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Thread: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

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    Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Hi all.
    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
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    I'm just a newbie so please wait for additional help from more experienced members but please if you haven't already added all that snake oil from the pool store please don't! I'd you're able to return it and get your $ back do so. It'll be alot easier for the wonderful people here to help you if they don't have to combat the pool stores recommended additions.

    If you've already added them though don't despair, I've seen/heard of much worse getting cleared up with the methods here.

    If you added the clarifier your friend recommended check to see if the rust & stuff has settled to the bottom of your pool. If it has you can probably vaccum it up. From what I understand it will become suspended again if you turn your pump back on.

    A good test kit is needed to maintain your pool and give people here the results they need to help you so if you don't already have one consider the recommended test kits from this site, which is the Taylor k-2006c or the TF100 TFTestkits.net the results you posted should be enough to get started until your test kit arrives, although you will need to be testing while you're SLAMING.

    Go ahead and start on pool school, (link at top of every page) and read over this page specifically several times as this is probably what it's going to take to get your pool back in shape. The pool store sells shock, and acts like all you have to do is add it, when shocking your pool is actually a process. It's called SLAM here Shock Level and Maintain, which basically means you'll need to raise your FC up to shock level and keep it there until you can pass an OCLT or overnight chlorine loss test. This will explain what I'm talking about in detail

    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    But like I said I'm a newbie so you'll need someone else to give you the steps to follow before you do anything. I just wanted to give you some reading material & bump your thread up so others will see your post more easily.

    You might also want to post in the just getting started thread and introduce yourself and your problem and link this post for more assistance. Just reading through threads in that topic should give you a good idea of the procedures and methods here. Lots of those threads start out as swamps and end as sparkling jewels.

    I hope your issue is resolved quickly!
    30' Round Doughboy AG (diy install on 8/30/16 after 2 months of rock removal to level area LOL) 200lb Hayward sand filter w/ 1.5 HP pump. TF-100.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Your iron result is really high! Take a sample of your tap water or whatever you use to top off the pool and have them test it for metals. If it is metal free then I would drain and refill. I would also be contacting that pool manufacturer about replacing those top rails. They should have never rusted like that so quickly!

    I'm also sorry to say your friend did not do you any favors having you add clarifier. Clarifier is for cloudy pools and it causes debris too fine to be picked up by the filter to clump together. You usually keep the pump running so the filter can pick up the clumps of debris. The instructions he gave you are more like the instructions for a flocculant. Flocculant will also cause debris to clump together but this chemical causes them to drop to the bottom of the pool as well. Flocculant must be vacuumed to waste, and unless you had a very forward thinking installer, I doubt your cartridge filter was plumbed that way. As for adding a bunch of chlorine and keeping the pump off a couple of days...well high chlorine will break down clarifiers and flocculants so they will be less effective. High chlorine also reacts with the iron in the water causing it to oxidize and fall out of solution, thus the brown water, so you may not see the results you were hoping for by following his advice.

    Like I said earlier, if you are able to refill the pool with iron free water I would drain and refill. Unless you live in a very windy area you should be able to drain the majority of the water without harming the pool. If wind is an issue or you prefer to drain in stages drain the pool 50% then refill, circulate the water well and then drain down to 50% again. That should remove the majority of the iron contaminated water. Have the iron level tested again before you add chlorine. If you still have iron you will have to decide whether or not to drain and refill again or to use sequestrant. If you use sequestrant to keep the iron in suspension you will have to keep using it and add a maintenance dose regularly.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    I live in an area with high iron in our well water. The first time I added chlorine to our pool was a real shocker. My sand filter will filter out the brown rust from the water. Before I got my sand filter I built a filter from a 3 gallon bucket from home depot and polyester fiberfill from a sewing store. There are youtube videos that show the filter construction. The home made filter cleared my water in a day.
    Intex 22' X 52" Ultra Frame AGP ( 12K gallons) , Intex 633T 2500 GPH (41 GPM) running Doughboy Silica II sand filter (16"dia. 1.4 ' S.A.) ( And doing it quite well, I might add!) Hayward through the wall skimmer, TF100 with Speed Stir. Hard plumbed, Intex fountain ...........

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Ran the filter for a bit yesterday when I got home and vacuumed some of the junk out. It cleared up slightly but is still a horrendous brown. I am going to see what it looks like today and I am thinking that the only way to go is drain and refill. I don't want to ruin another cartridge just by being too stubborn to refill the pool. As far as the metal in the water goes, it is not coming from the city water. Never had any problems with iron levels and aside from the odd algae on the walls have not had any major battles with the pool since we installed it. I have filed a claim with summerfield but they apparently take WEEKS just to respond. I am not expecting to hear anything good from them and if I end up having to pay for replacement of the top rails I'm switching to resin so at least I don't have to worry about THAT rusting. Will edit the photo and add to the thread. Was in such a rush to try to get some decent advice that I didn't even think of the address being on there. I've been working on my family's pools since I was about 13 and I have never encountered anything like this.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Even though you have not had iron issues with your water in the past I would go ahead and test a sample, or at least fill a 5 gallon bucket and put 1/4 cup of bleach in there and see if it reacts. It is possible that deterioration in iron pipes could be adding to your problem, or your city may be getting water from a different source.
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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    Even though you have not had iron issues with your water in the past I would go ahead and test a sample, or at least fill a 5 gallon bucket and put 1/4 cup of bleach in there and see if it reacts. It is possible that deterioration in iron pipes could be adding to your problem, or your city may be getting water from a different source.

    Thanks for the suggestion ! Going to check as soon as I get home. If it doesn't react I am going to drain it and refill. I don't see the water that is in there being able to be saved..... Our water company is usually good about any kind of work or changes with the water, but you never know.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    No reaction whatsoever from the water. I went out last night and saw that a lot of sediment had settled to the bottom. I threw caution to the wind and pulled the return hose and vacuumed it to waste. Went back and refilled. Added clarifier and will repeat when I get home. Heard back from summerfield and got a prorated warranty quote of $392.00 for rails, stabilizers and of course shipping. The question now becomes do I order it now and stick it out with the current stuff for this season? I am guessing it is VERY likely a nightmare to replace the stabilizers with any water in the pool and once drained say goodbye to the liner.....
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    You can replace the stabilizer bars in 3-4 ft sections and lower the pool to below the return to minimize the pressure on the walls.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    You can replace the stabilizer bars in 3-4 ft sections and lower the pool to below the return to minimize the pressure on the walls.
    That's what I was thinking, but I have seen mixed reviews on this. I am awaiting word from the manufacturer. Read numerous times on TFP that it can cause collapse and shifting. I managed to do another vacuum flush tonight and the water went from a settled rusty brown to a greenish. Ran the pump to circulate the water and will let it settle again overnight and repeat. VERY slow progress, but progress nonetheless. At this rate it'll be ready by July.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Gonna pull the plug. I have filtered and vacuumed and added chemicals and I am back to brown water again. Never have I seen anything like this in 30 years of having pools. Money wasted on chemicals, replacement parts on the way. Hopefully if I drain and refill the problem ends. Thanks all for the suggestions.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Where I am now and where I was. Wifey just sent the "green" photo a few min ago
    Attached Images Attached Images
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Been reading through some of the threads and watching youtube videos regarding filtering the iron out. Patience is paying off. Slowly. My method was to wrap pillow stuffing in a microfiber towel and drop it in the skimmer. Run the filter overnight then change the "media" the next day. Clean the cartridge and repeat. Started to see results after 3 days of this. Pool store guy tested water and suggested metal free again but no more than 2 doses. I added the second dose on monday and let the frankenfilter do the work. Saw a huge improvement yesterday then my wife just messaged me "holy cow the pool" a few min ago .... it is now clear, a little green and suffering from iron staining on the liner in spots but clear. As frustrating as it is, I learned a valuable lesson here about just being patient.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    Is it possible please to say where he should take the water for testing. Since we are all pretty against the pool stores tests, he needs an option where to go to have the water checked. Just be nice to include the option of where else he could go.

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    Your iron result is really high! Take a sample of your tap water or whatever you use to top off the pool and have them test it for metals. If it is metal free then I would drain and refill. I would also be contacting that pool manufacturer about replacing those top rails. They should have never rusted like that so quickly!

    I'm also sorry to say your friend did not do you any favors having you add clarifier. Clarifier is for cloudy pools and it causes debris too fine to be picked up by the filter to clump together. You usually keep the pump running so the filter can pick up the clumps of debris. The instructions he gave you are more like the instructions for a flocculant. Flocculant will also cause debris to clump together but this chemical causes them to drop to the bottom of the pool as well. Flocculant must be vacuumed to waste, and unless you had a very forward thinking installer, I doubt your cartridge filter was plumbed that way. As for adding a bunch of chlorine and keeping the pump off a couple of days...well high chlorine will break down clarifiers and flocculants so they will be less effective. High chlorine also reacts with the iron in the water causing it to oxidize and fall out of solution, thus the brown water, so you may not see the results you were hoping for by following his advice.

    Like I said earlier, if you are able to refill the pool with iron free water I would drain and refill. Unless you live in a very windy area you should be able to drain the majority of the water without harming the pool. If wind is an issue or you prefer to drain in stages drain the pool 50% then refill, circulate the water well and then drain down to 50% again. That should remove the majority of the iron contaminated water. Have the iron level tested again before you add chlorine. If you still have iron you will have to decide whether or not to drain and refill again or to use sequestrant. If you use sequestrant to keep the iron in suspension you will have to keep using it and add a maintenance dose regularly.
    - - - Updated - - -




    Quote Originally Posted by garyg7133 View Post
    Been reading through some of the threads and watching youtube videos regarding filtering the iron out. Patience is paying off. Slowly. My method was to wrap pillow stuffing in a microfiber towel and drop it in the skimmer. Run the filter overnight then change the "media" the next day. Clean the cartridge and repeat. Started to see results after 3 days of this. Pool store guy tested water and suggested metal free again but no more than 2 doses. I added the second dose on monday and let the frankenfilter do the work. Saw a huge improvement yesterday then my wife just messaged me "holy cow the pool" a few min ago .... it is now clear, a little green and suffering from iron staining on the liner in spots but clear. As frustrating as it is, I learned a valuable lesson here about just being patient.
    Ultra 16', Intex Sand filter/pump combo, 8' x 20' solar panels, solar blanket w/roll tube, 1" extruded foam floor with Gorilla pad, Liquid chlorine and stabilizer.

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    I am awaiting a response from the water company as I emailed them to see what is going on at their end. They sent a yearly water report last week, but it didn't mention Iron.... As an aside, I am pushing to get this tub online by monday after thinking I was done with it for the season...
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    A option for your rails us paint them with a Marine grade epoxy or look at powder coating then... as far as the iron in the water it just took me 3 weeks to filter mine out cleaning the filers everyday


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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    It is fine to have metals tested at the pool store. Most drinking water authorities do not report iron because it is not considered to be a contaminant in drinking water. Polyfil is a good option for filtering out the iron.
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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    I am out of space and can't post a pic, but sweet victory is mine. Finally vacuumed and chlorinated yesterday and ran the filter all night. Came home just now to CRYSTAL CLEAR BLUE water. Patience patience patience.... Going to clean the cartridge again tomorrow and then retest the water and see where I am as far as ph and metal levels.
    21ft Round Summerfield Above Ground. Hayward XTream cartridge filter

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    Re: Severe rust in pool not caused by fill water

    I've never posted on this forum but I feel it really needs to be said (and maybe repeated a time or two), that if you end up with iron oxidizing in your water, keep calm and filter on. Just had an idea for a meme

    The first few days after opening or filling the pool, you're going to be running the filter nonstop while you SLAM, so keep the brush handy and stir it up a few times. Then leave the pump off overnight so it settles to the bottom, and vacuum it all out the next day.

    Trust me, I get it, it's an eye sore. We have an iron filter on our home water supply from our well. I've been cleaning this stuff up for years now. Imo, it's better to just be patient than adding sequestrants and flocculants or xanax.

    xo

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