16 September 2016
How does metal interact with the pool environment?
Metal pool finishes are all the rage. In the past, we’ve looked at stainless steel finishes as an attractive finish option that do take less time to install than using conventional pool building materials and require minimal maintenance. What about metalwork in general, though? How does metal – both in and out of the water – interact with the swimming pool environment?
In order to understand how the pool environment could affect any metalwork you might wish to have installed, it’s important to first understand the relationship between metal and pool water.
Metals in the pool and water chemistry
The chemistry of your pool water remains the most important factor when it comes to water health and pool lifespan, and nowhere is this truer than when it comes to metal.
Copper is one of the most frequently used elements in swimming pool plumbing and equipment, and this fact means that metal is always present in some form within the pool – whether you have a metal finish or not.
When chemical changes within the pool water occur, it can lead to metals such as iron and copper breaking off from your pool equipment or plumbing (such as in copper heat coils) and oxidising in the water. The same goes for old or corroded pool equipment, although most pump equipment today is plastic and means that water will not usually come into direct contact with metal.
Changing pH levels or adding chlorine to the pool can therefore result in metal ‘stains’ or colour changes to the water (copper tends to turn the water green; iron, brown.) This can be remedied through shock treatment of the pool or by adding a ‘metal out’ agent to the water regularly.
Metalwork and the pool environment
We’ve established that chemical changes to pool water can lead to metals dissolving in the water, and the same principle applies when it comes to metalwork in and around the pool. Stainless steel is not only used for pool liners—its anti-corrosive properties make it the ideal material for metalwork in and around the pool.
One of the key threats to metal from the pool environment comes from water evaporation. This is because water is not the only thing that evaporates—the chemicals in the pool water evaporate too. High water temperatures and high levels of humidity are the two main culprits, as they can lead to condensation in cooler parts of the pool room. Extremely low levels of humidity similarly lead to a risk of stress corrosion. Recirculating the air – a common cost cutting measure – can also exacerbate these issues.
As with a pool finish, regular cleaning with fresh water can reduce the amount of metal staining in the pool environment. Covering metal features with a protective coating agent can further reduce the risk of staining, rust, and corrosion.
Managing temperature, humidity, maintenance and cleaning routines in and around your pool are ultimately the most important steps towards protecting your luxury pool.
Photo by Mattias Malpricht