High iron water is a frustrating problem for homeowners with wells. From the ugly stains and discolored tap water to nasty iron bacteria in the toilet tank, iron is one of the most common complaints our water treatment experts around the country are asked to fix.
Many of these homes already have a water softener. So, why do they still have issues with iron?
Despite what you might think, a one-size-fits-all solution for residential water treatment is unrealistic. Every home’s water is unique, especially when it concerns Northern Nevada private well water. The water quality in your private well may be quite different from your neighbor’s down the road.
Let’s take a closer look at effective ways of removing iron from water and why your basic water softener isn’t doing the trick.
Why Your Water Softener isn’t Solving Your Iron Problem
It only takes a miniscule amount of iron in water to cause staining, as little as 0.3 parts per million (ppm). To put that into perspective, 1 ppm is equivalent to a milligram of iron (about one grain of sand) dissolved in a liter of water.
Water softeners can and do remove small amounts of iron. Yet, a standard softener is not specifically designed to treat high levels of iron in your water.
For example, the standard water softener systems we carry remove iron in concentrations up to 1 ppm, or 1 mg/L. However, due to geological makeup and groundwater quality, many parts of Reno, Sparks, Fernley, the Virginia City highlands, and Dayton, NV have significantly higher iron content than that.
It’s not uncommon to see water with 10 ppm of iron North Reno. In Susanville, 15 ppm is quite typical, and we’ve fixed iron problems in the Virginia City Highlands with levels over 25 ppm.
There’s a lot of natural iron in the soil along the region that percolates into the aquifer or the water tables.
A typical water softener contains resin beads that are designed to remove the hardness minerals calcium and magnesium through a process known as ion exchange. Water softener salts rinse over the resin to knock off the calcium and magnesium ions and flush them from the softener . But, excess iron often remains in the water traveling to your home for use.
Water Treatment Solutions for High Iron Water
If heavy iron is causing problems in your home, you may need to consider updating or supplementing your water treatment equipment.
Removing iron from water requires an understanding of the chemistry behind it.
There are two main types of iron in Reno water. First, there’s ferric iron, which is insoluble and visible to the naked eye. It’s commonly called “red water iron.” Then, there’s ferrous or soluble iron, which is dissolved in the water and invisible. We call this “clear water iron.”
Because water with ferric iron contains particulates, the iron can be filtered out with the right media. Dissolved iron is a bit trickier. It requires oxidation in order to change it from its dissolved state to particulate iron so it can be removed.
The most effective solution if you already own a softener is adding an iron filter. When we add an iron filter to a water softener, you get the best of both worlds. The chemical free, salt-free iron filter is now doing the majority of the work, so your softener doesn’t have to use nearly as much salt. Did you know that a standard water softener has to work 2.6 times harder to remove 1 ppm of iron than 1 grain of hardness? We regularly find water softeners in Fallon and Silver Springs, NV that are going through 3 or 4 bags of salt every week. Once we install an iron filter, we are able to make the same 3 or 4 bags of salt last 6 months to a year! It’s a major savings.
In addition to systems designed to oxidize and filter out iron, Pure Water Systems of Nevada has exclusive access to a proprietary water treatment media that is very good at removing iron. Crystal-Right is a unique synthetic zeolite that is ideal for treating many types of problem well water. If you do not currently have a softener installed or a looking to upgrade, Pure Water System’s Sanitizer is an excellent solution. It is effective at reducing iron, manganese, hardness, and can even raise pH in a single unit! I’ve gone into several homes with a wall of water treatment consisting of 5-6 tanks. We tear them all out, put in one of our Sanitizers, and get BETTER water quality. It’s amazing.
Dealing with Iron Bacteria
If you’ve ever lifted the top of the tank on the back of your toilet and noticed a bunch of slimy gunk floating around, you’ve witnessed iron bacteria. These bacteria feed off the iron in your water, and while it may not be a major health concern, it can cause several other issues.
Bacterial iron contributes to staining, negatively affects the taste and odor of your water, and it can clog up well pumps, dishwashers, and your water softener, too.
Shocking your well with chlorine is one way to address bacterial iron that as formed in your home. The chlorine generator on our Sanitizers can also be used to help prevent and bacteria growth inside your home’s water softener or system equipped with Crystal-Right media. For our air-injected iron filter, we also offers ozone generators. These generators take the O2 molecules already present in the air, and use them to create O3 (ozone). Everything is automatic with nothing to refill and no chemical levels to monitor. It’s the simplest way to keep your water system clean and sanitized.
Fix the Iron Issues in Your Home’s Water
While there are some temporary solutions for iron stains, there’s only one way to permanently fix the issues associated with high iron water: a Pure Water Iron System.
If you’d prefer to stop scrubbing stains out of sinks and toilets, hate the rusty marks on your laundry, and are sick and tired of unpleasing well water, our experts can test and evaluate the situation in your home and recommend the right solution.
The bottom line when it comes to iron is the iron filter is free. There are some things we treat for that are optional or a matter of preference with some nice benefits. Iron however, will ruin your home, clog your plumbing, stain your fixtures, ruin laundry, turn your hair orange, the list goes on. You are paying for it with or without a system, so you might as well stop scrubbing those stains and get water you can actually enjoy. Find out what will work for you …