7 Corrosive Culprits around the Pool

Your pool could be under siege from silent killers that want nothing more than to slowly eat away at your pool’s surfaces and equipment.

I probably sound a bit dramatic, but to prolong your pool and pool equipment, it’s good to know about the various corrosive culprits to soft and shiny surfaces!

1. High Chlorine

in-the-swim-chlorine-sticksExcessively high levels of chlorine certainly kills harmful bacteria and other nasties in your pool water but it is especially harmful to your solar covers, pool liners, pool covers. Pretty much anything that is soft and flexible can fade or become brittle with high chlorine levels. So, when you have to shock the pool, take out the pool cleaner and pool floats, and leave the solar cover off for a few days.

2. Mulch

Mulch looks beautiful, but if it blows in or washes into the pool, it brings high levels of phosphates and nitrates, and other chemicals you don’t want in your pool. Secondly, mulch is very acidic and holds in moisture. Wood mulch around your pool pump or heater blocks air flow, and the acidic humidity is bad for steel equipment, electrical motors and circuit boards. Gravel or rubber mulch are better alternatives.

 3. Salt

Saltwater pools have many benefits, but salt can degrade soft stones used around swimming pools. Stonework used for coping, raised walls or pool decks should be sealed, and rinsed regularly to stop corrosion. Salt can also damage metal surfaces inside the pool with galvanic corrosion, and can lead to surface damage to steel items in the pool. Using a sacrificial Zinc Anode will prevent the issue.

4. Too Much Sun

Another destructive force on your pool is the very reason most of us own a pool in the first place: the sun! We all know that the sun’s UV rays are harmful to anything if exposed long enough and your pool, solar covers and pool equipment is no exception. Many pool items are made of plastics and there are few things the sun loves to fade and degrade more than vinyl and plastics.

5. Too Little Sun

The opposite of too much sun can be true as well! The sun has natural sanitizing properties, and is good for your pool water health, in fact did you know that the top few inches of pool water is more sanitary than deeper water? That’s due to the natural UV sanitation. Too little sun can also affect your perfect summer tan so many of us aspire to, but more importantly, it invites mold and mildew to dark and wet areas.

6. Leaves and Debris

Tannins and acids in tree and lawn debris can stain and damage pool surfaces and can throw pH or Alkalinity out of whack. They also bring phosphates and other undesirable micro-contaminants into the pool, which consumes sanitizer, and becomes food for algae. If your trees could use a trim, your water quality should go up, your workload should go down, and your tan should improve!

7. Low Pool Chemistry

in-the-swim-ph-increaserLast but certainly not least important, the granddaddy of all corrosive agents around swimming pools is acidic water chemistry. Low pH, low Alkalinity, and low Calcium Hardness, can all stain and damage plaster, tile, vinyl or fiberglass, steel, rubber, and can even destroy pool filters and heaters. It’s the first rule of pool club: Balance your water. You know the second rule of Pool Club? Balance your water.

Did we miss a sneaky corrosive pool culprit or do you have a story (or lesson!) you learned from managing this destructive forces? We’d love to hear from our pool community. Drop us a line at socialmedia@intheswim.com or leave a comment below!


Ryan Dornan
InTheSwim Staff Blogger




7 Corrosive Culprits around the Pool — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Ryan,
    We just installed an above ground saltwater pool and I have been reading about these zinc anodes that you referred to in your article. Can these be used in above ground pools also? I noticed there are a couple different kinds…One that can sit in a skimmer basket and one that is plumbed in. Is one more effective than the other? Is this something that my saltwater pool should have? Thank you!

    • Hi Melissa, these zinc anodes, or sacrificial anodes can be used in any pool, but their primary purpose is to protect metal in the pool, like stainless steel ladders, light rings, rails, etc – which can tarnish or become discolored in saltwater pools. If you don’t have any steel inside your abg pool, I guess you really don’t need an anode. I don’t think that one is more effective than the other, but actually have only used the ladder rail type of anode.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *