Too much iron in my water : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

What is the best and cheapest way to remove the iron from my water and to soften it?

-- April Auger (, March 24, 2002


RO filter and a water softener.

-- al (, March 24, 2002.

An RO filter works really great, but also removes all the minerals that you DO want in your water. We're up against the same problem, and don't want all the healthy minerals removed, so we haven't gone with the RO as yet. Maybe someone reading these has further info on those RO's. Good luck, April. Judy

-- Judy Hill (, March 24, 2002.

A good way to destroy a RO and softener is to run too much iron through it. A softener can handle up to 1.5 ppm of iron, above that, you ruin the resin beads inside the softener. Softeners are designed to soften the water, remove hardness chemicals. Have your water tested, if there's no more than 1.5 ppm of iron, the softener should be sufficient.

There are iron filters designed especially for iron. One type, that uses potassium permanganate, has to have the permanganate supply replenished every so often, depending on how many people and how much iron, sometimes only every 12 to 18 months, if it's higher iron count and you use a lot of water, could be as often as every 3 months.

There are chemical free filters, initially expensive, but these require a certain amount of water pressure to let them work properly.

Most water conditioning companies will give you a free water test, but it is a very competitive industry, you can end up with some pesky salespeople. Make sure if you let one company in to test the water, get as many others from the area do the same and do some comparison shopping. Check some of the plumbing outfits, they also test water, you may be able to find filters at a cheaper price that you can istall yourself.

NOTE! If you take samples of water somewhere to be tested, make sure that it is in a CLEAN glass jar, and that the inside of the lid is very CLEAN. DON'T use those sample bottles for testing for bacteria, they're coated with something on the inside to keep any bacteria alive, this throws off the test for hardness and iron.

-- Chelsea (, March 24, 2002.

We have way too much iron in our water, too. In fact we have alot of nasty things in our water that you don't want to ingest. We use a $100 distiller for all of our cooking and drinking water. We also decided a big filter system wasnt worth it for us, we would just not buy anything white again (all of our whites are sort of a dingy yellow from the iron).

-- Najia (, March 24, 2002.

I've been battling lots of iron and manganese for 12 years now. I would recommend steering clear of the RO iron filters that rely on micronizers to inject oxygen into the water to oxidize the iron then filter media to remove it. We have very low solids in our water, but occasionally we will get a small piece of rust or detritus in the micronizer which will cause too much oxygen to get into the system and you will end up with spitting water from the taps and iron burps that can total a load of white clothes in a single wash! We tinkered with the micronizer (we've actually tried 3 different micronizers) and iron filter for years and got totally fed up with it this winter. I did exactly what was recommended by folks above, shopping around quite a bit, checking out internet sites, and even starting small bidding wars (aren't I nasty?!). What I will be having done this coming week is having my current iron filter disassembled, new resin put in, a new head put on and a brine tank added so that I will have an RO filter with a softener in the end. Oh, and that !@@#$% micronizer removed! I can't wait!

By the way, one benefit of the testing and shopping around is that I discovered that my main water problem is manganese, not iron. We do have elevated iron levels, but manganese will also rust things, and the RO iron filter with micronizer will not touch that. A softener will. Also, by shopping around and talking to the technicians as well as the sales people, I am having a system installed that will cost half the going rate for the same results (by rebuilding my old equipment) as buying a new system.

-- Sheryl in Me (, March 24, 2002.

I don't know if it really works, but one company I saw sells magnets to remove iron from water. If it does work, it would be cheap. I used to have iron water. An old bath towel in the washer (run the washer a minute before adding clothes) put an end to rust stains on my clothes.

-- Gayle in KY (, March 24, 2002.

My water came out green and created a terrific yellow scum line around the toilet bowls, the tubs and showers. I put on an RO filter and that problem was solved. Water is extremely hard and the softener adjusted to running every other day solved that problem too. This is btw Seeley Lake and Kalispell, MT. Never had this problem in WY, SD, CO, IL, IN, MI or WI.

-- al (, March 25, 2002.

Re the magnets: If they 'remove' the iron, where does it go???? The iron is disolved in the water. Strap some magnets on a pipe, and on the other side of the pipe the iron should be gone? But, where would it go? Still disolved in the water? Hum. What good did that do?

Two of my friends have had very poor results with a company called Rainsoft. As stated above, water treatments are a very competitive industry, and the best snaker oil salesmen seem to be the biggest companies. Shop around a lot, learn what you are getting into. Many off-the-shelf softeners cannot handle the heavy mineral loads from some deep wells, but are only designed to work with relatively nutral 'city water' or shallow well systems. High pressure salesmen don't always care tho if their system is a good match for your conditions.


-- paul (, March 25, 2002.

Paul is right--magnets DO NOT WORK. It's a gimmic, as are those "rods" put into the water line. Hardness has to be taken OUT of the water, the best thing going for hardness is a softener.

Another thing to remember, they have to be sized properly. You'll see them listed as 20,000 grain, 30,000 grain, etc. or some numbers close to it. They're measured by how hard the water is and the number of people in the family to come out to an estimate of how many gallons will go through it; after a certain volume has gone through, the resin bed has to be recharged. This is where the salt comes in. The softener beads act like little magnets (not to be confused with magnets discussed earlier) and pick up ions of hardness. Like a magnet can only hold so many pins, the resin can only hold so much hardness. To get rid of it, brine is flushed through, and it will do an "ion exchange", the ion of hardness will be kicked off and it will grab the salt. The whole thing will be thoroughly rinsed, so don't be concerned too much about how much brine has gone through that tank. Some people have this idea of getting way too much salt in their water, but in fact, in most cases, you'll only get as much salt in 8 glasses of water as you would in 2 pieces of bread. Very minimal.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier, see if you can get in touch with the Water Quality Association, and ask the dealers you're shopping with if their company is part of that Association. They aren't a policing agency to get rid of the snake oil salesmen, but they can give you good information on what works and what doesn't.

Another thing you might look into is renting a filter. Now, most companies want you to sign an initial 2 year contract, there will be a fee for removal of equipment before that time. But see if they have a "purchase option". In most rentals, they'll put in used equipment. But if you can wrangel them around, see if they have a 2 or 3 month trial "option", tell them you're interested in buying, and want new equipment installed, or you won't deal. Sometimes on options they put in used, then if you sign purchase contract they exchange for new, tell them you want new to begin with. The fee is usually cost of installation (ballpark $100.00) and a couple bucks a month for first 2 or 3 months. If you're in a house that you plan to move from anyway, sometimes rental is the better way to go. Another nice thing about the option (and READ the contract CAREFULLY before signing!) is that if the filters don't work within the couple months, they'll have to remove it. Rentals usually come with free service as well, so if something goes wrong with it, they fix or replace. If you're planning to purchase, a lot of companies have either in-house financing or through a finance company, this cuts down the initial cost (which can one to two thousand or more) and brings it down to a monthly payment which is affordable.

Another reason for getting filters is that they protect the plumbing in your house, and that can help if you decide to sell.

About the green from someone's softener: if there is even a tiny miniscule bit of copper in the ground water, when the water is softened, it becomes "aggressive" (don't be alarmed by that term) and will pick up copper from your pipes, hence the yellow and green on fixtures. A bleeder valve can solve this easily, it's a little valve that puts a grain or two of hardness into the line from the source to the line after the softener. Couple of grains you won't even notice.

I'd better stop here, got long winded enough. I was clerk for 9 nine years in the industry, worked for 2 different companies. I have seen people get really screwed by some bad information and crooked companies taking advantage of people, companies I worked for were reputable dealers, so I guess the training kicks in when I see a question on water filtration.


-- Chelsea (, March 25, 2002.

Chelsea: The green in my water was as it came from the well and into the house. Wells in our area av 275-ft. deep. After installing the RO filter and the softener, there's been no discoloration of the water. al

-- al (, March 25, 2002.

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