Stabilized Vs Unstabilized Chlorine: So one of the questions we get asked the most is what’s the difference between stabilized chlorine and unstabilized chlorine?
which one should you use, what’s the difference, let’s find out.
All right, so first, what is chlorine?
Chlorine is a sanitizer, it is a halogen sanitizer, it is one of the most effective sanitizers for your swimming pool, and it is the most common.
Normally, we wanna keep our chlorine between one and three parts per million.
If you have a normal chlorine pool or a saltwater pool, both of those should stay roughly around three parts per million of chlorine at all times to make sure that your pool is completely sanitized.
Now there are two different types of chlorine, there is And you’ll commonly see them referred to as stabilized and unstabilized chlorine.
So unstabilized chlorine is generally just chlorine, it is what it is, and the reason it’s unstabilized is that when you add it
to your pool, the UV rays from the sun will burn off the chlorine very fast.
And so chlorine that’s unstabilized tends to come in a powder form or a granular form, similar to shock, or just like, chlorine granules that you would throw directly into the pool.
In fact, if you buy something called shock, then it’s probably unstabilized chlorine, but you wanna check the label, because again, there are so many different types of shocks out there.
But commonly, shock is unstabilized chlorine.
And what that means is that the chlorine is susceptible to the sun burning it off.
There is no protectant, it is not stabilized, which is the opposite of unstabilized, where stabilized chlorine protects it from being burned off by the sun.
Not 100%, but it protects it.
Now, why would you add unstabilized chlorine to a pool if the sun’s just gonna burn it off?
Well, typically you would add it because you want the sun to burn it off, meaning it’s a short burst of chlorine that you’re trying to add to the pool, and you want it to be super high.
So this is what shocking is, shocking is really just a method of chlorination, and so when you add shock to a pool or a bunch of
unstabilized chlorine to a pool, you are raising the chlorine level of that pool to a very, very high level, which is killing bacteria and oxidizing the current chlorine that’s in there.
And so when you do that, you want the sun when it comes out to burn that chlorine off as fast as possible so that you can be back
down to a normal level.
So typically, shock, or any granular chlorine, is unstabilized chlorine, meaning that it is susceptible to the sun.
So that you get the most out of that shock, because the sun’s not out, it’s not gonna burn off chlorine, you have it mix into the pool, it’s gonna be high chlorine for a very long period of time when really no one is swimming in it.
I mean, unless you’re swimming in the middle of the night, but if you’re shocking it, do not swim in it.
And the chlorine will be high, and then when the sun comes out the next day, it’ll start to burn it off.
Now if you want to use unstabilized chlorine to sanitize your pool, you can certainly do that.
They actually make a chemical called cyanuric acid, which is what makes chlorine stable.
It is an acid that you would put into the pool that is also known as chlorine stabilizer.
And the chlorine stabilizer will actually protect the chlorine from being burned off by the sun.
Now typically you won’t see anything labeled unstabilized chlorine like you’re not gonna go and see a bag of shock, or any bucket of chlorine,
that says unstabilized chlorine.
When you look for shock, you wanna look for calcium hypochlorite, which is essentially unstabilized chlorine.
Okay, so what is stabilized chlorine?
Well, it’s the opposite of unstabilized chlorine.
It usually comes in the form of a tablet.
So if you’re buying chlorine tablets at your local pool store or online, and it’s the active ingredient is trichlor, then chances are you
have stabilized chlorine, which means it has cyanuric acid in it, which protects it from being burned off by the UV rays of the sun.
And this is great too because you can use shock, or unstabilized chlorine, if you wanna super-chlorinate your water, and kill a lot of bacteria, and then you can use stabilized chlorine to keep the chlorine at around three parts per million at all times, and the stabilized chlorine usually lasts about three to five times longer than unstabilized chlorine, and when you add these pucks to your pool.
You can add it via a chlorine floater, or within your skimmer basket, or what we recommend is to add them to an automatic chlorinator, that is your best bet for adding chlorine pucks and keeping the water at three parts per million in a classic chlorine pool.
But if you’re adding chlorine pucks or chlorine tablets, and they are stabilized, because they’re trichlor, then it is adding chlorine stabilizer, or cyanuric acid to your water, in very, very low amounts because it is stabilized chlorine, that’s what that means.
But, either way, you’re gonna wanna add a chlorine stabilizer or cyanuric acid to your water, whether you’re using just unstabilized chlorine or a mix of unstabilized and stabilized chlorine, just to make sure that both of those things are kind of stabilized together, and you wanna keep your cyanuric acid at a very specific level.
You wanna keep the cyanuric acid between 30 and 80 parts per million.
Ideally, you wanna keep it at around 50 parts per million.
If your cyanuric level goes too high, it can cause problems with your sanitizers, speaking of chlorine, and the only way to lower cyanuric acid is to dilute your pool water.
Okay, so hopefully you know the difference between stabilized and unstabilized chlorine, it’s pretty simple.
So the final question is, well, which one should you use?
If you have an outdoor pool, you’re gonna wanna use a combination of both unstabilized and stabilized chlorine.
Unstabilized chlorine for shocking and high-chlorination, for oxidation in your water, and stabilized chlorine for just general, you
know, keeping your pool at around three parts per million, because it’s just gonna last longer with the tablets, and they’re easier to add than constantly adding unstabilized chlorine to your pool.
Now, if you have a saltwater pool, you are constantly adding unstabilized chlorine to your pool, and you can use cyanuric acid to help the sun not to burn off the chlorine that you’re generating.
And whenever you super-chlorinate it, again, you’re just adding a bunch of unstabilized chlorine to the pool, because you’re
not generating cyanuric acid with a salt water system, you’re gonna need to add that separately.
And then if you have an indoor pool, you really are not bothered by the UV rays of the sun too much if you have a, you know, a cover, if you have the sun peeking through, well then, you’re gonna have to worry about it, and if you have an indoor pool, I recommend keeping your cyanuric acid, or your chlorine stabilizer level, at around 10 parts per million.
Okay, again, taking care of a pool, everyone’s got a different way of doing it, there are different ranges when it comes to how much cyanuric acid to add to a pool, how much chlorine to add to the pool, and generally, that’s why we like to give a large range, but tell you what the ideal is, and that’s what we gave you here.
So the ideal for chlorine is around three parts or three parts per million, and with cyanuric acid, you want it at about 50 parts per million.
I just wanted to put that out there for ya in case you were interested in something like that.
And everyone’s got a different way of doing it, and this is just our way, and I hope that answers your questions, but if we didn’t,
if we missed something, please leave a comment below.
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