Keeping Cyanuric Acid Low in Swimming Pools
When CYA levels rise in your swimming pool it can be more challenging to maintain. That’s why we decided to write about the five different important things you need to know about it and how to manage it.
- CYA or Cyanuric Acid is also known as a conditioner or stabilizer for your swimming pool water. In this case, it is just the common abbreviation for Cyanuric Acid, an item that has quite the impression in the swimming pool industry. When it comes to professionals in the industry, some like no CYA, some like a little amount of CYA, and some like a lot of CYA. Everybody has a different comfort level and opinion on how much is the right amount but there are industry standards which we will share in the next step.
- The generally accepted range for CYA is 30-50 parts per million (ppm) in a “normally” chlorinated pool and 60-80 ppm in a saltwater pool. Please note, when it comes to saltwater pools it might be higher and we suggest referring to the manual. Typically you will see 30-50 ppm as the standard and most accurate levels.
- CYA is added to swimming pools in several different ways. For those who dose their pools with liquid chlorine or use a saltwater generator, granular or liquid conditioner is manually added to the pool to get the desired level. While they both achieve the same thing, liquid conditioner seems to assimilate a bit easier (always add CYA in less volume than you think you need and check the ppm level a week later, as it takes up to a week to fully assimilate into the water. You can add more if needed but taking it out is a much bigger challenge). A “floater” that utilizes 3” tablets of chlorine is often cut with CYA and will elevate your conditioner level over time. While tabs are convenient, that convenience does come with the concern of eventually having too much CYA in the pool. Granular “shock” products often contain CYA as well, which will increase the amount of conditioner in your pool. This is why we always recommend liquid chlorine over tabs.
- The purpose of CYA in an outdoor pool (indoor pools typically do not require any CYA) is to serve as a protectant for the chlorine (sometimes called sunscreen for chlorine) and allow it to stick around longer. However, too much CYA will bind over the chlorine and will not allow it out to work. We often hear that “I can’t keep chlorine in my pool” when it really is present but unable to break through the grip of CYA and function correctly.
- There is a direct relationship between the amount of CYA in a pool and the proper chlorine level. The multiplier to figure out how much chlorine (in ppm) you need is .075 In the case of a pool with 50 ppm CYA, we would take 40 times .075 to get a minimum chlorine residual of 3.75 ppm (we always talk about free chlorine here). This is relatively easy to achieve but what happens when this level rises? A pool with 150 ppm then would require a minimum of 11.25 ppm free chlorine as 150 X .075 = 6. Oftentimes in our industry, we hear that 2-4 ppm free chlorine is good, with no regard to the relationship it has with CYA. With this simple example, you can see that a pool with 150 ppm CYA and only a 3.75 ppm free chlorine residual is asking for major problems in the form of algae! With that said, if you do have algae you will need to keep your free chlorine at this high of a level to combat it which is not only expensive but more challenging. In conclusion, you must either lower your CYA level or increase your free chlorine to keep a safe and sanitary pool in this case.
In the past, the only way to remove or lower CYA was to fully or partially drain a pool. Obviously, as a Service Provider of the Puripool Process, Oregon Pure Water never advocates draining and refilling a swimming pool when you can save the water and recycle it instead. The bottom line is, Reverse Osmosis removes CYA! It also removes/lowers Calcium Hardness, TDS, salt, bacteria, viruses, and so much more while conserving up to 85% of the existing water in the swimming pool.
Please note there are a variety of other service providers that offer this service and congratulations to Pool Water Recycling who is now lowering Cyanuric Acid in Orange County, California.