the lifespan of chlorine in your pool. It helps to fight the evaporation of hypochlorite ions in a fascinating way. Once the chlorine in your pool has been broken down to hypochlorite ions, Cyanuric Acid binds onto these ions thus keeping them within the pool for a bit longer, and this gives the sanitizer enough time to utilize the free chlorine available in getting rid of algae and bacteria. With the product in your pool, you can extend the presence of free chlorine by up to six times! This leaves your pool looking clean while also saving you loads of cash that you can use on other vital investments.
Controlling Cyanuric Acid Levels
According to the world health organization, a swimming pool should never exceed 100ppm (parts per million) of cyanuric acid. High levels of these chemicals won’t make your pool any cleaner. Instead, they can become dangerous especially if swimmer ingests some of the water. Too much of it will also render all the chlorine useless. We usually urge pool owners to keep their Cyanuric Acid levels at 50ppm. This is enough to stabilize chlorine without leaving the pool users with adverse reactions.
What happens when Cyanuric Acid levels go past the recommended 100ppm?
To solve this problem, you need to identify the source. You’ll have to check whether you’ve been using stabilized chlorine without your knowledge or if you have been using other chemicals that contain the acid. It’s also possible that you just forgot and put too much of the stabilizer. After identifying the problem, you will need to check how high the levels of CYA are. If they are slightly high, then you can solve the problem by draining a bit of the pool water and replacing it with fresh water. If there is too much Cyanuric Acid, you’ll have to empty the whole pool and fill it up again!
In some cases, high levels of Cyanuric Acid are due to extracts of the chemical getting trapped within your filtration system over time. The compound can also get trapped on calcium scale or pool plaster. If you drain your pool, refill it and realize that there is still too much product in your pool, then one or both of the explanations above could be the reason behind it. The solution here is to backwash your filtration system or to find a way of brushing or covering the pool plaster.
What happens when there is too little Cyanuric acid in the pool?
This is a much easier problem to deal with. All you need to do is to add stabilized chlorine into the water, but this should only be done if the pool is also in need of chlorine. Otherwise, you will need to add the acid separately. The good thing about adding cyanuric acid separately is that you only need to be done it once or twice every year.
When adding Cyanuric Acid directly, you have to be keen to avoid damaging your filtration system or the vinyl liner. To prevent these issue, we encourage you to use warm water, a bucket, safety gloves, and goggles when adding the acid. Start by filling the bucket halfway with the warm water and then add the acid after calculating how much is needed. A 10,000-gallon pool needs 4.1lbs of CYA to get 10ppm of CYA. Use this information to estimate how many pounds of Cyanuric Acid your pool needs.
Conclusively, cyanuric acid is essential for your pool. This chemical helps to keep money in your pocket while ensuring that your family and friends can enjoy a safe and healthy swimming pool.