The Effect of Iron
Before we delve into the filters themselves, we will take time to discuss everything iron and how it can affect you and the family.
Iron, as well as other minerals is found in well water. They are naturally occurring. On their own, most of these naturally occurring minerals are not harmful to your health or body. In fact, in many cases, the most inconvenience is a result of the strong metallic taste that iron gives your water. Thus, if it isn’t that harmful, is there any need to add an iron filter to your water system?
Iron is important in the body, and it is something that you should ingest. It is important, and depending on certain factors like age, sex, and your health condition, you even benefit from a moderate amount of iron in your water and food. WHO states that some doses of iron might be fatal. However, if you take around 10-50 mg of iron everyday, then it has a good effect on the body.
The problem arises when you take more than you should. If you take large amounts of iron , say from between 200- 250 mg, then you will have health complications. It can affect your stomach lining, and even death.
Some people come with certain health challenges that might be affected by iron intake. For example, people that suffer from hemochromatosis are susceptible to liver, heart and pancreas problems because of the intake of iron.
Well water is a source of iron. According to reports, though, well water has a relatively low concentration of iron. It often has less than 10 mg for every liter. To be on the safe side, you can consult your health practitioner about the effect on your body. Ingest a lot of iron can have damaging effects on your skip. Some have suffered from serious skin issues because of the presence of iron in their bathing water.
Although the vast majority of people are fine with the iron levels in well water, everyone will enjoy having an iron filter in their water system. Even if you do not suffer from any health issues, you can drink your water without any of that metallic taste in it. Adding this filter is also good for other things like the durability of your clothes and the performance of some of the appliances that use the water.
How Iron Enters Water
Since well water is deep in the ground, you might wonder how it manages to get into this water. Is well water deep? Well, relatively, it is not. Although the depth varies from home to home, well water is often less than hundreds of feet deep. This is how the iron gets in. The iron is introduced to the water via corrosion or seepage. Seepage occurs through natural occurrences like rain.
As the water runs into the ground, it absorbs some of the minerals in the soil like iron. The concentration of iron in your well water is dependent on different factors. Some of the main sources of this depends on the geological location of the well and its depth.
Aside from these natural sources, iron also manages to enter your water via corroded pipes. This is one reason why some do not like using iron pipes for transporting their water.
Removing Iron from Well water
As we have seen so far, most of the water in the ground has some minerals in it. Therefore, you might be looking for a way to get rid of that. Well, from our research, studies reveal that one very effective way of getting rid of these minerals is by filtration.
Yes, while it is near impossible to prevent minerals like iron from getting into the water, you can eliminate them when they come into your home for use. You can determine the amount of iron that you want the pipes to carry.
The first step, therefore, is to test and see the minerals in the water. After you have carried out all of these tests, you can then choose the correct filtration system that will end all the problems you might have. Some of the filters available on the market can help to eliminate up to 94% of the iron in the water.
You should note, though, that even the highest quality filters will not completely eliminate the iron in the water. However, it will keep the levels safe for you.
After installation of your chosen filtration system, you should test the water again. This will help you to know whether the filter works. Most of the options that we have recommended in this post come with very little maintenance requirements.
What is the Iron Filter?
Iron in water, as we have seen, is quite good – especially when it is in the correct quantity. When in the right amount, it helps in transportation of oxygen and the production of red blood cells. However, as we have often said, this is only great when it is in a small quantity.
The iron filter is what helps to remove the unwanted iron from your water.
How Does the Iron Filter Work?
You might be curious about just how this filter helps to remove iron from your water. In this section, we will have an overview of the important parts of this tool.
Iron filter, as you have seen in our roundup above, come in different shapes, designs, and types. Despite the differences, though, it should be noted that these devices work in a similar fashion. Go through our list and you will see that they have a 3-filtration process. Let’s see these processes.
The first process in an iron filter is the pre-treatment. As the name implies, this is the stage where the filter starts to clean the water. The filter employs an oxidant that causes precipitation in the water. This means that the particles will start to be eliminated. Once the precipitation occurs, you will see that the particles and minerals are easier to separate from the eater. It is imperative that these particles are completely oxidized. If the oxidization is not thorough, then the contaminants will not be completely removed.
The second process has the water passed through the filter bed. The bed is made to capture any of the precipitated contaminants. This is where the iron is removed from the water.
The filter medium will determine if the filter will eliminate just iron or if it can remove even other types of contaminants.
After this stage, the third and last process, in most cases, is self-cleaning. Here, the filter cleans itself out to remove the build-up of debris and particles. If the filter doesn’t carry out this process, the filter will become dirty and clogged, which in turn will affect the effectiveness. If you don’t clean it out yourself, your filter will break down and completely stop working.
Most of the options that we have considered in our roundup come with this working operation.
Pros and Cons of Iron Filter
As everything in this world also the iron filters for well water have their pluses and minuses, let’s have a closer look at them.
There are several advantages to using these appliances in your water. In this section, we consider the pros of the system.
- Removes Iron
Well, this was always going to be the main benefit, right? An iron filter is designed with the aim of helping you to reduce the amount of iron in your water. As we have said earlier, some level of iron in water can be beneficial. However, in large amounts, it can cause harm to the body.
It is therefore great that this system will help you to regulate the amount of iron in the water. With this system in place, your water will taste and smell much better.
- Removes Sediments
One of the processes involved in the operation of the iron filter is precipitation. Depending on the filter medium, you can have an iron filter that does not only help to remove iron, but also works to remove other impurities and sediments in the water.
- No Chemicals
Other forms of filtration might involve the addition of some type of chemical to eliminate other minerals. This can make your water taste and smell funny.
With iron filters, though, you can use them safely without any side-effects from chemicals. Some folks use water softeners in their system, but since this system doesn’t require that, you can say goodbye to any chemicals.
- Reduction of stains
When there is iron in your water, it not only affects your health. Since water is used in so many things around the home, iron in water can cause different issues like staining. And if you have appliances that use the water, they might suffer discoloration at best, and complete breakdown at worst. Therefore, adding an iron filter will remove these minerals, reduce staining and damage to your appliances.
- Low Maintenance
Nobody wants a system that needs constant supervision. Iron filters hold the advantage of being so easy to use and with little maintenance. You will find them super easy to use. Many of the options available on the market right now have a friendly interface and some even come with remote control. Thus m you will find it easy to monitor your water and adjust whatever parameters.
Another benefit of this design is that iron filters are self-cleaning. So you’d not have to worry a lot about cleaning it after use.
Cons of Iron Filter:
As with almost every other system, it comes with disadvantages. Thankfully, the cons are very minute.
- Targets only Iron
This is the only issue that you might have with an iron filter. The filter might not clean away other minerals.
Thankfully, several of the options on the market are designed to help get rid of all types of impurities.
Best Method for Filtration
If your home has hard water, you certainly want something that will help you to get rid of that. One of the things that you can use is a softener. These work to reduce the build-up of calcium in your water. However, if you are determined to remove as much iron as possible, you cannot rely solely on a softener. While the softener will eliminate the ferrous iron, it will face problems with iron as time progresses. This is because this is liable to clog up the system.
Not everyone has this softener in their home, therefore, they might opt for a system that combines an iron filter and a softener. This works excellently. If you already have this softener in your system, then your work is pretty easy. All you need now is to buy any of the iron filters that we have discussed above. This comes with several advantages. For one, you will get a more thorough filtration. It will also make your softener work for longer since it doesn’t have to do all the work.
Whole house systems are increasingly popular. An example is the iSpring WGB21BM. This is avery good option because it ensures that all the sources of water in an around the home are filtered and clean. However, if you would be buying this type of filter, then you should have carried out enough testing that shows that you have a low iron content.
By using the whole house filtration system, you will have all the types of iron, both ferrous and non-ferrous eliminated from your water. It might be slightly more expensive than other options, but the result of clear, clean water is definitely worth it.
This system comes with a trio of separate filters, which each filter offering something unique. Most of these, though, don’t come with a softener, so that might be an independent purchase.
Another type of filtration that is used by homes around the country is the air injection. This system is quite effective at turning the ferrous iron in your water into ferric. Once this is done, you will realize that the iron is easier to remove from your water. It is a very effective method. However, it also comes with some downsides. The main downside of this is that the iron might not completely oxidize. Therefore, the iron might start to build-up, and clog up your filter and some other appliances that use the water. The Durawater Air Injection Iron Eater Filter is an example of this type of filter.
Are you confused about which of the options that we have discussed to use? Well, the best for you is dependent on the needs that you have. In our opinion, using a softener with any of the best iron filters for well water that we have reviewed so far will help you to remove most of the iron.
Considerations when choosing an iron filter
There are some things to think about before you choose an iron filter. In this section, we consider some of them.
Use and Reuse
Some have wondered whether an iron filter can be cleaned after use and reused. Well, this depends on the type that you buy. An iron filter, when properly used, can last for a long time, even more than one year. While you certainly want your filters to be clean, the fact is that you cannot remove the filter, clean it, and then reuse it.
Are these filters necessary? Well, if you have been following us since, you’d realize that these filters are very important. It doesn’t matter if you are using the public supply or your own well, the filters will help to eliminate the dangers that you might find in your water.
Features to Consider when choosing Iron Filter
When choosing an iron filter, there are several important features that you have to consider. In this section, we will discuss some of the best features to look out for when making a buying choice.
The first thing that you have to consider is the type of filter that you are buying. A glance at the market shows that there are several types of this system available. In this section, we consider the most common types that you will find.
As the name suggests, these are installed upright. Many of them are fitted with water softeners, although some models do not have this feature. Another feature that is sometimes found in this type of iron filter is a digital interface. This can be used to control the system and provide information about important parameters. The options that come with softeners require that you keep up a steady supply of salt to help the process and remove impurities.
This type is quite common and many prefer them. However, there are some downsides. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of this type of iron filter is that it adds salt into the water supply. Thus, if you have a medical issue that is affected by salt intake, you might be wary of this type. The Durawater Air Injection Iron Eater Filter is an example of this.
The other important type is the two-in-one option. This type is very handy and comes with cool features, Perhaps the best feature is that it comes with a softener and the iron filter. Therefore, you do not need to buy a softener for the water. It is very efficient at eliminating particles and contaminants.
This is a hugely popular option. Just as the name implies, it comes with a trio of filter cartridges. It is very effective at removing multiple types of contaminants at a go. By using this, you remove, not just iron, but other minerals like heavy metals, and other contaminants like pesticides, VOCs, bacteria, and more. The Express Water WH300SCKS is a 3-stage iron filter.
Another important factor to consider, and this is also related to the type of filter, is the medium of the filter. Water softeners, for instance, use salt as the filter medium. That is why they require a steady supply of salt to remove contaminants.
The softeners work pretty well at removing water hardness. However, the downside of this medium is that it doesn’t do more to remove other impurities in the water.
The 3-stage filter often uses another filter medium, depending on the stage. The medium found in this type of iron filter include KDF, sediment, and Carbon filter.
The sediment filter, as implied, removes bigger particles like sand in the water. After this is done, the KDF filter medium removes an even larger percentage of smaller particles.
The carbon filter medium targets any chemicals and contaminants that might affect the taste and smell of the water.
Therefore, when choosing your iron filter, you should consider the medium that it will be using.
Maintenance of the System
When choosing an iron filter, the maintenance is one of the most important things that you have to consider. If you buy something, you certainly don’t want to spend most of the time cleaning it or checking on it. That is why it is important to choose something that will last you for long.
With regards to iron filters, the thing is that the lifespan of the filter depends on quite a number of factors apart from your maintenance. One of the most important factors affecting the lifespan of the filter is the contamination level of the water and the amount of water that passes through the filter daily.
If your family is comprised of four people, and your water is heavily contaminated with particles, you will certainly use up more water than a smaller family. More water will pass through the filter and this will affect how long you can use the filter.
Most of the manufacturers in this industry make iron filters and provide these with their dates of expiry or just give a general lifespan that is expected from a filter before you have to change it. Therefore, it is recommended that you look through the packaging and reviews from other users before you commit to buying an iron filter.
If the system involves the use of a softener, then what you will need most of the time is to simply replenish the salt supply. If you model doesn’t have that provision, it would likely come with cartridges that need replacement after some time. You have to factor in the cost of these as well. You also need to know how easy it would be to replace them.
The lifespan of the cartridge will depend on the filter and the model.
Maintenance of the iron filter might be a tad more expensive than you might expect, but that is a small price to pay when you consider that this will keep you healthy and your devices in good working condition.
As with every other system or appliance on the market, iron filters come at different costs. This cost spreads across the initial amount paid to buy the filter to the cost of maintaining it. If you do not know what you are buying, it is easy to buy one that is more than you can afford in the long run.
Before you make the purchase, do a cost analysis and consider all the things that you will spend on maintaining the filter. Aside from that, you should consider how much it can save you.
Think about the hard water for example. If left unchecked, this can wreak havoc on your appliances that use the water. These might include washing machines, dishwashers, heaters, and so on. Plenty of iron in the water can stain your clothes and make them smell.
While the iron filter system might be initially expensive, extending the lifespan of your machines, clothes and other things that use water in the home is worth the price.
In our roundup above, we consider some cheap options that still offer some excellent performance all round. The iFilters FBA-MWH-D-WELL is our budget option.
Another important factor to consider when buying your iron filter is the size of the system. Depending on whether you buy the right size or not, this can make or mar your experience with the filter.
The size of the filter is dependent on the grains that the filter has. If the model comes with a grain-based system, you must consider the grains per gallon of the unit.
Calculating the size that you need based on your water consumption might be a hassle, but there are online calculators that can help you to calculate accurately. In most cases, all you need to know to determine the size are the iron levels and the hardness levels of the water.
Many of the best options on the market, especially those that are multi-stage, come with manufacturer’s ratings.
The capacity is important, especially if you have a family. The models that we have discussed above come with the ability to successfully cater for a household of four. However, if your family is bigger than that, you should consider getting a model with a larger capacity.
The physical size of the unit is also important. If it is too big, it might not find a space for installation. And even if there is space, the size can make it quite difficult to install on your own. An example of a large model is the Aquasana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST.
Ease of Installation
Another vital feature that must be considered is how easy the filter is to set up. Except you have some pretty good DIY skills, it might not do you any harm to seek the services of a professional to set up the system.
However, we recommend that you choose an option that you can easily set up. To that end, you should consider the instruction manual and the clarity of these instructions. Some of the best models also come with all the necessary hardware for installation in them. If this is the case, installing the filter should be really easy.
Coupled with the ease of installation is the accessibility of replacements. Iron filter systems often come with durable filters. However, over time, these might degrade and clog up. You should choose a model that comes with parts that are easy to find on the market. That way you can quickly repair or replace any parts without paying through the nose.
Build and Construction
You certainly do not want to spend money on an iron filter only for it to break down after the first few weeks of use. That is why you should look for models that offer excellent durability. Many pf the options that we reviewed in our roundup come with high quality parts that will last for a long period.
The best options on the market, like the Iron Pro 2 Combination comes with a durable build.
You should also consider where you plan on installing the unit. If you set it up in an outdoor area, it will likely get exposed to the elements which can affect the housing material and quality. Therefore, if you would be installing outdoors, look for filters that are built to last even in bad weather.
However, if you would be setting it up indoors, a solid plastic housing is enough. The Express Water WH300SCKS is a good example of this type of filter.
This involves choosing a model that will suit the capacity that you will use. If you purchase a filter with a smaller capacity than you need, then you will have to frequently change the filter. Some of the best models on the market have filters that can last for years. However, the majority of the options on the market will last for months or around a year. The Durawater Air Injection Iron Eater Filter, and Iron Pro 2 Combination are incredible options that can last for up to five years before it requires any replacements. Others, like the Aquasana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST last for around 6 to 12 months depending on the use.
Whenever the filter needs replacement, you should have the replacements handy. This involves buying a model with easily accessible parts.
Quality of Water
Before you choose an iron filter, it is important to choose according to the condition of your water. If the water is from the municipality, then you might be better of looking for a whole house water filter like the iSpring WGB21BM. This type of filter will work well against contaminants found in this type of water. The important thing is that it comes with a sediment and activated carbon filter.
If the water is from your well, then you should consider any of the options we have discussed above. One of the best filters that it might have is a UV filter. The Aquasana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST offers this type of protection.
It is also a good idea to consider going for filters with a high capacity. That way, you would not have to constantly replace the filter.
Tips on how to install and use your iron filter for well water
Well, the way you use the iron filter varies depending on the model. Therefore, there are no hard and fast rules.
Nevertheless, it is important to change the filters whenever indicated by the filter. This will make it work effectively and last longer.