If you are a pool owner, getting your pool chemistry right is very important. Adding pool stabilizers is one such chemical that you must get right when adding it to your pool.
To dissolve pool stabilizer, it’s best to pre-dissolve it in a bucket of warm water before administering it to your pool.
Follow me in this article as I go into detail on this.
Is stabilizer necessary for the pool?
First off, let’s look at what stabilizers are. Pool stabilizer is commonly known by names such as cyanuric acid, pool conditioner, or chlorine sunscreen. It is a chemical whose function is to extend and increase the active life of chlorine in your pool . It is added to your pool because it helps to protect the chlorine and keep it in the pool for longer.
You might be wondering why chlorine would be needed; “protection.” The reason for this is that when sunlight hits your pool, it emits rays. These rays are called UV rays. These UV rays cause the chlorine you just added to degrade very easily.
Scientists who have done studies have discovered that in the space of two hours, UV rays can degrade up to 90% of added chlorine. This is a pretty damning statistic for every pool owner.
To understand it in other terms, chlorine has a half-life of 45 minutes when exposed to sunlight. Half life simply means the time taken for half of a substance to be degraded. So, in the case of chlorine, 45 minutes is what it takes for half of the original amount to be lost. In another 45 minutes, another half is lost, and so on. another 45 minutes. Looking at this, it shows the need for pool stabilizers.
Is the stabilizer supposed to dissolve?
Yes, it is supposed to. In fact, this is the only realistic way you can utilize it in your pool. And this truth applies to any chemical at all. For them to work, they must dissolve in your pool. Cyanuric acid is no different. However, you must note that cyanuric acid takes quite some time to dissolve.
But this only applies to the granular and powdered forms. The liquid cyanuric acid dissolves instantly. The granular form, though, is preferred due to its affordability. Liquid cyanuric acid can be quite expensive to purchase.
If your stabilizer is not dissolving, then it could mean you are doing it the wrong way. Some people recommend that you just broadcast the stabilizer granules across the surface of your pool. However, this method has some drawbacks, as your sanitizer could clump up and make it much harder to dissolve.
This could also damage your pool liner. There are some techniques I have listed below that will help your stabilizer dissolve faster.
- Skimmer sock method.
- Measure out the required dosage of stabilizers. Usually, you add 4 pounds of stabilizer to increase 10,000 gallons of water by 30 parts per million.
- Now pour the cyanuric acid into a pool skimmer sock.
- Place the sock in the skimmer box. Alternatively, you could just hang it over the return jet.
- Turn on your pump, and allow it to run for 48 hours.
The upside to this method is that even if you decide to give your filter a backwash, your stabilizer will still remain in the sock. This means you can maintain your stabilizer levels regardless of external conditions.
- Warm water method
- Calculate the stabilizer dosage. The amount should be as with the skimmer sock method.
- Pour the cyanuric acid into a bucket of warm water. Ensure that the bucket is chemical-resistant. Then stir the mixture together.
- Pour this mixture directly into the skimmer box.
- Turn on your pump, and let it run for 48 hours.
The downside of this method is that you can’t backwash your pool until all the stabilizer has dissolved completely.
Can you put a stabilizer directly in the pool?
This would depend on the type of pool that you have. If you have a concrete pool, you could add it directly. However, if you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool, you could cause some damage. Cyanuric acid is still an acid, and its corrosive nature could damage your pool liners.
Even though you possess a concrete pool, it is still advisable to dissolve it first in warm water and then put it inside the skimmer. Or you could use the skimmer sock method. The advantages of these methods have been outlined already. The cyanuric acid enters your pool in a pre-dissolved format. Hence, it takes less time to dissolve in your pool as opposed to if you just broadcast it on the surface.
Another downside to pouring it directly into the pool is that some of the granules remain in the ground of the pool. You don’t want to be stepping on those rough granules when you wade in the water. So, overall, it is best to mix with water before pouring in.
How long does it take for stabilizer to dissolve in a pool?
Pool stabilizers come in different types: liquid, granular, and powdered.
Liquid cyanuric acid dissolves the fastest of all the others. It is already in liquid form, so it doesn’t take long to disperse in another liquid medium (that is water). The downside to liquid cyanuric acid is that it is usually more expensive to procure compared to the other forms.
On the other hand, there is the powdered form and the granular form. The powdered form is different from the granular form in that it is ground to finer particles. You might be led to think that, as a result of this, it should dissolve easily. However, this is not necessarily true. The powdered form, though it is finer in nature, clumps to form a solid mass when mixed with water. It takes the same length of time as with the granular stabilizer.
The last one, the granular form, is the most common. You will most likely see it in stores around you. It is also the most economical. However, it takes quite some time to fully dissolve. When you add granular cyanuric acid, it could take from 48 hours to a week to fully dissolve.
Does cyanuric acid float or sink?
Cyanuric acid granules will naturally sink to the bottom of your pool. This is because it is denser than water. However, with time, it will dissolve and get evenly distributed in your pool.
What happens if you put too much stabilizer in a pool?
Ever heard of a phenomenon called “chlorine lock”? Well, this is just one of the things that can happen if you put excess stabilizer in your pool. There is a saying that goes, “Everything should be done in moderation.” This statement holds true for pool stabilizers.
The expected range of concentration for cyanuric acid in your pool is between 30 and 50 parts per million. Once it exceeds this limit, cyanuric acid can begin to have a negative effect on the chlorine in your pool.
When cyanuric acid is added to your pool, it tends to reduce the effectiveness of your chlorine. In moderate amounts, this is not an issue, but when it becomes excessive in your pool, it can completely negate the oxidation reduction potential of any chlorine that is added.
In simple terms, oxidation reduction potential (ORP) refers to the ability of your sanitizer to inactivate contaminants. However, when stabilizer is introduced into the pool, it gradually reduces the ORP.
If continually added, it could come to a point where the oxidation reduction potential of the chlorine becomes null. Even if you went ahead and added more, the chlorine will not be able to sanitize. This is what is called “chlorine lock.”
The chemistry behind this is that chlorine and cyanuric acid form bonds that keep them from evaporating or being degraded. Due to these bonds, chlorine can only leave when it has something to oxidize or kill. When the pool becomes oversaturated with cyanuric acid, these bonds become more complex. As a result, the chlorine cannot leave, and it is rendered ineffective.
Apart from chlorine lock, the other things that could happen are algae bloom and bacteria infestation. As the chlorine sanitizer is no longer effective, this means that these microorganisms can grow unchecked.
Is it safe to swim in a pool with high cyanuric acid?
Swimming in a pool with high cyanuric acid could have a downside. Remember that high levels of cyanuric acid make chlorine useless. This means that you could get exposed to bacteria that could proliferate in your pool.
How do I bring the stabilizer down in my pool?
The only reliable way to bring down cyanuric acid levels is by draining and dilution. There is no chemical to take cyanuric acid out of your pool. So just partially drain the pool and refill the lost volume.
Is pool stabilizer the same as baking soda?
No, they are not. Pool stabilizer is made of cyanuric acid, while baking soda is made of sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is used for increasing the alkalinity of your pool, while cyanuric acid is for stabilizing chlorine.
Do you add stabilizer before or after the chlorine?
Ideally, you should add the stabilizer before the chlorine. This will allow you to test the levels before adding any chlorine. However, some manufacturers produce customized chlorine tablets that come inbuilt with stabilizers. So, in essence, you will be adding both at the same time.