Copper staining? Treatment? Help!

lvwashere

Member
Apr 14, 2019
6
Florida
Not sure if this is the proper forum to post this, but we're looking for help as our current pool maintenance company can't seem to fix the issue; been ongoing for several months now. We're in Florida on the Gulf Coast, the house and pool are just over 1 year old (new build), 12' x 24', approx. 9720 gallons, Pentair 250k gas heater, Jandy Single speed pump, Jandy CS100 filter, with a Jandy TruClear Salt system.

We closed on the house late March and the stain was first visible late August / early September, they treated the pool with muriatic acid late September / early October and it went away. In December it came back and due to the holidays we pushed off a second treatment until late February / early March. You can see a test spot where the stain went away when spot treated. Once it came back in December we involved the home / pool builder as this is the maintenance company they recommended.

Two weeks ago, they drained the pool ~50% and refilled it. During the last week they have been bringing the water chemistry back into balance; however, we took a water sample to local Pinch-a-Penny as we don't trust them and yes, we're looking for a new maintenance company.

CA 100
Free Chllorine 6.0
PH 8.0
Calcium Hardness 335
Total Alkalinity 95
Total Chlorine 6
Salt 1900

They are blaming the stain on everything from too much sunscreen to the heater; we're thinking it's based on improper water chemistry and not treating the water for metals, in this case, copper. When we asked if they ever treated the water for metals, we're told no. When we asked if they perform any tests for metal, copper in this case, we're told no. When we asked if they used a sequestering agent when treating the pool, we're told no. We did have a copper hose bib just after the water pump for draining purposes, so for peace of mind, I changed it to a stainless steel one; yes, it was oxidized inside, but I forgot to take a picture before I tossed it.

This week they want to perform a third treatment and if needed, drain the pool again and basically rinse and repeat as needed. At this point of time, I'm against another drain / refill without a different course of action as it seems we're going around and around without solving anything.

Sorry for the long story, but I wanted to provide as much detail as possible. Any help is appreciated... if you need more info, let me know.
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,623
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
There are typically only two ways copper gets in your pool water, it is added, via shock/aglaecide/pucks with copper in them, or if the pool water was kept very acidic and the water was pumped through the heater and the copper heat exchanger was dissolved.
Are you sure it is copper? Read Stains in Your Pool - Trouble Free Pool
Please complete your signature. Really helps us help you. See Create Your Signature - Further Reading
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

lvwashere

Member
Apr 14, 2019
6
Florida
Thanks for your reply and sorry for my delayed response. Based on various recommendations, we found a new pool maintenance company and for the last 3 weeks, the water chemistry is back in check.

After switching maintenance companies, we were able to identify that the stain is indeed copper. I had my heater inspected and due to the bad water chemistry, the heater exchanger appears to be the culprit for the copper staining. We were told that we can continue using the heater; however, the water chemistry needs to remain in check otherwise it can get worse and eventually require replacement. On Friday our new pool guy is going to treat the pool to remove the stain and rebalance the chemistry once the stain is lifted from the walls.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
CA 100
Free Chllorine 6.0
PH 8.0
Calcium Hardness 335
Total Alkalinity 95
Total Chlorine 6
Salt 1900
Welcome! :wave: It's good you seem to have the stain ID'd, but keep in mind that neither the service tech or free local water testing will help you in the long run. Be very careful about relying on their results. As an example ..... you know those numbers you posted above? If those were accurate (which I doubt) and indicative of normal numbers, there would be no heater core erosion. So something isn't adding-up, and my guess is the testing. It is imperative that you have the ability to check the water yourself with a TF-100 (link below) or Taylor K-2006C. It's easy, accurate, and something every pool owner should do to ensure a local service isn't taking advantage of them. You don't need algaecides, shocks, or any of that other stuff they probably try to push on you. All the info you need to know is in my signature below. Hope that helps.
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,445
Evans, Georgia
It usually takes acidic water (low pH) to chew thru a heater coil.

That first pic looked almost like a chemical was dumped in that area and allowed to sit instead of being brushed around to help dissolve/mix it. I can't see what the second pic is attempting to show.
It would also help to have a wide angle of the whole pool to put the pics in perspective.

What are the treatments the pool guys are doing to the pool? Its a brand new pool....we don't want to see them go all willy-nilly on that new plaster as that weakens and removes some of it with muriatic acid. Must proceed carefully.

Maddie :flower:
 

lvwashere

Member
Apr 14, 2019
6
Florida
Welcome! :wave: It's good you seem to have the stain ID'd, but keep in mind that neither the service tech or free local water testing will help you in the long run. Be very careful about relying on their results. As an example ..... you know those numbers you posted above? If those were accurate (which I doubt) and indicative of normal numbers, there would be no heater core erosion. So something isn't adding-up, and my guess is the testing. It is imperative that you have the ability to check the water yourself with a TF-100 (link below) or Taylor K-2006C. It's easy, accurate, and something every pool owner should do to ensure a local service isn't taking advantage of them. You don't need algaecides, shocks, or any of that other stuff they probably try to push on you. All the info you need to know is in my signature below. Hope that helps.
Thanks! Issue is he never sent us numbers during the prior months of service, so I don't have a historical record. I reached out to local pool stores to understand what could be the cause and for help as lost faith in the previous service company. 100% agreed agreed on testing and I'm glad to see that I selected the right kit... I have a K-2006C kit on order; should be here Friday. Will review the details in your signature, as I want to become a better educated pool owner and hopefully avoid mistakes like this in the future.
 

lvwashere

Member
Apr 14, 2019
6
Florida
It usually takes acidic water (low pH) to chew thru a heater coil.

That first pic looked almost like a chemical was dumped in that area and allowed to sit instead of being brushed around to help dissolve/mix it. I can't see what the second pic is attempting to show.
It would also help to have a wide angle of the whole pool to put the pics in perspective.

What are the treatments the pool guys are doing to the pool? Its a brand new pool....we don't want to see them go all willy-nilly on that new plaster as that weakens and removes some of it with muriatic acid. Must proceed carefully.

Maddie :flower:
Correct, as a test, the original pool guys dumped muriatic acid on one of the lower steps to see if it would remove the stain. As seen in the photo, it spread and removed it; however, once they were done treating the entire pool, it simply game back within a few weeks. Once this stain appeared, we noticed that the salt cell had heavy calcium deposits and needed to be cleaned. We also noticed that our water feature started to show signs of clogging (sections stoped flowing properly) and there were, what appeared to be, calcium flakes around the step / seat in the deep end of the pool (there's a return by that step / seat). So we made the old pool service aware of these issues. On several occasions we needed to call them to clean the salt cell in between services as we started to keep an eye on what they were doing or should I say, not doing. They said the flakes are normal and that nothing could be done about the water feature other than using a thin tool to try to "clean it".

When we initially noticed the stain late August / September it was much darker. Attached is a more recent picture and what the finish originally looked like (sample from manufacturers website). You should be able to see the blue / green color if you look at it full size. I don't have any wider angle photos of the pool, as they had asked for close ups. The pebbles weren't stained, just the whiter plaster around them.

Now that we switched service companies, after a week or so, we noticed that the pool looks clearer, calcium flakes are gone and our water feature is back to normal. When they first took over, after testing the water they indicated the pool was extremely low on salt, so they asked if the salt cell was on and checked. After a quick trip to the pool pad and then their truck, they added 3-4 bags of salt. One thing we've noticed thus far, is that the new guys aren't adding liquid chlorine every week as the old crew did. We're thinking the pool never had the proper level of salt, so the salt cell couldn't produce enough chlorine and therefore why they were adding it.

Since we involved the builder, they had the plaster company inspect the pool surface. They came last Friday and after they looked things over, they agreed it appears to be copper, but the surface is perfectly fine. They also dumped some muriatic acid on the lower steps and after a few seconds, it was gone, so they recommend to turn everything off, add 4 - 6 gallons of acid to the pool, brush it well and check it every day until it disappears. Once gone, they said the new pool guy should bring the water back into proper balance, and use a sequestering agent, clean the filter, etc. etc.
 

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