What is the cheapest way to remove iron from well water in 2022

cheapest way to remove iron from well water

Private wells are a great alternative to municipal water supplies for many individuals in the U.S. In most situations, private wells offer clean, healthy water that is chemical-free and rich in essential minerals and nutrients. It’s likely that if you’re one of the 43 million Americans who drink water from a private well, your water is iron-rich.

You are responsible for the safety of your water since the EPA does not regulate private wells or enforce obligatory standards or criteria for individual wells. So, for the sake of your family’s safety, you must know the cheapest way to remove iron from well water.

According to the percentage of Earth’s crust mass, iron comes in at number four. Moreover, iron can also be found everywhere around us. Well-water users have a particular problem with iron contamination in their drinking water. The body’s growth and development are dependent on this mineral, although it’s better not to consume it with your regular water intake. Mineral water, city tap water, and healthy water all can have elevated amounts of iron which can cause several severe issues to your health.

This article will let you know:

  • Types of Iron in drinking water and Iron Removal Systems
  • How to detect iron in drinking water?
  • What is the cheapest way to remove iron from well water in 2021
  • Health Effects of Iron

What is Iron Contamination?

The presence of iron in the drinking water is known as iron contamination. Iron is a chemical element in many of Earth’s natural resources, including water. The body’s growth and development depend on this mineral, yet ingesting this mineral with your everyday water intake is more hazardous than helpful.

The usual fatal dosage of iron is 200–250 mg/kg of body weight; however, death has been reported when consumed as low as 40 mg/kg of body weight. Iron contaminated water destroys the taste of the water and makes it unsuitable for drinking purposes. 

Types of Iron in drinking water and Iron Removal Systems

Water contains four forms of iron.

  • Fe+2 is a kind of ferrous Iron
  • Fe+3 is a ferric form of iron
  • Iron is found in bacteria 
  • Iron is produced from natural sources.

Ferric Iron

Ferric iron, often known as insoluble iron, is a kind of iron that cannot be dissolved in water. Reddish-orange coloration may be seen in water that contains it. It’s made of iron, and it’s substantial. It’s a filterable contaminant.

Treatment options:

Following are the two treatments for removing the ferric iron from drinking water

  • Iron water filter

An iron water filter is the best way to remove ferric ions from drinking water.

  • KDF Filters 

Zinc granules in the KDF iron water filter are of high purity and can remove chlorine from water. The KDF iron water filter also removes lead and other heavy elements from the water. To quickly remove ferrous and ferric iron from water, KDF filters are often used. So if you’re shopping for iron filters, look for ones that use KDF material.

Ferrous Iron

In chemistry, ferrous iron is referred to as dissolved iron. Water doesn’t show this form of iron’s presence, but you can observe the harmful effects. Because ferrous is a filterable ion, you can remove it using an iron removal filter. The iron removal filter will be able to handle it with ease. So, to remove the ferrous iron, you must first oxidize the ferrous iron to ferric iron and then filter the ferric iron via filtered water systems to remove the iron oxides.

Treatment options:

Following are the two treatments for removing the ferrous iron from drinking water

  • Water softener resin beads 

A water softener resin beads are the system to remove iron from well water. Water softeners may remove low quantities of ferrous iron from your well water.  They pull hard minerals from the water via an ion-exchange mechanism. Negatively charged ions swap places with positively charged ions during this process. When the water softener resin beads come into contact with iron, they’ll exchange it for a sodium ion.

  •  Sediment filter 

In addition to water softener resin beads, homeowners and private well users should install a sediment water filter for well water to remove ferrous ions. 

Bacterial Iron

Bacterial iron might not occur mostly in drinking water. You’ll observe an orange slimy, sticky substance floating around the tank of your toilet, which is iron bacteria water. Ferrous Iron is the primary source of nutrition for this bacterium. A horrible orange-colored slime is formed as a result of this process which is very difficult to remove.

Treatment options:

The method for eliminating iron bacteria water is listed below.

  • Chlorination

Chlorination at a high level can remove iron bacteria. It is necessary to add a substantial amount of chlorine to the well water to eliminate bacterial iron. Chlorine act as a disinfectant kills any bacteria that cling to the iron. For bacterial iron removal, you can also use sediment filters, softeners, and oxidizing filters to eliminate iron from the water supply.

Organic Iron

In shallow wells, organic iron is often discovered. Organic particles and naturally existing acid are used to create such a type of iron. Organic iron compounds produced are complex and colorful, which is what causes the extreme staining. Iron can’t readily react with this molecule, which is relatively stable. Getting rid of organic iron is a real challenge.

Treatment options:

The method you can use for eliminating organic iron is listed below.

  • Reverse osmosis 

A reverse osmosis water filter is the best iron removal system for well water.

  • Distillation

Distillation is also a standard method that is used for the removal of organic iron from drinking water.  It is a process that can remove any iron for health safety and insurance.

How does iron get into drinking water?

Earth’s crust contains roughly 5% iron, which is a naturally occurring metal. Water that seeps through iron-bearing soil and rock may dissolve iron into the water when it rains or snows and gets involved in well water. Corrosion of iron or steel well casing or water pipes is another source of iron contamination.

Like rusting iron in metal, iron minerals in water rust, and taint plumbing fixtures and laundry when they contact water and make it iron-rich. There are a variety of “nuisance bacteria” in certain private wells and even municipal water distribution networks that may lead to an iron issue with your water.

How to detect iron in drinking water?

To test for iron in your well water, fill a clear glass with water from your well and let it sit for a few minutes. You will be able to analyze all of the primary indicators of iron in this manner. Be aware of the ferric and ferrous types of iron that may be present before doing a water analysis.

  • Colour
    The color of the iron is one of the first things to look at while assessing water quality. Water that appears reddish, yellow, or orange is likely to contain ferric iron. Using an iron filter for well water may catch ferrous iron since it has been oxidized. However, suppose your water seems straightforward at first but becomes red or brown after sitting. In that case, you may have ferrous iron in your well that hasn’t been exposed to oxygen and has to be handled in a different method than a filtration system.
  • The sense of taste and scent
    Taste and smell may also help you discover iron in your well water. Your food and drinks will taste and smell metallic if your water contains iron, which may be found in red, yellow, or brown stains.

What is the Cheapest way to remove iron from well water

What will remove iron from well water is a big issue while having iron bacteria water or any other type of iron present in drinking water. With my experience and deep research, I have compiled a list of some of the cheapest ways to remove iron from drinking water naturally at home.

Faucet attachments

All modern kitchen and bathroom faucets are equipped with aerators. To remove iron and other heavy metals, you can install pull-down or pull-out faucet filters with separate aerators, which are environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Chemical oxidation with filtration

Chemical oxidation with a filtration system can handle up to 10 ppm iron levels.  It is the most cost-effective method to filter iron water from well water. In this procedure, an oxidizing chemical is introduced to the feed water through a pump. Meanwhile, a separate tank (a pressure tank in the house) is kept full of water for around 20 minutes to allow the iron to precipitate and settle.
In the last step, the water is cleaned through activated carbon filters, which remove iron.

Aeration with filtration

Water and air are brought into close contact to dissolve gases via aeration. Turbulence is generated in this fashion, resulting in cleansing and oxygenation. After then, it’s only a matter of removing the iron particles. Such processes filter iron water and ammonia, chlorine, methane, and a host of other dangerous components. You should, however, be aware that much oxygen in your water might corrode your pipes and fixtures.

Phosphate treatments

Iron bacteria thrive in well water that has high quantities of iron. Because of this, you must choose a procedure that will effectively eliminate the iron bacteria from your system. Chemical oxidation is a way of searching for traces of a specific chemical and helps to filter iron water. For oxidizing iron contaminated water, you can use potassium permanganate or chlorine to filter iron water. After going through the chemical oxidation process, you should remove the potassium permanganate or chlorine from the water process. Another option is to use water purifying pills. The chemical oxidation process works best when the iron content in the soil is low. If the amount of iron is excessive, another technique of iron removal should be considered.

Oxidizing filters (manganese greensand)

A  filter water softener is one of the earliest oxidizers applied to exclude iron from water. Manganese greensand is a medium that has been specifically treated to remove iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide. This superior non-proprietary filter media is made from glauconitic greensand, coated with a gleaming, hard finite thickness manganese oxide coating that is securely connected to each grain via a regulated procedure.

The ion exchange characteristics of greensand are used to create a manganese base material, which is then oxidized using potassium permanganate to produce manganese oxides. It is an effective strategy to remove iron.

Well reconstruction

One option for dealing with an iron issue is to dig a new water well, eliminating the requirement for treatment. It may be feasible to extend a “well casing” or “screen” further into the groundwater, depending on local land characteristics, to avoid water with high iron levels. To explore choices, call a U.S.-qualified water well inspector who is educated with groundwater quality.

Ion exchange

The ion exchange process is a successful heavy metal removal method that is readily recovered and reused once employed. Heavy metals in wastewater and industrial streams have been recovered using the ion exchange and polymeric resins exchange method to remove iron regularly.

Backwash water use for softeners is lower than for oxidizing filters. Despite the water’s pH or other circumstances, the removal of iron and manganese is not altered.

The best method to remove iron from well water

The best method to remove iron from well water is water filters and softeners. I have elaborated on every point that you might want to know about water softeners and iron water filters for well water.

Water Softeners 

The ion-exchange water softener is the most reliable system to remove iron from well water and may quickly remove low quantities of ferrous iron. Ion exchange, a process in which sodium ions are exchanged for positively-charged mineral ions, is used in water softeners to eliminate water hardness minerals.

Like calcium and magnesium ions, iron is a positively charged cation attracted to the spherical anion resin beads and exchanged for a sodium ion. However, if the water contains ferric iron, a sediment pre-filter will be required to keep your water softener from being clogged with iron slugs.

Iron water filters with air injection

Air injection is a cost-effective and the best iron removal system for well water installed between a well and your home’s main water line. An air injection filter sends water through an area of compressed air, where oxygen is added. Then water runs through a bed of filter media that separates the oxidized iron from drinking water.

With air injection, most iron water filters can remove manganese, iron, and hydrogen sulfide.

Effects of Iron

What is the safe level of iron in drinking water? In the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not specified maximum contamination limits (MCL) for iron or manganese. Iron has an SMCL of 0.3 mg/L, whereas manganese has an SMCL of 0.05 mg/L.It is estimated by the World Health Organization that “daily intakes of iron, which is the primary source of exposure, range from 10 to 14 mg,” which is a significant amount (7,8). To get the recommended daily dose of 0.6 mg, one should drink water with a 0.3 mg/liter concentration. Airborne Iron in metropolitan areas is roughly 25 micrograms per day.”

Although iron is an essential element for many bodily functions, including the generation of red blood cells, the iron forms in well water may be damaging and even lethal, particularly when used in large quantities.

Iron overload:

It is a health condition induced by a mutation in the gene that controls iron digestion. Even though this illness isn’t widespread, it’s a good reason to remove iron from water. Hemochromatosis is caused by an excess of iron in the body, and it may harm the liver, heart, and pancreas. Too much iron in the diet may cause various health problems, which is one of the significant reasons individuals who use well water should get their water tested annually.

Poor skin:

Drinking water with an excessive quantity of iron may negatively impact one’s skin. People may notice wrinkles early because elements like iron or magnesium may destroy healthy skin cells. Furthermore, since water and iron don’t mix well, individuals may see soap residue left behind after washing or bathing. This soap accumulation may also irritate the skin.

Unpleasant water:

While a metallic taste isn’t a huge problem for water pollution, it may make food and drink taste less pleasant. Iron may provide a metallic taste in food and drink if it isn’t treated correctly in the water. An unpleasant taste in the water you drink or cook with is never a good omen. While typical quantities of iron in drinking water have no detrimental effects on human health or well-being, excessive amounts may be harmful. If you see any of the indicators of high iron levels in your drinking water, get your water tested as soon as possible.

Why is my well water yellow?

Iron bacteria are microscopic organisms that may be found in soil and water. They aren’t known to cause sickness, but they may make your water seem discolored.  It usually happens when iron and manganese mix with oxygen to generate a yellowish, slimy accumulation. We propose that you test it every three years if you consume water from a private well. Well water yellow color could be due to the following reasons.

  • Incoming Water Supply Contaminants

The presence of certain impurities in a water supply might cause the water to become yellow. Iron, copper, zinc, lead, and manganese are among them.

You’re more likely to find iron and manganese if you have a private well. When manganese stains, it takes on a dark brown hue; however, it may seem more yellowish in your water. Iron may change the color of the water to yellow, orange, or brown, creating stains and giving it an odor. When mixed with bacteria, iron may form a sludge-like substance that can obstruct water movement. Zinc is also present in wells, and it may change the color of your drinking water. Iron and manganese levels in city water are significantly lower. Depending on your location’s water quality, you may see discoloration if these pollutants are present in higher-than-average amounts.


Tannins are another typical source of yellow water in private wells. Groundwater flows through layers of rotten soil and plants, resulting in tannin pollution. This water will have become a distinct shade of yellow when it reaches the aquifer underneath your well.

 Burst pipes

Though burst pipes aren’t a typical occurrence, they may be caused by corrosion, extreme weather, or damage. When a pipe breaks, sediments and contaminants from the environment may enter your water supply.  Your local government usually detects a burst pipe problem immediately, and it is generally resolved within hours. If you have a leak or a busted pipe serving your own home, you’ll need to hire a plumber to repair it since it’s your duty.


Some others question’s answers for our readers that might be helpful for reading.

How to remove iron from well water without a water softener?

If iron levels are more than ten mg/L, aeration (injecting air) or chemical oxidation (typically adding calcium or sodium hypochlorite) followed by filtration are alternatives. A sediment filter, carbon filter, or water softener may remove a tiny quantity of iron, but the iron will clog the system soon.

How to remove iron from water at home?

you can use any of the following methods to remove iron from water

  • Chlorination 
  • Oxidation through chemical means.
  • Filtration using a catalyst.
  • Treatment with phosphates.
  • Filter water softener
  • Ion exchange water softener
  • Carbon filter water
  • How to remove iron from the water tank?

    For removing iron from the water tank, you can use water softeners and iron filters to remove iron from the water supply tank, depending on the kind of iron in the water. Salt is used in water softeners to aid in the removal of iron and other minerals.

    Do distillation and boiling remove iron?

    Yes, you can use both the distillation and boiling processes for removing iron. Inorganic contaminants, including metals (Iron and lead) and nitrate, hardness (calcium and magnesium), and particles, are best removed from polluted water by distillation. Bacteria and certain viruses are likewise rendered inert by the boiler’s heat.

    Does reverse osmosis remove iron?

    Yes, reverse osmosis is a very beneficial method for removing iron from well water. Using the Reverse Osmosis System to purify drinking water is a practical and established method. If the concentration is more than or equal to 0.05 ppm, the R.O. membrane will get clogged. So you have to do it right on time for its long life.

    Do water filter pitchers remove iron?

    Disassembling the water pitcher pieces makes clean


    I have tried to explain all the concerns regarding the cheapest way to remove iron from drinking water naturally. Depending on the kind of iron in your well water, you may use various methods to determine whether it is there. It takes longer to detect ferrous water when ferric and bacterial iron may be seen due to their color. Checking iron levels in your well water should always be on your to-do list since it may negatively impact the whole family’s health. Filtration can eliminate these contaminants from your water supply, and the water that comes out of your taps should look and taste normal after you’ve installed a filter. The ideal option here is a whole-house water filter, which will give you clean drinking water while also protecting your home’s pipes and appliances.

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