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The Effects of Cyanuric Acid and How to Manage It

Are you adding more and more chlorine to your pool with diminishing results?

You go out to your pool every day, test it for the proper chlorine levels, and add chlorine tablets or other liquid chlorine products to keep the levels between 1 – 3ppm — but you are still facing problems with algae, murky water, and chlorine effectiveness. What most pool owners don’t know is that cyanuric acid is added to chlorine treatments to help keep it from evaporating. Eventually, though, chlorine is consumed by the sanitation process and the levels drop. Unlike chlorine, cyanuric acid does not degrade and continues building up.

What is Cyanuric Acid

Cyanuric acid is used in outdoor swimming pools to stop chlorine from rapidly evaporating in the sun. With help from cyanuric acid, pools don’t have to be managed daily. Instead, homeowners and service professionals can manage pools less often and with less effort.

Here’s the problem:

The amount of cyanuric acid in your pool greatly affects the disinfection, oxidation, and algae inhibition rates of the chlorine. Studies and research show that ORP levels drop with the introduction of more cyanuric acid (indicating that the chlorine is lowering in effectiveness). High levels of this chemical will also damage pool plaster surfaces and even become ineffective against the growth of a dangerous microorganism called Cryptosporidium parvum (a chlorine resistant organism known to cause gastrointestinal illness).

Due to the fact that cyanuric acid does not evaporate or degrade, the levels continually build up and overtime pool owners are forced to drain their pool.

The Relationship of pH, Chlorine, and Cyanuric Acid Levels

If your pH goes down, the effectiveness of your chlorine goes up. This is commonly understood. But in the presence of cyanuric acid, the relationship between pH and chlorine is substantially altered. For example, if your pool maintains a pH of 7.2, about 63 percent of the chlorine is in its active form. If you introduce just 30 ppm of cyanuric acid to the pool, this drops to 1.6 percent of the chlorine being in its active form.

Depending on the size of a pool and jurisdiction, public pools have regulated limits for cyanuric levels of 40-100 ppm to prevent problems from over chlorination or unbalanced pH. Although cyanuric acid offers a low level of toxicity without any serious health concerns, having high-levels of this chemical in a pool puts people at risk because of the chlorine’s diminished ability to kill bacteria and viruses. In Florida, the Department of Health states that a pool’s cyanuric levels may not exceed 100ppm to prevent gastrointestinal illness, skin rashes, and other diseases.

Despite these ongoing issues, the industry has never found a cost-effective solution and environmentally safe way to remedy this problem.

Problems Beyond The Pool

On top of the pool chemistry problems, draining your pool presents environmental hazards:

  • The drain and refill solution is no longer a sustainable option in areas where drought conditions are a problem. For pool owners in a state such as California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, or Arizona — this solution is falling under increased scrutiny due to water shortages and the need to improve use of limited water resources. In Arizona, if you are caught illegally dumping pool water — you could be fined up to $15,000.

  • The ineffective management of pool drainage introduces toxins to the environment. Depending on the state and county — disposing the waste from draining your pool will fall under a different set of regulations. Even so, there is always a burden to the environment when disposing of swimming pool waste. This discharge can contribute toxic and carcinogenic materials to fish and other wildlife. Introduction of chlorine can cause damage to trees and harm surrounding forests or parks.

If you were able to manage the levels of cyanuric acid in your swimming pool without draining it — all these issues could be avoided.

Draining Your Pool Is a Distant Memory

In 2015, a revolutionary product was introduced to the pool industry. It is called Cyanuric Acid Reducer. Bio-Active Products Inc developed this outstanding product in partnership with BiOWiSH Technologies. As the name would suggest, Cyanuric Acid Reducer reduces cyanuric acid without draining your pool.

Bio-Active Cyanuric Acid Reducer is a naturally-biodegradable product that works safely in your pool to reduce cyanuric acid levels. It has been designed to specifically to lower the levels cyanuric acid levels in pools with more than 100ppm. And it never leaves residue that affects swimmers or plumbing.

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