Having a swimming pool may be a luxury, but maintaining it can be daunting. One common issue pool owners face is the presence of iron in pool water, which can turn it brown, reduce the effectiveness of chlorine-based sanitizers, and stain your pool’s surfaces. Luckily, getting iron out of pool water is relatively straightforward and can be carried out with simple maintenance practices.
In this article, I will go over how to tell if you have iron in your pool water before going over my step-by-step guide for getting iron out of your pool water.
- If you suspect a high concentration of iron in your pool water, it’s best to check with a pool water testing kit.
- Different methods can be used to reduce iron in pool water, such as flocculant, dilution, chelating or sequestering agents, and water filters.
- Iron can enter your pool from various sources, including well water, irrigation systems, rain, and surface runoff, and corroded pool equipment.
- High iron levels can cause discoloration and stains and reduce the effectiveness of chlorine-based sanitizers.
How To Tell If You Have Iron In Your Pool Water
Although small amounts of iron in your pool will be undetectable to the naked eye, a couple of signs can indicate that you have iron in your swimming pool.
First, check the color of your water. If it appears cloudy or discolored, this could mean iron in your pool. High iron levels also stain surfaces such as your pool sides or steps. The stains will usually appear reddish-brown and are difficult to remove.
In addition, you may notice a metallic taste or smell in your water when swimming. This can be particularly noticeable if you have an outdoor pool and the water has been exposed to the air for an extended period. You may also see small white particles floating in your pool water, which can be a sign that you have iron present.
If you suspect a high concentration of iron in your pool water, it’s best to test your water with a pool water testing kit, which will measure the amount of iron in your pool’s water. To avoid buildup, you should test your pool water for metals, such as iron, every three months or so.
Test For Iron In Your Water
There are a couple of methods to test for iron in your swimming pool. You can buy a testing kit at your local pool store or online. These kits use a reagent to measure the iron levels in your water sample.
You can also test the iron levels by bringing a sample of the pool water to your local pool supply store. They will be able to accurately measure the iron levels. The iron amount should be below 0.2 parts per million (ppm).
How To Get Iron Out Of Pool Water
Once you have determined with a test that your pool water has high levels of iron present, don’t worry—there are various ways to reduce iron in pool water and get your swimming area looking sparkling like new once again.
This method involves adding a flocculant to your pool water, which helps bind particles together to form larger, visible clumps that can be easily removed by vacuuming.
Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure the pH is balanced to 7.
- Dilute the flocculant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Pour the flocculant solution around the pool by walking around the perimeter of the pool.
- Turn on your pool pump and run it for several hours.
- Allow the treatment to sit for several hours or overnight.
- Set the filter to “waste.”
- Turn on the pump briefly to filter out some of the particles.
- Use a vacuum to remove the rest of the clumps of iron particles from your pool water.
Dilution is a simple and effective method to reduce the concentration of iron in your pool water.
Here’s how to do it:
- Drain some of your pool water and replace it with fresh water.
- Keep repeating this process until the iron levels have dropped to an acceptable level.
Chelating or Sequestering Agents
Chelating or sequestering agents bind with iron particles in your pool water, preventing them from staining or discoloring your pool’s surfaces.
Here’s how to do it:
- Choose a chelating or sequestering agent compatible with your pool and filter, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application.
- Turn off the filtration system.
- Add the agent to your pool water.
- Run your pool pump for several hours to allow the agent to circulate.
- Wait 24 to 48 hours to allow the agent to bind with the iron particles.
- Clean or backwash the filter.
- Use a pool water testing kit to check the iron levels in your water and ensure it is safe for swimming. If not, repeat.
Another easy way to get iron out of your pool water is to use a water filter to remove the iron particles by physically trapping them.
Here’s how to do it:
- Install a water filter designed to remove iron particles from your pool water.
- Run your pool pump and filter system for several hours to allow the filter to trap the iron particles.
- Test the iron levels and ensure it’s safe for swimming.
No matter how you reduce iron in your pool water, it is essential to regularly test and maintain your pool’s chemistry to ensure the levels remain safe for swimming.
Why Is There Iron In Your Pool Water?
You may be wondering why there is iron in your pool water in the first place. Iron particles can enter your pool and bind with other substances like minerals and metals in your water, making them difficult to remove. And without identifying the cause of iron in your pool water, simply getting iron out of your pool water is only a temporary solution. So it’s important to identify the source.
The most common sources of iron in pool water include:
- Well water: If you use well water to fill your pool, high levels of iron may be present. This is because well water is often high in metallic minerals like iron.
- Irrigation systems: If your pool is located near an irrigation system, iron can enter your pool water through the water used for irrigation.
- Rain and surface runoff: Rain and surface runoff can carry iron and other minerals into your pool, especially if your pool is in an area with high mineral content soil.
- Corroded pool equipment: Old or corroded pool equipment such as pipes, heaters, and filters can also introduce iron into your pool water.
- Fertilizer: If your pool is located near a garden or lawn that is regularly fertilized, the runoff can carry iron and other minerals into your pool water.
Consequences of Having Iron in Your Pool Water
While iron is an essential nutrient for humans, having excess iron in your pool water can have serious consequences.
Staining and Discoloration
The main problem with iron in your pool water is that it can stain and discolor the surfaces of your pool, such as the tiles and walls, and even pool accessories like ladders and diving boards. These stains are typically reddish-brown in color and can be difficult to remove.
It’s worth noting that iron staining and discoloration can also occur on swimsuits, towels, and other fabrics that come into contact with the water. Additionally, high iron levels in pool water can cause hair to turn green or blonde hair to turn brassy.
A high iron level can give your pool water a cloudy look, making it unappealing to swim in. This can be especially problematic for commercial pools that rely on attracting swimmers.
Reduced Effectiveness of Pool Sanitizers
Iron can react with chlorine and other pool sanitizers, reducing their effectiveness and potentially leaving your pool vulnerable to harmful bacteria and other contaminants.
Metallic Taste and Smell
High iron levels in your pool water can also lead to a metallic taste and smell, making your pool water unpleasant to swim in.
Damaged Pool Equipment
In addition to these consequences, having high iron levels in your pool water can also damage your pool equipment, such as pumps, heaters, and filters.
How To Prevent Iron From Oxidizing and Staining In Your Pool
Preventing iron from oxidizing and staining in your pool is critical to maintaining crystal-clear water and a pristine swimming environment. You can prevent iron from staining your pool by following these tips:
- Maintain proper water chemistry: It’s crucial to keep your pool’s pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels in check. Maintaining proper water chemistry not only keeps your pool water clear and balanced, but also helps prevent iron from oxidizing and staining your pool.
- Use a water softener: If your pool is filled with hard water high in minerals such as iron, using a water softener can be an effective way to prevent staining and discoloration. Water softeners remove minerals from your pool water, preventing them from oxidizing and causing staining.
- Keep your pool water clean: Keeping your pool water clean is essential for preventing iron from oxidizing and staining your pool. Regularly skim and vacuum your pool to remove debris and dirt.
- Control the source of iron: If you have well water, irrigation systems, or nearby surface runoff that contains high levels of iron, control the source of iron to prevent it from entering your pool. Consider using a pre-filter system or an iron filter to remove iron from the source before it enters your pool.
- Maintain your pool equipment: Corroded or damaged pool equipment, such as pumps, heaters, and filters, can introduce iron and other metals into your pool water. Regularly inspect and maintain your pool equipment to prevent corrosion and damage.
- Regularly check your pool water: Regularly checking your pool water is crucial for maintaining proper water chemistry and identifying any issues with high iron levels before they cause staining or damage to your pool. Use a pool water testing kit to check for iron levels every three months and take action if necessary.
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Have any more questions about iron or other metals in your pool water? Let me know! Happy to help.