Iron is a natural mineral found in earth crust and it is important for the growth and healthy development of the body. But if you start consuming it daily in your daily water it will become worse than beneficial because it makes your skin dry and higher risk of getting bacterial infections and over a period it accumulates in your internal organs and damages them.
As well, water is the most basic and common source of water for every household. But keep in mind, when rain water falls on the ground and passes through the earth crust it seeps the minerals and contaminants into it. And then naturally groundwater will have a higher concentration of iron in your well water. So you need to remove the iron from your well water.
Today, in this article I am going to give you all details related to iron in well water including the cheapest ways to remove it. Hope, you find this effort beneficial for you.
Why Is Removing High Concentration of Iron From Well Water Necessary??
Removing high concentrations of iron from well water is very necessary because it has several dangerous effects. Let me tell them to you.
1. Health and Skin Effects
Both ferrous and ferric iron affects the ability of water to produce lather and as a result soap leaves behind a scum on the body which leads to severe dryness and your skin becoming victim to infections. Same is the case with shampoo while taking shower, your hair strand becomes horn to break and they get dry. High concentration of iron in drinking water is also chaotic because you get a higher risk of skin bacterial infection such as abscesses and cellulitis.
2. Iron Toxicity
If you keep drinking water with higher concentration of iron it will last as toxicity in your body. According to a study, if you consume as little as 10 to 20 milligrams of iron per kg of body weight it will cause vomiting, nausea, pain in stomach, constipation, and also affect the intestine, liver, brain and other internal organs due to accumulation.
So you need to be aware of the insignificant amount of iron in water. And opt a method to treat your water.
3. Plumbing Problems
Iron not only affects the health but also plumbing of your home. Ferric iron causes tough staining which is difficult to remove. Ferrous iron is not a big deal until it oxidizes because it also leaves stains that are unsightly and become difficult to remove. Bacterial irons are formed with a combination of iron and bacteria and together they form nasty slimy matter which floats on top of water. Ultimately this iron causes the blockage and is difficult to get rid of. This type of iron is expensive to get fixed.
4. Staining on Appliances
Iron has the ability to leave tinted, rusty and brown stains. Not only plumbing, but also every area or thing that comes in contact with your well water that may have high concentration of iron in it will get stained.
Your showering area, bath-tubs, laundry, sinks, toilet bowls, draining surrounding, and dishes will get discolored over time and stains that are very tough to get rid of.
5. Unpleasant Taste and Odor
Access to pure, crystal free and crisp tasting drinking water is every one’s first priority. But if you have high concentration of iron in your drinking water, it smells unpleasant and tastes bad as metallic which makes you less inclined to drink and ultimately your body will be dehydrated.
So it’s unlikely to enjoy pure, clean and tasty drinking water if you have a high concentration of iron in it.
Diagnosing either Your Water Has Iron or Not – Water Testing
Typically brown staining from water can be caused by a couple of different things: iron or could be tannins. Now you need to make sure what’s causing that staining in your water, so the best way to do that is to have the water tested. You can also send the water out to a lab and have that lab test for the iron content in your water.
But beside that there’s also a couple of simple tests that you can do at home.
Water Testing at Home:
- So the first step is fairly simple: just grab a white Styrofoam cup.
- Let the cold water run at your kitchen faucet and fill the cup about three quarters full. Have a look at it to see if there is any color to the water.
- If there is it might be iron or it might be tannins but if there’s no color to the water just set it aside for an hour or two hours.
- After two hours, have a look at again if it now has color in the water that color is being caused by iron and your water supply definitely has iron.
Second Test – Rust Out:
So if your water in the first test came out of the faucet with color right away then you need to move on to the second test which involves,
- Take two styrofoam cups so you’re gonna fill both of them about three quarters full with your water.
- Now take rust out (this product can be of different brands and available on local hardware stores. I’ll put a link down below where you can order this).
- Add a teaspoon of rust out into one of these cups and stir it up.
- Let it sit for a couple of minutes until it clears and then if it clears if it removes all of the color from your water then that tells you that you have iron in your water.
Note: You need to use two cups for this test because you’re just doing a comparison before and after the iron removal chemical to just to make sure that there really is a difference. if after you use the rust out and it hasn’t taken the color out of the water then you’ve got tannins in your water that color is not being caused by iron.
Now, before knowing the methods for removing iron from your water it’s important to know the type of irons to know which one you have in your water. So you can choose an appropriate method for removing it.
Types of Iron:
There are three kinds of iron that we typically deal with from well water.
1. Ferrous Iron or Clear Water Iron
When the water flowing out of your faucet has no color then it may be ferrous iron and you can confirm it by testing. As you saw when you add water in the white cup and when you let it sit. It turns color because the air oxidizes the iron out of the water.
2. Ferric Iron
It is iron that’s been partially oxidized out of the water so as the water comes out of your faucet it has that rusty color but when you use that rust out chemical in it it totally takes all the color away.
3. Bacterial Iron
Bacterial iron produces a slime at the water line so you can see that in your toilet and also in the water line, when you remove the lid off the tank at the back you’ll see a slime floating on top of the water.
Ways to Remove Iron From Well Water
Alright so after knowing that you have iron in your well water so how do we get rid of it for your family? There’s a number of different ways. In this article, I’ll go through each method from the least costly or the cheapest up to the most expensive but along the way I’ll explain the pros and cons of each one. So at the end you’ll be able to make the best choice for your family.
1. Water Sedimentation or Sediment Filter
A simple sediment filter is the one of the best and cheap methods to remove iron from your well water. You can also use any sort of storage tank like vessels, buckets, and pots.
For this method, you just have to pass through the water from the sediment filter and water will flow freely through them while removing the iron and particles from water. A sediment filter of smaller micron is required for better removal of iron.
You can also fill the water into a storage tank or vessel and let the particles sit at the bottom. Then without stirring and disturbing settled particles, pour the filtered water out of the vessel into a separate tank.
Here is a good choice of sediment filter which is cost effective and its fairly large 20 inch big blue which make it ideal for heavy duty. If you have a small cottage or cabin with very little water usage, maybe one or two people, you can also consider buying a smaller 10 inch slim line size.
Note: Water sedimentation using vessels and storage tanks may add back the water contaminants into the water so you have to repeat the process again and again but as sediment filters are effective but you need to replace them at least after 3 months for better results because they get rusty and clogged after removing iron from your water.
2. Activated Charcoal Filters
Activated charcoal filter is also a very inexpensive method to remove iron and bad particles from your water but this filter is only effective for a small amount of water which makes it ideal for carrying when traveling.
You can buy activated charcoal filters at local hardware stores and online. You can also make these filters at home by just crushing your charcoal and place it inside the container made from dense material.
For this method, simply cover the activated charcoal with a clean piece of cloth and allow the water to flow through the filter. This will give you access to clean drinking water by removing iron from well water.
Removing Ferrous Iron from well water
3. Water Softeners
Water softeners are generally not recommended for removing iron from water but their efficiency for removing ferrous iron from water is a bonus factor. It have two tanks: a resin tank and a brine tank. In a brine tank, exchange of ions takes place and they swap the iron like magnesium and calcium with Sodium ions by using brine solution.
Also, calcium and magnesium ions are positively charged and they get attracted to the resin in the main tank. In this way, water softeners eliminate iron from your drinking water.
Most water softeners can remove iron upto 1 PPM but some are designed to eliminate high levels of iron from 6-8PPM.
Note: If your water has excess iron then you need to install a dedicated filter in your water softener or sediment filter for first filtering ferric iron from water otherwise your water softener will be at risk of getting blockage due to iron sludge.
4. Air Injection Oxidation + Filter
One of the best and efficient methods to remove iron from well water upto greater extent is an air injection oxidation with filtration system but this method is a bit expensive. They are highly effective in that they can remove iron upto 15 PPM.
This unit consists of a tank with bubble air at the top of the media at the bottom. When water flows through the air bubble dissolved iron gets oxidized into a solid matter and it gets trapped in the media bed. And when the media bed becomes saturated with contaminants it will get flushed when the system generates a backwash cycle.
The plus point about air injection oxidation filtration systems is that they not only remove iron from your drinking water but also Sulphur and manganese that can affect the taste and odor of your drinking water.
Removing Bacterial Iron from well water
5. Oxidizing Method – Ozone and Hydrogen Peroxide
The ozone method basically involves the injecting of ozone or hydrogen peroxide into the water for oxidizing iron in your water supply and then flushing it out.
This method is an alternative to air injection oxidation but it is more expensive because ozone generators do not last long and also it is not compatible with plastic valves so you need to replace them much sooner which costs you more. This method will work better on iron bacteria.
6. Chemical Method – Chlorination
Chemical feed methods involve the use of oxidation to increase redox water potential. So there are a number of applications of this method for removing iron from water.
One of the most common is injecting chlorine( which acts as an oxidizing chemical) into the water. After giving it contact time it accumulates oxidized stuff into the water that can be removed after. Then also remove most of the chlorine from water.
I don’t like this method because they are expensive, require greater space and also require high maintenance. But if you have iron bacteria in your home water then this is the way to eliminate it.
I expect after reading the above mentioned methods for the removal of iron from your well water, now you can confidently deal with any type of iron but first you need to make a visual assessment or test to know which type of iron is in your water in harmful concentration. If you want to enjoy pure, healthy and fresh drinking water then choose any appropriate and suitable method to treat your well water. Because, clean and healthy drinking water is everyone’s right and there is no substitute for it.