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Chlorine Stabilizer - Conditioner

Helps chlorine last longer and be more efficient.
The Pool and Spa Informational Website

Helping Make Chlorine Last Longer.


Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

MegaChlor salt chlorine generator for spas, swim spas and pools up to 10,000 gallons. Saltron Reliant salt chlorine Generators, for pools up to 40,000 gallons. Solar-Powered Mineralizer for pools.
Insta-Test Cyanuric Acid Test Strips. The Circulator improves pool water circulation.
NUVO Ultraviolet Sterizers for Residential Pools. The use of stabilized chlorine causes the cyanuric acid level to rise, as product is added, to the pool.  Eventually, some water replacement becomes necessary.  A salt chlorine generator helps avoid this problem, while producing better water quality and more consistent results.  Water Sweeper Broom in action.

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How to properly use chlorine stabilizer (cyanuric acid) in swimming pools? Chlorine stabilizer or conditioner (cyanuric acid) is used, in outdoor chlorine-maintained swimming pools, as a means of helping to protect the chlorine from being destroyed by the Sun's ultra-violet rays. This helps the chlorine last longer and reduces consumption. The level of cyanuric acid is easily determined by a simple chemical test. In northern areas, a range of 20-40 PPM is considered ideal. In sunbelt areas, a level of 40-50 PPM, is recommended for pools not utilizing a stabilized form of chlorine. Levels between 80-150 PPM are above the ideal, but are not considered to be a severe problem, but do require that higher free chlorine levels be maintained. Higher levels, especially over 150 PPM, are thought to reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine and may require the maintenance of significantly higher chlorine levels. Every time a stabilized chlorine is added, some cyanuric acid is contributed to the water. When using a stabilized chlorine, for routine sanitized, it is best not to use sodium dichlor as a shock treatment, as that only speeds the rise in the cyanuric acid content. Liquid chlorine, lithium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite or potassium hypochlorite are alternatives. The only means of lowering the cyanuric acid level is to replace water.  The use of a salt chlorine generator is a better way to utilize chlorine, while still benefiting, from the protective effects of cyanuric acid.  If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

Do you know what's in your water?  If you're having problems, with high chlorine usage, sanitation or water clarity, testing allows you to better understand the chemistry and determine the cause of the problem.  Once understood, you can select the best treatment option.  Understanding the nature of the problem, should be step one.  For information about our full selection of testing options, visit our Test Equipment Store.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Why Is The Cyanuric Acid  Still Too High?

I had a dealer run a series of tests and the cyanuric acid tested out at 150 PPM  Too high.  I learned, from your website, that the level became too high, because of my long term use of 3" trichlor tablets.  I knew that I would have to replace 1/2 of the water and did not want to have to keep doing this, because of the trichlor tablets.  So. I decided to go with a Saltron Reliant salt chlorine generator, that I saw, on your site.  Now, I have a salt water pool and there should be no more problems, with cyanuric acid buildups.  I had the cyanuric retested and expected to see a reading of about 75 PPM.  Instead, I was told it was 105 PPM.  That doesn't make sense, unless one of the tests was wrong.  Do you have an explanation?  Loving the convenience of the salt chlorine generator.  Thank you.

Brenda T., Lakeland, FL, 5/14/2018

Of all the common tests, cyanuric acid is the least reliable and reproducible.  Most testers only read to 150 PPM, maximum.  So geInsta-Test Cyanuric Acid Test Stripstting a reading of 150 PPM, does not preclude the probability, that the true reading was in the neighborhood of 210 PPM.  That would explain why the level only dropped to 105 PPM, after half the water was replaced.  For your pool, 75 PPM is good.  Higher levels will mean that you will have to maintain a higher free chlorine level, in order to assure proper sanitation.  Instead of 1-3 PPM of free chlorine, you might need 2-4 PPM.  It would be in your long term interest to drop the level closer to 75 PPM, as it will help the salt cell last longer.  LaMotte has come out with a new Cyanuric Acid Test Strip, that measures from 0-500 PPM.  This is something that a dealer should have available and should use to retest all readings over 100 PPM.  I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 5/14/2018

How Much Is Too Much?

What is the acceptable level of cyanuric acid in a swimming pool? Someone came out to do a water test and said that my level was 250 PPM, and that I should drain the pool. They said I should not use tablet chlorine - only liquid chlorine or my pool would be ruined in 3-5 years. Is this correct?

P. G., 2/10/2016

Ruined??  No sure about that.  A range of 20-40 PPM is considered ideal. In the sunbelt, 40-50 PPM is preferred. There is no question that 250 PPM is much too high. Such levels can interfere with the effectiveness of the chlorine and require you to
maintain a higher Free Chlorine level, in order toSaltron Reliant salt chlorine generator, for pools. maintain adequate sanitation. Not knowing where you are located makes my answer more difficult. High levels can lead to other water quality issues in hard water areas. They are telling you not to use chlorine in tablet form because it will add more cyanuric acid to the water. Liquid chlorine does not contain cyanuric acid. I'm not sure about "ruining your pool."   I hesitate to tell anyone - especially if I do not know the type of pool or construction to drain a pool.  If it is a vinyl pool, completely draining the pool can risk structural damage or liner shrinkage. If the pool is masonry, it should be able to be drained. However, I would double check with the builder. If you don't want to or can't drain the pool completely, another option would be to pump out some water every week - perhaps, up to a foot below the skimmer. This will drop the cyanuric acid level in increments. Once the level is down, I suggest that you use supplement the chlorine tablets with a weekly dose of liquid chlorine, as a means of keeping the cyanuric acid level from rising too quickly. An alternative to liquid chlorine, that avoids the buildup problems, is a salt chlorine generator.  I hope that this recommendation works out for you.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/10/2016

The Need To Add More?

How often should I add chlorine stabilizer?

Bob V., 8/7/2013

WaterLink SpinTouch Tester, for pools and spas.Cyanuric acid is usually tested at the start of the season and is added, if necessary. Most residential pools, using a stabilized chlorine, will rarely have to add additional; product, unless large amounts of water have been lost or displaced. Pools that are maintained on chlorine, but are not using a stabilized chlorine, may have to replenish the stabilizer level from time to time, if water is lost due to backwashing, leaks or overflow. The test is simple and could help reduce chlorine consumption. To better assure proper overall pool water chemistry, visit a pool store that has a very reliable, professional lab such as a WaterLink SpinTouch Lab, rather than a less accurate test kit or strip reader.  I hope the information proves useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/7/2013

Too Much Chlorine Stabilizer?

My pool water was tested and I was told that the stabilizer level was 200 PPM. I was told that the only way to lower the level was to replace some of the water. Is there a chemical that I can add that will lower the level, without removing water? What happens if I don't lower the stabilizer level? Thank you.

Austin U., Deptford, NJ, 6/24/2017

Firstly, there is no chemical that you can reliably add to the water that will remove the stabilizer and lower the level. Such a chemical was marketed, years ago, but proved to be a disaster for the pool owner. Secondly, replacing water is the only effective means of lowering the stabilizer level.  Thirdly, if you don't lower the level you will be forced to maintain higher levels of chlorine, in order to provide adequate sanitatio
n. IncInsta-Test Cyanuric Acid Test Stripsidentally, the safest way to lower the water, without potentially damaging the pool, is to lower the water to the winterizing level. Do this weekly, until the level drops below 100 PPM. Testing for Chlorine Stabilizer will help you keep track of the progress. A level of 150 PPM is considered too high. At 200 PPM, you are interfering with the effectiveness of the chlorine. Most State Department of Health guidelines limit cyanuric acid levels to below 100 ppm. There is also a move for some states to limit it to 50 ppm, and for some, 0 ppm (New York State). The primary purpose behind this is the fear of Cryptosporidium and E-Coli contamination, affecting swimmers. Basically, cyanuric acid hinders the speed at which the chlorine can react and kill germs and viruses. The lower the Cyanuric acid, the quicker chlorine reacts. Therefore, the lowering the cyanuric acid level is. theoretically. increasing the "efficacy" of the chlorine. A salt chlorine generator is a highly effective way to maintain a chlorine pool, without contributing unwanted byproducts, such as excessive levels of cyanuric acid or increases in the calcium hardness, to the point of scaling or cloudy water. Most pool testers only test to 100-150 PPM.  A reading of 150 PPM could actually mean the reading could be 300 or more.  A NEW Insta-Test Cyanuric Acid Strip measures up to 500 PPM, in a instant.  I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/24/2017

Chlorine Stabilizer Content in Tablets?

How much chlorine stabilizer is present in the chlorine pucks?

Bob B., Marietta, GA, 6/12/2015

About 1/2 the weight of the tablet, ends up as cyanuric acid, after the tablet has dissolved. The same applies to dichlor. That is why the cyanuric acid slowly rises, over time, forcing you to replace water, after 150 PPM is reached. High levels of CYA make chlorine less effective and force you to favor the higher end of the 1-3 PPM free chlorine range. Using a salt chlorine generator, for your chlorine needs, completely avoids this problem. Adding an ozonator or a Solar-Powered Mineralizer will help you use less chlorine and slow up the rise of the CYA. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/12/2011

Will It Go Away?

I found your website through LaMotte Company, whose strips I use religiously. I live in Maryland, have a black plaster pool, around 7 years old, use DE filter, and stabilized granular and stick chlorine. This summer we had an unusually hot spell lasting for about 10 days that coincided with an outbreak of green algae, which Ive never had before. I seem to be using unusually high levels of chlorine as well to ward off the algae, but the chlorine seems to be wearing off more quickly than usual. Ive had a couple of water tests done at different stores with some varying results. However, I did get similar readings for cyanuric acid (140-150ppm) and stabilizer-adjusted total alkalinity (55-61ppm). Hardness is a little on the low end (200-260ppm), pH is 7.2-7.3. Chlorine readings are as expected low. One test said I had 0.83ppm iron, the other did not detect it. Read your website about cyanuric acid and have concluded I should try to lower the 150 reading. I plan to winterize in about a month (with a professional). My question for you is does cyanuric acid dissipate over a period of time? If I dont replace any of the water now before winterizing, will it go away over the winter. We usually reopen early April. Your suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.

Bruce V., Maryland, 9/21/2006

Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools.
Cyanuric acid will not go away. It can be lowered, only by replacement of water. You should lower it to under 75 PPM. High
levels will make chlorine less effective, but you will still get a reading.  Your problem could be not enough chlorine is being added, for the way your pool is being used. Your hardness is not low and you should not allow it to rise higher, by using calcium hypochlorite. I would not recommend dichlor either, as it will cause the cyanuric acid level to rise. To supplement the trichlor, you should use liquid chlorine or lithium hypochlorite, as neither will add to a buildup problem. The iron should be treated by a double dose of a metal treatment. As long as you are using chlorine, why not make it easier? A salt chlorine generator will do just that and avoid chemical buildup problems. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/21/2006

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Test Contradiction?

Hi, you answered a question for me a few weeks ago about our cloudy water after opening, and after giving it time our water looks great. Now I have two problems. After shocking the pool in the evening, we are able to maintain a free chlorine reading of about 4 ppm overnight. I go home at lunch and bring some water back to work with me to test, and verify that the free and total chlorine are about 4.1 and 4.5. But, by the time I get home in the evening the chlorine has dropped to nothing. We have a chlorinator that we keep tri-chlor tablets in but for some reason it doesn't seem to be working. We even added some tablets to our skimmer basket (this is not our normal practice) just to make sure it wasn't the chlorinator. In past seasons, if we loaded our chlorinator up, even at a low setting, it would over chlorinate the pool big time. So we would always keep about two tablets in and this would last 3 or 4 days, even in hot weather. It's still cool (temp is about 65) so why are the tablets not working? Is it time to load the chlorinator up? So every time our chlorine drops to zero, we shock again, and the same thing happens. Our pH is now dropping below acceptable range too. The other question is our stabilizer level. When using the drop turbidity test, results indicate that level is too high and we have been able to get it down to 100, with partial water changes. However, if I test with test strips, they indicate that there is no stabilizer. It doesn't change color at all. All other parameters on the test strip are very close to what I get with a kit, or here at work. If there really was not stabilizer, this would explain the chlorine not lasting right? But I thought the drop turbidity test was most accurate. We have a 24' x 52" above ground pool. Thanks.

Shannon Y., Frankfort, KY, 4/15/2010

The most likely reason that the chlorine levels would drop like that is if there are algae and bacteria growing on the
New!!!  One_Dip Insta_test Strips for pools and spas underwater surfaces. If that is the case, you might not notice it, but the walls would be slimy. You need to shock the pool. Once this material is destroyed, the trichlor tablets will be better able to keep up. Trichlor is acidic. You need to add soda ash on a regular, as needed, basis. Have the pool and tap water tested for phosphates and nitrates. You may not be able anything about the nitrates. If present, you positively should do something about the phosphates. These vital nutrients fuel algae growth. That would explain the rapid decline in chlorine levels. Your test strips are not correct. You are using trichlor and, therefore, zero cyanuric acid is not possible. You want the level to be under 100 PPM. Otherwise, chlorine is less efficient. Even then, there would still be a reading. All test strips are not the same. I suggest that you try using the LaMotte Insta-Test product. With all test strips, take care not to handle with wet fingers and store in a cool, dark and dry place. I hope that this information will help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/15/2010

Stabilized Difficulties?

I am having a problem keep chlorine in my pool. This problem happened once before and I was told the cyanuric acid level was high. We drained the pool about 2/3 and started to use unstabilized chlorine tablets in our feeder. This corrected the problem. The new problem I encountered was that the unstabilized chlorine tablets turn to mush in the feeder. I can only put one in at a time or it clogs the feeder. I started using stabilized chlorine again and my acid level is back up. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep chlorine in my pool with out using the unstabilized chlorine tablets. (a floater is not an option with my pool type) I have a fiberglass 6000 gallon pool and live in the Florida Keys where the sun is very intense. Thank you.

Mary Schick, Florida Keys, 4/5/2005

High levels of cyanuric acid does not prevent you from maintaining a chlorine level. However, levels over 150 PPM can make chlorine less effective and can be remedied by replacing some of the water. The only product that you can use in an enclosed chlorine feeder are stabilized trichlor tablets. You can't use an unstabilized product, as it will disintegrate, release chlorine too quickly and possibly present an explosive hazard.  You are unable to maintain a proper level because the feeder is not releasing chlorine at a fast enough rate to satisfy the needs of the pool. Sometimes, especially during hot weather and periods of heavy bather demand, you may have to supplement the feeder with shock treatments. Always try and keep the feeder relatively full and do not allow all the tablets to dissolve. As long as you use stabilized chlorine, you will have to replace water periodically, in order to lower the CYA level. A much better way to add chlorine would be with a salt chlorine generator. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/5/2005

Do I Still Need Chlorine Stabilizer?

If my chlorine level stays on the high side would I still need to add stabilizer?

Scott T., 5/6/2005

It all depends on what the cyanuric acid level is. In northern areas a 20-40 PPM is suggested. In sunbelt areas, 40-50 PPM is frequently suggested. If your chlorine is staying on the high side, it is because you are adding more chlorine than is necessary for your pool, under current conditions. Level above 150 PPM are considered too high and should be reduced by water replacement. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/6/2005

What Chlorine Stabilizer Does?

I have a new pool surface (aggregate) that is now 4 weeks old. All the startup chemicals were put in but I now have a green pool which is really and I mean really hard to brush off the new surface. I was informed that I had not stabilizer in the pool as of yet so I bought that, with a heavy duty bacteria, algae treatment which I put in last night. I followed all the directions with the amount and brushing, but this morning the walls still have quite a bit on them. Is the stabilizer that important, even to have in with the algae reducer? Thanks.

Bruce C., 4/4/2007

Stabilizer helps make the chlorine last longer and that makes it important. Unless you get the free chlorine level elevated, you
One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers. will not solve the problem. Algaecides and stabilizer are not enough. I suggest that you add the liquid chlorine or quick dissolving shock, about a pound/gallon per 5,000 gallons, until the free chlorine level is over 5 PPM. Don't drag it out! The longer it takes, the more product will be required. Keep it there until the problem is under control.  You have green water because the sanitizer level was inadequate and algae took hold.   Check the overall water chemistry as well, as it can be affected by the new finish. Have the water tested for phosphates and nitrates, as their presence could promote algae growth and increase chlorine usage. Make sure that you are testing for FREE CHLORINE. A product, such as the ColorQ Digital Water Analyzers, provides the right kind of information and is ideal for this purpose. Easy to use too!  I hope this explanation is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/5/2007

How to reduce Cyanuric Acid build-up problems.

Use a salt Chlorine Generator for better control,  with no increase in cyanuric acid.
Add a second layer of back-up sanitation, for reduced chlorine consumption.
This Floating Solar UV Sanitizer decreases overall chlorine usage and cyanuric acid buildup.
Improve circulation and eliminate dead zones, that increase the need to shock treat.
Better chemistry promotes sanitizer effectiveness and helps reduce chemical usage.
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools. Solar-Powered Mineralizer for pools. Card On Guard, Solar UV Sanitizer, for pools and spas. The Pool Circulator is a replacement return jet fitting, that dramatically improves circulation. ColorQ PRO 7 digital pool and spa tester.
This full-featured Salt Chlorine Generator requires no installation. Plug-n-Play ready. Solar-Powered, Dual-Ion, Purifier, uses copper and zinc ions. For all types of pools. This Floating Solar UV Sanitizer can reduce chlorine usage, by 50% or more. The Pool Circulator eliminates dead zones, improving sanitizer action and filtration. ColorQ All-Digital Testers are easy to use, to help optimize water conditions.
Click on any image for complete product and ordering information.

Lowering Chlorine Stabilizer Levels?

I have a very high stabilizer level and have been told that I must replace 3/4 of the water. Otherwise the chlorine will be less effective. A friend of mine, who used to have a pool, said that adding hydrochloric acid will lower the level without any draining. How come the dealer didn't suggest that? Thank you for your time.

John P., Kings point, NY 7/25/2009

Very high levels of stabilizer (over 150 PPM) can reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. The dealer did not suggest that you add hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid), as a means of lowering the stabilizer level, because it will not work! Your friend is mistaken! All it will do is drop the pH and TA and add to the cost and increase the work to be done. The only way to lower the stabilizer level is to replace water. There is no practical chemicals means of lowering cyanuric acid levels! I hope that I set the record straight.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/25/2009

Extreme High Cyanuric Acid Level?

A question concerning Chlorine and Cyanuric acid. Many pool maintainers here use large doses of chlorine to solve any and all problems. They come to us when they experience difficulties. We have recently measured very high levels of Cyanuric acid in a number of pools, in excess of 600ppm. The question is about measurement of chlorine levels in the presence of a high level of cyanuric acid, (over 200ppm). As the acid locks the chlorine in, can the chlorine measurement we take be reliable? We have photometric and titration systems. Yours sincerely,

Paul C., 2/15/2006

Chlorine doesn't solve everything, as you know. Adding stabilized shock can make a bad situation worse. It is not necessarily a case of extreme high levels of CYA interfering with the test results - the high CYA levels will interfere with the action of chlorine and make it necessary to maintain higher than normal levels. As the CYA increases, chlorine becomes less effective. Unfortunately, the pool owner does not take this into consideration. At 600 PPM, there is no doubt that the level needs to be lowered. This can only be done by a major water replacement. I would guess that the pool is in the southwest or Florida and that trichlor has been used for a long time. In addition, dichlor may have been used a shock. My belief is that if trichlor is used, dichlor should never be used. Instead, calcium or lithium hypochlorites, liquid chlorine or potassium monopersulfate should be used as a shock or to supplement the trichlor during peak bathing periods. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/16/2006

How To Lower?

On opening my  26000 gal. in-ground vinyl lined pool the water tested 130 ppm of cyanuric acid, 390 ppm calcium hardness, scaling/saturation index 0.40, alkalinity 170. I have an automatic chlorinator, solar mineralizer, a cartridge filter and heater.  What procedures should I follow to get rid of this problem? What problems will be caused by this? Our pool store recommended draining half the pool. But, since we can't afford to buy that much water we are taking it down a little at a time and adding fresh water at about four inches down and four inches up. How many times do we need to do this? How low does the cyanuric level have to be before we can start using our chlorinator, mineral purifier and heater? Thank you for your time.

Susan D., 4/19/2005

Solar Pur Pool Mineralizer
High cyanuric acid levels just make the chlorine less effective and, in turn, requires that higher levels be maintained. You can
use everything right now. Replacing 4 inches at a time, means about a 5% reduction. You'll be there forever. I suggest doing it about 12 inches below the skimmer, at a time. In the long run, you will require less water to get the level down. Try and get the level under 100 PPM. Do not use dichlor, as a shock, as it will only cause the CYA level to rise quicker. The fact that you are using a Solar-Powered Dual-Ion Purifier/Mineralizer is helpful, as it allows you to use less chlorine and to maintain a lower free chlorine level. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster. 4/19/2005

Stabilizer And A Salt Chlorinator?

I'm having an inground pool installed with a salt chlorinator. The dealer recommended that I use chlorine stabilizer to reduce the workload on the salt chlorinator. Is this a good idea? Is it effective? Is it a recommended practice? Could it in anyway interact with the chlorinator in a wrong way? Thanks in advance.

Marc, Quebec, Canada, 5/11/2006,

Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!! No!!!

If you don't add 40-60 PPM, the salt chlorine generator will have to produce more chlorine and that will shorten the life of the cell. Add it! I hope that this information proves helpful and enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/11/2006

Is There An Alternative?

I do not like lots of chemicals "stuck" in my pool and this product stays forever. Is there an alternative stabilizer for salt water pools?

Stuck, 4/9/2007

Saltron Reliant salt chlorine generator, for pools.
Most of what dissolves in a pool remains forever or until you replace the water. Would you rather add it unnecessarily every
month? There is no alternative. If you don't add it, the chlorine will dissipate quicker and that will result in having to make the salt chlorine generator produce more chlorine.  That in turn, causes the pH to rise faster and it will require a new cell on an accelerated basis. Add the chemical. You only need about 50 PPM. Most pools, using stabilized chlorine, end up with much higher amounts. I hope this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster. 4/9/2007

Out Of Control?

We have a round 27 foot by 52 inch above ground pool. The pH, Chlorine and total alkalinity are all in the expectable range. The Calcium hardiness is a little low (we are treating for that). And the water crystal clear. Problem is our Cyanuric acid is out of control and continues to flux between 111 and the current 127 ppm. We use an in-line chlorinator with one tablet of stabilized chlorine. We have not added anything other than pH decreaser and the stabilizer chlorine tables. We have replaced at least half the water and continue to replace water as needed.  My question is what the heck are we doing wrong? This Cyanuric acid thing is driving us up the wall.  Regards.

Don G, 8/22/2010

Solar-Powered Mineralizer for pools.
The level is not out of control and you are not doing anything wrong.  Those stabilized tablets contain cyanuric acid and, as they dissolve, the level rises. By supplementing the chlorine with another sanitizer the level of increase can be slowed down. By adding a Solar-Powered, Dual-Ion Purifier/Ionizer, you will be able to get the same good results with only having to maintain 0.5 - 1.5 PPM of free chlorine. The chlorine usage will drop, the cyanuric acid rise will slow and the water will look, feel and smell better. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/23/2010

Strange Test Results?

I live in the southeast US and have a new gunite pool. I cannot seem to get my stabilizer level above 30. I add the recommended amount of stabilizer, and when I test a week later, its still 30 and I have had it confirmed at a pool supply store. What gives? Thanks.

Rob Wood, 4/26/2007

If you are using a stabilized chlorine, the 30 PPM is enough. The use of stabilized chlorine will cause it to rise over time. If you have added stabilizer, on more than one occasion, to get it to a higher level, there is no simple explanation for the problem. I am sure there is nothing wrong with the product. I have been seeing this happen, a few times a year, for the past 30 years. As far as I am concerned, it is a testing problem. I have seen it happen with various brands and testers. This test is evidently capable of being interfered with by trace minerals in the water. Something in your water is preventing a true reading. You have added the product, so just assume that it is adequate and do not add more, as too much will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine. I have never seen a satisfactory explanation for this phenomenon and it evidently is not important enough to warrant a research effort. I know that this is not the answer you expected, but I hope that you will accept this meager explanation and not waste money on further purchases. Enjoy the pool. It is stabilized.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/26/2007

Stabilizer And Total Alkalinity?

I have been in the pool/spa business for about 4 years and have become a little confused about the relationship between conditioner (cyanuric acid) and total alkalinity. The more sophisticated chemical testing software programs we use to analysis water all make a 30% adjustment for cyanuric acid, in the total alkalinity readings. But, few if any body every talks about it on the many informational web sites out there, including yours. Can you give me a detailed understanding of this relationship, and if it should really be taken into consideration when testing for TA?
Stan C., 12/14/2009

Good question!!! The total alkalinity test measures the presence of all materials, dissolved in the water, that are more alkaline than a pH of approximately 4.5. In swimming pool water this includes not only the carbonates and bicarbonates, but silicates, phosphates and cyanurates as well. Cyanuric acid is a weak acid and in swimming pool water forms various cyanurates, which are weakly alkaline. Typically, other than the carbonates and bicarbonates, only the cyanurates are present in a high concentration. Chlorides and sulfates do not have a significant effect upon the pH or TA. Inasmuch as the TA test picks up all of the alkaline materials, it does not distinguish between carbonates/bicarbonates and cyanurates. The purpose, of the carbonates and bicarbonates, is to create a buffer that will help stabilize the pH in the 7.2-7.8 range and they are ideally suited for this purpose. Cyanurates, on the other hand, will register on the TA test, but are not chemically well-suited to act as a pH buffer in the 7.2-7.8 range. High levels of cyanuric acid will inflate the true carbonate/bicarbonate total alkalinity test readings and, perhaps, give a false impression of properly buffered water. To eliminate this error, 30% of the cyanuric acid reading should be deducted from the total alkalinity reading, in order to approximate the true carbonate/bicarbonate alkalinity.  The important thing is to consider the ability of the pool to maintain a stable pH, without the need for frequent pH adjustment. In hard water situations and in areas with high TDS, it may be preferable to keep a lower carbonate/bicarbonate TA because of the possibility of scaling and cloudy water conditions. I hope that I was able to explain the theory behind the chemistry.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/16/2009

Why Is My Stabilizer Level Rising?

The level of chlorine stabilizer, in my pool, has been rising all season, even though I haven't added any more stabilizer. Why is this happening?

Mike I., Paramus, NJ, 7/2/2004

Every time you add stabilized chlorine, in any form to the pool, you contribute stabilizer to the water.  Slowly, over time the level rises and rises. You are probably using a stabilizer chlorine, dichlor or trichlor, for routine sanitizing. To slow down the rate of increase, I suggest that you do not use sodium dichlor as a pool shock, inasmuch as this will only add more to the stabilizer level. There are other shock products to choose from including: liquid chlorine, lithium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite and non-chlorine shock. I hope that I've solved the mystery. Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/2/2004

Can I Add Chlorine Stabilizer?

I have been using liquid chlorine for sanitizing and as a shock. I know its a pain to lug home those containers and I really don't like the acid, but it is cheaper. If I add chlorine stabilizer will it help? Is it worth doing? Living in Paradise!

Steve T., Delray Beach, FL, 5/12/2008

Chlorine stabilizer can be used in any outdoor, chlorine-maintained pool. It will help reduce the chlorine consumption and help make the chlorine last longer. That means you will have to lug home fewer containers and have more time to enjoy Paradise. It will help and it is worth it. Have a happy!

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/13/2008

Avoiding Too Much Stabilizer?

First, let me thank you again for the help you provided last spring. Last year and now this I am getting high cyanuric acid level readings (approx. 100 ppm). Last summer I pumped the pool down 12-18 inches and refilled several times with some minor improvement; looks like the same routine this year. My question is, would it be a good idea to use unstabilized chlorine until I get this back to a normal level? Is there a better way to drop the cyanuric acid level other than water replacement? Thanks in advance for your help.

Bill P., 4/7/2005

Water replacement is the only way to lower the stabilizer level.  You can use an unstabilized chlorine and it will benefit from the stabilizer already present in the water. You may have to give up some convenience. You might continue using trichlor or dichlor at a lower level, by using a non-stabilized shock to supplement the chlorine readings. You will be using less stabilized product and have a slower rate of buildup. Or you might consider a salt chlorine generator. You will give this product some thought, sooner or later, as standard chlorine treatment is declining. Have fun and enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/7/2005

Wrong Reason To Lower Cyanuric Acid?

Question: How can I get rid of Cyanuric Acid? I have a 24 foot round above ground pool. We recently drained half the pool and added 6,000 gallons of fresh water. We are currently using a non chlorine chemical as directed. We have backwashed and vacuumed in addition to a lot of other procedures we were instructed to do and we still cannot seem to get clear water. PLEASE HELP! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Have a beautiful day.

Wanda P., 6/14/2008

Evidently, you are associating cloudy water with the presence of cyanuric acid. There seems to be no basis for this. High cyanuric acid levels can reduce chlorine efficiency, but is not directly linked to water clarity issues. Most likely the cloudy water is due to inadequate sanitizer levels, a filter problem or high calcium hardness. Having drained 1/2 of the water, the cyanuric acid is probably a non-issue, even if your pool is being maintained on chlorine. The only means of lowering the level is to replace water and this has been done. You should have the water tested and get back with more specific details, otherwise, it is difficult to offer assistance on the cloudy water problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/14/2008

Adding Stabilizer To The Skimmer?

Hi Alan. Well you are a wealth of knowledge. Thank you for your website answers. I did not see the following question and apologize if it is there and I missed it. We are to add stabilizer to our newly refilled pool. I need clarification on instructions. When they say pour directly into skimmer, is that with the basket in place? The stabilizer does not seem to dissolve much at all in the bucket of water. How slowly is "slowly add"? We are to add 4 pounds and the little I put in just seems to sit in the basket. Thank you.

Becky B., Edgewater, Florida., 3/13/2009

If you would have poured all of the stabilizer into the skimmer, most likely it would have clogged the lines. It is slow dissolving and will not dissolve in a bucket of water. It helps to have a lot of water flowing over the material to get it to dissolve even slowly. Remove the basket and slowly pour in no more than 8 ounces. Once it all disappears, wait a few minutes and repeat, until it is all added. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/13/2009

Liquid Chlorine Stabilizer?

Where can I find a liquid chlorine stabilizer?

Bruce P., 4/1/2005

The product does exit, although it is probably not widely distributed. It would be a relatively more expensive way to add the chemical. The problem is that cyanuric acid has limited solubility. Any solution would be fairly dilute and, considering the quantity usually required, would not be an efficient or cost-effective way of adding it to your pool.  The best way to add cyanuric acid to the pool is to broadcast it across the surface. It can take a day or so to dissolve, depending upon the pH and water temperature. You may be able sprinkle it into the skimmers, over a period of an hour or so. Make sure that it is done slowly, so as not to clog up the system. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/1/2005

Curious Practice?

My pool supply store told me to add stabilizer. They suggested I wait for a 48 hour period without rain to add. Why? Thank you.

Art L., Montville, NJ, 6/10/2004

All I can think of it that you misunderstood their instructions. I have never heard of that recommendation before, nor, can I account for any reason for the practice.  Most commonly, the chemical is broadcast across the surface. It is slowly soluble and can take a day or so to completely dissolve, depending upon water temperature and circulation. Weather has no bearing! Enjoy the pool season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/11/2004

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