These were formulated to be used along with basic sanitizers to reduce scaling and staining and for sparkling, easier to chemically balance and treat pool and spa water. These are the calcium and metal inhibitors –chelating or sequestering agents that can hold the calcium, copper, iron, and other metals in solution, prevent them from precipitating out into a solid form, and prevent or reduce scale formation or metal staining. Others are used to clump the suspended solids together so the filter can trap and remove them from sparkling water. Reactive silicones break up the surface tension of water to stop foaming. Silicone emulsions which protect fiberglass finish and algaecides are often considered along with basic sanitizers as special additives. In the hotter water of spas and hot tubs with more scaling and staining tendencies, with higher chlorine or bromine levels needed and more aggressive water, specialty chemicals are considered a must. Here again, we must know when and how to use these as sunlight, higher chlorine levels, lower or
higher pH and TA ranges, and filtration can remove them. These can do all the good things mentioned, but they will not stay and work forever and can drop out. Adding these weekly or semi- weekly may be needed if the water has high calcium, copper, or metal concentrations. In spas it should be part of the regular weekly maintenance. For higher calcium concentrations, use calcium inhibitors. For high copper or iron levels, use metal inhibitors. If the water is hazy, use clarifiers (organic polymers). For foaming, use reactive silicones/de-foamers. Learn their values, learn when and how much to use them. Use them if is needed. These can make life a little easier, if possible. Changing some or enough of the water can reduce many of the minerals that are causing problems.
Cyanuric Acid- Conditioner Stabilizer
This is not a basic sanitizer, but must be considered if pools are in direct sunlight, which can remove chlorine in hours. Cyanuric acid (CYA) can prevent much of the degradation of chlorine cause by the suns ultraviolet rays. If used as recommended, it can save us some (where is the chlorine?) problems.
How much CYA is enough? How much is too much? This controversy between the service pros and CYA manufactures often leaves many of us in the dark. I have preached and taught for many years that higher concentrations of CYA have no advantage, and are not cost effective. I read that we can live with a maximum of 70 ppm CYA, not above 100 pm as written in the manufacturers’ information. CYA may not lock up the chlorine at higher concentrations, but it sure slows down the killing power of chlorines, for any sanitizer to be 100% effective, it must react with pH and TA changes, move around freely, and do its job efficiently. When we surround sanitizers with anything that slows down their movements, this makes them less effective. We do not need to be rocket scientist to come to this conclusion.
I cannot recommend and overall CYA level for you, as each pool needs will vary. It depends on how much sunlight, how much water, how much traffic, the size of the filter, pump and motor, how many return lines, how far the equipment is from pool, how many hours the filter runs, cleaning procedures and much more. All of these must be considered when we add the conditioner and determine the CYA levels we will maintain. I have had services where I keep 40 ppm CYA, and other 70 ppm, and everywhere in between. Knowing each pool and all the variable mentioned, you can experiment with CYA levels and in time know how much is enough. The verdict is still out concerning the effects of CYA in determining proper alkalinity readings.
Using stabilized chlorines can often bring CYA up less time than you may think. Testing CYA often can tell you when you stop or slow down using stabilized chlorines. If above 80 ppm CYA, you can use more unstabilized chlorines, leave liquid chlorine for customers to add between calls, or change enough water to drop the CYA. How much, I cannot tell you, but 40-70 ppm CYA does the job for me. Thousands of pounds of cyanuric acid and stabilized chlorines are sold every week, if used if sunlight is a factor and in concentrations only as high as needed, this can be a big help for pros and pool owners, but if we don’t need stabilizer or stabilized chlorines, why should we make the fat cats even fatter? I cannot be convinced that higher CYA, or more is better, will make us more money or solve our problems. I use cyanuric acid and I use many stabilized tablets each year, but I do not use more than I need. I do not recommend stabilized chlorine in enclosed pools, spas, or hot tubs that are covered. This is an
added expense and we are cutting it close enough as the costs of chemicals, gas, insurance, licenses and everything we need down the line is getting out of reach. We absorb constant price increases and fat cats don’t. Save where you can, but don’t get carried away and do sloppy or unprofessional work or give poor service.