Thursday, April 30, 2009

 

Pool Stains

Stains on your pool plaster can greatly reduce the aesthetic of your pool. There are several chemicals available that claim to rid your pool of stains, however we find that these are generally used to prevent stains, especially in areas with high concentrations of metal in the water.

Here are a couple of links to products that are designed for stains.

http://www.intheswim.com/Pool-Chemicals/Pool-Stain-Removal-and-Stain-Prevention-Chemicals/The-Sapphire-Stuff-by-Jacks-Magic/

http://www.saveonpoolsupplies.com/shopping/product.aspx?productid=56&e5=Y&e6=swimming_stain&pp=Y&keyword=swimming_stain


Sequestering agents and or “stain out” are very commonly used right after the initial plaster job to aid in the balancing of the pool and protect the shell against staining.

These products are pretty pricey, as you can see these products can run from $15-$30 for 1 qt as a result they are mainly used when the pool is initially installed or plastered.

The prices for these products online are usually pretty competitive and sometimes better then retail and can be purchased and administered per the directions on the bottle. These chemicals can be purchased and administered, however in my experience I haven’t found them to do much once there is a stain. Once staining occurs the most effective solution in my experience is to perform an acid wash. You can spend all the money you like on a barrage of chemicals with no guarantee as to whether they will achieve the desired result. Over time you will inevitably need to acid wash and replaster due to the nature of chemicals coming into contact with pool equipment and plaster, and each pool is different with respect to this issue.

Here is a little more information on the above:

Sequestering agents. A sequestering agent is a chemical that combines with metal ions to help keep them in solution and prevent them from falling on the pool’s surface and leaving a stain, according to NSPI.
These products, which can also be used to control scale buildup, are used mostly for prevention. They won’t remove old, existing stains (that’s a job for a dedicated stain remover), but they will work on potential stains and keep them from becoming visible.
Source water can sometimes be rife with metals, so the use of a preventive sequestering agent is critical, say service professionals.
“In some of our rural areas, our customers have well water with naturally occurring metals,” says Suzanne Heim, marketing director at Classic Pool & Spa, a retailing/service company in Gladstone, Ore. “So we have to do a lot of metal control.”
Eastergard notes that metals often are a problem even if they’re not in the source water. For example, iron can find its way into a pool if there is a notable amount of construction in the area or if old pipes are being dug up for renovation. He points out that a sequestering agent will keep the staining at bay, which is important because iron can wreak havoc on a pool’s surface when certain chemicals are added to the water.
“If you get iron in your water and then shock it, it will turn the steps yellow-brown,” Eastergard says. “Then the customer thinks they’re dirty and you’re not cleaning the pool. This stuff just plates onto the shell material, and it can plate onto the plastic fittings.”

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

 

What To Know About Plaster / How to Prevent Staining

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PLASTER:

Plaster has a porous surface, which makes it susceptible to staining, bacteria growth and breakdown by the chemicals you add. Because plaster constantly reacts to water and chemicals, plaster pools "use" more chemicals to maintain a balanced water chemistry. You can expect a new plaster surface to give you 7 to 10 years of good service with proper care.

Plaster has shading variations, known as mottling, and distinct from surface stains and deposits, mottling may appear as grayish hued areas. Rarely do I see a plaster job that is white like milk. They're usually white like clouds. Being a natural product, mottling is inherent in any plaster job and should not be considered a defect. There has been much research on the subject in recent years, however no consensus has been reached on the causes and cure of mottling.



PLASTER STAINING AND HOW TO AVOID:

Want to increase the life of your plaster? Barring problems in the mixing, application and curing processes, the pool owner, or service company controls its condition and life span. Keeping your water chemistry in balance and most importantly, preventing corrosive water environments of low pH and low alkalinity will reduce wear and tear.

1. Most stains are caused by heavy metal minerals coming out of solution and depositing themselves on the nearest structure they find. They may also remain suspended in water, providing dramatic new color schemes. Below is a list of common metals found in pools, where they came from, and their identifying colors

COLOR OF STAINS AND WHAT COULD BE CAUSING THEM:

White, Crystals or Precipitate - Metal: Calcium - Source: Plaster, Grout Mortar

Red, Blue, Gray or Black - Metal: Cobalt - Source: Fiberglass Shells

Blue, Green and Blue-Green - Metal: Copper - Source: Copper Algaecidies, Ionizers, Corrossion of copper and brass pipes, fittings and heaters.

Dark Red, Brown, Black, Grey or Green - Metal: Iron - Source: Well water, corrossion of iron pipe and fittings

Pink, Red or Black - Metal: Manganese - Source: Well Water

2. If any of the above causes apply to you, your pool should be using a sequestering agent which aids your water balance in preventing the metal from dropping out of solution and staining underwater surfaces. Most stains left by precipitated metals can be removed by one form or another.

3. Metallic salts cause scale. These salts are primarily forms of calcium and magnesium which can deposit on your plaster, pipes and equipment. They may arise from the use of calcium based sanitizers or the fill water may have high calcium hardness levels.

4. Keep your calcium hardness levels between 200-400 ppm. A level that is above this may find it easy to precipitate out of solution. This is known as a scaling condition. Conversely, water with low levels of hardness will produce an aggressive condition. In aggressive conditions (soft water), the water will take the calcium it wants directly out of your plaster, resulting in plaster breakdown and bond failure.

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