How to Remove Copper From Swimming Pool Water

If you have a swimming pool, the first thing to know is that copper will inevitably find its way into the water.

While the water can handle a certain amount, you want to avoid situations where it dissolves because too much of it can cause stains. So, here’s how to remove copper from swimming pool water – get rid of it!

how to remove copper from swimming pool water

The Importance of Lowering Swimming Pool Copper

The best-case scenario is to not have any copper at all in your pool water. Because it is capable of messing with the pH balance, calcium levels and alkalinity. This leads to oxidation of the copper in the water and that, in turn, leads to a whole new set of problems.

For starters, when the pool hits its saturation with copper, it makes the water cloudy because it will be floating in the water.

That happens at about 0.2 to 0.4 parts per million. This will float away towards the solid surface and cause stains on the walls of your pool.

There’s more. If you swim in a pool filled with copper, you will notice that your hair starts to turn some shade of green because it gets plated with the metal.

Excess copper also messes with the calcium hardness in the pool water. This leads to what is called fading endpoint.

You know this is happening when the water turns purple. You will have to do some not-so-easy water tests on a sample to figure out a solution.

How Did Copper Even Get into My Pool?

There are so many ways for this to happen. Unfortunately, your source of water is also a possibility. That’s why we said it’s inevitable in the introduction. There are also several algaecides that can do the same.

If your pool’s pH value is low, that can corrode the copper surfaces in the pool and release the metal into the water. And finally, if you add harsh chemicals, you are inviting this situation.

So How to Add Chemicals to the Pool?

Fighting algae is not optional. But if algaecides contain copper, what to do? For one, you can’t avoid them, so keep a measure of the copper levels. Start by following instructions from the algaecide manufacturer to the tee.

A week after this, test the copper levels. If the levels are higher than 0.5 ppm, you need to add a sequestering agent. It basically vacuums your pool and gets rid of the copper. Check the copper levels after 24 hours.

How to Use A Sequestering or Chelating Agent

You know there are dissolved metals in your pool water when you see that the water is getting a bit cloudy and not sparkling as it should be. Once you know there’s copper in the pool, here’s how to proceed.

Check the pH and chlorine levels. Also, check calcium hardness and alkalinity of the pool water. Make sure all the values are balanced. That is because the sequestering agent works best when the pool water is balanced.

Now, do a test on a sample and verify that it is indeed copper in the pool. If the value is 0.2 ppm on an ionizer, things are fine.

Otherwise, get a sequestering agent and add it to the pool according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some need you to dilute it. So, double-check that.

Come back after 24 hours and do another test. Check your pH, chlorine, calcium hardness and alkalinity levels too. Balance the water using the right amount of chlorine to avoid corrosion in the future.

And when the water is balanced, you will also know right away if the copper levels are getting out of control and you will be able to avoid disasters like staining. No one wants to get into a stained pool.

Other Things to Know

  1. It is very tough to find algaecides that are not copper based. So, stop putting your research energy there. Instead, get a sequestering or chelating agent while you are getting your algaecides.
  2. Do not add the sequestering agent before seven days of using the algaecide because the latter will still be hard at work.
  3. If you see that the water is corrosive constantly, don’t wait to do a copper test. It is more than likely that the water has copper.
  4. Do one copper test at the beginning and one at the end of summer. It is also a good idea to do a couple of them mid-season.
  5. If you see that your pool is stained but the copper test shows normal levels, that means the metal has already made its way to the walls of the pool.

Wrapping Up

Ideally, you must keep copper levels in the pool at zero. If you don’t, you will end up with green hair and fingernails. And, of course, there is damage to the surface of the pool. That is not just an inconvenience but an expensive repair project.

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years experience in pool care, plant care and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!