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What is Cyanuric Acid and Why Is It Important?


Most pool owners are aware of what their chlorine level is or what their pH is, but an important chemical found in your pool is often overlooked: cyanuric acid. If you have never tested for, or even worse heard of, cyanuric acid you are missing a critical piece of information that is vital to keeping your pool chemically balanced. To begin with we first have to understand how chlorine works and it’s relation to the very important cyanuric acid.

Chlorine in your pool is constantly being used and converted to what is known as chloramines which are essentially chlorine that has been used to sanitize your water and is no longer available to sanitize the water further. Not only is free chlorine converted to combined chlorine by its use in disinfecting the water but also by the powerful UV radiation that your pool is subject to throughout the day. Over time, the sun is able to degrade the free chlorine in your pool and make it utterly worthless in sanitizing your pool. In fact, unprotected chlorine can be burned off by the sun in as little as two hours! This is where cyanuric acid comes in and saves the day.

How Does Cyanuric Acid Help?

Cyanuric Acid is able to provide a protective layer to your free chlorine and prevent it from being so easily utilized or burned off by sunlight. Thus when determining a level of chlorine in your pool that will be effective, a measurement of your cyanuric acid must be performed and this level must be adjusted to a suitable level. Cyanuric acid levels must be maintained between 40-60ppm. A pool owner should never add cyanuric acid to a pool without first checking the level as this can lead to its own suite of problems. Cyanuric acid is interesting in the sense that once added to your pool it does not go anywhere, it will only accumulate until the pool is drained.

So you may be asking yourself, if cyanuric acid protects the chlorine in my pool? Then what is the harm in just shooting up my cyanuric acid level to a high concentration? Well, this presents its own host of issues as if your level is too high it will actually cause the chlorine in the pool to be less effective. As well as leading to problems in the finish of plaster pools down the road.

What Is An Ideal CYN to FC Level?

In order to maximize the benefits of cyanuric acid and minimize the risks that it can pose. A standard formula has been derived. According to research you want to keep your chlorine level at at least 7.5% of your cyanuric acid level. Therefore, shooting for a cyanuric acid level of 40-60 that leaves us in a free chlorine range of 4 to 6 to maintain the most effective balance of chlorine longevity and chlorine effectiveness.

Too Much To Handle?

Don’t worry if this seems a bit overwhelming, it is to many pool owners across the country. That is why more and more homeowners are turning to pool service companies to manage their pools for them. If you would like to leave it to a professional then give us a call at (941) 281-5900 and let Sharkbite Pools take the confusion and guesswork out of your pool maintenance.

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