What Should You Do About High Iron Levels in Your Water?
Whether you have a well or city water, there are going to be various minerals in your water. In most cases, having trace amounts of minerals is fine. It won’t hurt you, and it keeps your water from tasting weird and flat. However, if the mineral levels in your water are too imbalanced, issues can arise. One of the most common problems is excess iron. To fix high iron levels in your water, you need to know why it happens and how to stop it.
How Do You Tell If You Have High Iron Levels?
High iron content is something that can develop slowly, so you might not notice it right away. Once your iron levels get above a certain point, things may start to go wrong. There is no strict threshold where you have too much iron. The typical water doesn’t contain more than 0.3 milligrams of iron per liter of water. However, some people might not notice until they have at least 2 or 3 milligrams of iron per liter of water.
The earliest warning sign of iron is often stains. Even trace amounts of iron can cause stains to develop on your fixtures, dishware, or laundry. These stains are usually reddish, brownish, or yellowish, and they can be very hard to remove. You might also notice an off taste in your water. Water that is high in iron tastes metallic. This metallic taste can even transfer to food washed in your water. Iron comes in both soluble and insoluble forms, so it might not affect the look of your water. However, if the iron in your water is ferric iron, it may give a red or yellow tint to your water.
Though you can often tell that your iron levels are a little off, you can only diagnose the issue with a test. Water purity tests are very fast and easy to do. With a simple test, you can see exactly how much iron is in your water, so you know how much work you’ll need to do to remove it.
Reasons You Might Have Abnormally High Iron Levels
There are a lot of ways that iron can get into your water, and knowing the culprit can make it easier to solve. If you have iron pipes or iron fixtures in your home, the iron might be coming straight from these items. Even if your water source has low iron, the iron can leach into your water. In these cases, you might notice that your water tastes or looks weird at first but clears up once you run your water.
Iron can also contaminate water directly at the source. Up to 5 percent of the earth’s crust is iron, so it is very easy for your water source to run through an iron-rich spot in the earth. This is especially common in people who have shallow wells because iron tends to sit in deposits closer to the earth’s surface.
Are High Iron Levels Actually a Problem?
The Environmental Protection Agency says that high levels of iron in water aren’t actively dangerous. It’s unlikely to affect your health or make you sick. The only health concern is that some types of bacteria can bond to iron. Having any sort of bacteria-borne illness in treated water is rare, but iron does increase the risks of that happening.
Though iron-rich water is usually safe to drink, most homeowners still don’t want iron in their water. Just like hard water, high levels of iron make it harder to clean and do laundry. It causes unsightly stains on appliances, dishes, and even clothes. Furthermore, many people find the taste and smell of high-iron water to be unpleasant.
Even worse, high levels of iron can harm your plumbing system. Though iron in your water is usually invisible, it’s still denser than water. The iron sinks down and coats your pipes with a fine layer of iron. Over time, this iron can form a sludge that clogs your pipes and causes leaks or breaks. It can also easily build up in your appliances and do things like clog showerheads or damage toilet mechanisms.
Ways to Balance Your Iron Levels
Depending on where your iron is coming from, you have a few options for stopping it at the source. If you have corroded pipes leaking iron into your water, the solution is as simple as replacing the pipes. Updating them with modern PVC can help solve your iron problem. If you have a well, getting rid of the source of the iron can be trickier. Some people find that sinking a deeper well can help because it lets you access purer water that is farther away from iron deposits.
Though there are effective ways of getting rid of the source of iron, these can be a little timely and costly. Many homeowners prefer to just filter their water as it arrives at the home. Water filters are an effective and affordable way of getting rid of iron before it causes problems for you. They work in a variety of situations and also remove other potentially annoying minerals like manganese.
Which Type of Water Filter Should You Select?
If you go with the water filtration route, there are many types of filters to choose from. The right filter for your needs will depend on your preferences, your plumbing system, and the type of iron in your water. If you have soluble ferrous iron, you will need a system that oxidizes the iron and makes it into a solid substance that can be removed from your water.
The majority of iron filtering systems for the home tend to be air injection filters or hydrogen peroxide and catalytic carbon filters. Air injection filters work by adding air to your water in a filtration tank. The iron oxidizes when it comes into contact with the air and starts to sink. The iron-rich water then flows over a filtration media that catches iron and lets clean water pass through into your home. Meanwhile, hydrogen peroxide filters work by mixing water with hydrogen peroxide which oxidizes iron. Once the iron is soluble, a carbon filter pulls it out of the water. Both styles can work well, so it just depends on your budget and maintenance preferences.
Another thing to consider is whether you want a whole house filter or just a drinking water filter. Whole house filtration systems are attached to your main water supply and will filter the water that goes to your sinks, tubs, toilets, and more. Partial water filtration systems just hook up directly to a sink or shower and only filter the water for that appliance.
If you want pure, clean water, Cooper’s Water is here to help. As one of the leading water quality companies in Indianapolis, we have decades of experience with water filtration and water softeners. Our team of experts also provides many other plumbing services including repairs, maintenance, and installation. To schedule an appointment with us, call Cooper’s Water today.