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What is a Swimming Pool Stabilizer?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Swimming pool stabilizer is a pool chemical designed to help regulate chlorine levels, reducing wastage of chlorine and keeping the amount of chlorine in the pool steady to ensure it acts effectively to inhibit the growth of unwanted organisms. Generally, stabilizer concentrations in a pool should be between 80 and 100 parts per million (PPM) and they can be tested with pool chemistry kits. Stabilizer may need to be added periodically throughout the season a pool is in use, and it is advisable to check pool chemistry regularly to address imbalances as promptly as possible.

Pool chemicals are used to maintain a pH hostile to harmful organisms. A swimming pool can be a tempting location for bacteria and other potentially pathogenic organisms if the pH is not kept in balance, and people can get sick. Levels need to be adjusted as water splashes out and is replaced, and because chemicals like chlorine can interact with ultraviolet radiation. On sunny, hot days, chlorine can rapidly deteriorate, making the pool less safe and requiring people to add chemicals to bring the level back up to normal.

Cyanuric acid is used as a swimming pool stabilizer. The product wraps around the chlorine to inhibit evaporation, making the chlorine last longer. If stabilizer levels are too low, the pool will be cloudy because harmful organisms can grow in the water. If the swimming pool stabilizer levels are too high, they can interfere with the activity of the chlorine, causing cloudy water because the chlorine is essentially locked up and cannot work.

Swimming pool stabilizer may be added directly to the pool or run through the pool filter to allow it to slowly filter out into the pool. After it has been added and the water has had a chance to circulate, levels can be checked to confirm an appropriate amount has been added, and to check the pH of the pool. If the levels are out of balance, people should be kept out of the pool for their safety until the situation is resolved.

Also known as pool conditioner, swimming pool stabilizer is available from most pool supply stores and it can also be ordered through catalogs and online stores. Pool chemicals should be kept in a locked location in sealed containers out of the reach of children and pets, as some of them can be hazardous. It is advisable to check pool chemistry at around the same time every few days for a home pool, and daily when a pool is seeing heavy use. Public pools are often checked multiple times throughout the day to allow people to adjust the levels.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Cageybird — On Jun 03, 2014

I've tried to maintain an above ground swimming pool myself several times, and I've always failed miserably. I learned the hard way that not using swimming pool stabilizer and algaecide can lead to a very cloudy swimming pool with green water. I admire those people who can maintain their own pools, but from now on I'm leaving it all up to professionals.

By Reminiscence — On Jun 02, 2014

When I lived at an apartment complex with a communal pool, a man would come around every once in a while and dip paper strips into the water at different points. I asked him one time what he was doing and he said the apartment manager put him in charge of making sure the pool water was safe. If his water tests showed a low or high pH level, he'd go over to a storage shed and add pool stabilizer.

He must have known what he was doing, since I never saw a cloudy swimming pool the entire time I lived there.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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