How Do I Add A Stabilizer To My Saltwater Pool?


Adding Stabilizer

Outdoor saltwater pools should have stable chlorine levels since chlorine acts as a sanitizer. But their exposure to the sun means that their chlorine levels decrease over time.

The sun causes the chlorine to evaporate that, which means the addition of stabilizers.

How do I add a stabilizer to my saltwater pool? You can add it directly into the water or mix the stabilizer with warm water before pouring it. You should also determine first the amount of stabilizer necessary for your pool size and its chlorine levels.

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Read on and find the ideal stabilizer level, the steps in adding the stabilizer, and how to reduce it. By the end of this article, your knowledge about pool maintenance will be better. 

Determine The Amount Of Stabilizer Necessary

While placing a chlorine stabilizer into your pool is faster, you should first determine its exact amount. Keep in mind that balanced chemistry in the water is a must for your pool to be safe for swimmers.

Too little and too many chemicals like chlorine and its stabilizer can damage equipment and cause illness.

You must also know the products that you’re putting into the water! Often called cyanuric acid (CYA), it’s a chemical sometimes included in chlorine tablets (trichlor) or shock liquid (dichlor). When these are combined in tablets or shock, it’s called stabilized chlorine.

As a general rule, the CYA level in a pool ranges between 30 ppm and 50 ppm. As such, it should neither dip below 30 ppm nor rise above 50 ppm. If it rises above 50 ppm, the chlorine test will read zero (o), known as a chlorine lock.

There are also other disadvantages related to CYA levels above 50 ppm. First, there isn’t a significant increase in ultraviolet protection for the sanitizer, meaning chlorine will continue to evaporate quickly.

Second, there is an increased risk for algae and bacteria growth in the pool. The bottom line is that you’re wasting money if you add too much pool conditioner.

Yet another general rule is keeping the chlorine level at about 7.5 percent about the stabilizer. For example, if the CYA level is at 50 ppm, the free chlorine levels should be 3-4 ppm. About 4 pounds of CYA can be used for a 10,000-gallon pool for a 30 ppm increase at these levels. 

  1. We suggest reading the pool conditioner label since there can be differences in dosage. We also recommend adding CYA at the start of the swim season. You can then leave your pool well enough alone afterward except for the regular testing.

  2. You should disregard the abovementioned ideal levels in case of cryptosporidium contamination. The pool stabilizer level should be reduced to 15 ppm, maximum, followed by hyper-chlorination. There’s also the need for either backwashing or replacing the, followed by balancing the water.

Add CYA To The Pool

Keep in mind that adding stabilized chlorine to your pool means little to no need for adding extra CYA. Both dichlor and trichlor sanitizers already have a small amount of CYA in them.

But CYA levels can slowly increase over time, known as a creep when stabilized chlorine is used. There’s then a need to reduce CYA levels. You can avoid creep using non-stabilized chlorine and adding CYA separately, which means more control over creep.

There’s an advantage in adding non-stabilized chlorine and CYA separately, too. You only need to add CYA to your pool water once or twice a year. But beware of adding CYA directly to your pool water as it can damage the liner and filter. 

We recommend adding CYA using a safer method, known as the bucket method. It would help if you first gathered your supplies, namely:

  • 5-gallon bucket safety goggles
  • Acid-resistant gloves
  • Warm water (Boil water and then let it cool for several minutes until warm. Never add CYA to boiling water)

You can then proceed with these steps: 

  1. Wear your gloves and goggles for protection.
  2. Fill the 5-gallon bucket halfway with warm water.
  3. Add the recommended dose of CYA to the warm water. 
  4. Pour the warm water-CYA mix directly into the pool’s skimmer.
  5. Switch on the pool pump for a few hours afterward. It will stir in, so to speak, the CYA solution into the pool water more thoroughly.

You should check the manufacturer’s direction about the dosage and method of adding CYA to pool water. There are CYA brands that can be directly added to the pool water.

You should read the CYA product instructions if you’re aiming for 50 ppm since there are pool size-product ratio recommendations. In general, however, add 13 ounces of CYA to a 10,000-gallon pool to increase CYA to 10 ppm.

Lower CYA Levels

But what if you added too much CYA, and your pool’s CYA levels are now too high? If you’re using stabilized chlorine, you are well-advised to use non-stabilized chlorine instead to prevent this issue.

You will know if you’re using stabilized chlorine by checking the product label. If these ingredients are on the list, then it’s stabilized chlorine:

  • potassium dichloroisocyanurate
  • trichloroisocyanurate
  • sodium dichloroisocyanurate

But if you used CYA as a pool conditioner, then the best way to decrease CYA levels is to dilute the pool water. You can either partially drain your pool or allow splash-outs to decrease the water level. Afterward, you can add fresh water to your pool and measure its CYA level again.

In case of an extremely high CYA level, you may want to change the pool’s filter or backwash, as previously mentioned. You don’t wish CYA to linger in your pool’s filtration system for safety and health reasons.

Conclusion

As with all pool chemicals, adding stabilizer solutions to your pool should be undertaken with care and attention. You have to ensure two things for the best results.

First, the right chemicals are used, and second, the right amounts are mixed into the water. Your pool will be much safer to swim in.

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