What is swimming pool conditioner?


Conditioner is a chemical, which, to a certain extent, protects the chlorine from ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Since UV light is partly responsible for the degradation of chlorine in pool water, conditioner helps to keep chlorine in the water for longer periods of time. Conditioner is generally added once after the pool is filled with fresh water, but if an excessive amount of water has been lost due to backwashing or a leak, it is recommended to have the conditioner level tested.


Conditioner: Conditioner is a name given to a chemical which inhibits the degradation of chlorine by UV light. Other commonly used names for conditioner include: stabilizer, sun-shield, the chemical name cyanuric acid, or the trade name Pad-Con.

Stabilized Chlorine: Stabilized chlorine refers to chlorine, which is made with a base of conditioner. The chlorine binds to the conditioner base, and as the chlorine dissolves, it leaves conditioner behind. The presence of conditioner in the chlorine serves two purposes. It affords a small amount of protection to the chlorine from UV light, and it also acts to supplement the pools conditioner level, as it is gradually reduced by backwashing and splashing. Chlorine, which contains conditioner, is usually marked with the words "Sun-Shielded". Usually, only tablets and some granular chlorines contain conditioner.

Unstabilized Chlorine: Unstabilized chlorine refers to chlorine, which does not contain conditioner. This type of chlorine is generally used a method of super chlorination, and is not recommended as the primary source of the swimming pool's chlorine residual.


The Conditioner Scale

Conditioner is measured in parts per million (ppm). The scale begins at zero ppm and has no upper limit. Generally, the maximum level concerning swimming pools is on the order of 200 ppm, but the recommended ideal range is well below this amount.

Ideal Levels

The recommended ideal level for conditioner in a swimming pool is between 40 and 100 ppm. It is advisable to begin the summer season with a level which is near 40 ppm and allow the conditioner present in the chlorine itself to raise the level toward 100 ppm throughout the season. If the chlorine used is not stabilized, small amounts of conditioner may be required to maintain an average of 70 ppm.

Time And Frequency Of Testing

Since the concentration of conditioner does not vary to a great extent, it is usually required to test it only once per month. If, however, a large chlorine demand is noticed, it is advisable to have the conditioner level tested as soon as possible. There is no specific time of day at which the conditioner level should be tested.

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