What Is The Cheapest Way To Remove Iron From Well Water In 2022
Iron is an essential mineral for a healthy diet. But it may not be so good for our household.
Iron can be problematic even at low concentrations. Some side effects are brownish color water, metallic taste, rotten eggs smell, and stains.
You may think that you’re safe but iron is one of the most common contaminants people encounter in well water.
The first thing you should do is test your water to see exactly what types of contaminants you’re dealing it.
How does iron get into my well water?
Iron is one of the most abundant natural resources, about 5% of the earth’s crust is made out of it. No matter how careful you are iron will still find its way into well water.
Natural phenomena such as rainfalls and snow will dissolve iron and seep through the earth into groundwater which inserts iron into well water.
Rusty and corroded plumbing can also be the cause of iron entering into well water. Old iron fixtures and pipes will leave behind flecks of rust into the water and brownish stains.
The effects of iron in well water
Iron can have a bunch of negative effects on your household. These effects can happen even at a concentration as low as 3 ppm (parts per million).
Most of the time iron will not be present in high concentrations, but the fact that it can cause trouble at low levels is alarming.
Some negative effects are :
If iron gets exposed to water and oxygen then it will begin to oxidize and start to break down. When Iron debris will flow through pipes it will clog them and reduce water pressure throughout your household.
Bacterial iron is known to leave behind a trail of nasty brown slime which can be a home for other bacteria to grow.
In time this can reduce the performance of any appliances that use water and will also clog toilets and sinks. Also, showerhead pressure will start to drop leading to unsatisfying showers.
Bad tasting beverages and foods
Water containing iron will have an unpleasant metallic taste making it hard to drink. Also cooking with iron contaminated water can give vegetables and foods, in general, an unpleasant dark look and metallic taste.
Coffee, tea, and other beverages will also turn dark and have a really unpleasant taste.
Iron in well water will leave behind a trail of stains on your household appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Your clothes on the other hand will start to become discolored and have orange stains. And the same thing will apply to dishes.
It can also have negative effects on the human body too. Showering with well water that has high levels of iron can turn your hair lifeless and brittle, and you’ll also gain a new hair color: Orange.
Your skin won’t be happy either, you may encounter negative skin effects like acne, dried-out pores, and you may gain a reddish tint.
How to test well water for iron?
It is very important to know if you have iron inside your household water. But it is not enough to know if it’s present you need to know how much of it you have. Based on this information you can choose an efficient solution to remove it.
So how do you know if you have iron in water?
Look out for stains
Well, the first thing you should look out for is stains because iron will leave behind a trail of reddish-brown stains. Look carefully at your appliances and try to run the sink and if the water comes brown then iron is present. Ferric iron can be the cause of those issues.
Also, you can pour a glass of water and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes or so. Even small quantities of iron can give the water a nasty brownish color. If the color appears only after the water had settled then you most likely have ferrous iron.
Using a test kit you can measure the iron levels of your household water comfortably at home. Test kits can be bought online and can be found at your local home improvement store.
However, they don’t come without limitations, testing kits can only detect usually up to 5ppm iron. Also, they won’t tell you what type of iron is present in your well water and will only work for soluble iron (ferrous iron).
Most iron test kits will come with a color chart and a dripping strip. Generally, you only need to put the dripping strip inside a glass of water and leave it for the recommended time.
After the time has passed you need to remove the strip and compare it to the color chart in order to see the hardness of iron.
Laboratory testing kits
This is the best option if you want to know for sure all the types of iron that are present inside well water.
A lab test can detect all kinds of iron including bacterial, ferrous, ferric, and organic iron. By doing this you can find out the exact hardness of iron inside water, thus helping you make a better choice for removal.
For this kind of test, you need to send water inside a vial send by the lab which they’ll return to you when it’s ready and give you a report.
What is the best filter to remove iron from well water?
It is very important to test your well water in order to see exactly what iron hardness it has. By knowing this you can make a more efficient choice for your household.
There are three types of iron that can be found in well water ferric, ferrous and bacterial iron.
Now for each type of iron, you’ll need a different filter in some cases it is recommended to combine them.
If you’re looking for more information about filters to remove iron from well water check my previous blog post. I have listed the best iron filters for well water and written reviews about them.
How to remove Ferric Iron from well water?
Sediment Filters are a great way to remove ferric iron from well water but make sure the filter is sub-micron rated. These filters work by allowing water to flow freely through them while restricting solid particles from getting inside your household plumbing.
They can also offer protection against debris, cloudiness, and dirt from polluting house water.
It is good to know that a sediment filter will work only for low levels of ferric iron. If your well water has ferrous iron which can lead to metallic taste and stains then a filter alone will not solve your problem.
How to remove Ferrous Iron from well water?
This is the type of iron that is dissolved in water meaning it cannot be seen. It may not be seen but it will have negative effects on your household.
It will primarily affect the taste of water and will leave stains behind. Also, it can create bad odors coming from water.
Ferrous iron is mostly found in deep wells where there is less exposure to atmospheric conditions, thus it has not been yet oxidized.
However, when ferrous iron comes in contact with oxygen it will start to oxidize and the water will turn reddish-brown.
Water Softeners are a great way to remove low levels of ferrous iron from well water. Normally a water softener is used to treat hard water through the ion exchange process. Conveniently this process can also remove iron.
A water softener will exchange sodium ions for positively-charged mineral ions. Iron is also a positively charged cation meaning it will be attracted to the anion resin beads and exchanged for mineral ions.
On the other side, it cannot filter ferric iron so it is wise to use a sediment pre-filter to stop the softener from getting clogged with iron.
Also, keep in mind that a water softener can remove iron more efficiently from hard water. There needs to be a good ratio of water hardness and iron for the ion exchange process to remove iron from your water.
If you don’t have hard water an oxidizing filter is more suitable.
Manganese greensand is a powerful solution that can remove up to 15 ppm of iron from water.
One of the most efficient ways to combat ferrous iron is to convert it into ferric iron and then remove it from water. Manganese greensand can help with that since is a potent oxidizer.
When manganese and iron come in contact with it they are oxidized and turned from their dissolved state to solid form. Then the ferric iron gets removed by the manganese greensand and stops it from flowing into your household.
However, in time the media will get exhausted and will need to be back-washed by a powder called potassium permanganate. This powder will flush the stored iron flecks down the drain and restore the manganese green media oxidizing capacity.
Make sure you don’t exaggerate with this powder since like any powerful solution it can cause harm to the skin and eyes.
KDF is a very popular media that is commonly used to remove metals like iron, hydrogen sulfide, iron, chlorine, and more.
The KDF is unique high purity copper-zinc media that creates an electro-chemical reaction. In the process of this reaction, electrons are transferred between molecules allowing new molecules to be created.
What this means is that contaminants like iron are replaced with harmless components.
A KDF filter can convert ferrous iron into insoluble iron and remove it from the water before reaching your household supply.
Also, free chlorine is transformed into water-soluble chloride which can flow without contaminating the water. Other heavy metals like copper, mercury, and lead are removed simply by coming in contact with the KDF media.
How to remove bacterial Iron from well water?
Bacterial iron can be one of the most troublesome forms of iron that you can encounter in your well water. It will appear as a nasty red sludge and will cause problems if it gets into the water supply.
You will encounter this form of iron when bacteria have formed a bond with the iron. Most of the time this is caused by poor maintenance and improper servicing of the well.
So how do you remove it from your water?
You can remove bacterial iron from well water by adding an intense chlorine concentration of about 200 ppm to the water.
Chlorine is known to be used as a disinfectant. It can also remove microbes, fungi, viruses, parasites, algae, mold that usually grow inside the well water components.
It is recommended to shock-chlorinate at least 2-3 times per year if you encountered bacteria. And if you’re not using a continuous chemical-injection system or chlorinator.
Without a constant injection of disinfectant, bacteria can appear again and will cause problems.
Types of iron in well water
Ferric iron is insoluble you can see it in the water. When iron comes in contact with oxygen it oxidizes and forms rust turning the water brown. If your sink water comes out brownish then it means that it contains ferric iron.
But luckily it can be filtered using water filter systems.
Ferrous iron you can’t see this type of iron because it dissolves in the water. It is a common encounter with deeper well water. It may not be seen in the water but it still has a negative impact on it.
Organic iron is generally encountered in shallow well water and surface water. It is clear in water and it will give it a yellow or even brown color. This type of iron is resistant to oxidation meaning it requires special treatment.
Iron Bacteria are tiny living microorganisms that naturally occur in water and soil. They combine manganese and iron with oxygen creating rust and slimy build-up. Also what’s inconvenient is that they will make conditions for other bacteria to grow. How can you detect it? Well, the two main factors that can determine that are bad odors and slimy build-up.
How do you remove iron from well water cheaply?
Activated charcoal is an easy and cheap way to remove iron from well well water. A study was conducted to analyze its effectiveness at removing iron. And the results show that activated carbon is very efficient to get rid of iron below 0.3 ppm.
What’s special about activated charcoal is its ability to filter iron from water but without removing the benefic salts and minerals.
You can find an activated charcoal filter at your local store it is inexpensive.
If you want to save even more you can do it yourself by crushing charcoal and placing it tightly in a cloth. Then let water flow through that cloth, it can be a slow process but it works.
This method can be used only for small amounts of water it’s especially useful for travel.
If you wish to filter large amounts consider a water filter system.
Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to the water in order to remove bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
Chlorine and chloramine are often used to disinfect water in public water systems.
You may want to check if your water is already disinfected with chlorine, before trying this method.
To remove iron it is more recommended to use chlorine dioxide though you may think they are the same, in reality, they are quite different.
Chlorine dioxide reacts faster with the soluble form of iron to create particles of it that can be further removed through filtration and sedimentation.
Sedimentation is the process of leaving water to sit so the impurities will fall at bottom of it. This method is not new it has been used for a long time in the past, but it still works even today.
You can fill water buckets or even a tank and leave for a few hours to sit for better filtration. The longer you leave it the better the filtration will be.
However removing iron is not that easy to remove, you’ll have to use at least a sedimentation filter capable of removing iron.
The good news is that a sediment filter for iron is inexpensive and can be found at your local home improvement store.
What the filter will do is block the way for iron and send only clean water out. This only works for small amounts since in time the filter will get clogged and need to be replaced.
Cheapest Way To Remove Iron From Well Water – Frequently Asked Questions?
How to remove iron from well water naturally?
In order to remove iron, you’ll need to use some form of a filtration process you can’t remove iron naturally.
How to remove iron from well water without a water softener?
Water softeners are not usually used to remove iron they are meant to get rid of hard water. However, the process that is used in a water softener can remove small amounts of iron.
It is more efficient to use a whole house water filter or a professional system but it will not be cheap.
What is the best filter to remove iron from well water?
The best way to remove iron from well water is with a professional system like the FlexxInFusion. This type of system can remove high amounts of iron and other types of contaminants. For more details check out this post about iron filters for well water.