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Top 7 Cheapest Way To Remove Iron From Well Water (2024)

Cheapest Way To Remove Iron From Well Water

In this article, we will discuss some of the cheapest ways to remove iron from well water.  Iron is one of the most abundant and valuable minerals present in the earth’s crust. But when it comes to water, the presence of excess iron contaminates it and needs to be removed.

There are various ways to remove unwanted iron, such as sedimentation, reverse osmosis, chemical oxidation, activated charcoal, etc.

Let’s dive into the most budget-friendly ways to make your well water safer than ever before. Here we go!

What Is The Cheapest Way To Remove Iron From Well Water?

Cheap Ways To Remove Iron Content From Well Water

Once you’ve analyzed your water quality and confirmed contamination, the next step is removal. We know how badly iron may affect your water quality, causing several health issues and property damage. It is essential to take steps to remove and eliminate all sorts of impurities from your water.

Here are some cheap methods to help remove and eliminate iron from your water:

MethodEasinessPriceEffectiveness
Sedimentation8/109/106/10
Activated Charcoal 9/109/109/10
Oxidation and Filtration7/107/109/10
Aeration7/106/109/10
Use of RO8/108/109/10
Water Softener 9/108/108/10
Chemical Oxidation8/108/106/10
Also Read: Top 5 Iron Filters For Well Water 

Sedimentation

This method involves taking the water sample into a tank and letting it settle. The solid form particles and other impurities like plastics, resin beads, etc., settle at the bottom of the tank and can be separated from the clean, uncontaminated water.

The limitation of this method is that, on disturbing, the impurities may get mixed up again. In this case, the entire process must be redone, which will become time-consuming. Other than that, this is a very efficient, easy, and cost-effective method. 

Also Read: The Complete Guide Of Iron In Well Water 

Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is readily available on the market. It absorbs all the impurities and leaves clean water on being added to the water sample. You can buy an activated charcoal filter easily. Because of its abilities activated charcoal filters toxins but not the benefiting salts and minerals. It is easy, efficient as well as cost-friendly to use one.

Activated charcoal is famous for its cleansing properties.

Oxidation and Filtration

This method is a two-step process. First, iron ions present in water are oxidized to insoluble forms. Once the oxidation process of iron, the iron turns into an insoluble form and gets separated from the water. The next step is filtration.

The separated insoluble iron is then filtered out from the water and becomes free from contamination. This two-step process is helpful in the removal of iron, and the considerable advantage is that it is very cost-effective. 

Also Read: Well Water Replenishment Explained 

Aeration

This method involves the introduction of air to water. When air is passed into the water containing iron, it interacts with the iron ions and causes the oxidation of these ions. They turn into insoluble forms on oxidation, which are then removed by filters.  

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis

This is quite a popular and effective technique.

In reverse osmosis, the water goes through a semi-permeable membrane which removes even the smallest of iron particles and provides iron free well water that is safe for consumption.

Also Read: 5 Top Tankless RO Systems In 2024 

Ion Exchange Water Softeners

This can be used to treat hard water and eliminate minerals like iron. These water softeners work by the ion-exchange process.

Verdict:

They exchange the harmful iron ions and eliminate them from the water completely. But they may not be as effective in removing iron from water when it comes to treating water sources with too much iron in them. 

Also Read: How To Remove Chlorine From Tap Water 

Chemical oxidation

This method helps eliminate iron bacteria. It involves the introduction of potassium permanganate or chlorine which successfully removes the iron bacteria. (Bacterial iron or iron bacteria cause rusting or form slimy material on pipe surfaces)

Why Remove Iron From Well Water?

Iron may be the 4th most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust, but it is an unwanted mineral in well water. When present, even in quantities as low as 0.3 ppm, it significantly affects the overall quality of the water.

The iron presence in well water causes a significant problem for people who depend on well water for their water supply.

  • Causes pigmentation (orange color) of hair, skin, and clothes: The presence of iron makes the water rusty. This rusty water, in turn, can make clothes turn orange and cause pigmentation of hair and skin if washed by the rusty water.
  • It alters the taste of water, and if the same is used for cooking, the food gets an unpleasant metallic taste: Iron is a metallic mineral in the form of ions in water. When this water is used for cooking, it adds an unpleasant metallic taste to the water.
  • Leaves iron stains on toilets and plumbing fixtures: As mentioned earlier, iron makes water rusty. Rust is a potent staining agent. If your water has a high iron content, it may cause staining of your toilets and fixtures like taps, toilet tanks, etc.
  • Causes significant damage to taps and faucets: When there is high iron content in water, it may lead to iron buildup. This iron buildup can be harmful and cause substantial damage to your taps and faucets.
  • Alters the taste and color of water: Iron is an unwanted impurity in water. It can alter and change its characteristics like taste and color if present in well water. 

How Does Iron Get Into Wells?

How does iron get into wells

We already know that iron is one of the earth’s crust’s most abundant naturally occurring minerals. It can be found in a variety of places.  

Well water is the water that comes from beneath the ground. There’s a threshold of groundwater that is stored underneath the ground surface. Wells are structures that are created to utilize this groundwater for human activities.

Bored Wells are made by digging up the ground surface and creating a large-sized hole that can store water. Water supply in such wells is usually by groundwater and rainwater.  

When rainfall occurs, the water flows and sweeps the minerals present in the earth’s crust that it comes in contact with. Some of this rainwater goes directly to the wells, while the rest of it adds to the groundwater levels.

In some regions, soils may have higher mineral content. When rainfall occurs in such areas, the flowing rainwater may gain minerals by coming in contact with the ground surface.

This water with high mineral content (like iron) adds to the groundwater and well water. And this way, iron gets into well water and contaminates it. 

Also Read: How To Remove Manganese From Well Water

Types of Iron Present in Well Water

Types of Iron Found in Well Water

As we know by now, iron is an unnecessary pollutant present in water. Iron may be present in water in various forms, and each may affect the quality of water in its way.

The three different forms of iron present in water are discussed below:  

KEY POINTS

  • Ferrous Iron

    Ferrous iron is an ionized form of iron.  Ferrous is soluble iron and easily dissolves in water. This one is also called clear water iron, as it does not give color to fresh running tap water. Although, if the water is kept stagnant red or brown color may be observed. The color occurs due to the oxidization of iron. The appearance of color becomes of great help when testing for the presence of iron in water samples.
  • Ferric Iron

    This is yet another ionized state of iron. It is called red water iron and causes red or yellow colored pigmentation of running water.  Ferric iron is also insoluble and may not dissolve well in water. The pigmentation helps to identify if the water is iron-contaminated water. If you notice your toilet bowl or sink or any clothing item has acquired a brown stain then it is likely that you have water with iron contamination. 
  • Organic Iron

    Organic iron may be brown, yellow, or even colorless. It is likely to be found in shallow wells or wells affected by shallow water. It is called organic iron because it is closely associated with organic microbes. Several bacteria feed off of organic iron.

How to Test Your Water for Iron Concentration 

As we have established, iron is a harmful contaminant in water and may cause considerable damage in many ways. The first step was to become aware of the harmful effects of iron. The next is to identify if your water is contaminated or not.

And if yes, then what are the iron levels in your water? To what extent is it contaminated? There are some effective ways by which one may detect water iron particles dissolved in their water. Some such methods are listed here:

  • Visual test: The thing about iron is that it causes pigmentation. This makes testing for iron easy. Testing may be done by looking for signs of pigmentation. Although, this depends on the type of iron present. The ferric iron present can be detected directly as it makes the water appear red or yellow. If the water appears clear but on standing gives a red color, this detects the presence of ferrous iron. This test is easy, convenient, and also cost-effective. You don’t need to spend even a penny on fancy equipment to check if your water is contaminated. 
  • At-Home Test Kits: Commercially test kits can help you detect iron in the water. Such kits contain dipping strips and color charts. The procedure is simple. Take out a dipping strip, dip it in the water sample and wait for the color to appear. Compare the color with the color chart, and it will give you an analysis of how much iron content is in your water. These kits are easy to use and very effective. They may be a little costly, though. Nevertheless, they are worth the expenditure as they give insightful water quality analysis. 
  • Laboratory Tests: These are the most accurate tests. You send your water sample to the labs, which give you all the information about the type and quantity of iron in your water. The labs send back a detailed report on your water quality. They tell you if or not your water is contaminated. If it is, what are the extent of contamination and other details, including the type and concentration of iron contamination in the water? 

What Different Kind of Oxidizing Media Is Used In Iron Filters? 

Representative image of an iron filter

An iron water filter is a specially designed equipment that is used for the removal and elimination of iron from water. By separating the iron, these help enhance water quality and make it safe for consumption.

Here’s one Redditor telling the importance of iron filters:

Iron filters are of various types and work by various mechanisms. Some of these filter types are mentioned below:   

Manganese Greensand

The most commonly used oxidizing media:

Greensand is a sandy rock or sediment that contains a high percentage of the mineral glauconite. Glauconite is a mineral that forms in shallow marine sedimentary deposits and can range in color from greenish-black to blue-green.

Manganese greensand is an excellent oxidizing agent and helps oxidize iron and convert it into particulate matter.

  • Manganese greensand filters combine potassium permanganate (source of manganese, i.e., oxidizing agent) and greensand filters.
  • The manganese oxidizes the iron in the water, and then the greensand filter eliminates the impurities making the water sample healthy.
  • Manganese greensand grains are a perfect size and shape for capturing fine iron and manganese sediments that would otherwise pass through normal sediment filters under normal service conditions. 

Birm Filter

Birm Filter

This is an alternative for manganese greensand. The “Birm” granular filter media is used in these filters hence the name. It’s made of natural pumice mineral with a manganese oxide coating. It removes iron without a chemical oxidizing agent but needs optimum conditions with water and elevated pH to work efficiently.

Calcite is often used to maintain elevated pH. Calcite helps keep the pH level on the higher side and makes the conditions optimum for the filter to work.

As the water passes through the Birm media filter tank, the dissolved oxygen reacts with the dissolved ferrous iron compounds to form an insoluble ferric hydroxide. If there is enough oxygen in the water, as iron-containing water flows through the media, the Birm causes the iron to form rust or solid particles of iron.

Once these rust particles become trapped in the filter media, they are automatically backwashed out to drain once or twice a week, and the filter media is ready to filter again. 

KDF

KDF is an abbreviation for Kinetic Degradation Fluxion. It is effective with slow flow rates and lower volumes of water.

They are not only effective at iron removal but are also very useful in eliminating other unwanted minerals. KDF Filters are designed to eliminate iron and other impurities like chlorine and hydrogen sulfide by the ion-exchange method.

KDF media turns these harmful contaminants into harmless components making the water safe. KDF media are very effective and can remove up to 98% of cations dissolved in water samples.

How Can You Remove Iron From Drinking Water?

Image of two hands presenting a glass full of fresh water free from iron

Drinking water is a necessity and is essential to sustaining life. Drinking water has also become one of the familiar sources of spreading infections and diseases. It is crucial not only to consume water but also to consume healthy and safe water.

Also Read: Which Type Of Water Is Safe For Pregnant Women In 2024? 

Contaminated water with impurities like iron is not suitable for drinking, and hence elimination of iron from drinking water is indeed an important task. There are many ways in which you can remove iron from drinking water.

Some of these include:

Use of Filtration Systems

The use of filtration systems for cleaning drinking water is the most common method for making drinking water safe for consumption.

In this method, specialized equipment is designed and used. Water is passed through these filters, which trap and separate iron and other impurities and provide you with clean and healthy drinking water.

Softening

Representative image of meter checking softening values
Softening

This is the most effective method to treat hard water. Hard water is such that it has heavy metal and other strong impurities like iron which alter the overall quality of water. Hard water makes water unfit for any use.

Hence, hard water is treated by softening to make it suitable for use. In softening, water is treated with chemicals. These chemicals cause ion exchange and take up all the harmful impurities from the water, making it suitable for utilization.

Also Read: Iron Pro 2 Water Softener Review 

Shock Chlorination

It is yet another effective method of cleaning drinking water. Iron in drinking water may be present in the form of organic iron. This implies that the water must contain other organic impurities like microbes and parasites.

Chlorination Meaning

Chlorination is the method that removes microbes, bacteria, parasites, etc., from water. In chlorination, chlorine is added to the water sample.

This added chlorine eliminates many microbes, bacterial iron, and parasites. However, keeping the chlorine levels in water under check is vital as higher chlorine levels may cause health issues.

Ozonation

As the name suggests, Ozonation is water treatment by infusion of ozone gas. Ozonation is a type of advanced oxidation that generates highly reactive oxygen species capable of attacking a wide range of organic compounds and all microorganisms.

Ozone water treatment has numerous applications due to its effectiveness in disinfection and degrading organic and inorganic pollutants.

Whole house iron filter systems

They effectively remove iron from drinking water. A point-of-entry tap, also known as a whole house water filter, is a system that is installed at the point where your main water line enters your home.

It can aid in removing contaminants such as chlorine, iron, sulfur, and others from your water. Because of whole-house water filters, cleaner water is available at every tap in your home.

Filtered water can be used throughout your home to:

  • Wash dishes
  • Make coffee
  • Shower
  • Do laundry
  • Brush your teeth

How To Remove Iron From Well Water: FAQs

Does a Brita filter remove iron from water?

Yes, Brita Filter is an effective option to remove iron from your water sample. They effectively reduce and eliminate water’s impurities like iron, lead, chlorine, asbestos, sodium ions, and so on.

Can high iron content in water make you sick?

Yes, too much water contamination by iron may cause some severe health issues. Consuming water with high iron content comes with risks of diabetes and stomach issues, among other health problems.

Do salt-free water softeners remove iron from well water?

Water softeners are designed to remove iron from small samples of water. So, removing iron from a large water source such as a well may not be ideal.

Will a sediment filter remove iron?

Yes, a sediment filter does very well remove insoluble iron from water. The dissolved iron is first oxidized from water and turned into an insoluble precipitate, which then passes through a sediment filter that separates this insoluble iron.

Will a carbon filter remove iron from water?

Carbon filters with a pore size of one micron or less effectively remove iron from the water sample. 

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