Test strips can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with what you are testing your swimming pool water for. Chlorine is your sanitizer which kills the bacteria in the water. Your pH level is important to keep in range to prevent irritation to anyone swimming and to prevent harming the pool liner or shell and equipment. The CYA (or Cyanuric Acid) level is important because it provides a sun block for your chlorine, to insure that your sanitizer does not burn off too rapidly. So lets dig in!
What is it?
Cyanuric Acid is a stabilizer for Chlorine in swimming pools exposed to sunlight. It helps reduce the chlorine loss by protecting the free chlorine in the pool from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, reducing the amount of chlorine needed to maintain proper sanitizer levels.
Why do I need it?
Cyanuric acid is very important at the proper levels of 30-50 ppm to insure that the sun does not burn off the chlorine in your pool too fast. If the chlorine is burnt off too fast, not only will you be consuming much more chlorine, it will also not be active long enough to fully kill anything off in the water. This can cause your pool to turn cloudy and green.
Where does CYA come from?
If you are on a traditional chlorine tablet system for your pool, your tablets should be stabilized. However, there are many brands out there that are NOT stabilized. If your tablets are not stabilized (or have CYA added to the chlorine) you will need to add Stabilizer to your swimming pool on a regular basis. It is important to always test this level before adding Stabilizer to insure that you do actually need to raise the level. Having too high of a CYA level can be harmful and cause other water quality issues.
What if my Cya level is out of range?
If your CYA level is too low, you will more than likely need to add Stabilizer to the water. If you are currently using stabilized chlorine tablets, you should simply try adding more chlorine tablets to the pool (or increasing the flow rate on your auto chlorinator) prior to adding stabilizer. Your chlorine level could simply be too low for it to register in the proper range and adding additional chlorine can usually fix this. If your CYA level is HIGH, you will need to decrease the level in the pool to prevent further problems. You may already be dealing with a cloudy pool if your CYA level is high, which is usually one of the side effects of high CYA levels. Bio Active is a product that can be added to the water to eat away at the high CYA levels to help to reduce them. The only downfall to using this product is your pH and chlorine levels MUST be in the proper range before trying this product or else it will not work. The only foul proof way of getting rid of a high CYA level in your pool is simply draining and replacing the water with fresh water that does not contain cyanuric acid.