Getting rid of copper stains—can’t bypass heater

Bischinha

Member
Oct 31, 2019
13
Houston
We have staining in our pool that we assumed was copper. Did the jacks magic stain test today, and sure enough, the copper packet lifted the stain immediately. The copper stains are over the whole pool. From everything I’ve researched, it seems like treating the copper stains goes like this:
Bypass your heater
Add the chemicals
Run the pump 48 hrs-2 weeks
Clean the filters
Slowly rebalance the pool chemistry

Question 1: is that the correct process?

Question 2: what if I can’t bypass the heater?

I can’t find anywhere on our system that looks like a valve to bypass it.

Question 3: if I can bypass it and do the treatment, don’t I need to drain the pool to get rid of the copper in it?

Question 4: where is the copper coming from?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,274
Laughlin, NV
Close. Drain and refill once the stain lifts is how you get rid of copper.

You can always bypass a heater. Takes some pvc work but it can be done.

The copper either came from the heater as you had too low of pH (are you a trichlor puck user?) or you added copper via copper algaecides, copper containing pucks or granular chlorine.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,040
Can you show some pictures of what you think is copper?

Can you remove the filter cartridge and show a picture of it before you clean it?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,040
If it's coming up easily, it might not be copper.

Copper will be turquoise or black. The cartridge filter will be turquoise.

Iron will be brown or yellow and the cartridge will be brown.

Try vitamin C on a spot.

If it's coming up easily, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) might work.

Even if it's copper and you have to use sulfamic acid, you might be able to just turn off the system and drain it while you do the treatment assuming that the treatment will be effective in 24 hours if it's coming off easily.

Then, drain and refill the pool.

Note that draining and refilling the pool is very risky. The pool can pop out of the ground if it's drained while the ground water is high.
 

Bischinha

Member
Oct 31, 2019
13
Houston
The stains are turquoise and black. Last time I cleaned the filters they were blue-tinged. I used the jacks magic stain kit. I used a pvc pipe to direct the powder to part of the stain. In the 30 seconds I had to wait, the stain was completely lifted. With that in mind, do you think it would be possible to lift the stains in 24 hours without circulating the water?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,240
Northern NJ
Is putting in a heater bypass something that could be a DIY thing, or left to professionals?
It is cutting and gluing some PVC with a check valve on the heater input and a 3 way diverter valve on the heater output.

Post a pic of your heater and its plumbing.
 

Bischinha

Member
Oct 31, 2019
13
Houston
It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the pebble tek is supposed to be white (the circle is where the stain solution was) and the pool is covered in turquoise and gray/black patches
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,040
Ok, looks like copper. Based on the test results, an overnight treatment might work.

Brushing can circulate the water.

The problem is that if the treatment doesn't work overnight, you might have to start the system and bypass the heater anyway.

I think that I would try doing the treatment for a few days and then drain and refill if the treatment is successful.

However, be ready to install a bypass and run the system if the treatment will take more than about a week.

Verify the ground water situation before draining.

You should probably have a pool professional assess the safety of draining and refilling the pool.

Maybe have them add the bypass at the same time.
 
Last edited:

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,240
Northern NJ
It doesn’t look like that. It’s missing another line I think
Can you explain what you mean? Your heater has filtered water in line from your heater and a heated water out line to your SWG and returns.

If you don't understand your plumbing best to call a professional in.