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Thread: Iron Out & Brown Water

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    Iron Out & Brown Water

    Hi all-

    I'm a newbie pool owner. This was my first summer and I guess I had some great beginners' luck because I had no problems all season...until now. One week before I'm scheduled to have the pool closed.

    I noticed yesterday that all white fixtures below the water were turning brown; the steps, the return, and the bottom half of the skimmer. I took a water sample to my pool store and they informed me it is stained from iron (which makes sense because I've been topping the pool off quite frequently with well water, which I know is hard water).

    So they gave me a bottle of "Iron Out", which I just added to the skimmer. Shortly after pouring it in, the return started spewing out brown water! The label on the bottle didn't mention this might happen, the pool store of course didn't mention this might happen, and I can't find anything anywhere on the internet as to whether this is normal.

    Could someone help me out? Is this normal? And if not, what do I need to do now?

    Thanks for any advice
    18'x32' Oval Radiant - 15,000 gallons - Semi Inground (built into hill) - vinyl liner.
    Doughboy Powerline XP1 2Hp Dual Speed Pump
    Doughboy Silica II Sand Filter
    Installed 6/20/2014

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    I've only got a second to post as I'm on a break, but the topic of iron can be a tad complicated. It seems the product is oxidizing the metal...which over time, may help filter it out. Search threads for people who've put socks in skimmers to help filter it out...read up on iron staining...and one immediate discoloration is filtered out, you'll want to learn about sing metal sequestrant. I'll try to come back later with links.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    Hi there again.
    When water turns rusty, tea colored or yellowish, its the iron oxidizing. If you don't have a particularly robust filter system, and even if you do, it can take a long time to filter out the iron...and some of it will go back into solution.

    While the iron is visible, you have an opportunity to try to reduce it. A lot of folks, especially those with AG systems, have experimented with adding material, eg, stuffed socks to the filter basket to try to filter it out.

    The regular course for "suspending" metals to avoid staining to to treat and maintain with sequestrant, either jacks magic pink or metal magic are recommended here due to their composition.

    But once the iron is "sequestered" I will note that it is then actually difficult if not impossible to actually remove, and you become reliant on constantly maintaining you sequestrant level to avoid staining, and iron will often oxidize if you shock.

    Since your iron is presently "oxidized" or released, you might want to use this opportunity to try to reduce it. I will warn you though, that reduction efforts are highly experimental

    In your shoes, I migh try a product calked ferri-tabs, that will increase the filter's ability to snag iron particles. It works a bit like a floc agent and if there is free iron in the water, the science is sound. I tried this product, but because I keep my water highly sequestered, didn't notice much of a difference...but in fairness, I did not have "free" iron to reduce. Below is the link to a post I made after learning about it. The specific product link seems to now get a 404 error, likely because it was a blog post that ay gave moved. But the product is available on the site.

    Note, however, that if you go out and dump a few bottles of metal magic in, that will "tie up" the iron and I expect the tabs would not then work. So if you can stand the color long enough to try the tabs, its worth a whirl, but if not, just add at least two bottles of metal magic and wait for the filter to clear it. It's kind of an either/or in this case.
    Hope this helps.
    Here's a link about ferri-tabs - http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-iron-in-water
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    Thank you so much for your help! The brown water seems to have dissipated and it is now just cloudy. The brown stains are still on all of my white fixtures . I'm going to consult with my husband to see what step we should take next based on your suggestions. Thank you!
    18'x32' Oval Radiant - 15,000 gallons - Semi Inground (built into hill) - vinyl liner.
    Doughboy Powerline XP1 2Hp Dual Speed Pump
    Doughboy Silica II Sand Filter
    Installed 6/20/2014

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    Iron Out & Brown Water

    You may need to perform an ascorbic acid treatment. See this article for details -

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...f-metal-stains

    Also, long term, you should consider fixing your fill water issue. If you manually fill from a hose, there are attachments you can buy that will chemically filter out iron. However, you need to get your well water accurately tested to know what your starting point is. Point-of-use systems typically can't handle a large iron concentration.

    Example:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AXP...robot_redir=1#

    My parents used to have well water and when we were kids we had brown water problems a lot. They finally paid to have some kind of whole home chemical filter installed which I believe used phosphates to chemically precipitate the iron out of the water. You may want to consider looking into a larger scale system to help with iron from your well.

    Example:

    http://www.raindancewatersystems.com/ironeater.html

    Like calcium out here in the West, iron poses all sorts of problems for your home (pipe scaling, boiler scaling, staining, etc). A whole home water softener is on my bucket list of home improvements.



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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    Sunny- Yes, we've been discussing a water softener as well. We know we have very hard water. Our water heater rusted through a few days ago because of it (despite draining it several times a year)! And my silverware always come out of the dishwasher rusty. It's very frustrating.

    As for the pool, the cloudiness cleared up on its own before I had a chance to do anything else. All the white things are still brown though Would scrubbing them with steel wool be a bad idea? I'm scheduled for the pool to be closed on Thursday, so I really don't have time for the ascorbic acid treatment.
    18'x32' Oval Radiant - 15,000 gallons - Semi Inground (built into hill) - vinyl liner.
    Doughboy Powerline XP1 2Hp Dual Speed Pump
    Doughboy Silica II Sand Filter
    Installed 6/20/2014

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    If you don't want to do AA before closing, maybe try a couple bottles of specifically metal magic if you can get them in time...you need to sequester the metal anyway to control the staining. I wouldn't use steel wool on the plastic or steps...they're just going to stain again anyway if you don't address the free metal and there's no need to abrade the surface.

    Re well water...in my neck of the woods we all have whole house water softener's, but the exterior faucets are usually bypassed because grass doesn't love softened (salt) water.

    With heavy loads of iron, you can further add a device like the Iron curtain, etc., but often the regular softener is enough without the extra 2k expenditure .

    If you choose to soften your well water, ask a plummer or confirm for yourself to make sure the faucet you fill the pool from is NOT bypassed. That will help a lot. So too do the little filters you put on hose ends.

    Just so you know, once you have a water softer, you will also need to let it regenerate after a certain number of gallons if youre filling the pool...or else the water goes in un softened
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    Would scrubbing them with steel wool be a bad idea?
    Yes, that is a very bad idea. the AA treatment in the Spring is likely your best bet.

    devices that fit on the end of your hose to remove iron will rarely have enough capacity to help you. Whole house softeners will likely work if you use them for small top-off refills, but simply do not have the capacity to soften 14k of pool water.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Iron Out & Brown Water

    ^yes, should have made clear you can't expect to fill a pool from a softener...the regeneration would take forever. But by having an un-bypassed exterior faucet, it means your weekly top ups will not be adding more metal to the load

    To manage a pool with iron and only well water available, the salient practices are to keep adequate levels of sequestrant in it to reduce the chance of staining (that the Metal Magic), keep your ph on the lower end of the scale, eg. 7.2-7.4ish (because high ph precipitates the iron) and have a plan for when shocking (eg keep the pool perfect so you never have to shock...or when you do, just know that it will filter out but you may need to treat with Ascorbic acid) ) PLUS avoid adding new metal if possible when topping up, either by filtering the hose, having a softened faucet, or both.

    Basically, that's how I manage my hard-well-pool, and have finally avoided further staining this year
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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