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Everything You Need to Know About Cyanuric Acid

cyanuric acid

Everything You Need to Know About Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric acid or CYA is a chemical used in pools as a balancing product. It is added to the swimming pool to help the chlorine last longer. Pure chlorine is an unstabilized chemical that degrades quickly, especially if exposed to the sun.

Thus, many pool experts advised owners to use cyanuric acid to slow down chlorine degradation in the swimming pool water. It is why CYA is considered a vital chemical to use in swimming pools. 

How Much Is Too Much Cyanuric Acid?

cyanuric acid

Cyanuric acid is still a chemical, and chemicals at high levels are dangerous. A high level of cyanuric will hinder your chlorine’s efficacy. This, in return, becomes ineffective in killing off algae and bacteria. It is why you should be wary when using this product for your swimming pool. Saltwater and non-salt water swimming pools have different amount requirements for cyanuric acid. 

For saltwater swimming pools, it is advised to keep the cyanuric acid level at 60-80 ppm that is higher than non-saltwater swimming pools that only require around 30-50 ppm. Saltwater swimming pools do not need chlorine added to the water as it creates its own chlorine. It needs a higher cyanuric acid level to ensure that the chlorine formed by the salt will be stabilized.

Additionally, you might want to consider ramping up your cyanuric level up to 80-100 ppm if your pool is located in a spot where it is exposed to direct sunlight. Since sunlight is a significant factor in how long your chlorine’s efficacy lasts. 

How to Balance Cyanuric Acid

Just like with any other swimming pool chemicals, cyanuric acid is easy to determine whether it is enough or not. It is also easy to balance it out. What you will need to do is test your swimming pool’s chlorine level. 

Once the test result comes back with a too low chlorine level, even if you had just added chlorine to your pool, it means that your cyanuric acid is too high. You will have to drain your pool and refill it to dilute the acid to solve this problem. 

You can also use a cyanuric acid test strip. It will let you know if the CYA level on your swimming pool is too high, too low, or just right. If you suspect that your CYA level is too high, you should stop adding the chemical and test. Add some more if it is too low or start diluting if it is too high. 

Why CYA Levels Become High?


There are chlorine products that already have added Cyanuric acid, such as trichlor or dichlor, in granules or tablet form. These types of chlorine products are known as stabilized chlorine. If you use stabilized chlorine and add a separate CYA product into your swimming pool, its levels will likely increase too much. 

On the other hand, liquid chlorine is unstabilized, which means it does not have CYA added. Do more research about stabilized and unstabilized chlorine. This will help you understand better which one is the best and how to use each of them. 

If you need to use cyanuric acid, you will need to purchase it as a separate product. It is often labeled as stabilizer or pool conditioner. When using CYA on your pool, you need to be careful how much you add. Although decreasing its level when it becomes too high is easy, but the process can be challenging, so be careful. 

Common Issues With Cyanuric Acid

Even though CYA is a helpful chemical for your swimming pool, it can still cause some issues. Here are the common problems you can face when using cyanuric acid in your swimming pool. 

Weakens and Slows Down Chlorine 

Because chlorine is the most critical chemical for swimming pools to keep it clean and safe to use, its weakening can harm swimmers. 

Once the chlorine’s effectiveness weakens and slows down, bacteria causing illnesses and algae will not get eliminated. It is why it’s recommended to use non-stabilized chlorine if you plan to add CYA. Or, you will have to be careful in utilizing it if you are adding stabilized chlorine in your pool.

Gives Out Misleading Reading

Test kits and ORP sensors can give out false readings due to CYA. ORP or oxidation-reduction potential, for instance, can be sensitive to CYA. You might get a low ORP reading even if your cyanuric acid level is high. 

ORP only detects free chlorine and not those attached to the cyanuric acid. Thus, the result will come as a false reading. ORP sensors will only give you the result of the free chlorine. It is why it does not provide the best accuracy of the exact amount of chlorine present in the water.

Cyanuric Acid Stays Even After Draining

You should be aware that CYA will still be present in your swimming pool even after draining. There are times where the pool is drained due to a high CYA that reached 100 ppm and refilled but still gets a 30 ppm reading the next day even without adding anything into the water. 

It is why even after draining and refilling your swimming pool, you will need to re-test the CYA levels in your pool before adding anything into it. This way, you can control the number of chemicals you add to the pool. 

Use Cyanuric Acid With Cautious

Despite all the daunting facts, do not be afraid of using CYA on your pool because it is also necessary to ensure that the chemicals in your pool are well-balanced. However, it would be best if you were careful when doing so to avoid encountering further problems.

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