Water Quality in your Intex Pool – Stabilizer/CYA

As noted previously, chlorine’s main enemy is sunlight. That is where stabilizer comes in. The chemical name of stabilizer is Cyanuric Acid. It’s sometimes abbreviated as “CYA” and may be sold as “conditioner”.

The purpose of adding stabilizer to pool water is to slow the depletion of chlorine due to sunlight. For instance, on a bright sunny day with no stabilizer 85% to 95% of the chlorine could be lost. With the right amount of stabilizer added, this reduction may only be 40% or 50%. In a manner of speaking, the stabilizer “grabs on” to the chlorine, preventing the sun from stealing it away.

Unfortunately, stabilizer also has the side effect of weakening chlorine. Chlorine molecules that are bonded to stabilizer molecules are less effective in killing organisms living in the pool water. So, as stabilizer is added to the water, chlorine levels must also be increased to get the same cleansing effectiveness.

The goal is to establish a balance. Stabilizer is added to protect your chlorine, but not too much, otherwise excessive amounts of chlorine will be needed to keep the water clean.

This is the problem with chlorine tablets that most people use in their pool. The packaging refers to them as “stabilized” chlorine, which means that they contain both chlorine and stabilizer. When first establishing your water balance, both chlorine and stabilizer are needed so these tablets are fine to use. However, when stabilizer gets to the right level, tablets should no longer be used.


4 thoughts on “Water Quality in your Intex Pool – Stabilizer/CYA”

  1. WE have a new intex 18 x 52 Easy set pool with sand filter and an intex salt chlorinator. How do you add the stabilizer to the pool. All of your instructions talk about a skimmer on the filter. Your instructions show nothing of a skimmer on the filter. HELP!

    • Stabilizer is known as “Cyanuric Acid”. It’s often sold as “conditioner” at a pool store or department store in granular form. You can add stabilizer by slowly pouring the granules directly into the skimmer basket over a period of 10-30 minutes.

      The skimmer is the basket that clamps to the side wall of your pool and floats in the water with the hose connected to the bottom. If you have a sand filter system, then the sand itself is the filter medium.

    • To test for stabilizer, you will need a test kit that includes a CYA drop test. Take a look at our ‘Testing And Measuring’ page for more info about some kits that include this test.


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