New to the forum and found TFP by trying to solve a rust issue.
We had our 21ft round Summerfield pool installed in July of 2011. It was installed by one of the pool store's referred contractors. We did EVERYTHING up to code including enduring a major excavation in our backyard to level the footprint (and subsequent pile of dirt that they left behind), electrical permits...you name it.
Last year I noticed some rust on top of a couple of the top rails. I cleaned them up and touched up the affected areas. I'd say that about 6 rails seemed to be affected. Little did I know....
This year I removed the cover to find that ALL of the top rails have rusted underneath and spread to the front edge. I decided to press on and remove, sand and reinstall the rails one at a time while I shocked the pool as normal. The water was clear if not a little buggy when I opened it, but some debris from the cover got into the pool. Nothing unusual.I vacuumed what was most certainly rusted metal flakes from the bottom of the pool and removed the other debris. It appeared that the pool was pretty darned clean for a start up. I added my usual 2 bags of shock to start and the water IMMEDIATELY turned brown. Clearly I had a problem.
Ye olde pool store guy recommended "don't panic, here's some Metal Free". I add as per his instructions and....nothing happens. Keep filtering....days go by...no change. To keep myself busy, I start removing the top rails one by one to sand and repaint. I find that ALL of the stabilizer rails have corrosion on them, some have completely rotted on the inner pool side. Now I'm beyond angry because the pool is only a few years old and it's falling apart. Back to the brown water. I grab a water sample and head to the mom and pop pool store hoping to get some better advice. I explain the situation to him and he proceeds to test the water and load me up on chemicals ( More Metal Free, water hardener, alkalinity.....) and gives me a time table to introduce this glorious concoction over the next 14 hours. I do all of the above and the water just keeps getting darker and darker brown. Still filtering but have installed a brand new cartridge as I had only intended to use the old one to open up the pool as it was at the end of life anyway.
Yesterday I watched as the flow started to slow to a trickle so I pulled the cartridge, cleaned out the inside of the tank, power washed the cartridge and put it back in. Ran the filter for a few hours and when it started to slow again I pulled it and cleaned again.
A family friend who owns a pool care service happened to call and when I explained what was happening he told me to stop what I was doing, add a clarifier and shut the filter off so the clarifer could work and the metal would settle to the bottom. He said to make sure that there was adequate chlorine in the pool and leave it for a day or 2.
That is where I stand right now. Filter off, waiting to see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel. I will take a pic of the test results and their instructions when I get home from work and hopefully you all can shed a little light on this. My 3 main issues though are A) should I cut bait and drain the pool and start over (not all the way mind you as I am not in it to replace a deformed liner)? B)Should I continue to run the filter or just hang tight? C) What is the probability that I can solve this in days rather than weeks?
Sorry it is so long-winded but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible. I did search the forums and read the articles but none seemed to pertain to " crummy top rails rusted and fell into my pool ". Thanks for any assistance, and again, I will post the test findings this evening.
Moderator comment: I deleted your second post with the photo fo the analysis sheet. It contains your personally identifiable information - Name, address and such. Please block that out before posting