how to test for metals in pool water

How to Test for Metals in Pool Water the Right Way

by | May 12, 2023

Need help testing your pool water? Contact Classic Marcite today!

You may think your pool water is clean because it looks clear. However, this water contains debris, human waste, and chemical byproducts, which cause chemical imbalances and metal spikes. These negative factors can make swimming water off-colored and smelly, so here’s how to test for metals in pool water as a preventative measure. 

At Classic Marcite, we have installed over 100,000 resort-style pools on Orlando’s residential and commercial properties. Since 1988, our pool professionals have specialized in installing, resurfacing, and renovating pools. From learning about swimming pool oxidizers to proper pool water testing, you can trust us with your pool concerns at every turn.

What Metals Are in Your Pool Water?

Even if you filter the water from your pipes, trace amounts of gold, aluminum, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, and silver remain in pool water.

Unlike chemical imbalances like chloramine and combined chlorine spikes, these metals, even in high volumes, are not abrasive to the skin. However, you’ll want to eradicate them immediately since they contribute to aesthetically displeasing cloudy water and off-colored walls. But how do these metals get into your pool water?

Pool Metal Origins

Iron and copper originate from well water or metal and copper piping, especially as your piping system ages. That means your water already has these impurities before reaching your pool. An eroding copper heat exchanger and silver or copper pool algaecide also increase the amount of silver or copper ions, altering your pool chemistry. 

Other causes include:

  • Hair clips and other metal items falling into the water
  • Storms pushing lawn fertilizers high in heavy metals into the pool
  • Pool cast iron headers decomposing due to acidic water 

How to Test Pool Water for Metals

Learning how to test for metals in pool water is easy with clear manufacturer’s instructions on high-quality kits. Test strips are popular since you simply immerse a cup face-down into your pool’s center. Once you get to your elbow’s depth, turn the cup right-side up, pull it up, and dip the test strip into it. Match the colors that appear on the manufacturer’s chart. 

To get an accurate reading with a liquid reagent, clean the test container and take water from your pool as you would for the test strip. Then, mix the reagent into the water without touching the lid and contaminating the test, and check the color.

Other tests you can use include:

  • Chemical reaction test: Place a chlorine tablet or pool shock over stains. If it lightens, the stain is an organic matter like algae. If it doesn’t, it’s metallic.
  • Color test: Although dissolved metal particles aren’t visible, you can tell when there’s a metal spike. Copper and iron leave a rusty brown or green pool stain, silver blackens equipment, and manganese turns it purple.

Get Your Pool Pool-Party Ready!

Rather than rely solely on your pool filter for cleanliness, learn how to test for metals in pool water and reduce calcium hardness in pools. To keep your pool water clear and clean, contact Classic Marcite at (407) 521-6260 in Orlando, FL, today!

Now Serving Azalea Park

We’re excited to announce that Classic Marcite now extends its pool maintenance and renovation services to the Azalea Park area. Residents in Azalea Park can now rely on our expert team for efficient and professional pool care, including the crucial task of changing the sand in your pool filter. Trust us to keep your pool in pristine condition.

About Mike Folta
Mike Folta has served the clients of Classic Marcite for more than 15 years. He has 20+ years in the pool industry servicing large hotels and theme parks in the Greater Orlando area, as well as expertly turning backyard pools into an island oasis.