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Thread: Stair and return discoloration

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Stair and return discoloration

    I'm trying to figure out what the best treatment is for my new issue. We moved into the house last year, and everything was nice and white, at least compared to what it looks like now. I'm on city water, so I don't think there is iron in the water. The previous owner used a pool frog hybrid system, but it didn't have a cartridge put in last year. I know there's some copper in the water left over from the previous year's mineral usage, but it's been diluted since I closed the pool last year and topped off this year. The steps are discolored below the water line. It is more noticeable toward the surface of the water. The jets and skimmer faces are also discolored. Not the nice sparkly white they are supposed to be. I've seen a couple threads from a few years ago about the ascorbic acid treatment and the Jack's magic stair stuff. What is the best way to get all these things nice and sparkly again? The water is beautiful thanks to this site.
    Test results are as follows:
    FC 7
    CC <.5
    TA 70
    CH 250
    CYA 45

    Any insights you can provide are greatly appreciated.
    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    One thing I can't figure out is I haven't added anything, or done anything not recommended on this site. I closed the pool based on the closing instruction thread, and opened it the same way. I brought the chlorine level up to shock level and let it come back down, and have been maintaining it a little above the target range, but still well below the shock level. I don't remember if the stairs were discolor end when I opened it or not. I do know the eyeballs were discolored previously because you could see the discoloration when they were taken apart. The skimmer plates were never sparkly white either, but the steps were a brilliant white.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    I am not sure, but I think that plastic discoloration may be a force of nature that cannot be resisted. My plastic fittings have yellowed permanently (although I don't have plastic steps) and I don't think I can do anything about it. They are not iron stains......or any other type stain. I think they simply yellow out over time and probably cannot be renewed.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    what kind of discoloration? if you are just talking about the plastic/pvc turning from white to offwhite with a yellowish/brown tint to it, that's going to happen with exposure to sun.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    The fittings are the off white with a yellowish/brown tinge you are talking about. As are the skimmer plates. The steps are brilliant white until you get to the water line, then it's almost like a dark yellow/ light brown film. Right at the surface it seems to rub off a little, but just below the surface it doesn't really want to come off. I was gonna get a box of magic erasers to try, but figured I'd check in here before I expend all the elbow grease.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    I can live with the fittings and plates changing colors. I can change the return fittings ever so often, and just live with the skimmer plates until the liner needs changed. The steps are a different type of plastic, and they were bright and shiny when I closed last year.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Any more ideas about a cure?


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    We have an answer! Or at least a remedy! Yesterday when I was in the pool I tried rubbing the steps with my finger to try to get the white back. Lo and behold, it started rubbing off and the white was shining through. Today I finally decided to do the vitamin C test.
    It was just like magic like everyone says. If I remember correctly, that's copper right? Does that happen more over the winter as the ph rises or something? It got worse after I got everything up and running this year. Progressively worse. Anyway, now I know how to get it off. Is there any way to keep it from coming back? Or will it come back before next spring I wonder? It wasn't like that when we moved in last year or the whole rest of the season; just once I opened it this year. I assume it's residual copper from the frog system, but it didn't have a pac put in it last year. That's the only time the previous owner being a cheap skate worked to my advantage.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Glad you got it figured out.
    The vitamin C test means its a metal. It could be iron or it could be copper.

    My understanding is that you can use one of the jacks magic products to sequester it, but that would be an ongoing maintenance item until eventually, all of it is out of the water which might take who knows how long.

    The only real cure, is to drain it, and then refill with water that is metal free.

    Your fill water isnt by chance from a well is it? Wells are famous for having iron in them.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Nope. City water. I can't believe there's enough of whatever it is to have caused a problem. The pool was winterized when we looked at the house, opened before we bought it, and then winterized by me this past winter. You'd think that many thousand gallons would've diluted anything enough to be virtually non existent. Nothing containing metals were added that I know of last year. The previous owner didn't add a bac pac to the frog system, but he may have dumped algaecide in. No idea. Is the best way to clean it up with a sock and a bottle of vitamin c? Or is there another trick to use?


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Turn off the pump to allow the water to get calm. Then sprinkle ascorbic acid on the steps. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. The iron should be gone in a few minutes. Natural Chemistry Stain treat is ascorbic acid or you can get some online.

    Steps are fiberglass or acrylic. They tend to attract and absorb metal compounds. As metal goes through the swg, it encounters oxidation and areas of high pH. Then, as the oxidized iron comes out of the returns, it hits the plastic and stains. I would recommend turning off the step jets. Adding a maintenance dose of sequestrant would also help.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Greetings.
    I am on well water so the culprit is obvious in my case, but a start up dose of Metal Magic will clear my stairs, returns and skimmer plate when they look like yours.

    If its a slow, low-level iron situation from a freak exposure, eg fertilizer blowing in, you might get away with a seasonal dose instead of a water change...and hope that backwashing and splash-out lower the ppm over the summer.

    But make sure you keep your ph on the low side after treatment, eg 7.2 ish, to avoid it from coming back, and avoid slamming by maintaining proper levels. SLaming oxidizes metals.

    Alternately, you could do the Ascorbic Acid treatment in pool school, but I'm betting the Metal Magic would accomplish the same thing and its a bit easier since you don't have to fight to bring the FC back up the same way.

    Btw, I think I read that iron responds best to the vitamin c test, and that the same test can turn copper black.

    Hope that helps!
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Stair and return discoloration

    Well WTH! I just read my water report on the water company's website.
    Copper - .356ppm. I don't see iron listed. The only field around is right behind my property and has wheat planted in it. This crop is the first it's had planted in years. It was just a big field before they planted it last fall. I'm not saying fertilizer couldn't get to the pool, but it would have to be a series of unfortunate events. There's a fence row, trees, a hill, and the wind doesn't usually blow in from that direction too much.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    Pretty much all natural sources of water contain some iron. It only takes a tiny amount to create noticeable stains. It is more likely to happen on plastic or fiberglass. It is more noticeable on white surfaces. And it's more likely to stain directly after a salt cell. If you remove the cell and look at the pvc before and after the cell, you will usually see iron staining after the cell and less before the cell.

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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Stair and return discoloration

    All the water from the water company comes from wells. I just don't personally have a well. Maybe there is some iron. I had a capsule of powdered vitamin c. I broke it apart and rubbed the open end against the side. It took everything off for several inches around where I was working. I'll have to see if I can find the ascorbic acid somewhere. It still seems weird that it happened all of a sudden. I don't remember what I got my FC level up to when I opened it. Maybe half of shock level. I still had 6ppm FC when I opened, so I didn't go nuts with it, maybe 12-14. I also didn't notice a dramatic increase in the color after I put the new swg in, but it has continued to darken. Probably one of those things where it was already there so I didn't notice it getting worse faster.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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