Problems of iron and copper in pool water

The presence of metal such as manganese, iron and copper in pool water can lead to discolor the water when chlorine or any other oxidizer is added. It does not affect on the clarity of the water too much. Magnesium and manganese can also increase the hardness of the water. The metal may enter in pool water through by chemicals, pool equipment and plumbing or poles, toys, and tools that are fall into the water. Moreover, fresh water is also an important source of metal in pool water. Higher level of metals can create stains on swimming pool.

Iron in pool water
Iron in pool water

Copper in pool water

Copper in pool water can be introducing in many ways. It can enter as one of the natural element through your local water source. Cheaper algaecides are another source. Moreover, it is also used in many equipment and plumbing of swimming pools. Copper may be dissolved into the pool water, if the water is imbalances at any how such as misuse of chemicals, lower pH, total alkalinity or calcium hardness.

Copper in pool water
Copper in pool water

High copper in pool water

Higher copper is not allowed for swimming pool. The maximum level for copper is 1.00 ppm, but it is better to keep below 0.2 ppm or zero. If the copper level is high, it can lead to green hair, fingernails, pool walls and water, as well as pool staining. Lower concentration of copper with proper direction usually does not cause a problem. It can be helpful for pool water. For example copper sulfate or chelated copper is useful in controlling common pool algae. Moreover, it will help to proper sanitation by reducing the consumption of chlorine. It is recommended not to use copper sulfate; it is not suitable for swimming pool. It is suitable for surface waters such as reservoirs, lakes and ponds algaecide. Instead of it you may use other algaecides.

Remove copper from pool water

To remove copper from pool water the following method can be applied:

  • Chelating agents: Copper staining can be protected by using chelating agents. This agents formation a bond with the metal ions and prevents them from oxidized with the chlorine and other oxidizers.
  • Using metal-trap filter: physically, copper and other heavy metal can remove by using metal-trap filter. Recirculation the pool water by submersible pump, through a metal-trap filter will reduce the possibility of staining and discoloration.
  • You can replace a portion of pool water with fresh water, but it would not a wise decision, it can imbalances the pool water.
copper in pool water removal

Complete Stain Removal Bundle Filter Size

Iron in pool water

Higher Iron is not allowed for swimming pool; it may alter the original pool water color into brown or green color. The maximum acceptable level of iron in pool water is 0.3ppm although iron-free water is wanted. High concentrations of iron can damage or discoloration of the pool surface. As like copper, corrosive water can lead to introducing iron in pool water. The water tends to be corrosive, if the pool water is lower pH, lower total alkalinity or lower calcium hardness level. As a result the “rusting” of metal parts of pool’s pump, pipe-network, heater, or other metal accessories can be dissolved into water.

You can remove iron from pool water as same process of copper removing.

copper in pool water removal

Pool Mate 1-2550 Mineral Out and Stain Remover for Swimming Pools, 1-Quart

Manganese in pool water

When chlorine or any other oxidizer is used in Manganese containing pool water then it discolor and the water turn into deep purple, blue or black. The water generally does not lose its clarity or become cloudy. It is difficult to identify. Super chlorination completely oxidized the manganese and allows precipitating to the bottom of the pool. It can stains on pool plaster and tile grouting.

Testing of iron or copper in pool water

You can know what metal along with quantity of the metal by testing the pool water. Primarily you can make a visual diagnosis with the help of water color. If the water is green then it may be copper whereas brown color indicates iron. Since the iron or copper in pool water does not change dramatically, hence it is enough to test once per month. It is recommended to test immediately if rapidly changes the color (as we mix various copper containing chemicals). You can test it, any time of the day.

Testing the copper and iron in pool water is very easy process with test strip kits. Just dip the test strip into the sample water for 5-60 seconds. Then remove the test strip from the water and shake once for removing extra water from the strip. Wait for while and compare the color on the test strip with the color chart that comes with the kit. This is the general instruction but you must read the package instructions and test the water sample according to their guide lines. You can use following kits to test copper, iron or other metal in pool water

1. AquaChek 661455 Iron Test Strip

AquaChek 661455 Iron Test Strip Measures the Total Iron. This strip allows a fast and accurate way to test for metal contaminates that can cause staining and water discoloration in pool and spa water. It measures the total iron from 0 to 5 ppm. It contains 25 strips per bottle.

2. Industrial Test Systems 481348 Copper 3 in 1 Pool Check

The Industrial Test Systems 481348 Copper 3 in 1 Pool Check strip is used for testing Copper, Total Alkalinity, and pH. These three tests combined into one strip, testing is super easy and efficient. It Contains 50 test strips. You can measure the copper level up to 0 to 2 ppm. The strip is made in the USA. You can easily read the colors. It provides you more accurate result than traditional test strips. Copper test strips can monitor copper ionizing systems and copper sulfate pentahydrate additives.

3. LaMotte 2994 Insta-Test Iron and Copper Multi-Factor Test Strip Kit

The LaMotte 2994 Insta-Test Iron and Copper Multi-Factor Test Strip Kit is colored paper pads. It can measure the iron level from 0 to 5 ppm and copper level from 0 to 3 ppm. It contains 25 test strips. They are easy to use, give accurate results and are way less expensive than using an outside lab.

4. 16 in 1 Drinking Water Test Kit Strips

Med Lab Diagnostic’s 16 in 1 drinking water test kit can measure 16 pool water parameters including Copper, Iron, Mercury, Lead, and Aluminum. It contains 200 test strips in two separate sealed pouches. Each of the pouches has 100 strips; so the strips will have a longer shelf life. The shelf life of the strips is 2 years when they are sealed. Once they are opened, the strips are generally good for approximately 90 days. These water testing strips provide accurate results very quickly and easily for testing your pool water. They are made from biodegradable material so Safe for the environment. These strips come with a full color instruction guide which has information about each of the 16 parameter tested. Although the Med Lab Diagnostics is a USA company its product is manufactured in China.

3 thoughts on “Problems of iron and copper in pool water

    1. Mike I played around with copper silver ionisers on my pool by wat of an experiment. I ran with an ionic level of copper at 0.6-0.8ppm and never had staining issues or reports of green hair but I did control the pH very pecisely and kept it at 7.2. It was a vinyl pool but when after 7-8 years I tested the total copper level (not the ionic level) I found it to be 4mg/litre but still no staining or green hair. maybe ionic is better.

  1. Hi. I was reading a post of yours about copper sulfate in your pool and was needing your help if you can help please??? I have a 12,000 gallon above ground swimming pool and was told to dissolve 16 ounces of copper sulfate in some water and put it in my pool, so I did and now people are saying it was WAY too much! I have small grandkids and I am worried to even let them in it now. I have purchased copper test strips online and they will be here in 3 days but I am not even sure what they should read? Please help if you can. Thank you, Julie

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