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What is Cyanuric Acid and How Does It Affect My Swimming Pool Water?

One of the most common chemicals used for the prevention of chlorine loss in swimming pools is Cyanuric Acid (also called CYA, Conditioner, or Stabilizer); it protects the free chlorine from being destroyed by the sun ultraviolet rays. Because of this, cyanuric acid can help reduce the cost of maintaining a safe and clean swimming pool.

Proper Levels Areas exposed to high levels of sunlight should maintain 40-60 ppm (parts per million). Once CYA reaches 90 it will drastically reduce the effectiveness of your chlorine. The typical ratio of chlorine to CYA is 1-10, meaning if your CYA is 40 you will need your chlorine to be 4.0.

What If Too Much CYA Is Present? What could happen when you have high levels of cyanuric acid? The first issue would be the efficacy (effectiveness) of the chlorine to act as a disinfectant. Higher levels will bind with the chlorine (Chlorine Lock), making it slower acting to kill bacteria and micro-organisms, and prevent algae. You will typically experience Yellow Algae in the spring and fall and cloudiness in the pool water. When Algae is present pool owners typically shock the pool with more chlorine which contains stabilizer. This can make the situation worse and cause extreme frustration when the pool doesn’t clear up. High CYA will increase the cost of chemicals required to sanitize your pool.