How to Remove Iron from Water

Woman frowning at waterWhile iron in our blood is very beneficial and useful in transporting oxygen, iron in well water can stain appliances, clothing, bathtubs and even toilet bowls. To remove iron from water you need to install an iron water filter, and in most cases, it makes sense to go with a whole house iron water filter. The first step is to determine how much iron is in your water and that will affect your choice of iron water filter. It is also important to know that iron in water appears in two ways. Ferric iron (Fe + + + insoluble in water), commonly called rust, can be filtered out with mechanical water filters. The other form of iron in water is called ferrous iron, (Fe + + soluble in water) which can cause a noticeable metallic taste in your drinking water, and the staining as mentioned above. In order to remove ferrous iron, you need to use special iron water filters. The next step in removing iron from your water is to determine the type of iron in the water, and how much iron needs to be removed.

A whole house water filter system that is designed for iron removal is the best way to remove ferrous iron from water. The water filter you choose will depend on the level of iron you need to remove. For some homes, a Clearwater Systems whole-house water softener can handle iron removal. However, when iron levels are elevated (usually above 0.3 mg/liter), an additional Clearwater Systems iron water filter may be necessary.

Why is Iron Present in Your Water?

Underground, where water is not exposed to oxygen, it is common to find large concentrations of iron deposits in the ferrous state. Even though the water containing this ferrous iron appears perfectly clear and colorless, when it is exposed to the air, oxygen converts it to the ferric state. This ferric iron often reacts with water’s alkalinity, forming ferric hydroxide, a brown gelatin that causes staining. This can be a common well water issue.

Municipal water lines can corrode, and this may add iron to water. This iron can be either in the soluble ferrous state or the insoluble ferric hydroxide state. You may notice staining from ferric hydroxide or because other organic compounds react with the iron in your water and form chelated compounds that present unusual staining problems. Bacteria that metabolize iron causes another staining problem associated with iron, and form corrosion on pipes that results in heavy gelatinous masses that can plug pipes or look like slugs in your water. If you notice brown slimy masses on the surface of the water in your toilet, you may have iron bacteria.

Water filtration systems remove dissolved ferrous iron by ion exchange, and they remove ferric iron by filtration. It is essential to remove the ferric hydroxide periodically from the water softener bed because it can cause clogs that reduce the effectiveness of the ion exchange. Make sure your whole house water softener uses automatically dispensed cleaning agents to remove the iron from the bed.

A whole house iron water filter system designed specifically for iron removal should allow for special and extended backwashing of the bed and a faster final rinse to prevent slugs from forming.

Why Use a Whole House Iron Water Filter System

Eliminate stains, metallic taste, and corrosion with an Iron Water Filtration System.
Iron is not hazardous and is classified by The U.S. Department of Natural Resources as a secondary or “aesthetic” water contaminant. However, high levels of iron also:

  • Dramatically affect the taste and smell of water.
  • Stain laundry and household fixtures such as showers, tubs, and sinks.
  • Contribute to hard-water effects that may shorten the life of appliances like dishwashers and hot water tanks.

The last step before purchasing any iron water filter is to get a qualified water analysis from a dependable source like Clearwater Systems to determine the proper technology to guarantee total iron removal. Contact Clearwater Systems to schedule a free water analysis.

How to Remove Iron from Your Water with Kinetico Whole House Iron Water Filter