Help! My Pool Water Turned Brown

Help! My Pool Water Turned Brown

Brown water in your pool can be disturbing and rather alarming sight. Recently, a pool owner contacted us saying, “My pool water turned brown. Help!”

Let’s face it, maintaining your pool can be both time-consuming and annoying. This can be true for pool owners across the country. Still, if you are experiencing this, don’t fret. Sure, brown water is an uncommon occurrence, however, it can happen to any of our pools.

What causes brown water? Is it a chemical imbalance or just plain poor maintenance? Or, is it something already in the water that shouldn’t be there?

Let’s take a look.

Did You Test Your Chemical Levels?

Whenever you encounter any water issues with your pool, the first thing you should do is test your chemical levels. You can do this by taking a water sample to your local pool store or by performing an at-home water test yourself. If you are testing at home, make sure to test for chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, and CYA.

Most of your water issues can be solved by analyzing your water. However, getting these numbers won’t automatically explain why your water turned brown and it also won’t provide a clear solution. Your pool water turning brown is outside of your normal daily maintenance routine. Therefore, you might have to test deeper parameters.

If your water turns brown, we also recommend testing for metals, specifically iron and copper. These might require something more than your basic water test.

What Causes Your Pool Water To Turn Brown?

Luckily, there are only a few reasons why your pool water could have turned brown. Once you determine the cause, fixing the issue is straightforward. Before we get into the causes, we also want to stress the importance of treating the issue as soon as possible. Leaving your pool water brown for an extended period of time can lead to other unnecessary issues.

Shocking Your Pool

Did you recently shock or add chlorine to your pool? If so, this may be the culprit. Believe it or not, but shocking your pool can cause your water to turn brown. Ultimately, what this means is you have a high concentration of iron in your water.

If you already have high amounts of iron in your water and you shock your pool, the iron is oxidized and will turn your pool water a brown or rust color. If you don’t treat the iron in your water, it will continue to turn brown every time you add more chlorine.

Opening Your Pool With A Safety Cover

Opening your pool with a safety cover can cause your pool water to turn brown. This is especially true for mesh safety covers because although it allows water to pass through, debris and leaves sit on top of the water. Think of it as a tea bag effect. Tannins from the leaves are stripped and pass through the cover and end up in your water.

To resolve this, continuously run your pump and filter until your water clears. Most importantly, be sure to keep your free chlorine level well above zero as the impurities in the water will deplete your chlorine levels.

Treating Brown Water

Before you can treat your brown water, you first have to identify the source. There aren’t many things that cause brown water, so narrowing it down should be simple.

If iron is causing your pool water to turn brown, you need to identify where it is coming from. For most pools with this problem, it will simply be from a rural well water supply that has metals in it.

What many pool owners do not realize, though, is that metals can leach into your pool water from deteriorating equipment like pool heaters or metal fittings. If you have rusting or deteriorating metals in or around your pool, you should remove them immediately before treating the pool for metals.

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