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Thread: Source of metal stains

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    Source of metal stains

    When I moved into my house last fall the pool water was clear and blue. When we opened this year and began to shock, heavy iron stains appeared on my stairs and liner. I'm currently taking steps to get rid of them, but am wondering where they came from. The previous owner had a heater hooked up, which is now disconnected. I'm thinking the metals came from that because our fill water is city with no metals. Also, my pump is pretty rusty/corroded on the exterior of the metal portion. Water doesn't actually pass through that, does it? If so, I'm guessing that may be another source. Any thoughts? I plan on replacing my liner and water next season, and want to eliminate the source beforehand. Thanks.
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    22.5K gal vinylpool -- Tagelus TA-60/60Dsand filter -- Hayward 3/4HP uprate Super Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Are you sure you have iron stains, and not copper stains? Iron is generally in the yellow/red/brown spectrum, which copper stains are generally green to black, but copper can be brown on occasion.

    Metal from a heater is going to be copper, if anything. Copper can also come from some kinds of algaecide, "mineral" systems, and ionizer systems.

    Iron is very common is well water, quite rare but not unheard of in municipal water.

    External corrosion on the pump would not affect the pool water.
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  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Source of metal stains

    I guess I just assumed it was iron. The color is like a rusty brown/orange. I have done the AA treatment twice, and both times the stains completely lifted and stairs and liner looked new. After the first AA, stains came back about a week later. After the second AA, I got algae when chlorine was wiped out and had to start shock process over (currently). I also have a CuLator 4ppm pack in my skimmer, and that has started to take on a rusty brown color as well. I'm just confused because it seems like whatever metal it is, there is a large amount of it. It stains about 90% of the liner (Almost looks thick to the point that it adds a texture) and 100% of the stairs. Looks horrible. I have another thread going regarding the color of my water. It is clear, but has a green tint to it. Thanks.
    22.5K gal vinylpool -- Tagelus TA-60/60Dsand filter -- Hayward 3/4HP uprate Super Pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Source of metal stains

    That certainly sounds like iron. Copper will never produce the true red/orange that iron often has. Iron coloring the water turns the water yellow, which often looks green when seen along with a blue liner. Copper colors water a bright emerald green.

    Unless you left a large piece of cast iron in the pool for months or have iron pipes in your pool plumbing (which is essentially never done), the only plausible source of iron is the fill water. Your water company should be able to tell you what the iron content of their water is.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Source of metal stains

    Maybe I have both! Haha, the water color sounds like copper, and the stains sound like Iron. Still shocking, so maybe the green in the water still has time to change. Hopefully I pass the overnight test and CC test soon so I can eliminate the green coloring from being algae.
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    22.5K gal vinylpool -- Tagelus TA-60/60Dsand filter -- Hayward 3/4HP uprate Super Pump

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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Can you provide the make, model and year of the heater?

    Can you post a picture of the heater?

    Have you ever used chlorine tabs?
    If yes, how were they introduced into the pool (floating feeder, in-line feeder, offline feeder, in the skimmer etc.)?

    Do you use a timer, or do you run the pump continuously?

    You might want to have the water tested for iron and copper. You might try a water conditioner company for the testing in addition to a pool company just to double check.

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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Here is a picture of the heater. I moved in last fall, and have not had it hooked up.
    -I used Trichlor tabs in the skimmer from September until November when we closed the pool. Previous owner did the same, probably for years.
    -Pump runs 24/7
    -Will take water for metal testing tomorrow.
    -Thanks!
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    22.5K gal vinylpool -- Tagelus TA-60/60Dsand filter -- Hayward 3/4HP uprate Super Pump

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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Some heaters have cast iron headers. I think that that model was available with cast iron headers. That might be a source of iron. Does your heater have cast iron headers? If you're not going to use, or sell the heater, you could remove the headers to see what they look like inside.

    Example:


    http://blog.poolcenter.com/article.aspx?articleid=6172

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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Here are some pictures. What do ya think? Iron?
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    22.5K gal vinylpool -- Tagelus TA-60/60Dsand filter -- Hayward 3/4HP uprate Super Pump

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Source of metal stains

    Wanna know from where I got some iron stains? Someone must have "closed" my pool at some time in the past, and obviously they got everything running before it was put on the market. I noticed when I ran the booster pump in the spa, the water looked dark. So I loaded things up with bleach and let that run a while. Then I decided to check the strainer. Some genius had stored some rubber plugs and their steel chains in the strainer basket! It was just a lump of rust!!

    Same genius is probably the one who used some thin copper bell wire to tether the trichlor floater.

    So you might want to see if there's anything in your strainers, any steel wires used to attach anything.
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  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Source of metal stains

    The finned tubes are not iron, they are most likely copper or a copper/nickel (Cupronickel) alloy. Some cupronickel does contain iron, but I don't think that it would be a likely source of iron, but I'm not sure. The headers might be cast iron. You could try a magnet to see.

    Note: The headers are the end manifolds. The one I can see does not appear to be cast iron. I don't see the rear header. Was it removed?

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