Pool School 117 Metals in Pool Water

KeetrolpluscropImageJpegAlright class settle down, when you read this say “Here,” so I can count your present. Thank you. Now in this class we are going to talk about metals in pool water. Metal in pool water can work both for you and against you, it all depends on the metal and how your treat your pool water. Let’s start with metals that can help you. Way back in roman times “They” (whoever “They” are) discovered that copper had properties that kept algae away. Over thousands of years since “They” have improved on the application of copper to the pool water to fight algae. (See Pool School 116 Alga and Algaecides in our Word Press Blog) But, copper is a double edged sword, one side helps you the other side hurts you. Any metal in the pool water can potentially cause staining on the surface of the pool, fittings as well, and anything in the pool when the staining occurs. When you are using copper in the pool you have to be careful about treating the pool water, it is vitally important that you maintain proper water balance. In particularly pH is extremely important, if you let the pH go to low and then attempt to bring the pH up again too quickly it will cause a chemical shock to the pool that will cause the copper to come out of solution and stain the entire pool and everything in it. So make it a rule that if your pH level drops below 7.0 bring a water sample to Aegean Pools Testing Lab to get a prescription to adjust your water chemistry to avoid a bad reaction.

If you use an ionizer in your pool you are adding copper and/or silver or zinc to the pool water on a routine basis. (See Pool School 102 Alternative Sanitizers in our World Press Blog) We just talked about copper in the water, so we don’t need to rehash that topic, but we did not discuss silver or zinc. I am not aware of any issues with zinc in the pool water and potential staining; however the same is not true of silver. Silver can leave a black stain on the surface of the pool if it were to come out of solution, so the same rules that apply to copper when treating the pool water apply to silver.

If you are using a Frog® mineral system then staining is not an issue as the minerals stay in the cartridge and are not dissolved into the pool water. This is a great system for reducing chlorine usage regardless of the type of chlorine you use; chlorine tablets or salt generator it does not matter.

Now on to the topic of bad metals; any metal we have not talked about so far are all bad. Thanks for coming to class have a great day! Just kidding; the most common problem metal for us in the Coastal Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina area is iron. In the well water in this area iron is a common occurring problem. The best way to avoid problems with iron is to not put them in the pool. The best way to start, if you have well water, have it tested for iron before you put your well water in the pool. If you have iron present in your well water you will want to run it through a filter like the X10 water filter available at Aegean Pools retail store. This filter will significantly reduce the amount of iron and other metals in your source water. The X10 will treat up to 8,000 gallons of water before it will need to be replaced. This is a great way to prevent iron staining issues with well water, but what many people don’t realize is that there are trace amounts of metals in all city water. As you add city water to your pool over time you will build up these trace levels and if you have a salt generator the salt conversion process and the chlorine in the pool will cause the iron to come out of solution and stain the pool stairs a rusty brown color. If you use the X10 on all your fill water it will take substantially longer for this staining process to occur. If you already have a stair staining issue the Jack’s Magic The Step Stuff or On Guard Step Magic will remove the stains from the stairs. If you have iron in the pool water and it has not yet stained the pool surface you will need to add a stain control chemical. Which chemical to use will depend on the type of sanitizer you use; for chlorine tablets you can use On Guard Keetrol, for salt generator pools you will want to use Novatrol to prevent the iron from staining the pools surface and to help remove the mineral through the filter system.

The thing to keep in mind about staining is that the stain is on the surface of the pool and it can be removed chemically without draining the pool. Brian our lead water lab technician is a trained stain removal expert. He has been trained by Jack’s Magic a leader in the swimming pool industry in stain removal and prevention. There are many circumstances that can fool you into thinking you have a stain when you don’t have a stain and putting stain treatment chemicals in your pool will not solve your problem. If you have staining issues bring a sample of your pool water and a picture of your stain to our water test lab for a professional analysis.

So to review, if you have metals in your pool water you need professional assistance in treating them before you add ANY chemicals to your pool water. If you have metals in your pool water for any reason you have to be VERY careful in how you maintain and treat your water chemistry or you may end up with major staining issues in your pool.

Thank you for coming today, now class is dismissed so you can go out and enjoy your pool!