Why are My Pool Steps Turning Brown? - Globo Pool
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Why are My Pool Steps Turning Brown?

A swimming pool is always a sanctuary during the hot summers. It gives us a cold, serene place to relax and get away from the busy schedules. As time goes by, with the regular usage and wear, the pool stairs start to get stained and discolored even after regular cleaning. That’s where the question ‘why are my pool steps turning brown’ comes in.

Frankly, the problem is caused by high metal concentration in your pool water, mainly if you use well water for refill. As you well know, chlorine does not affect metals. So, when they get to your pool, the pool surfaces are the best place to settle.

With iron being the most like culprit of your pool stairs turning brown, read this article to the end to know what you have to do to remove and prevent these brown stains.

What’s Causing Brown Stains on Your Pool Stairs?

There are only two things that can cause pool stains: heavy metals and algae. The metals can be iron, copper, manganese, and silver. However, different metals and algae leave the different color of stains. They’re the most likely culprit of the brown stains is the iron metal compound.

When the iron in your pool reacts with oxygen, it gets oxidized and turns brown. When it settles on parts of your pool, it turns the place brown or gives it a rusty color.

Other metals such as copper will give your pool light green stains, similar to algae stains. Silver compounds, on the other hand, turns leaves black stains while manganese turns the water and pool parts to purple.

As you can see, iron is the cause of your pool stairs turning brown. The stains will start to appear when you add chlorine to your pool water. It oxidizes the iron compound, thus producing a rusty stain.

Even though it’s rare, the brown stains on your pool stairs could also be caused by the brown algae. I’m saying it’s rare because if you maintain pool sanitizer, the algae won’t be a problem for you.

What’s more, pool algae tend to grow in the dark, shadowed areas, and the stairs are too open and expose. But don’t rule the possibility out until you test your water.

What are the Sources of Iron Metals in Your Pool Water?

I’m sure you’re wondering – how did iron get to my pool? Right? Well, there are two or three ways this metal can find its way to your pool water. They include:

Water Source

If you’re using well water to refill your pool, it can be your primary source of iron that’s causing the brown stains. The groundwater contains a high concentration of various metals.

If you don’t filter it when refilling your pool, you’re depositing them directly to your pool. With time, the iron compound gets oxidized by the chlorine and becomes a brown stain menace.

The local water source can also bring enough amount of metals to your pool with time. Even though the local water service filters the metals, they only reduce them to acceptable drinking standards. They are majorly concerned with your health and not of your pool.

So, if you use their water to refill the pool two, three times, the amount of iron in your pool will increase to high concentrations.

Low pH level

One problem most pool owners assume until it’s too late is low pH. A low pH in a swimming pool turns the water acidic, causing the metal surfaces, mainly the piping and accessories, to corrode and deposit the metals in the water.

With time, the hand-rail around your pool stairs corrode, depositing the oxidized rusty iron on the steps causing the brown stains. It might not happen overnight, but it can happen gradually, and when you realize it, it’s too late.

How Do You Test for Iron in Pool Water?

In some cases, it may be necessary to perform the more extensive test on the fill water, depending on water district treatment procedures, to determine if iron is present.

It’s not easy to test for irons, incredibly inadequately tested, and balanced swimming pool water. Properly treated water oxidizes the irons changing their form.

It would be best to have a unique iron tester to know how many irons you have in your pool and the best move to remove them.

If you decide to use an iron testing kit or strips, you must add a unique solution to reveal the iron levels.

Compare the color of the water with that printed on the chart on the product package. It will help you decode the iron level in your pool water and take the necessary steps from there.

If you want to get a more accurate test for iron and other metals in your pool water before using it in your pool, you can take a sample to the nearest certified testing lab to test it for you.

How to Remove Brown Stains from Pool Stairs

When you see brown stains in your pool, the desire to swim disappears, and now the hopes of getting the nasty thing out of your pool water start growing on you.

Naturally, you’ll be looking for a solution to help you get back to your swimming as soon as possible.

And since you already know the root of the brown stains, the best solution would be to remove them once and for all.

The best way to remove the stains isn’t to brush vigorously. That won’t do it. The best method is to use a pool iron stain remover.

The product is specifically formulated to remove the iron stain and restore your pool stairs to their original beauty.

You can gently brush the stairs to give the cleaner some power and agitation to remove the iron stains.

How to Prevent Brown Stains in Your Pool

Now that you have returned your pool stairs to their original beauty, what can you do to prevent such a problem from happening again?

Use a Water Filter

Refilling your pool is inevitable. You will need to add some water at one time, maybe after a pool party or after a series of hot days where water evaporation reduced the water level.

Investing in a hose filter can help you filter out the water you use to refill your pool water, mainly if you use the well water. And the best part is, it’s inexpensive and easy to use.

Use of Metal Sequestrant

After reducing the metals with a hose filter, it’d be best to add a metal sequestrant while balancing your pool to remove any metals, including iron, that might have found a way to your pool.

The best part is, you won’t be removing iron only; you will also get rid of copper, manganese, silver, and other metal compounds that might affect your pool surfaces.

Draining Your Pool

If the iron levels in your pool water are too high and the stains are almost on all the pool surfaces, the best way to correct the problem is to drain the pool water.

It will give you a chance to add clean, soft water that’s easy to balance. You will also get the chance to clean the pool surfaces right. It might seem expensive and time-consuming, but it will be worth it in the long run.

When draining the water, find the best place to drain the water to; don’t flood one area. You can hire the city sewage disposal services to take the water or enquire about the nearest waste line.

Final verdict!

The cause of browning in your pool is probably high iron concentration. It could also be caused by brown algae, especially if you keep your pool balanced all the time. The best way to remove the stains is to use an iron stain remover or algae cleaner if you find the culprit to be brown algae. And to prevent this problem, you can use a water filter, metal sequestrant, or drain your pool. It’s that simple.

About the author

Sharif Miah

Hi! I'm Sharif, the founder of Globo Pool® and I have been working in the pool & hot tub industry for the last few years. I love to share my experiences with people & hope you are enjoying my information and lessons!

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