What is the relationship between chlorine and cyanuric acid?

The relationship between chlorine and cyanuric acid is extremely important to understand as a swimming pool owner. Having the proper amount of chlorine is extremely important in your swimming pool to keep it clear, blue and free of algae. With that said, the most common chemical used to prevent chlorine loss in swimming pools in cyanuric acid (CYA, stabilizer or conditioner). During our long, hot Las Vegas summer the sun’s ultraviolet rays destroy free chlorine but having the adequate amount of CYA in the swimming pool can prevent this from occurring. Knowing that we hope this post helps to explain what CYA is, why CYA is necessary but also what happens when CYA levels get higher than what is considered normal levels.

Simply put, CYA is known as a stabilizer for the chlorine in swimming pools exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight.  Its main function is to reduce the chlorine loss by protecting the free chlorine in the pool from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, reducing the amount of chlorine needed to maintain proper sanitizer levels.

As explained earlier chlorine is extremely important to have in the swimming pool to prevent algae growth but maintaining proper pH levels, phosphate levels, Total Alkalinity (TA) and Calcium Hardness levels are also important in maintaining crystal clear water for your swimming pool. The bottom line is, if cyanuric acid is used properly it can reduce the cost of maintaining a swimming pool because it prevents chlorine loss and reduces the amount of chlorine needed to properly sanitize a swimming pool.

So what is considered too much CYA and what problems does it cause?

Typically, the ideal amount of CYA is between 30-50 parts per million (ppm) but depending on how much direct sunlight the swimming pool gets, that number might need to rise. Whereas, when the CYA levels rise above 100ppm, that can cause a fair amount of other problems too. The biggest issue when CYA levels rise above 100ppm is the effectiveness of chlorine because the higher levels tend to bind up the chlorine making it harder to kill the algae and other bacteria. It can also make your water cloudy. Please note, if you use chlorine tabs or products with stabilizer in it this will cause those levels to rise.

If CYA levels continue to climb you will need to change out the water in your swimming pool or do a partial drain. Depending on the time of year it can be extremely dangerous to expose the interior finish of your swimming pool. At Clark County Pool & Lawn we offer residential mobile filtration that uses Reverse Osmosis to lower Calcium Hardness, TDS, CYA and so much more. This is by far the best quality of water you can swim in and it will leave you with the best water for you and your family to swim in.

At Clark County, we recommend routinely checking the water chemistry in your swimming pool for proper levels of chlorine, pH, CYA, TA, Calcium Hardness, TDS, and phosphates. It is vital that all of these levels are maintained to prevent algae and another organism from growing in your swimming pool. If you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!