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Thread: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

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    Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    I would like to know if my fill water contains iron, but I really don't want to purchase a test kit unless I have to.
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    As with all of the tests, pool store test results for iron are not entirely reliable. Pool stores seem to be close enough to be usable better than 3/4 of the time. But since you have no way of knowing when you are falling into the 25% of time that they make a mistake category, you can't completely trust the results. A pool store test result is better than no test result at all, but not good enough to base major decisions on.

    Also, at least half of all pool stores won't/can't test for iron.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Also, at least half of all pool stores won't/can't test for iron.
    Alas, none of the stores in my area can test for it.

    Thanks for responding,
    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beez
    I would like to know if my fill water contains iron, but I really don't want to purchase a test kit unless I have to.
    I too have debated with myself whether I want to expend hardly-earned cash for an expensive kit that will test iron. You may want to weigh your perceived need for such a kit vs. the expense, and consider Jason's comments above regarding the too-often inaccuracy of pool store testing. That's my dilemma at the moment. If your pool store says, yes, you have too much iron, what do you plan to do about it? And, to what end? If your fill water tests high for iron the pre-fill treatment can be very costly.

    I'll probably be taken to task for this, but I'm considering purchase of a combined copper/iron kit - the Taylor K-1264, available for about $90 from Taylor, excluding shipping, and illustrated here: http://www.taylortechnologies.com/produ ... KitID=2240

    If you have reason to test for iron and decide on store testing, the kit above or a different kit, please post back with your experience so other members can learn, as well.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    I'll probably be taken to task for this, but I'm considering purchase of a combined copper/iron kit
    In your case, I'm not sure the copper test makes sense since copper is not a naturally occuring element in pool water.

    About the only way it gets there is if you put it there.....either through the use of chemistry containing copper or eroding something (almost always the heater coil) that would dissolve copper into your water. If you have done neither of those, I would see no reason for the copper test.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    In your case, I'm not sure the copper test makes sense since copper is not a naturally occuring element in pool water.
    I'm sure the chance of your being correct is at least 99% . . . but through some snooping around and talking to one neighbor I found out that the fill water for my pool is channeled through copper piping, which is installed throughout the house and close to 30 years old. They found, via a water testing service, relatively high levels of copper --but no iron -- in their tap water. Aqua Chek produces several inexpensive solutions in the form of test strips, but because of my negative experience with their salt test strips I'm a bit leary of them. Ditto for nitrates/nitrites. Of course, the discrepancy I spoke of elsewhere might be explained by an as-yet-unidentified mineral salt skewing the salt test result.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    The reason I started this thread is that I suspect iron staining on my plaster. See this thread. So I was contemplating the AA treatment, when I began to question the original source of the iron. Where did it come from in the first place? I'm on a municipal supply, so it shouldn't be in the fill water, but then again my house is plumbed with old galvanized pipes. Is it possible the iron leached out of the pipes?

    I was thinking of a drain/refill along with the AA treatment, but if my fill water is the source that wouldn't help. And if I don't use a sequestrant, which I don't intend to, the stains will come back, right?
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beez
    The reason I started this thread is that I suspect iron staining on my plaster. See this thread. So I was contemplating the AA treatment, when I began to question the original source of the iron. Where did it come from in the first place? I'm on a municipal supply, so it shouldn't be in the fill water, but then again my house is plumbed with old galvanized pipes. Is it possible the iron leached out of the pipes?

    I was thinking of a drain/refill along with the AA treatment, but if my fill water is the source that wouldn't help. And if I don't use a sequestrant, which I don't intend to, the stains will come back, right?
    If the source is your fill water you will have to trap it there or find a way to recycle your pool water using a specialized service (a big water truck with an iron filter.) So that sounds like a one-test decision that could be performed by a water testing service, pool store, test strips or kit. It seems that both geekgranny and chem geek have, in the past year or so, done the pool-wide AA treatment; their comments are contained in a thread that discusses this in some detail. Alice (gg) used a sequesterant; not sure about Richard (chem geek):

    ascorbic-treatment-to-rid-pool-of-metal-stains-t2298.html

    A summary of treatment in Pool School

    pool-school/metal%20stains
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Try contacting your local water authority. They may have information available as to what is in your tap water.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    Try contacting your local water authority. They may have information available as to what is in your tap water.
    I can't believe the Dallas County municipal supply would contain a significant amount of iron. If the fill water is the source I would think it would have to be coming from my plumbing. If that is possible...

    I'm sure I'm over thinking this. It would be nice to know the source of the iron if in fact it is iron at all. (So far, that is still a theory) But I'm not curious enough at this point to shell out 50+ bucks for a test kit. I'll probably just do the AA treatment, and even if the stains come back, it will probably take a while.

    Thanks everyone for the input!

    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Maybe you can find a TFP buddy in the area that has a iron testing kit and compensate them with a beverage of choice?
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Seems like I read about an inexpensive kit from HD, Lowes, etc, that tests for iron & copper.

    I have no idea if the kits are available or accurate, but maybe someone will have some feedback.

    You might try google.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Water from the tap can most defnately contain dissolved iron. Water companies do not routinely remove iron. It's usually suspended in the reduced form and its harmless in terms of a health issue. But, it does stain, obviously. You can see it percipitate on your bathroom fixtures if the concentration is high enough. My town has ~ 2 ppm iron in the water but only in the summer months. They open a well up to supplement the water supply to make up for increased use due to lawn watering, pool fills/top off, etc.

    The first time i noticed a problem was when i added several inches of water in August after shocking the pool. The chlorine level was ~ 20 ppm when i added 600-700 gallons of water. The chlorine oxidized the iron out of solution and the water turned a nice shade of emerald green (orange-red iron against the blue liner made green). The sand filter pulled a lot of the iron particulates out of the water. Between that and the iron settling back on the liner, the pool cleared in 6 hours or so.

    My solution was pretty simple. I ordered a whole house iron filter. Cost about $230 for the housing and the cartridge. I installed it on one of my outside hose bibs i use to top the pool off with. The iron went from 1.5-2 ppm down to undetectable. The cartridge will filter around 20,000 gallons at 2 ppm iron. So, it will last at least a couple of seasons. As far as iron in the pool now, I used some AA in an old sock and cleaned up the stairs, and the return/skimmer fittings. Then, i used some Jack's purple to hold it in solution. I figure over time if i keep using the filter for my fill water, I should be able to minimize the problem.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Water from the tap can most defnately contain dissolved iron. Water companies do not routinely remove iron. It's usually suspended in the reduced form and its harmless in terms of a health issue. But, it does stain, obviously. You can see it percipitate on your bathroom fixtures if the concentration is high enough.
    Duh, feeling like a dummy again! I did know that, but thanks for reminding me!

    Well, anyhoo, I'll do the AA treatment this time and see how long it lasts before the stains return. For the most part they are not really noticeable. The only bad ones were on the top step.

    Thanks!
    Dave
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beez
    I can't believe the Dallas County municipal supply would contain a significant amount of iron. If the fill water is the source I would think it would have to be coming from my plumbing. If that is possible...
    Water suppliers certainly vary in their responses to consumers. In some California counties the water districts will upon request send out a team of evaluators to perform a complete analysis (for free.) My neighbor heard about this and in response to her request the utility sent her the same annual report they send everyone, along with a boiler-plate letter with the usual propaganda about how our water is the best in the nation... etc., ad naseum. Unless the water is tested at your house, it doesn't matter what the water company says is in it.

    If found that I had an iron problem, I would do what bk406 suggested and buy a whole-house filter.

    Here are some other testing options for you:

    AquaChek Iron Test Strips - Leslie's $24.99

    Taylor K-1716 Iron Test - Poolcenter.com $47.37
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Is the pool store reliable for iron testing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly
    Seems like I read about an inexpensive kit from HD, Lowes, etc, that tests for iron & copper.
    I found a pack of strips for various metals at HD once. It was cheap enough, probably the $10 range, that I picked it up. Whether it's all that trustworthy is a separate question. (I didn't find any metals. I just wasn't used to pools being blue, that's all.)
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