Excessive Iron in Swimming Pool Water
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.
July 18, 2008
I normally don't respond to threads, but I just had to say that the towel idea is amazing. Like everyone else, I have well water. Without considering this, I added the chemicals to avoid the algae I allowed to accrue last year. Like everyone else, brown water soon ensued. I have scoured the Internet for advise and reluctantly threw a towel in the pool. My chlorine is pretty high right now and the weather is overcast today, so I thought I would give it a go while my son was busy doing something else. WOW! After an hour I checked the towel and found a 10 incher brown (solid) circle. I couldn't believe it! Thanks for giving me hope! I do not pretend to be a chemist and am not particularly interested in having my son swim in a chemical soup. The color of the water is still brown, but I bet after a day of this, it will be considerably better! Oh ya, I don't have a skimmer,but I'm considering buying one today and trying the sock idea, too!Stephanie Fosdeck
- Graham, Washington
July 21, 2008
I am a first time pool owner, an above ground 18' x 42". I also was unaware that when I shocked the water it would turn deep red brown. So much so it seemed like a thin soup. I could not even see the second stair. I have well water and apparently an extreme amount of iron. I ran the filter with a skimmer sock on it, change it out about every 20 minutes along with changing filters a few times and used a clarifier with mediocre success.
I went to the pool supply store and bought Poolife Intensive Stain Prevention-Super Sequestering Agent. I came home, vacuumed the pool and added it. After about the 3rd hour the pool was very light transparent green with some settlement on the bottom so I vacuumed again. The pool was clear in about 4-5 hours. I was even happy with the light green that it stayed for a bit and thought I would have to deal with but I went out in about another hour after the vacuuming and it was clear with just a slight whitish clouding which was taken care of after adjusting proper chemicals after testing.I highly recommend the Poolife Intensive Stain Prevention-Super Sequestering Agent.Teri White
- Beckley, West Virginia
July 23, 2008
I have a huge swimming pool about 50 thousand gallons it started to go cloudy and now it is lagoon green. We have a lot of iron in our well my husband has shocked the pool but still green even have tried adding protect-all made by bio-chem still lagoon green any one out there... please, please help.......THANK-YOU!Tif Valle
mother of five - placerville, California
August 12, 2008
I normally don't post to threads, but have hit my frustration level. I have an in-ground vinyl lined pool and 2 pool stores in town have not been able to solve the brown water problem. Much money spent on chemicals.
I've tried chlorine - turned the water a darker shade of brown. Muriatic acid = golden brown and foggy . Shock = brown/red and cloudy. Algaecides = teal and cloudy. I did get some results with Iron Out but my pets drink out of the pool. (4 bottles in 20,000 gallons of water, no smell or taste in water in the morning, but don't think I want to add more). Rain and the pool turns brown. My iron level doesn't register as too high, but...
Tonight am trying the towel suggestion. It's 6:00 PM. I've attached 2 white socks to the hose head (water level a little low) and placed a towel in front of the jets. I am on a water filter for the house (am on a well) but it bypasses the hoses. Immediately after attaching the socks to the hose with rubber bands you can see all the iron build up on the socks. Will recheck in an hour. Did notice that putting a towel in front of the skimmer substantially reduced the flow into the skimmer.
Will let you know if I get any results.
If this doesn't work am seriously thinking of concreting it and having the only skate park in town :)
- Muncie, Indiana
Ed. note: Skate Park? DUDE!
May 28, 2009
The iron (municipal water) in our new pool was terrible. I was heartsick. Then I found this forum. Thank you to Pete Dymond from Jacksonville, Florida. He gave the idea of creating your own filter. Well my husband took that idea and expanded upon it. We took (2) 5 gal buckets. Both were drilled (2) 1-1/2" holes each side near bottom. Placed one in bottom of pool with a sump pump within it. Next we took an old pillow which we cut open one end and placed in the second "filter" bucket. The lid was prepped for this bucket to receive a 1-1/4" pipe set well into the pillow, out the lid. We used threaded connections to make removal from pump line easier. The lid was wire tied to the bucket and the whole second "filter" bucket was wrapped in a spare t-shirt to catch residual iron. Because the plastic bucket floated, the filter when put together floated also. The pump bucket was tied to a rope for easy removal. This whole setup was placed opposite the pool filter. The pool was filled only 5 days before we did this and after running this pump/filter for the first 12 hours, the pool (4400 gal) is nearly clear. He took the "filter" out and rinsed out the pillow. A LOT of iron was removed. One more day, and we expect a perfect pool. I hope this helps out there. Thank you everyone!Karen Snyder
- Canton, Ohio
This is follow-up to my previous post. The next day, last Friday, my husband put the filter he created back together and ran it only for 3 more hours. He then took the sump pump out of the bucket and slowly moved the pump around the entire pool bottom. picking up all the iron that had settled to the bottom. It is now June 2, the following Tuesday and the pool remains crystal clear. All the iron is removed. I don't think the filter my husband created ran for a total 24 hours.
Karen Snyder (returning)
- Canton, Ohio
June 19, 2009
dear karen s,
we used your idea, we changed it a bit, but it worked!
our pool water was crystal clear iced tea colored once filled. I thought that once I put in the chlorine and other chemicals it would just go away ( first time pool owner ) and all it did was make it worse worse worse. I was so discouraged after using different metal and mineral out products with poor results, then I came upon this forum and like others I felt desperate but putting dangerous chemicals into the water my kids and I wanted to swim in seemed scary. so my husband and I tried your idea, and here is what we did, I think it cost us about 65 to 70 bucks TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY.
we had a five gallon paint bucket with a hole in the lid, we drilled holes all over the sides and the bottom about 3/4 in big, (the sump pump was just open to the water there was no bucket around it) we drilled smaller holes in the lid and the top of the bucket to secure it with zip ties, he went to the hardware store and bought a sump pump and the plumbing fit through the hole in the lid to secure the lid to the pump, we took old pillows that I would have thrown out anyhow and took all the stuffing out and stuffed the bucket with it ( I was nervous that the stuffing would get all over, and we would have two messes to clean up, but it stayed right where I put it thankfully ), we put the lid on and secured it with zip ties, we prayed that this would work dropped it into the pool very carefully and plugged it in.
after about an hour I was anxious and wanted to check it, when we got the lid off, the pillow fluff was nasty orange so I hosed it off until the water ran clear and re-stuffed the bucket with the same fluff, put the lid on and put it back into the pool. within five hours we could see a noticeable difference, and we kept on rinsing the fluff and filtering. we did it once more before we went to bed, and when we woke up I almost cried our pool water was absolutely and perfectly crystal clear with a very small amount of sediment on the bottom to clean up. I think our pump ran about 14-18 hours total, it was amazing to watch the water change from cloudy emerald green to a cloudy robins egg blue during the after noon. and to wake up to perfect water, was the best part yet!
my husband two children and I were jumping up and down for joy. I wish I would have taken before and after pictures, it is that amazing. all I can say is don't waste money on fancy metal and mineral treatments we did that ( about 45 dollars ) all it did was turn brown to green, spend that money on a sump pump and make this filter. it saved my sanity and the swimming season for us in the u.p. of Michigan.
- escanaba Michigan
June 1, 2009
I tried the sock over the filter and a sock in the filter housing. After several days my pool water is almost crystal clear. I wish I would have tried this sooner. I have been trying for 2 summers now and this is the only thing I have found that works. It does take time but it is well worth the effort.Patricia L
- Hillsville Virginia
June 3, 2009
How long do you have to wait to go swimming after you put your chemicals in?Ruth Schod
hobbyist - Conroe Texas
June 10, 2009
This is our second year to fill a 16' x 42" Intex pool with our irony well water. We learned our lesson last year after trying chemical warfare, inline hose filters and milk jugs and towels. This year we used what we discovered worked for iron last year, and acquired crystal-clear water in 3 days, in 3 steps:
FILL the pool
SHOCK the pool (and get what we call Poop-Soup)
Let it settle 2 days, and then VACUUM the iron out when it settles to the bottom, with a shop vac. We vacuumed the sediment on Day 2 and again on Day 3 and now our water is perfect!
We could not even see the bottom of our pool after shocking it on Day 1, so this is a remarkable result.
Granted, filling & emptying our little 5 gallon shop vac 20-30 times ain't fun, but this really works. Next year, we plan to use a submersible pump to vacuum the sediment, or we will bore a hole & attach a garden hose & shut-off valve in the vac to empty it. The vac is the secret for us!
- Waldron, Arkansas
June 11, 2009
So I have REALLY BAD iron problem with the well water I used to fill my pool. I tried 2 different metal remover chemicals. Clarity chemical. Shocked my pool 3 times. nothing was working.
I found this site, and it had some good and bad ideas. Oxiclean and Iron out being the bad ideas. And adding a custom filter being a great one.
So this is what I did. I took an old nylon stocking from my wife and stuffed it with cotton, also from my wife, I don't think she'll miss them. :-)
I then wrapped it around the inside of my skimmer on top of the chlorine basket.
In 20 minutes I went a rinsed it out, and let me tell you I'm glad I didn't jump into the pool!
- Rush City, Minnesota
June 12, 2009
This is my first year with a pool. 3000 gal above ground. The Intex pump was wonderfully terrible at filtering (too small; too weak - 500 gph). So I upgraded to a Pleatco Filter ($10.00 on ebay), and an iron circulator pump (free, an extra unit). After a month the water turned iced tea brown overnight. So, after reading all these threads and remembering high school chemistry, I'm going to raise the pH and chlorinate to oxidize the dissolved iron, and add a flocculent to clump and settle the precipitate to the bottom. The pump is off for the night so there are no currents to stir up the sediment. Oh yeah, today I replaced the iron circulator pump with a pool pump and strainer (also free because it needed a new front bearing.
About this time tomorrow I should have a result to post...
- Levittown, Pennsylvania
June 12, 2009
I have tried a few things here and there. I am glad I ran across this forum. 1 1/2 hrs into the sock over the filter and over the exhaust water back into the pool. I just unscrewed the exhaust valve and zipped tied the sock onto the fitting and screwed it back on. With in 1 hour the sock was brown. I checked the filter and half was brown and working up (moving up shows the lower part was getting plugged. Hope it works to clean the whole pool. I still can't see the bottom however I have high hopes that if something/anything is getting trap by these filters, there is something in the pool that isn't suppose to be there. I have not even starting really trying to get my numbers where they should be. I want the water clear first. I added conditioner, shocked, and chlorine with a start up kit. 2 days later:
Harness = 1000+
Chlorine = 0
PH = 8.6
TA = 240 (+)
CYA = 30-50
I was told to add 2.5 lbs of HTH Minus and this morning as followed:
Harness = 1000+
Chlorine = 1/2
PH = 6.8
TA = 240+
That didn't help. Maybe more?
- Dunnell, Minnesota
June 12, 2009
Go to your local hardware store and pick up 2x standard household filter with clear housings. Buy 2x 40 micron filters and from the pump tee the 1 1/4" to 2x 3/4" and hook up the filters. Mirror backwards from the 3/4 to 1 1/4" on the other side going back the pool. My pool was completely brown. Could not see the bottom, period. 1 hour of running, you can see the bottom 5 feet away from the pool. The more crap you have in the pool the faster the filters will turn colors. Mine was so dirty that within 30 minutes I had to remove and wash them off. They work faster than a sock and you can keep them there permanently for cleaning for just filtering the pool. Once I get the pool completely clean I am going to change out the 40 micron filters for 20. That is the standard household level. If you want to get really technical, you can go all the way down to 5. If I knew how to post pictures, I would post a picture of my system. This works, ran me around $70 to build, but it's permanent, fast, easy, fun, and it simply works. These filters are made to remove, rust, iron, sediments, and other junk in household water. Perfect for pool use and no chemicals involved!Kevin Flohrs (returning)
- Dunnell, Minnesota
June 14, 2009
I too had the same iron problem and didn't know what to do. I put some stuff called Metal Remover from Lowe's made by Du Pont about 10:00 am and by night still didn't see any improvement. I then came to this sight for some help and there were many good ideas I was going to try with the towels and so forth. I went to bed and by the next morning my water was clear and now is crystal clear. I am very happy with the Metal Remover just put it in by the directions and let it do its work but you will need to clean the filter a few times during that time. Good luck to ya!Kara Butler
- Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
June 17, 2009
I found this site in desperation, all was going well until I turned on my saltwater generator, left for the day, came home and was mortified to find the hoses turned chocolate brown, and my water looked like dark iced tea. After reading all the posts on here, I decided to try the tube sock attached to the return port from the pump idea, except I stuffed the sock with cotton balls. Within one hour the sock was Dark brown, so I continued to change the sock stuffed with cotton balls, every few hours. That was Sunday, today is Wednesday. The water is crystal clear and sparkling. Physically removing the metal/rust is the way to go, not chemicals. IT WORKS! YIPPPEEEE! MY POOL LOOKS GREAT!Dolly Ponce
- Acton, Massachusetts
June 19, 2009
I am so glad I found this site! I was so upset to find that I spent an entire day filling our 10'x30" Quick Set pool to have yellowish brown water in it. I did some looking around on the Internet and came to the conclusion that it was rust in the water--pumped water from our well. I came across several ideas about how to get rid of rust. Like some of you, I didn't want to use anymore chemicals to clear this problem. The solution I used was a sock over the part where the water comes back into the pool (I'm not savvy with pool lingo, as I am first time pool owner). I took an old, cotton short sleeve shirt sleeve and put that around the filter and secured it with a rubber band and zip tie. I let this sit over night, and when I went out this morning to check it out, the water was so much clearer! I rinsed off the sock, shirt sleeve, and filter and am going for round 2. I plan to clean about every 3 hours today. I'm very hopeful! Good luck to you!Nikki Preston
- Ada, Ohio
June 21, 2009
I liked the idea of the household filters, but can you just cut them in a circle to fit the skimmer and will catch the rust prior to getting to your actual filter and clean as you go?Zebbie Hary
hobbyist - Logansport, Indiana, USA