how to solve this rust problem

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
The two close photos are taken from above so are an inverted view.
The white/clean spot of the PVC threads is where a Vitamin C tab was left to dissolve

It is a Return, used for a Polaris cleaner & PoolSkim.All PVC fittings on those cleaners; the female parts in the wall are PVC.Female fittings installed & used for > 10yrs.

Vitamin C used to verify it is rust. Plaster is cleaning up OK but next day that “lowest darkest part” on the circumference has new rust formation which puffs away when disturbed.

Verified visually & by hand that there is no apparent crack in the female PVC fittings & there does not seem to be loss of plaster exposing metal- but obviously some metal is exposed & my guess is at “that lowest darkest part”- just undetectable. Did fiddle with the fitting at the May opening this year to install a PoolSkim. Hand tightened stuff but I do recall needing a pipe wrench a time or 2; perhaps some plaster was chipped but it doesn’t feel or look like that, so I assume a crack in the fittings but I see no cracks. I assume it must either be a crack in the female fitting that I cannot see, or a chip exposing metal at that lowest darkest part but I can’t imagine metal that close to the surface. I left the PoolSkim attached since May since it’s a PITA to place & remove, then 2-3 weeks ago I saw a rust spot, so I removed the PoolSkim to view in entirety.

Lowest part of the female fitting is about 4 inches below the water line ( about where I drain to when I winterize in the October, 3 ½ months from now).

How do I fix this?

Can I fix this rust spot?

If not, what do I need to be sure happens by the pool guy?

I should get on this pretty quick or ok to wait until fall lowering?
If ok to delay until fall, should I do something daily or weekly until then?
Is there a fix to this without lowering the water level?

Is this rebar? Can’t believe there is a metal aspect to the female fitting?

I will also post this at the building threads of this form since those guys may not always be checking this section

Thanks
 

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Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
how to fix rust at a return

The two close photos are taken from above so are an inverted view.
The white/clean spot of the PVC threads is where a Vitamin C tab was left to dissolve

It is a Return, used for a Polaris cleaner & PoolSkim. All PVC fittings on those cleaners; the female parts in the wall are PVC. Female fittings installed & used for > 10yrs.

Vitamin C used to verify it is rust. Plaster is cleaning up OK but next day that “lowest darkest part” on the circumference has new rust formation which puffs away when disturbed.

Verified visually & by hand that there is no apparent crack in the female PVC fittings & there does not seem to be loss of plaster exposing metal- but obviously some metal is exposed & my guess is at “that lowest darkest part”- just undetectable. Did fiddle with the fitting at the May opening this year to install a PoolSkim. Hand tightened stuff but I do recall needing a pipe wrench a time or 2; perhaps some plaster was chipped but it doesn’t feel or look like that, so I assume a crack in the fittings but I see no cracks. I assume it must either be a crack in the female fitting that I cannot see, or a chip exposing metal at that lowest darkest part but I can’t imagine metal that close to the surface. I left the PoolSkim attached since May since it’s a PITA to place & remove, then 2-3 weeks ago I saw a rust spot, so I removed the PoolSkim to view in entirety.

Lowest part of the female fitting is about 4 inches below the water line ( about where I drain to when I winterize in the October, 3 ½ months from now).

How do I fix this?

Can I fix this rust spot?

If not, what do I need to be sure happens by the pool guy?

I should get on this pretty quick or ok to wait until fall lowering?
If ok to delay until fall, should I do something daily or weekly until then?

Is there a fix to this without lowering the water level?

Is this rebar? Can’t believe there is a metal aspect to the female fitting?


Thanks
 

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JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
That looks like there is iron coming out of that pipe and staining the pool just below where it comes out. There is also a dark line just below the fitting that look suspicious, though it might just be a particularly dark stain.

The existing stains can be removed with vitamin C/ascorbic acid, but to prevent them from coming back you need to find the source of the iron and eliminate it. If the iron is coming out of the pipe, there must be an iron fitting somewhere up stream. If it is coming from that dark stripe just below the fitting then it is presumably exposed rebar.
 
G

Guest

Re: how to fix rust at a return

That looks like a suction line and not a return. Is the rust coming from just underneath that suction?
 
G

Guest

Re: how to fix rust at a return

Do you have a suction cleaner or pressure cleaner?
 

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
Re: how to fix rust at a return

Yes, I have both wet vac & a pressure cleaner.
Thanks for your interest, I look forward to your reply
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
Re: how to fix rust at a return

It kind of looks like it's coming from just below the fitting, and is smeared up into the threads. I agree with your assessment that “that lowest darkest part” is the cause.
 

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
Thanks for the reply Jason.

“… a dark line just below the fitting that look suspicious, though it might just be a particularly dark stain.”
That is my best guess as to the culprit

“ If the iron is coming out of the pipe, there must be an iron fitting somewhere up stream.”
I doubt iron from the pipe only because the stain ends at the threads, it does not go up the pipe beyond the threads & I realize it is the low point but I’d think that I’d see SOMETHING beyond the threads. Can’t imagine an iron fitting upstream, but I’m no pool pro.

“ If it is coming from that dark stripe just below the fitting then it is presumably exposed rebar.”
That is my best guess, how should I proceed

OTOH, Hard to belive it shows up after 16 yrs only AFTER I fiddled w it last Oct & this May, which leads me to think I cracked the fitting, but that lowest dark spot is very suspicious.
 

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
Agree on a merge. My experience is the building guys may not visit these parts & they have probably seen it all.

Topics merged. JasonLion
 

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
3,899
Tucson, AZ
Sorry, I don't have any really good ideas. If you have determined with certainty the source of the rust, you can either remove it from the pool or completely isolate it from the water. I don't really have any practical suggestions though. I hope someone can help you!
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
If, as you believe, the rust is coming from a bit of exposed rebar just below the fitting, there is nothing you can do except hire a professional to repair it (which is likely to be expensive and never look completely right again).
 

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
Thanks once again.
I’ll get a pro.
My only questions at this time:
1- It is best to get on this now, or at closing in Sept-Oct when I lower the water? In other words, when would you have it done?

2- Is it ok to use that Return (for my Polaris & PoolSkim) until I get it fixed or could that somehow complicate an already unfortunate situation.

Thanks
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
Putting off the repair and continuing to use the port shouldn't cause any problems other than a very slowly rising iron level in the water.
 
G

Guest

I think you are on the right track from the comments from Jason and the rest. In So Cal we have a independent contractor called "The Pool Dentist". He uses scuba gear, dives and fixes problems like this without draining the pool. I have had it done twice on my pool. (Bad Gunite Folks). You might do a search in your area to see if somebody does this... If not, I observed while he fixed mine. He used an air compressor and had air tools to cut out rebar, plaster and then fixed plaster all underwater. Pretty cool.

Good Luck!
 

Johnny B

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 19, 2009
563
Charlotte, NC
I can’t imagine that underwater repair with scuba etc would be less expensive nor an inferior result vs. lowering the water level & performing the job with non-underwater tools.

Here are some more thoughts & questions related to this issue. (It is combining 2 topics but related/relevant)
1- I ALSO have some calcium scaling spots
raised-stains-stained-bumps-t21024.html
which I have treated unsuccessfully- meaning a complete drain & acid wash (or an entire NEW plaster job) is needed. I am leaning toward an entire new re-plaster because I read on TFP that an acid wash shortens the life of plaster by one-third. The plaster which does not show calcium scaling (raised dark spots) looks dirty & will not lighten/whiten. My current plaster was done in 2006, so 4 years ago, & an acid wash next season in 2011 will make that plaster maybe 7or 8 years old- so go with a re-plaster & forget the acid wash, right?

2- At the time of that new plaster job in 2011, have the pro deal with this rust at the fitting issue, right?

3- I close about Sept –Oct with a mesh cover, and open in March. When should I do the new plaster & rust correction job? Fall or spring? If in fall, don’t I need a bunch of attention for a few months to care for the new plaster? So closing with a cover wouldn’t allow me to provide that proper care to the new plaster, right?

4- However in spring here we have 2 “air-borne-debris” issues, specifically,
- in all of April we get a TON of yellow pollen that turns the cars & sidewalks yellow,
- & in all of May we have heavy cottonwood that is so thick it looks like it is snowing.
Are either of these an issue to laying wet plaster? I know guys don’t like to caulk in those months because stuff sticks to it.

5- I could have the re-plaster job done in March 2011 ( but we can get snow & plenty of rain), or I can have it done in Feb which is plenty cold & may even snow & often is heavy rain, or I could delay until June 2011 when there is no air-borne debris issue, furthermore, if done in June I can care for the plaster from June to the Oct 2011 closing. I hope some pros in NC will chime in.

6- It is now July, I can go do all this now. Maybe that is the best route? When I say “we close in Sept-Oct” that is because it is cool enough to do so (algae, water temperature 60F or less) but we do not get snow or super cold until Dec, Sept & Oct are beautiful, most of Nov is too, we can even be wearing shorts on Christmas, Nov & Dec vary but I can easily keep the pool open & care for the new plaster ideally in Nov & Dec if you think that is best. We never get cold enough for the pool water to freeze, only pump area & skimmer water can freeze & I bet that wouldn’t happen until late Dec.- even if it was a possibility, without a heater, I could simply not turn off the pump if I was worried. If it were you, what is the best time to do all this?

Sorry for all the questions, but as you see, it is a big job – none of which I look forward to. So I really appreciate your help. Thanks