What is conditioner?
Conditioner's technical name is cyanuric acid. It is also called stabilizer. Cyanuric acid can be added manually to the pool. It is also found in chlorine tablets and some chlorine granules that you find in the big box stores and some high volume pool stores (not a good thing).
Keep away from chlorine granules that have conditioner/stabilizer/cyanuric acid included. When you need chlorine, purchase strictly chlorine (not including inert ingredients). When you need conditioner, purchase conditioner. We will explain in greater detail in a bit. For simplicity, we will be referring to cyanuric acid as conditioner for the rest of this article.
What does conditioner do?
Conditioner helps keep the chlorine from dissipating from the UV rays from the sun. As the UV rays hit chlorine, it cause the chlorine to be burned off quicker, costing you money and creating more maintenance.
Conditioner actually puts a protective barrier over the chlorine molecule making it harder for the UV rays to affect it. This allows the Free Chlorine (the good form of chlorine) to last longer in your pool and be more efficient. We want chlorine to kill bacteria instead of being burned out, right? Chlorine costs too much!
How do I add conditioner?
There are a couple of acceptable ways to add conditioner. You can slowly add it to your skimmer with the basket in place. Very important. If you add it quickly with the basket removed, it can harden inside your pipes and create a cementitious clog. Pouring it slowly with the basket in place allows the conditioner to disperse at a broader range through the vents of the basket. If you have some gloves on, you can swirl it around in the skimmer to make sure none settles in the basket. You do not want it to settle in the basket because that can cause priming issues with your pump and may take longer to dissolve.
Once the conditoner is added to the skimmer, the pump will carry it into the filter where it will sit and dissolve. It will take a few days for the conditioner to settle completely so test the water at least 5 days later to get an accurate reading. The ideal range is between 30-50 ppm. Once at the appropriate range, conditioner will probably need to be added about once every 1-3 months.
Another way to add it is put it in a stocking and tie it in front of your returns in your pool. The water shooting out of your returns will erode the conditioner. Make sure no kids play with the stocking so you need to be careful.
Always read the directions on the back of the conditioner's container for that manufacturer's recommended way to add the condioner. If too much conditioner is added, you will need to drain the pool several inches, if not more, and dilute with fresh water. It is important to test your conditioner level prior to adding. This is another reason to stay away from chlorine shock that has conditioner in it. Too much conditioner smothers the chlorine and will not allow it to do it's job of killing bacteria, algae, and other protozoa.
Where should I purchase conditioner?
Purchase your conditioner from a reputable pool store, not online, not at a big box store, and not at a high-volume pool store. They may be selling inexpensive and very poor condioner from China or elsewhere. Those locations do not sell good pool chemicals.
If you purchase the conditioner from Absolute Pool & Spa Care, we will deliver it to you for free for all orders of $100.00 or more. Tell us you read this blog and we will give you a FREE liquid solar cover that will help with your chlorine even more.