Savvy pool owners who do their own pool maintenance know there are a lot of pool chemicals they need to use to keep their water clean, clear, and free of contaminants. They have likely learned more than they ever wanted to know about free chlorine levels, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Many people, however, have never heard of pool conditioner. Turns out it is a pretty important component in keeping pool water clean and balanced, and chances are you probably know it by one of its other names. Let’s talk about pool conditioner, why it’s important, and how to use it.

What is Pool Conditioner?

Conditioner is an important ingredient in the recipe for a clean swimming pool. You probably know it as stabilizer or cyanuric acid (CYA). The main job of conditioner in your pool is to keep chlorine levels stable. Without conditioner, up to 90% of the chlorine in your pool can be burned off by ultraviolet rays within two hours. Cyanuric acid acts to protect the chlorine from evaporating in the sun. While trichlor tabs are a popular sanitizer that contain their own cyanuric acid, dichlor chlorine shock granules do not. The addition of pool conditioner is vital to protect unstabilized chlorine from the sun’s UV rays. A proper CYA level of 30-50 ppm for pools that use chlorine tablets and 80-100 ppm for saltwater pools will help to retain chlorine levels for much longer.

How to Add Conditioner to Your Pool

When your test kit or test strips tell you that your pool stabilizer level is low, it is time to add conditioner. Because cyanuric acid takes a few days to dissolve in water, the process is not as simple as dumping the chemical into the pool. Follow these steps to properly add conditioner to your pool:
  1. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how much chlorine stabilizer you need to add to reach the recommended cyanuric acid level for your pool. It is important not to add too much, as the only way to bring CYA levels down is to partially drain the pool and add fresh water.
  2. Turn off the pool pump and remove the filter basket and skimmer. Replace any lids that you removed and turn the system back on.
  3. Fill a bucket with pool water and add the appropriate amount of conditioner to it. Mix it into a slurry.
  4. Little by little, add the slurry to the skimmer, waiting until it disappears to add the next small amount. Continue this process until you have dumped all of the slurry into the skimmer. Adding it in this manner will cause it to get stuck in the pool filter, so that it can dissolve safely in the water over several days.
  5. Run your pump for another hour before replacing the baskets.
  6. Continue to run the system overnight for at least 8 hours.
  7. Do not backwash or clean your filter for at least 3 days. Backwashing too soon would remove any undissolved product.
  8. Repeat water testing after 7 days to make sure that the stabilizer is at the proper level.

Conditioner is an important but often overlooked component of pool water chemistry that is vital in stabilizing your pool’s chlorine so that it can effectively kill bacteria and germs. If you have any questions about how to use conditioner in your pool or hot tub, our pool care professionals can help. Give us a call today at 800-574-7665 or check us out online at