Corrosive conditions can exist in a swimming pool, when the pH is maintained too low and is made worse, if the total alkalinity and calcium hardness are too low, as well. Photo Courtesy of TMR Consulting. Metals tend to have a slightly colder surface temperature than other surfaces like concrete and wood. The indoor air quality environment is not just about heat and humidity, it is also very much about the corrosivity of chloramines and other airborne DBPs. This should prove to you that stainless steel is able to handle water exposure. stainless steel bolt was broken due to environmental cracking. But in extreme environments, such as indoor swimming pools, the effects can be extreme and potentially dangerous. Related: Dehumidification Problems in Natatoriums. from marine suppliers only. 7 pH is perfectly neutral, which means 6 pH is 10x more acidic than 7, and 5 is 100x more acidic than 7 (because its 10x10). Corrosion to stainless steel normally occurs when chlorine or chlorides are present, and nitrogen trichloride (aka trichloramine, NCl3) definitely fits that bill. This is largely due to the high amounts of moisture in the air, which condenses on metals. The term "stainless" implies a resistance to staining, rusting and pitting. Something as simple as screws or bolts will corrode and crack. Think of the pump room, which holds expensive equipment like UV systems, which are often stainless steel. Worldwide there have been many incidents, and several accidents, with cracking stainless steels in the swimming pool atmosphere. If you can use deck mount rails as they do not go into the water. It's not that the bolts themselves are expensive, but the labor and time required to replace them costs money. There are too many corrosion photos to show, so we will create an image gallery and link to it in the near future. It’s inferior grade stainless steel and there is a lot more of it appearing in pools as manufacturers try to cut corners or move manufacture to locations that care less about standards and quality. Stainless steel pools are ideal for large swimming pool construction projects. In most aquatic environments, stainless steel will not rust or stain, even after many years of service. Also from the same source cited above: Ferric oxide doesn’t form a continuous layer on the steel because the oxide molecule has a larger volume than the underlying iron atoms, and eventually spalls off leaving fresh steel exposed which then starts a deleterious rusting cycle. We respect your privacy and will never share your details. If you have a saltwater pool it will happen a lot faster. Figures 1, 2 and 3: Stainless steel swimming pool slide and water feature. What does the manufacturer or the pool shop say? Stainless steel depends for its corrosion resistance on the very thin chromium oxide layer formed on its surface when Chromium is present at 10.5% or above; this is known as the passive layer and the underlying metal is not corrosion resistant. Common stainless steel alloys in tension are subject to SCC due to water vapor from a pool. If you have a Pooled Energy pool, you do not need to manage the water chemistry either as this is done automatically for you, with less than half the chemicals and healthier, more reliable and spectacular quality water. That ladder would have eventually rusted in any pool, accelerated by salt content or not. When the rails do rust at the waterline they can be cleaned up with some wet and dry sandpaper. By comparison, a typical stainless screw from a hardware supplier, is usually a 304 Grade and this will eventually dissolve in the ocean and rust in the mild environment of a pool. They say it’s the water chemistry, right? Wrong! It was so low that the concrete around the unit was etched and the aggregate was exposed. I have had a 316 stainless steel trim around my pool for 28 years and it has not corroded. Recirculating chloramines is like chain smoking corrosive air. According to this source, chromium is what makes stainless steel resistant to corrosion and rust: When stainless steel is exposed to oxygen, chromium oxide is created on the surface of the steel because chromium has a very strong affinity for oxygen. If you have the right quality of stainless, you do not need to worry about it. S.R. Cleaning stainless steel is mandatory, but do so only with stainless-steel friendly solvents and cleaners. Here's a chart showing pH and some common pool chemicals: If you look all the way on the left side of this chart, you will see muriatic acid is below 1.0 pH. Indoor pool equipment is very often corroded by chloramines and moisture. By and large, the best ways to mitigate and prevent rust around swimming pools is to have a properly- sized pool dehumidification system with well-designed airflow, and a source-capture exhaust system like the Paddock Evacuator® to efficiently remove the highest concentration of airborne chemicals in the room. Roofs and structural steel is vulnerable too, though not as often as steel that is low in the natatorium. Because airborne chloramines are heavier than oxygen, and they stay low in the room. Stainless steel can in fact rust and corrode if continuously exposed over time. In order for rust to form, another element, such as dirt or bleach, has to be … If you have rusting on a weld, it is probably the wrong sort of weld with dissimilar metals or else it is porous and poor quality. If you buy a stainless steel screw from a marine supplier, it will not rust for many years in the far harsher environment of a boat on the harbour as compared with any swimming pool. Clean frequently with a cleaner and water. Corrosion is so bad in indoor pools because pools are not traditionally built to remove the chemical byproducts in the air. Stainless steel, despite being reinforced with chromium, still gets destroyed rapidly in a natatorium. The second factor is the high chemical content in the air; in particular, chlorine byproducts like chloramines, chloroform, and many other DBPs. Too acid or too alkaline or some costly chemical component they can sell you is missing. All steels can rust or stain depending on what chemicals they come in contact with. Stainless steel generally has a higher resistance to the effects of exposure but will still be affected by the elements. Although stainless steel is widely known for resisting corrosion, it isn’t completely impervious to corrosion. Get your screws and bolts etc. 316 remains stainless in anything that you can possibly swim in, as well as in the ocean, and when immersed in some very strong chemicals. The stainless steel grades used in swim pool rails and ladders are fairly impervious to swimming pool water that is in balance. In this article, we are specifically talking about indoor swimming pool environments and why they destroy metals. Stainless steel jewelry is one of few types of jewelry that are, in fact fit for the swimming pool. You may have noticed your swimming pool handrails or ladders corroding or rusting. We do not know the exact pH of natatorium condensation, but we have tested condensation before. When airborne chloramines condense, the pH of the condensation is quite low, which drives much of the corrosion in and of itself. - Alex Wensley, PSI. What do you think that air does to our lungs? At the moment, there are over 150 varieties of stainless steel in the market. 2 Figure 4: This chrome plated carbon steel reel for holding lane markers has only been in use for a few years but there has already been substantial corrosion under the plating. 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