Excessive Iron in Swimming Pool Water, p. 2
Editor's summary of the posted responses: Readers are welcome to read this entire long thread if they have the time. But dozens of users found themselves able to easily get from brown rusty water to a sparkling clear pool with simple home built filters ranging from a couple of white socks to a pair of 5-gallon buckets with a small sump pump in one and the stuffing from a couple of old pillows in the other.
Postings about the home made filters are in Blue.
June 3, 2008
Have a good and inexpensive solution that worked for us. Take a white bath towel and hang on the steps to your above ground pool, directly in front of the pump discharge line in the pool. The white towel does catch the rust. Let it hang there for a couple of hours and then remove towel and hose the rust off the towel and repeat. We even let the towel collect over night and rinse it off the next day. Keep repeating as you have time. Yes, you have to keep running your pump to do this, but it will get the rust out. If you don't believe it, just give it a shot one time and you will be amazed at how much rust loads up on that towel. It took us a couple of weekends and once or twice daily during the week (we have jobs) but worked better than any chemicals that the local pool supply folks suggested. Continue to check your cartridge filter and clean it out as well; it doesn't do nearly as good a job of collecting the rust but it will collect some and needs to be cleaned out as long as your water is heavy with it.R Jones
- Frederica, Delaware
June 3, 2008
To increase Intex paper filters effectiveness, build your own filter. A real quick fix is an old cotton sock placed over the strainer basket in the skimmer. Stuff the toe end down inside the basket. Add higher levels of chlorine to release the iron and watch the socks turn brown.
- Jacksonville, Florida
June 8, 2008
Well, here is a great solution to your iron (in the pool) problem.
- Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
June 8, 2008
I was so thankful to stumble onto this forum. My first thought was to try Iron Out, but it sounded a little dangerous to me. After reading further, I realized I couldn't try the iron out or the Oxy Clean. I wouldn't be comfortable swimming in these chemicals, so why would I let children? I was so relieved to hear the simple method of putting the towel in front of the filter. I had instant results. I cleaned out the filter, placed the towel in the water, and in about four hours, I could tell a dramatic difference. Thank you!B Anderson
- Fedscreek, Kentucky
June 10, 2008
So I combined two techniques on here into one and am having AMAZING results. When I say amazing, my pool is 10 shades lighter in color than it was this morning. You see, I thought I had algae and started shocking the heck out of it! Just made the water browner and browner. Anyway I used the cotton sock inside the filter housing and all that jazz and instead of a white towel in front of the discharge port a Child's cotton tube sock fits snug enough to not get blown off and let me tell you!
I have washed the socks out three times now and the pool is making DRASTIC IMPROVEMENTS! You can go spend money to solve this issue or you can save money for the gas tank and use those socks that the Gnomes pilfered partners from. Trust me, THIS SOLUTION IS AMAZING!
- Asheboro, North Carolina
June 23, 2008
Unfortunately, I've learned more about this than I ever wanted. Three years ago we moved to an area where our only water source is well water. The first year, I filled our pool and it was so dark and brown you couldn't see the bottom. I did lots of research and discovered a product called "Slime Bag". This bag fit over the water return on my filter. After the first couple of hours, I saw a remarkable difference. I removed the bag, rinsed it and repeated. Within 2 days, my water was crystal blue. The following year, I used the "slime bag- filler up bag" while filling the pool and put another on over the water return on the filter. Water was clear within 2 days of filling. This year, I tried another approach because I wanted to avoid buying another slime bag. So, I simply filled the pool 1-2" per day for 1 hour per day. The water was just barely cloudy and I was elated. I thought that the problem with the iron had been solved because we had replaced the filter and pipes on our water pump. However, two days after filling the pool and letting the pump run, the water remained a little cloudy. So, I did a shock treatment and within minutes my water turned reddish brown. So, I'm back to using my slime bags on the water return. Once again, it is working. It takes a couple of days but seriously, putting Oxy Clean or Iron Out in the water just sounds really scary.
- Newberg, Oregon
June 24, 2008
There is a product called metal out for pools you will have to clean and change filters for a few days but it works I have well waterDemetrice Witherow
- Rock Falls, Illinois
June 28, 2008
Go to www.oxiclean.com/faq.asp for info on using Oxiclean in pools
- NOT GOOD. You aren't supposed to clean your coffee pot with it - imagine what is ingested if it's in the pool water!
Q: Can I use OxiClean to clean my pool or hot tub?
Q: Can I use OxiClean in place of chlorine bleach to treat my pool or hot tub?
- Somonauk, Illinois
June 28, 2008
Ok I have had this EXACT problem.we have an intex pool, and I really wanted to throw it in the trash but then we GOT IT RIGHT. We have well water also. every time we shocked it turned yucky BROWN.The pool guy says it is excessive metals in our water. so we drained the pool, this time filled it back up with water but on the end our water hose we used several coffee filters and the sock's secured tightly around the end. I got this advice from neighbors...I'm assuming it helps filter the water.When the pool completely filled we put 3 bottles of metal out in it.We also upgraded the paper filter with a better one we got from the pool store. waited three days then bought liquid chlorine (kinda a light green color).and my water is beautiful. the pool place told me not to shock it with the powder shock that comes in the bag just to use that .and so far it is PERFECT:Stacy Coop
- Hammond Louisiana
June 29, 2008
I joined this discussion in a somewhat-desperate search on Friday night. 24 hours before my home/garden/pool was to be on our community's Garden Tour, my pool heater burped rust into my newly-sparkling pool and turned it into a chocolate brown.
I found this discussion. I tried the OxiClean route (any port in a storm, 9 PM the night before). Within 12 hours, it was 75% back to clear, by 24 hours it was crystal. It remains a little on the foamy side, by that is diminishing bit by bit.
I became the swimming guinea pig and all seems to be well.
Because, however, there are warnings about mixing OxyClean and chorine-containing products, I remain a little fearful of re-chlorinating the pool. Does anyone has experience with that follow-up step?
- Battle Creek, Michigan
July 2, 2008
Hi, Janet. I'm not a pool owner, but this is what occurs to me. The brown coloration is precipitated (very tiny particles of) iron. Yes, it is exactly the same thing as rust particles. If there is iron in the water it precipitates out as particles when the water is alkaline and tends to dissolve into transparency when the water is acidic or if there is a complexing/sequestering agent (OxyClean or Super IronOut) which dissolves it.
Thus it would seem to me that the best approach is to filter the iron out of the incoming water. If it's not in the pool it can't turn it brown.
If you haven't done that, second best is to precipitate it; but then you have to filter it out to get the iron out of the pool. The ideas about socks and towels and so on seem to work.
The third approach, dissolving the iron back into solution with Oxyclean or anything else, seems like a very temporary fix; every time you adjust pH or add chlorine (which is very alkaline) you will be back to fighting to keep that iron dissolved again so it doesn't brown up the water. I'd say that is the wrong approach.
Regards and good luck,
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
July 2, 2008
Finding this forum gives me hope! - My husband "told me so" about buying an intex pool and filling it with well water... well water? How about "hell water" - fortunately as soon as I saw the pool filled with dark chocolate brown water I hopped online and found this forum.
The "filter out the iron -rather than douse it with chemicals" idea makes the most sense to me - I tried the towel trick last night and this morning was thrilled with how much iron it collected - though no visible signs of improvement in the water yet - I feel good about approaching the problem this way. I also found my old pump from an ornamental pond and put that on the third step of the ladder and filled the filter housing that came with the pump with fiberfill (another tip on this website)- and weighted it so that it sits on the pool bottom - I'm thinking this might work like the milk jug idea? - Here's a question for all of you - what about "faking" out the pump that came with the pool and using something to filter in the pump housing OTHER THAN the filter that comes with it? Any ideas?Susan Gray
- Medina, Ohio
July 7, 2008
I am glad I ran across this forum also. I have a 18x52" intex with the salt water system. My water was BROWN!I too was freaked out about using iron out. I did use about 2 TB to clean out my pump/filter and hoses. It worked great. But I could not add more to my pool for fear of hurting my children's skin. I went to the pool store, added an agent to remove the iron and used the sock over the out flow valve. I am shocked that in 2 days I have almost clear water, and after vacuuming and cleaning the walls- By tomorrow I WILL have nice inviting water! My kids can continue to swim in it while the agent is in the pool. One more word of advice~ by some extra filters from the pool store and you will be soo happy in 3 days! Good luck.Jane Bozic
- Zimmerman, Minnesota
July 8, 2008
I made my own filter. I cut the paper off my filter. I drilled 4 1/16th holes in the blue rubber top and 4 holes in the same place in the top and bottom of the plastic center of the filter. I reattached the blue top to the center part with steel wire. Then I wrapped the center of the filter with a white towel, 4 layers thick. then I put 3 rubber bands top, middle and bottom to hold the towel on.
July 8, 2008
How did you attach the towels to your outlet?
Thank you for the towel solution...I hope it works for my pool
- Middletown, Rhode Island
July 8, 2008
I've a question. I have read all of the posts and love the idea featuring the gallon jug stuffed with fluff...but I am not clear on where to connect it. Please clear up my confusion! Thanks! MiaMia Bliss
- Elmira, New York
July 11, 2008
We bought a intex 10 x 30 easy set up pool.We live in an area where there is only well water.We started to fill the pool, added chlorine, and it turned a dark brown. So we took some of the suggestions before we took down the pool and put Iron Out in the pool and it is completely clear. I also put a sock over the water pumping out to gather anything extra that the filter is not catching. I was worried about trying it but it does work.Erika
- Jasper, Indiana
July 12, 2008
I also have well water and asked a neighbor before I started filling my grandson's Intex pool and she was a God send . because her hubby made a filtering system for their above ground pool , when they have to add water , and all you have to do is to think about the system you have for your home, and buy one of those's cartridge systems ( just the container that the filter goes into, and then you buy a cheap hose and clamp one side to one end and the same to the other , then attach your outside hose to one end and start filling your pool and check a couple of times during the filling process to see if the filter needs to be changed. go to your local pool store and purchase mineral out , and not to forget when filtering the pool use the white sock over your old filter and run pool for at least 12 hours and check after the sock and change if needed , and your ready to go , I seems like a lot but buying the filter for 20.00 and filter the water while filling the pool believe me after shocking it you won't have 99% of the problems that most of you all are having.Donna Reynolds
- Valparaiso, Indiana
July 17, 2008
I have a 24 ft x 52" pool that was set up two weeks ago. I used "mineral out" by HTH after filling (we have well water) and waited three days before turning on our salt water chlorinator. The pool was beautiful, clear water no cloudiness at all, thought I had conquered the iron. Oops it was only sequestered! We just had a major rain today and for some reason it cause the iron to oxidize and become visible. Water turned that wonderful brown within an hour after the rain. don't know why... Well I am going to remove the iron now instead of sequestering it. I will use the milk jugs tomorrow morning and let you know how it goes. Just know if you use a sequestering agent, if something changes in your water chemistry you could still have to deal with brown water.Sheri Holmes
- Santa Fe, Texas
July 18, 2008
I have had our 18' Intex pool set up for a month now and we are having the same problems as everyone in this forum. With the short swimming season here in Wisconsin my kids have been cheated by this bad water problem...we had the same water last year with absolutely no issues at all (make you wonder about what happened to the city wells).
At any rate I am thankful for everyone's solution, we are going to try the towel/sock method. We took the sample to on of the local pool "experts" and they gave me a bottle of acid that didn't appear to do anything (I believe it helped solidify the metal so the filter could remove it). We have been filtering non-stop for 2 weeks and instead of looking like 6,000 gallons of Coca-Cola we now have a lovely shade of Iced Tea. I hope the towel works...
I did speak to someone recently that mentioned Intex supplies the lowest level cartridge filters/pumps and they are woefully inadequate for the amount of water.
We went out and purchased a 4,000 Gallon Per Hour pump and we will see if that helps speed up the cleaning process.
Thanks for all of the advice and suggestions in this forum...I will update when we have results, good or bad.
- La Crosse, Wisconsin