Iron in Your Water
Fall is fast approaching. In some parts of the country, leaves will soon resemble the color of fire with brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. Imagine heading to the kitchen for a refreshing glass of water, but what comes out matches the leaves on your trees. That reddish water from your tap doesn’t exactly look refreshing. Looking closer, you might notice some yellow-orange staining around the drain. These are some telltale signs you have iron in your water.
What is iron? Iron is a plentiful natural resource, making up 5% of the earth’s crust. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a secondary contaminant, meaning iron has no known health risks. It is actually an essential mineral for our health, helping transport oxygen in our blood. We can get up to 5% of our daily dietary intake of iron from iron in our water, but our bodies have a hard time absorbing it from that source. We are better off relying on getting the iron our body needs from our diet or supplements. So, if iron doesn’t cause any problems by drinking it, why should we worry about its presence in well water? Let’s start by learning a little bit more about the different states iron can be found in.
Types of Iron
There are a couple of types of iron you can find in your water. Ferrous iron is soluble, also known as dissolved, in your water. This means your water looks clear with no visible iron at all. Ferric iron is insoluble, or still in its particle form. This is the iron you can see in your glass, whether the water is tinged reddish brown when it comes from the tap or you see small particles floating in your water after it has been set to rest for a while. Ferrous iron becomes ferric iron when exposed to air. This process is called oxidation. You can run a little experiment yourself at home to see this process in action. First, leave a glass of water out overnight. If it has ferrous iron in it, the amount of iron that is exposed to the air on the surface will oxidize and turn to ferric iron. In the morning, you will see small particles in the glass.
Signs of Iron in Water
It does not take much iron to start causing noticeable signs in your home. It takes only .3mg/L (milligrams per liter) of iron in your water for reddish-brown stains to start showing up on anything your water touches. What are the signs of too much iron in your water?
- Rings and Streak Stains in Toilet: Every time you flush the toilet, the water in the bowl comes in contact with air, this will cause any ferrous iron in your water to oxidize and become ferric iron. The ferric iron leaves rust stains around the edge of the water that sits in your bowl, and along the sides where water runs into the bowl when you flush.
- Yellow-Orange Stains in Sink: Look around the drain in your sink. If you are seeing yellow-orange stains, that is a sign of iron. As water sits there and evaporates, it leaves behind the iron.
- Yellowing Teeth: Even though you are brushing regularly, your teeth are still yellowing. This can be caused by iron particles being left behind.
- Clogging Pipes: When water with iron in it flows through your plumbing, the small particles of iron can build up over time. As the iron builds up more and more, it will begin to restrict water flow, clogging your pipes.
- Metallic Taste in Food and Drink: When there is iron in water, it can give your food and drink a metallic taste. It can also turn drinks like coffee and tea a darker color, and food cooked in water with iron can also turn dark and unappetizing.
- Stains on Laundry and Dishes: Similar to how iron in water can stain your sinks and toilets, the iron in the water can also stain your dishes and clothes, leaving them looking dingy and unclean.
How to Remove the Iron
Do you think you have problems with iron in your water? Give us a call! We’ll send one of our trained technicians to test your water. Our full line of Evolve water treatment systems includes the EVFE water filter. The EVFE water filter uses an air-induction process to oxidize ferrous iron. The iron particles are then filtered out, leaving you with clean water.
Whether it’s too much iron, or any other problem with your water, one of our trained technicians will test your water and review your water usage needs to make a customized recommendation for your home. With the full line of Evolve water treatment systems, we have the solution for your iron problems and more!