The total concentration of iron in drinking water shouldn’t exceed the amount of 0.3 mg/l. However, in many regions, this figure might reach up to 0.5 mg/l, and sometimes it might be even more.
In this article, I will explain the impact of iron in the water on your home and family and show you some cheapest ways to remove iron, in case you have water from the well.
In short, iron can be removed via many different methods with or without a filter. Some of the things you can do at home are sedimentation, or water freezing. However, there are much better ways of removing iron with the help of filters, such as reverse osmosis, ion exchange or aeration.
How Iron Gets Into Water
The presence of iron might be sometimes visible to the naked eye or can be identified by its characteristic taste.
This depends on the form in which metal is present in the liquid. There are three types of the iron that you might find in the water: divalent, trivalent and bacteria iron.
The divalent iron, also often referred as Ferrous, has a formula Fe+2 and at first is quite difficult to detect.
However, as the water settles and comes in contact with oxygen, the ferrous is oxidized to Fe+3 (trivalent compound) and then is visible as brownish sediment.
The presence of trivalent iron Fe+3 in water, also known as Ferric, as mentioned previously has a brownish color, and sediment particles may be present in water.
In case of the presence of iron bacteria, water might have sediment that looks like soft flakes.
Regardless of what iron type is present in your water, you need to get rid of it.
Usually, the problem with iron occurs in private houses without the access to public water supply, and the well supplies water.
It might also happen in cities where the cleaning system doesn’t work well enough. Just have a look on the video below what iron is doing with your water.
Why Is High Concentration of Iron Dangerous and Expensive?
In small concentrations (<0.3mg/l) iron is safe for health. However, it is harmful in the higher than 0.3 mg/l concentration.
First if all, its harmful for your health. It can develop kidney and liver diseases and change the morphological composition of the skin cells, which leads to its early aging.
Regular exposure to iron also might develop all sorts of allergies and even cause a heart attack.
Its harmful to your home appliances. The rust quickly covers and clog pipes, damages washing machine, boiler, dishwasher, and kettle.
Some less severe consequences are the ironish taste of your food and beverages or spots on your laundry after the washing.
Cheap Ways to Remove Iron from Well Water
So the question arises: Is there any reasonable way to remove the iron from water?
Well, the answer is yes. There are several ways to filter iron out of the water, and these methods are various, as it depends on the type of iron that has been found in water.
You would be able to filter out ferrous (divalent iron) by following these tips:
This is probably the most straightforward method as it is enough to fill the tank with water and leave it is until all impurities settle on the bottom of the tank. This method is efficient and straightforward to some extent.
However, once you decide to pour settled water into the different tank, sediment can dissolve in the water again. Then you will have to start the same process again and leave the water to settle. So, this method is quite time-consuming but doesn’t require any costs at all.
If you have a small amount of water to filter or you are somewhere on the trip to nature, this would be an excellent method to create an improvised filter.
The only thing you have to do is to buy activated charcoal in the local pharmacy store, wrap it in a piece of cloth and let water pass through this filter.
Due to the absorptive ability of charcoal, you will be able to purify most of the harmful contaminants including iron.
Use of silicon or shungite
You can pour water into the container with silicone and shungite stones and leave it for two days. After that, you can drink the upper layer of water as the lower level has all the sediment.
It is also worth to remember that stones need to be washed and disinfected from time to time. You can do so by boiling as shown in a video.
All the impurities will be the last to freeze in water so that when the most of the water is frozen, you can pour unfrozen part out of the tank or container.
This method is simple but not very reliable, and to be fair it’s only doable in the cold weather as you don’t want your freezer to be full of water.
All these methods are applicable for divalent iron, but what can you do with the trivalent and iron bacteria?
Well, the situation with trivalent iron is more complicated. There is a procedure called ultra-filtration that will remove ferric from the water.
So, water filter would be required to remove trivalent iron. Chlorine is capable if destroying the iron bacteria.
Best Way To Remove Iron From Well Water
The most efficient way to remove iron out of water is with the help of water filter. Everyone who lives in a house with old plumbing or uses water from the well should strongly consider this option.
Let’s have a look below on some filters that would help you to remove iron out of your water.
Ion exchange method
This method is very efficient and is used by manufacturers that are producing iron filters. The way it works is that ions of iron are exchanged with sodium ions.
However, note that this method is not always suitable because the resin catalyst is useful to a certain level of iron in the water.
If the level of iron is more than 3 mg/l the ion exchange will be disturbed, and the resin will quickly lose its abilities.
Some of the water softeners are capable of removing iron as well, so make sure to check out my article about softeners.
When the level of iron in water is more than 5 mg/l, it makes sense to invest in an aeration filter system.
So what is the aeration you may wonder?
Aeration is the process of water treatment with the help of oxygen. Highly concentrated water comes in contact with oxygen.
After oxidation, iron particles turn into sediment and settle on the bottom. Water can then travel to the reverse osmosis system or an ion exchange resin.
This system is suitable to purify water where the iron concentration is 5 – 20 mg/l and more.
Reverse Osmosis Treatment
The reverse osmosis system can also treat the moderate amount of iron (10-15 mg/l). Water is passing through a special membrane under pressure, and membrane blocks 95-99% of all contaminants dissolved in water.
This system is efficient where a low amount of water is required to be filtered. The purification of large volumes is expensive and therefore not feasible.
So, for apartments and small houses, this is an almost ideal solution as the maintenance costs of RO filters are relatively small, although membrane needs to be replaced regularly or at least be chemically treated.
Make sure to also read about filters to remove sediment from your well water in the article here.
So, what is the cheapest way to remove iron from well water?
There are some ways that don’t require to invest at all. Water sedimentation is an excellent example of how to do so.
Other methods such as creating an improvised filter by using activated charcoal or using silicon or shungite stone will require a small investment.
All of these options will work, but the only problem is they will work with a low volume of water and will require much time to purify it.
If you are looking for the permanent solution to purify all of your water you should watch out and invest in the water filter.
If you have found this article helpful please share it with your friends, also I would love to hear your experience dealing with water that has a high concentration of iron.