Stabilizer or Isocyanuric Acid is required in a pool because chlorine is a very reactive chemical to both sunlight and heat and that reaction is controlled by the proper amount of stabilizer in your pool. It is what is known as a “goldilocks chemical.” Too little and the chlorine will dissipate too soon and you are likely to have algae problems from low chlorine levels. Too much and the stabilizer will completely lock-up the chlorine and will prevent any sanitizing reaction to occur. With too much stabilizer it is possible to have 5 – 10 ppm of chlorine and still have severe algae problems.
Whether you own a salt or fresh water pool maintain a proper stabilizer level of 40 – 60 ppm. Stabilizer is what is called a cumulative chemical. Meaning it doesn’t dissipate over short periods of time. In a fresh water pool the trichlor “Pucks” you put in your chlorinator have the stabilizer impregnated into the pucks. If you have long dry spells the cumulative effect can be an over stabilized pool and the only way to reduce the stabilizer is to drain a percentage of your pool and refill it with fresh water to dilute the existing stabilizer to a manageable level. Anyone that has a fresh water pool will usually have to do this at least once per year if not twice if you live in a dry climate.
In a salt water pool the stabilizer is brought up to about 50 ppm and stays there for an extended period of time unless there are frequent rain events that dilute your pool. Weekly backwashing will eventually reduce the stabilizing levels but that will take several months.
Stabilizer should be introduced into the pool by putting a couple of pounds at a time into your skimmer basket until you have at least 40 ppm. Wait several hours and take a stabilizer reading to see if you need more because you don’t want to over stabilize your pool because you would have to drain water out of your pool if you have over 60 ppm.
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This is a question with a varying response depending what the season is. As the days get longer and warmer you should gradually increase the run time on your pool pump until you get to around 12 hours a day by memorial Day. Heat and direct sunlight will degrade the Chlorine that keeps your pool safe to swim and also keeps algae at bay.
Whether you have a freshwater or saltwater chlorination system your pump has to run in order for your pool to be chlorinated, and as the days grow longer and hotter the demand for chlorine increases so your pump run time has to correspondingly increase.
You should keep your pool pump at about 12 hours a day until mid to late September and gradually cut it back to about 6 hours a day by the end of November.
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