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Thread: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

  1. #1
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    Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Ok this is going to be somewhat long but I want to explain in detail. I have been taking care of my own pools for almost 40 years. I sort of do a BBB method but I use pool store chemicals. Chlorine, Soda Ash and Dry Acid. I do use a concentrated algaecide for opening and closing. I have had a 19 x 45 in ground vinyl pool for 6 seasons now. I live in NJ. I opened my pool as always the beginning of May. The PH was low and the people that open my pool put in what looked like about 5 lbs soda ash. After the opening I maintain my pool. In about 2 days my water was sparkling and ever so blue. The PH was still low and my chlorine was being eaten up like crazy. We initially shocked the pool same as always and I maintain with 3" tabs in the skimmer basket. 5 - 6 usually work in the early season. I know I needed to raise the PH so I went to the store to stock up on Soda Ash. Ultimately it took 25 pounds to get the correct PH. Now I also tried one of these liquid solar covers but I really don't think that caused the stains. If it did who would buy it. Anyway my sparkling blue pool was now a brownish green. The water was still clear. I then tried "Yellow Out" after raising the PH at the advice of the store. I also shocked again. No real improvement after about 2 days and I upped the 3" tabs to 8. I continued to add shock because in the past Chlorine would solve all color issues. I had good chemical levels this morning but the pool was only slightly better. I added another 5 pounds of shock and going to see what tomorrow brings. This is not algae as if cannot be scrubbed off. I haven't tried the vitamin C yet but I will tomorrow. It has also been raining a lot lately. All I can say is the steps are stained and most of the liner. The water is clear and does show blueness when I splash the water. I do not have a major test kit. In my almost 40 years never had the need for one. I have been using test strips the last 4 or 5 years and never had a problem. This is a first for me. I'm dumb founded. Maybe the over chlorinating will help over time but I'm wondering if I should use Yellow Out again or should I try something else. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member reindeerboy's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Let me ask you this, How can you pinpount the problem without a test kit to show you where your chemical problem lies? It all starts with knowing what the issues are first and it takes a TF100 test kit in my opinion to help you understand your water chemistry. Just my 2 cents.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

  3. #3
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Like I said, I'm doing this almost 40 years and I even worked at a public pool while going to school and never had the need for one. But thanks for the 2 cents. Considering we are part of a forum that states you can use bleach, baking soda and borax to maintain your pool, I didn't expect a comment like that. I have used bleach and baking soda before with great success and was glad to see that there is a whole method to using household chemicals for your pool. I think the chlorine will eventually "bleach" the stains. Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Can you describe what the water looks like? Is the water brown and murky, or is the green/brown only on the surfaces and the water is clear?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  5. #5
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    The water is clear and appears blue when splashed around. The yellowish brown is all over the steps which I believe are fiberglass and on the liner. The steps are whit and the liner a blue pattern. They do not brush off. They are stains of some kind.

  6. #6
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    You should definitely try a vitamin C tablet. If that doesn't work, try a trichlor puck for about one minute and see if that does anything.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. #7
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    The vitamin C worked. I'm waiting for the chlorine level to come down and I'm going to try 4 lbs of Leslies "Stain Away"

  8. #8
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    See Metals in the Water and Metal Stains. You can use ascorbic acid throughout the pool to remove the stains or if it's just isolated to one area you can use a localized treatment similar to what you did using Vitamin C. However, after you remove the stain, the metal is still in the water and needs to either be sequestered using a metal sequestrant (HEDP-based, preferably) or removed (possibly using CuLator though we don't know if that works reliably yet).

    Though you may not like to hear it, you could have avoided this entire fiasco by having measured what was in your pool water, including metal content, and not been so vigorous about shocking and raising the pH which probably overshot and precipitated the metal as stains (turning your pool from clear blue to brownish-green with stains that do not rub off). With proper full and accurate measurements, you could have dosed more precisely and also sequestered any metal so that it would not have stained. Also, for your pH to have gotten that low (probably from Trichlor tabs which are acidic) means that the TA level was not monitored and the pH likely crashed to 4.5 or below which is damaging to pool surfaces and to equipment. Using only pH Up probably not only got the pH high, but the TA too high as well which would tend to keep the pH too high even after you try lowering it. If your average pool depth is 4.5 feet, then your pool is around 29,000 gallons in which case 5+25=30 pounds of soda ash would have raised the TA by 120 ppm.

    The advice from the pool store (and people who open/close your pool) obviously has not been good, except to line their pockets with everything they've had you buy. Just because this forum talks about using grocery/hardware store IDENTICAL chemicals to that sold in pool stores does not mean that we do not believe in testing -- quite the contrary in fact. Accurate and proper testing using a drop-based test kit (not test strips) is a cornerstone of the BBB method.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  9. #9
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    I now realized I probably caused the problem. Not from the pool store's recommendation to buy their products. I thought I had an algae problem. In hind site, testing may have helped. I also believe the lack of sun was a problem. I have had mild cases of this in the past and the sun seems to bleach out the stains with proper chlorination. Anyway, I used too much algaecide and that's probably what caused this. The only reason I raised the PH because the directions of the Yellow Out called for it. Again I thought the problem was algae as I was never able to maintain the proper chlorine level.

    Maybe a good test kit would have saved me time and money.

  10. #10
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Well, don't be hard on yourself -- we never really know for sure true cause and effect though we do use real science and many observations to do the best we can. We try and minimize risks by starting out with good data from a good test kit.

    Nevertheless, the fact that you needed to use so much soda ash to get the pH up does mean that there was a problem with very low pH (and probably TA) to start with upon opening and that isn't good. After you get through this current issue with metal stains, take your time reading the Pool School so that you can learn more about managing your pool. Also, be sure to get a good test kit such as the TFTestkits TF-100 or Taylor K-2006 where the TF-100 has more volume of reagents you use the most and the shipping is VERY fast and the service is impeccable.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  11. #11
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    We put in shock and the balance pak 100 (and all the other products recommended to open our pool) and then our turned pool (green) and steps turned (yellow/brown) adding additional shock only made it worse. The sides were NOT slimy and the steps could not be cleaned with ANYTHING! I found a link online that said to put ascorbic acid (Vitamin C powder) into the pool. We were having a pool party and so I went to the local vitamin store bought the powder, and amazing right before our eyes our pool turned back to crystal clear!! We will also follow up with the metal out, but the vitamin C was INSTANT. To test if this is your problem hold Vitamin C on your steps if the color changes than that is your problem.
    My Pool:
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    used and abused by 4 humans & 4 dogs

  12. #12
    Member cood60's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Where do I find info, on TFC, on using Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
    I have light staining on my white fiberglass steps, I can remove the staining with comet and a brush above the water line and even an inch or two below water line. But the comet gets too diluted as it gets deeper.
    I got some ascorbic acid. The directions are saying to put it in the water, brush, circulate then vac. But also to add pulp base fltr helper?
    What is this sock with vit C trick?
    I do not think the staining is from metals but from a very fine, brownish, unfilterable substance that comes with Zeosand. (I replaced the zeosand, has more of the same, so now I am using regular pool sand. Brown stuff is getting less and less as I vac to waste, then run fltr for a few days, vac to waste etc

    Have been fighting the brown debris for months thus the staining?

    Pool water stats: ph is 7.7, Chlorine is 2-6 as I have replaced a lot of water (vacing to waste) and try to keep it around 4, CYA has been as low as 20 but it is cold water, 43 degrees. Raised it to about 30 for now. TA is 50
    Thanks
    22'x40' IG, Freeform, 26K gal, Vinyl liner poo (2011), three returns plus two step jets, one slide, two skimmers, two LED lights, Stamped Concrete with Aqua PL-Plus Automation panel, Hayward TriStar 1.5HP two speed Pump, Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter 500lb, Hayward Turbo Cell T-Cell 15 (SWG) Smart Pool Scrubber60 Robotic Pool Vac.

  13. #13
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    My pool has the entire liner and fiberglass steps stained yellow, I am on my 4th round of ascorbic acid and metal treatment which clears things up tremendously, but the stains keep coming back. does it just take persistence or is there an underlying problem I am not seeing?

  14. #14
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    Quote Originally Posted by rgmcd
    My pool has the entire liner and fiberglass steps stained yellow, I am on my 4th round of ascorbic acid and metal treatment which clears things up tremendously, but the stains keep coming back. does it just take persistence or is there an underlying problem I am not seeing?
    The sequestrant needs to be replenished regularly. The acid puts the metal back into solution, and the sequestrant holds it, but chlorine breaks the sequestrant down over time.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  15. #15
    Senior Member dattia's Avatar
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    Re: Yellow brownish stained steps and liner.

    I had my stains return as well, but have found that lowering my pH and adding the sequestrant on a weekly basis is keeping them at bay.
    27' round AG
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