Metals like iron and copper can be a real pain!! Here are some helpful things you need to know to live happily ever after with iron:
1. A little bit of iron can cause A LOT of trouble!! It only takes 0.3 ppm of iron to cause staining and discoloration in a swimming pool environment. That’s because of the chlorine and above neutral (>7.0) pH levels. Metals can easily dissolve in water and even be clear and invisible to see with the naked eye, but you add chlorine and increase that pH over 7.4 and WOW!! You’ve got a problem on your hands. That’s ’cause chlorine is an oxidizer and metals love to react in any pH over 7.4. They change out of there liquid state (ferrous) to a solid state (ferric) and become that lovely rusty color we all hate to see in a swimming pool. NOTE: With manganese, that staining threshold is even lower!! Only 0.12 ppm manganese can stain a pool!! So be careful!
2. Bucket tests are your friend!! You may have never heard of a bucket test before. That’s fine because it’s something we made up in our technical support department. Our goal at Hydropure is always 100% metal removal!! We love using the bucket test to stay one step ahead of metals. Here’s how it works: If you are adding new water to a pool or spa, simply fill a bucket first straight from the hose, and add a little chlorine or shock to it and watch to see if it changes color at all. That’s a good indicator of what would happen in your pool when you add the chlorine!! So many people say the water looked clear UNTIL I ADDED CHLORINE!! That’s the tricky part about metals like we went over in #1 above. It’s so much better to stain or discolor a bucket than to stain or discolor your WHOLE POOL!! If you’ve just done a stain treatment and you’re getting ready to re-introduce the chlorine and re-balance your pool chemistry–WAIT!! Do the bucket test first!! Take a bucket of water straight from your pool and throw some chlorine or shock in it and watch what happens!! NEVER PROCEED adding chlorine to a pool or raising the pH levels until that bucket stays clear for 24 hours!!! It’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. Knowledge is power!! Get iron test strips!! It’s always best to know exactly what you’re dealing with. An average well has 1 ppm iron, but there are many cases where the level can be 10x that!! If you know you have metals, and you know you have a problem with staining, then buy the strips!! It’s so easy to test for!! Metals can be clear and invisible, so even if you’re getting most of them out, you may be leaving some behind!! The bucket test is helpful and practical, but it’s not all-inclusive!! It predicts the immediate results, but test strips can tell you your future!! 🙂 For example, let’s say you have a higher than average level of iron in your well, and you use our Metaltrap Filter connected to your hose. It can get even 8 ppm of iron in one shot at 5-8 gallons per minute!! IMPRESSIVE!! But you’ve got 0.15 ppm of iron still remaining. Eventually, as you add more water again and again, that 0.15 ppm level will start to creep up and up over time, and one day, you’ll cross that that 0.3 ppm staining threshold. It’s inevitable ’cause as water evaporates, only the pure H2O evaporates, and it leaves all that hardness, and stabilizer, and iron behind until those levels are not manageable any more!! Then you’re back to square one again. So dip that test strip and verify the 0 ppm level!!! Some people with higher than average iron levels may need a bigger filter or need to connect a second one to use as a polisher at the end.
4. Chlorine and pH are NOT your friends!! Many pool owners and even pool professionals think the more chlorine the better, but that is NOT THE CASE–ESPECIALLY WITH METALS!! Metals are HIGHLY reactive in chlorine and high pH environments. Plus, most liquid stain and scale prevention products like Jack’s Magic, Metal Free, and pretty much everything else on the market today are acid products themselves, which means they weaken and lose their bonds with the metals as the pH creeps up over 7.6, which is extremely common in a pool environment–especially in saltwater pools. That’s what makes our Liquid Metaltrap product so unique. It’s been designed with all this in mind!! It works over a broad pH range to it holds strong to those metals and keeps them safe and deactivated even as your pH fluctuates up and down. Adding chlorine often raises the pH levels naturally in your pool, so always keep an eye on that too. Check those pH levels regularly and try to always keep them on the lowest end of the acceptable range. Use 7.4 as your ideal range, and be quick to react to not let it get above 7.6 when you know you have iron or copper in the water. Controlling the pH alone and keeping it low is a huge key to successfully living with metals!! Even if you have an emergency situation and a large amount of metals that got into your pool, you can adjust your pH down low to 6.8 for concrete pools or 7.0 for fiberglass or vinyl liner to prevent staining while you wait for Pool Refresh to come in the mail to remove those metals permanently or give yourself a chance to get to the pool store to buy the sequestering agent or chelating agent like Liquid Metaltrap you desperately need to deactivate those metals. The same thing goes for chlorine. Keep those levels on the lowest end of the acceptable level for your pool!!