How to filter iron out of water?

Iron is considered the strongest and most common pollutant that many homeowners encounter. From bad-smelling water, cloudy glasses of drinking water, to yellow stains on appliances, toilets and bathtubs, excess iron will be visible everywhere.

This is the most common well water quality problem.

But there are several solutions to removing iron from your water.

Why is there a high iron content in water?

Iron present in five percent of the earth’s crust and is rapidly spreading through groundwater. That’s why it’s so common in wells.

This metal dissolves in rocks and minerals. This means that the longer groundwater flows underground, through cracks, cracks and pores, the greater the concentration of iron.

How to filter iron out of water

Iron is the fourth element found in the earth’s crust. When the snow melts or it rains, water seeps through the ground and rocks, so the iron dissolves in the groundwater.

It happens that iron appears due to the destruction of iron or steel pipes or water pipes.

Iron becomes rust due to the reaction of oxygen and water, then the iron minerals in the water turn into rust and stain plumbing and linens.

Over time, the destruction of the hulls in your well may occur. This problem can be easily solved by replacing the pipes that are in your well. If your well is old and needs repair, you can drill a new one.

Is there a lot of iron in your water?

It’s important to know how much iron is in your water, how it affects your home, and what you can do to protect your drinking water.

Before you decide what type of system you need to remove iron from well water, it is important that you do a detailed water tested.

Detailed water analysis should be done from independent third party laboratories that are not interested in selling purifiers – they water tested quite well.

How to filter iron out of water

You need to know exactly what is in your water, including “competing pollutants”. This is the main way to find out which iron cleaning system to purchase to solve your iron problem. If the test results show iron or even ferric iron in pure water, there are several treatment methods you can consider.

Along with the iron test, it is useful to test for hardness, pH, alkalinity and bacterial iron.

The purification of manganese and sulfur is the same as the removal of iron, there are only a few small differences.

Common exposure to iron in drinking water:

The recommended amount in water is 0.3 mg/l. If the iron elements in the water exceed the limit of 0.3 mg/l, the water turns red, brown or yellow, as well as stain plumbing, toilet tanks and clothes when washed. Red, brown, or yellow well water is often a sign of iron overload.

  1. Metallic smell and taste

Iron enhances the disgusting metallic taste and smell, making it difficult to consume. When such water is mixed with tea, coffee and other drinks, you will notice a black appearance and a terrible taste. If you boil vegetables in water with a iron content, they will not be beautiful in appearance and will also darken.

  1. Iron bacteria

Iron bacteria in most cases are found not deep in the ground, but also in groundwater, so they can easily start in your well water when it is being repaired. Iron promotes the growth of different types of bacteria.

The pressure in the toilet tanks and plumbing fixtures will drop, resulting in low water flow. Bacterial iron is especially terrible and can cause many serious clogging problems.

To recap: Red, brown, or yellow mucus in the tub or toilet cistern is likely iron bacteria have settled in your water. Be careful, this slime can clog pipes and your drains will smell bad. Although it is likely that most of the smell will come from sulfur.

How to filter iron out of water
  1. Stains on clothes and dishes

In the washing machine, your clothes, sheets and towels may change color and acquire orange stains. Dishes that pass through your dishwasher can also be damaged by iron.

  1. Stains on various surfaces and plumbing

Even in small amounts, iron can leave yellow stains on plumbing fixtures, dishes, countertops, etc. These stains are very difficult to remove and are not pleasant to look at.

  1. Spoiled hair and orange skin

The coloring properties of iron are transferred to the human body. After a high iron shower, your hair will turn orange and your hair will become brittle and lifeless.

Bathing in such water will give the skin a reddish tint. Large doses of iron can dry out the skin, as well as make skin conditions more difficult, such as eczema and acne.

Several types of iron in well water

Three different types of iron can lurk in your well water:

  • Ferric iron
  • Ferrous iron.
  • Iron bacteria.

Removing it from your well depends on a detailed and accurate knowledge of what types of iron are available. Iron presents specific problems and various solutions based on its form. In order to remove it, you must have a correct idea of ​​what form it is in.

Running the test will tell you exactly what water conditions you are facing and will provide you with the most accurate path forward. Iron test strips can also give you knowledge of the ppm of iron present in your well.

1. Ferric iron

Also known as pure water iron.

Ferric iron is considered insoluble iron, which indicates that the iron minerals are not completely dissolved in water. If you notice that the water has turned a bright orange or red color, this is the main sign that there is a lot of ferric iron in your well. Since bacterial iron exists in the form of a precipitate, it is easiest to remove it from the hole.

2. Ferrous iron

Ferrous iron is considered soluble iron, which indicates that iron is completely dissolved in water. A glass of ferrous iron will appear perfectly clean and transparent. Ferrous iron does not make itself felt immediately, only after the water becomes an object of atmospheric conditions and oxidizes, it becomes ferric and will fall as rain or snow.

If you forget this glass of clear water on the table overnight, you will see reddish-brown flakes in the bottom of the glass in the morning.

As a result, although it is not immediately noticeable, ferrous iron still has a slight coloring effect and will affect the taste and smell of your water.

Ferrous iron is found very deep in wells where the water is not exposed to sunlight and therefore the iron does not oxidize.

3. Bacterial iron

Bacterial iron is the most unpredictable and nasty form of iron your well water can contain.

Bacterial iron occurs when there are bacteria in the well that have bonded with the iron.

Bacterial iron appears as a bright red sludge, similar to tomato soup. Bacterial iron appears in wells due to bad, untimely and improper maintenance of the well.

For example, if you made a pump and the pump was poorly sanitized before returning to the well, bacteria can settle in it and eventually bind to the iron. Bacterial iron will live on the inside of pipes, clog plumbing fixtures and leave unpleasant, slimy red deposits in the toilet tank.

Bacterial iron can spoil:

  • water softeners,
  • pre-filters,
  • booster pumps for water.

In fact, bacterial iron itself is not very harmful, but it will form the conditions in which harmful pathogenic bacteria can thrive.

How to remove iron from well water naturally?

So you’ve done a water test and found that your well water is high in iron and you need a way to reduce it or remove it naturally. Due to the fact that iron has an unpleasant smell and taste, and also leaves yellowish stains on all surfaces it comes into contact with, including even sidewalks.

So it’s normal that you want to remove iron from your tap water. And most likely you want to do it more economically.

Method 1. Application of oxidizer and filter

This method is as follows: an oxidizing agent is added to the water through a pump. Then the water stands for some time in another tank, about 20 minutes for iron to precipitate.

And finally, the water is filtered with the addition of manganese green sand or an activated carbon filter to iron from well water.

Method 2. Sedimentary filter

Water flows through the sludge filters without problems, while solid elements remain and do not pass into the plumbing system.

Such filters are very good at preventing dirt, silt and turbidity from entering drinking water. The sediment filter must have a sufficient micron rating to trap the iron.
This solution is suitable for people with low iron levels.

If your well contains two types of iron (ferrous iron and ferric iron), a sediment filter will not remove the color of stained plumbing and metallic-tasting water.

Method 3. Ion exchange filter

With the participation of ion-exchange water softeners, it is not difficult to remove some ferrous iron from the water.

Iron, like calcium and magnesium ions, transfers a positively charged cation, which is drawn to the spherical anion resin beads and replaced by a sodium ion.

When ferric iron is present in water, a sediment pre-filter is required to prevent the water softener from becoming clogged with iron particles.

Removal of ferric iron from well water

The submicron sediment filter can remove the iron sediment left from the water. Settling filters are unique in preventing debris and turbidity from contaminating the water in your home.

The particulate filter should not have a large fraction in microns. Often, well owners buy natural cotton cord.

How to filter iron out of water

This is a great idea and is suitable for people with low levels of iron, which is in the ferric form.

Remove of ferrous iron from a well

  • Water softener system.
  • Manganese greensand.
  • Birm.
  • KDF.

Water softener

Ion-exchange softeners will effortlessly remove small amounts of ferrous iron from the water.

They are often used to remove hardeners by ion exchange, a process in which sodium ions are replaced by positively charged mineral ions. Since iron is a positively charged cation, it will approach the spherical particles of the anion exchanger and exchange for a sodium ion, like calcium and magnesium ions.

Water softeners that contain salt can be effective. Sodium resins select iron over “hardness” elements such as calcium and magnesium.

But there are caveats:

  1. Be sure to test the water to see if you have iron and sulfur reducing bacteria – IRB or SRB.
  2. It will work great if the pH is neutral (7.0). IRB and SRB are often found in water sources with a pH above 7.4.

If you want to remove iron with a water softener, it’s best to look at a dual-tank system. Kinetico® was one of the first to take advantage of this concept, and softeners with two resin tanks are very common today.

They work much better with iron because they fill the end tank with soft water and regenerate with soft water. Resin tanks don’t do this. In a two-tank softener, one tank is constantly running while the other remains in standby mode. Therefore, it regenerates with the exact amount of salt at the right time.

But if there is still ferric iron in the water, a sediment pre-filter will be required to prevent the water softening system from becoming clogged with iron elements.

Softeners are also quite effective at removing iron from hard water. There must be an appropriate ratio of water hardness and iron for ion exchange in order to remove iron from the water as best as possible.

If you have soft water, an oxidizing filter will be more helpful in reducing the amount of iron in the water.

If you are using a water softener to remove iron, it is a good idea to occasionally clean the system and resin bed ensure the resin beads last. One of the following is best:

  • Red Out Dura Cube.
  • Red-Out Pros’ Choice Solar Salt.
  • Morton Rust Remover.
  • Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter.
  • You can also use a resin cleaner such as ResKleen™ or Iron Out®. Do not use them together!

Read here how to change water softener filter.

Manganese greensand

A very popular and good way to iron removal system is to change it to ferric and then remove it from the water. Such a water purification system is called oxidizing filters.

Manganese green is a strong oxidizing agent. When iron and manganese are in contact with a medium, they oxidize from a dissolved form and become solid particles. Precipitated ferric iron is then removed from the water with manganese greens and sand and does not enter your water supply.

Sometimes it will be necessary to wash this medium with a purple powder known as potassium permanganate.

It flushes the iron particles down the drain and restores the environment and its oxidizing power from the green sand.

Be careful! Potassium permanganate can cause allergies, as well as skin and eye irritation. You need to be careful with it!

Manganese green sand can remove up to 15 ppm of iron from water.


This is another oxidant system needed to separate iron from water. Unlike manganese green sand, Burma does not need a chemical oxidizer.

Birm only works in high pH water. This means that many systems using burma combine it with calcite. Calcite is the medium which raises the pH of the water and, in our case, allows the Burmese medium to quickly oxidize ferrous iron and remove it from the drinking water.

Applications: Birm’s physical characteristics provide an excellent filter media that is easily backwashed to remove precipitants. Burma is not consumed in iron removal and therefore has huge economic advantages over many other iron removal methods.


It is a bacteriostatic filler made from granulated zinc. Judging by the declared properties, it does an excellent job of reducing the chlorine content. KDF filters can reduce heavy metals.

Some inline iron filter cartridges use KDF to convert ferrous iron to insoluble ferric oxide and remove it from the water.

KDF filters work best with small volumes of water and low flow rates, as well as when they are built into the Big Blue filter housing and installed near the water inlet to your home.

Remove of bacterial iron from a well

Shock chlorination. Removing bacterial iron is not an easy process, but it is important and necessary to get rid of mucous substances. In chlorination, a concentration of chlorine (about 200 ppm) is placed in the well to accurately disinfect both the water and the entire well system.

To get good results, chlorination needs to treat the entire well.

It includes:

  • The entire depth of the well,
  • Walls,
  • Downhole pump,
  • Pressure and distribution systems.

The discharge of the well kills the bacteria, this allows the remaining iron to be caught by a softener, oxidizer or sediment filter. If this cleaning of your well does not help remove iron associated with bacteria, then most likely you need to install a long-term chlorination system after the sump.

What other iron removal systems are there?

If you find high levels of dissolved iron, then your well water most likely needs a stronger oxidizing treatment.

Such as:

  • aeration,
  • chlorine,
  • hydrogen peroxide,
  • potassium permanganate
  • ozone.

All of these methods transform the dissolved iron into ferric iron, which can be caught by the filter. When aerated, it saturates the water with oxygen, which oxidizes iron. As a result, the water is filtered.

How to filter iron out of water

Three known chemicals that are used to oxidize iron are:

  • chlorine
  • potassium permanganate
  • hydrogen peroxide

These substances are added to the water supply, then oxidize the iron.

  1. Chlorine Based Iron Removal.When using a chlorine injection system, a contact reservoir is indispensable, which provides twenty minutes of contact time. The injection system will be connected to the downhole pump pressure, and the chlorine injection will be carried out in front of the pressure and contact tank.
  2. The pump always runs at the same speed. You can use a 120 gallon pressure tank and a 120 gallon holding tank, the pressure tank can be any size as long as you have a capacity of approximately 200 gallons.
  3. To get around the amount of storage you need, you can use the new “fiberglass tank with baffles” (which won’t rust) and take up half the space.So, an 80 gallon storage tank and a 40 gallon pressure tank will suffice if you inject chlorine before pressure.
  4. Chlorine is a good disinfectant, but not a good oxidizing agent. When touched with cold water, chlorine often precipitates at the injection point and clogs it. So, if the iron value is below 8 ppm, then adding chlorine will be an economical way to remove iron from the water.
  5. Iron removal based on potassium permanganate. For several years, potassium permanganate was not an easy way to purify water from iron. Some older filters used potassium permanganate to regenerate manganese green sand. Greensand is made from glauconite, a green clay mineral that contains iron and has ion exchange properties.
  6. Greensand can trap iron and manganese. If water flows through a green sand filter, soluble iron and manganese are removed and then start to react to form insoluble iron and manganese. If insoluble forms of iron and manganese are to be removed, frequent cleaning and rinsing is necessary. It is also worth sometimes restoring the green sand filter with a mixture of potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate is a material that turns deep purple when combined with water and marks everything it touches. This requires a pH above 7.0 or up to 10 ppm of iron.
  7. Because of its difficulty in staining, potassium permanganate has recently been considered by many people as a viable oxidizing agent, and is well known. You should also be aware that it does not do its job well when you have high levels of iron in the house.
  8. Removal of iron based on aeration. Oxygen is considered one of the main elements of the air, and oxygen in the air is an excellent oxidizing agent for iron, sulfur and manganese. Nowadays, many people who work with water treatment praise iron filters with air injection. They talk about them as “chemical-free iron filters” and they actually work.They work if you have a small amount of iron (usually more than 8-10 parts per million). In this case, they will break earlier.
  9. If you have “low to medium” hardware, they will serve you for a while, but some of them are doomed to fail in the long run. Manufacturers who sell these “iron forced air filters” use a water softener control valve that uses a “nozzle and venturi” (“educator” or “injector”) assembly. This causes a vacuum that sucks the salt water (brine) into the liquid tank, which has a cation exchange softening resin bed. It does not have a salt reservoir, and the injector simply captures air. In the best conditions, an “air jet” appears at the top of the tank. Basically, this air is more than enough for a couple of days, but if you need a lot of water, the air will leave very quickly.
  10. The problem is that in order to remove iron, it ideally needs to be 100% oxidized! Iron cannot be completely oxidized, which is why it receives a large amount of “iron sludge”. This fouls the system, ruins the walls, and clogs the injector so badly that it can no longer draw air through its reducer. Further iron, remaining in the filter and other parts continues to collect further in the system. The system becomes clogged with iron slurry and will no longer work.
  11. There is some iron sludge all over the top of the tank and distributor. After six or eight months, the injector becomes clogged with iron sludge and the softener value no longer sucks in air. Iron continues to accumulate, and then the system is overloaded. Sometimes it just shuts off because of the sludgewhich greatly influences the flow. After a while, you will begin to notice iron stains, and it may be too late when you see it. There is a way to make sure your air injection system doesn’t break down, you just need to check the valve every 3-6 months.
  12. You will also need to treat the parts with chlorine or sodium hydrosulfite and sodium metabisulphite to keep the injector assembly clean to ensure it works properly. It is a good idea to flush the medium with chlorine or sodium hydrosulfite, as well as sodium metabisulphite.It may seem like a lot of work, and it really is. Cocoa could be the solution? Change design! Don’t put the control valve at the top of the tank, move it to the side of the tank, what we call air injection on steroids when it replaces air with ozone.
  13. Iron removal based on ozone. Ozone is a more powerful oxidizing agent than chlorine, but the ozonation system is in most cases more expensive to operate due to higher energy costs. In ozonation, raw water comes into contact with ozone in the first step of the purification process.
  14. This causes a process in which iron, sulfur and/or manganese are oxidized and volatilized.And only then the sediment and excess ozone is filtered and destroyed with a granular filter with activated carbon.For this system to work in humid climates, it must have an “air dryer” because humid air will not produce good ozone. Most sources of ozone do not provide the right amount of ozone for better iron oxidation, sulfur and/or manganese.You must be aware that the ozone generator must be large in order to work well with large flows or varying water compositions.
  15. Ozone is a very expensive element in filtration, this at very low operating costs. In addition, you must be sure that you have removed the ozone, otherwise holes will form in the copper pipes. This is super technology, but it will be four to five times more expensive than other systems.
  16. Iron removal systems Pyrolox, Filox and Katalox on a light base.Media ending in “ox” are made using manganese oxide, which, when water flows through a filter tank having any type of “ox” media, works when dissolved oxygen and ferrous compounds create insoluble iron hydroxide.Sounds like a good idea, but only in theory. The problem is that some of these media are very heavy and weigh over 100 pounds per cubic foot. This suggests that you will need to use large amounts of water for a very long time to flush. This raises two more problems:
    • – A large number of wells do not provide the required volume to “lift” the formation in the backwash cycle, therefore, the iron is not completely washed;
    • The amount of water pumped by these systems flushing is crazy!
  17. Katalox Light is lighter than other resources and weighs sixty-six (66) pounds per cubic foot. It operates in the pH range of 5.8 to 10.5 and has a service life of 7 to 10 years. The manufacturer rates his environment as a much better opportunity to remove iron. Sellers praise Phylox and Pyrolox, but you should know that they are too heavy and wasteful.
  18. Iron removal systems based on polyphosphate binding.Polyphosphate is added to the water supply to maintain iron in the composition. Polyphosphates do not remove iron from water, but they normalize and disperse iron so that your water is clear and does not leave traces of iron.
  19. Cleaning with polyphosphate is unlikely to prevent iron from precipitating when water is boiled, and boiling is likely to cause reversion to orthophosphate, which does not have an equivalent sequestering effect. They reduce staining by keeping these metals in the composition and stopping oxidation.
  20. Many polyphosphates are only effective at iron and manganese levels less than 3 ppm and if the water is cold.Heating the water releases the metals and allows oxidation to occur. Polyphosphates work with low levels of iron, but they need to be added frequently and their levels monitored. In applications that require the removal of iron, it usually does not glow.
  21. Iron removal systems based on hydrogen peroxide.Hydrogen peroxide is simple, predictable, and works free of iron levels. You just need to know how to work with it.H2O2, or hydrogen peroxide, is considered to be one of the best oxidizers, even better than oxygen, and you don’t have to call a service technician.
  22. Hydrogen peroxide does its job every time, and, because it is a good oxidizing agent, it removes all that iron junk for cleaning, and you won’t need to close the jets.H2O2 injection is very simple and requires minimal maintenance. Unlike chlorine, the injection point plugs slowly. Very often, hydrogen peroxide lasts more than 5 years without any maintenance, except for the addition of peroxide.
  23. Hydrogen peroxide is added just before the catalytic carbon filter. Also, peroxide doesn’t need any contact time, contact or pressurized tanks simply dilute the H2O2, making it less effective. So the proportional injection structure is the most efficient way.
  24. The cost of this method varies from moderate to high, but is considered more economical, as it works for many years without any maintenance, you just need to add H2O2 in time. The average budget is $200 to $400 per year for peroxide, but most people find this to be a decent price for iron-free drinking water.The only disadvantage of an H2O2 system may be the annual cost of peroxide.

Frequently asked Questions:

Is iron useful?

The iron content of water is highly beneficial and essential for humans and is considered an essential nutrient in basic diets. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers that elevated levels of iron in drinking water are not a health problem.

But people mostly get their daily vitamins from food, not from the water they drink.

Water is not the main source of iron for humans.

So, iron is useful in terms of consumption, but iron-contaminated water can be very harmful to household appliances that use it. such as:
– pipes;
– mixers;
– washing machines;
– dishwashers;
– shower cabins;
– baths;
– tableware.

Iron-contaminated water turns everything it touches brown, red or yellow.
It also clogs and clogs pipes, faucet aerators and more, this entails the need for a scientific solution on how to remove iron from well.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers ferric iron in water a secondary pollutant. The highest level of contamination known to the EPA is 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

Is it possible to drink drinking water with iron?

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Consuming iron contaminated water is not always desirable for your body. Excess iron in drinking water is sometimes harmful. Excess iron in water can cause diabetes, hemochromatosis, stomach problems, and even nausea. It can also harm the heart and pancreas.

The bad taste of water can be a big problem, when it comes to water pollution, it can divert attention away from food and drink. If the water is poorly handled, the iron will give the water a metallic taste and this will also affect the taste of the cooked food.

Unpalatable water in which you cook is never a good sign.

While the usual amount of iron in drinking water does not have a bad effect on human health, excessive amounts can be very harmful. If you notice indicators of high levels of iron in your water, test the water as soon as possible.

What health problems can high levels of iron in water cause?


Blond hair may turn orange and black hair may darken with a red tint.
– Iron can damage skin cells, causing wrinkles.
– If iron present in water, it forms a lather, blocking pores and causing skin problems such as acne or eczema.
– Dehydration
– Vomit
– Constipation
– Diabetes, and others.
– Removing iron from the water will solve this problem.

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