How to remove iron from well water

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mommy21101, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. mommy21101

    mommy21101 Well-Known Member

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    We are looking at buying a place near the end of Janurary, that we really like. It runs off of well water though. The water looks clear when running, but when you put it in a glass, it kind of has a red tint to it. The camodes and the dishwasher are stained red. We think this is iron. My question is, can just a water softener remove this, or will we need to get something else? Does anybody have any experience with this?
     
  2. mwhit

    mwhit Well-Known Member

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  3. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we lived in MI we had alot of iron in the water. We had a settling sand tank on our water line from the well and the house water was fine. DEE
     
  4. mommy21101

    mommy21101 Well-Known Member

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    I will do a seach on one of these. We're trying to explore all options, including running lines and tapping with the local water user's association (big bucks). The well is there and working, people have been renting the place for the last year, and just using bottled water for drinking and cooking-- a rediculous expense if you ask me :rolleyes: but, since they were renting... anyway, my goal is to be able to get the well water cleaned up in some way, and the water user's thing as a last resort.
     
  5. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had iron in our well water AND iron-eating bacteria and it was a mess. Even with two filters everything was stained and discolored. I didn't know well water could be so bad as we had several wells at other houses and they were wonderful. Our water would look clear but if left to sit overnight it was all rusty. That was one happy day when we were able to hook up to city water!
     
  6. kaeko2003

    kaeko2003 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like rust algae to me. Had it once in our well The well guy came out and shocked the well with chlorine tablets. Once the algae was taken care of we put a clorinater on the system and no more rust!
    Carol
     
  7. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

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    A water softener can handle the rust problem but the treated water will probably be unsuitable for drinking due to the salt content. One way to solve this would be to install a small reverse osmosis system to be used for drinking and cooking only.
     
  8. mommy21101

    mommy21101 Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean one of those little under the sink things, that has its own little faucet by your normal sink faucet? Would that much salt in the water be bad for bathing, gardening or animals? I know its a lot of questions, but I'm trying to learn everything I can before we get into this.
     
  9. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    We lived with the red in our water for a couple of years.

    We then got a 400.00 water softner from Home depot and plumbed it in ourselves. Works great and all the red stains are gone.Only cost about 450.00
    No salt in the water. Salt is used to clean the resin but is flushed before the new water starts going through the system.

    Jill
     
  10. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Actually, if you have the type of softener that uses salt to regenerate the resin, it definitely increases the sodium in your water. In simple terms, the salt doesn't clean the resin. The resin "holds onto" the sodium when it's regenerated, then basically releases the sodium and captures the components that make your water hard. It won't taste salty, but it's there.

    My well has plenty of iron and iron bacteria. It can be pretty easily treated with plain ole bleach, and if you do it regularly it won't be much of a problem. I sure wouldn't let it stop me from buying a piece of property I wanted.
     
  11. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    I am not an expert on softners but this was some of the info I found.

    "NOTE: Until recently, a major objection to water softeners was the sodium they added to the water.
    Now, potassium chloride salt substitute is widely available. Instead of exchanging hardness for sodium
    (which most people get too much of in their diets), it exchanges for more healthful POTASSIUM
    (which most people don't get enough of). Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in potassium.
    It also exchanges most naturally occurring sodium in your water for potassium. People trying to watch their sodium intake can now have the benefits of a water softener, and drink SODIUM-FREE soft water!"

    Jill
     
  12. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My brother in law lives about 45 miles from us and has a terribly high iron content in his well. Ruined a lot of laundry, etc. They have a softner and some other system in place, which is the only way they can deal with the iron. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Something is wrong with about any property you look at, just weather you can live with the problems or not. Jan in Co
     
  13. Jersey Milker

    Jersey Milker Member

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    You might look into a iron filter to filter the iron out of the water, we live in a area here in Michigan where iron is a big problem. The iron filter is similar to a water softner but uses a different media to remove the iron or rust out of the water, We have installed both a water softner and a iron filter to help combat the problem. Only draw back to this system is the fact that the cost is double to purchase as well as it uses the salt tank of the softner to regenerate like the softner does so you use more salt. Works good and really does remove the rust without buying all those tiny filters that you have to change all the time. If you need more info I will find the name of the company that manufactures the system so you can check them out.I work for a mechanical contractor part time and we have installled a few of these for people with terrible rust and iron problems.
     
  14. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    People love my red-gold hair color....if I fix the iron problem, I'd be just another ditzy blonde! Seriously, it changes even your hair color. The cat tries to "cover it up" if we forget and give him tap water instead of bottled water.
     
  15. TheBlueOne

    TheBlueOne Well-Known Member

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    Our previous house had hard water in excess of 20 grains. We tried the potassium alternative by completely emptying the brine tank and refilling it with potassium chloride and the water was still undrinkable; it now had a strong metallic taste.
    A water softener removes the iron ion (Fe+2) and replaces it with either a sodium ion (Na+2) or potassium ion (K+2); it's a simple ionic exchange. If the water started out full of iron after treatment with a softener it's going to full of something else depending on what you rinse the resin bed with.
    Reverse osmosis (R.O. for short) can be small enough to fit under the sink or large enough to handle the whole house. A whole house system runs $3000 and up and there will be yearly filter and membrane changes required. However, EVERYTHING comes out of the water. Around here farmers with shallow wells use them because of potential ground water contamination from the chemicals they apply to the fields. A small under the sink system is available at Home Cheapo for $300 or so.
    It's not a problem for bathing, in fact soft water is a good thing. Not a problem for animals either, think of the water as a "liquid salt block". As far a gardening, at my previous house I had the most productive garden in the area.
    The first thing to do is acquire a couple of water samples and have the water tested. The answer will be in grains of hardness and will help determine which treatment will be cost effective.
     
  16. mommy21101

    mommy21101 Well-Known Member

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    Too Funny...LOL
     
  17. mommy21101

    mommy21101 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all of the information everyone-- I found out that I can take samples to Sears and they'll test it and tell us what they recommend-- then from there, I guess we can shop around for the best price :)

    I'll swear it forever: There isn't a question I can ask Homesteading Todayers that an answer can't be found for! You guys are great
    :bow:
     
  18. arbutus

    arbutus Well-Known Member

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    Bacterial Iron will stain your stuff red and taste/smell like water at the local swimming hole. There is a test for this but the smell/taste + red buildup in the toilets, bathtubs, sinks, and dishwashers makes it readily identifiable.


    This is the remedy I use:

    Dilute a gallon of bleach in 5 gallons of water and dump it down the well pipe.
    Run the water out the garden hose until you smell the bleach.
    Run the water inside until you smell bleach at each faucet.
    Flush the toilets a few times.
    Put the garden hose in the top of the well pipe so that the pump is circulating the bleach water mix.
    Let it run for 8 hours.
    Pull the hose and water the flowers or garden or driveway for another 8 hours.
    Run the faucets inside for a few hours.

    Repeat as needed. With my well it is every 10 months. This is called a chlorine shock.

    You can buy a chlorinator that will kill the iron bacteria and a charcoal filter that will take the chlorine out. Plumb the chlorinator in front of your existing pressure tank and the charcoal filter after the tank. You will have to size them according to the capacity of your pressure tank. Smaller tank = More chlorine = larger charcoal filter

    Good luck.

    A water softener WILL NOT help a bacterial iron problem. They only help hardness problems.

    J
     
  19. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Do you know where I could find more info about one of these?
     
  20. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    We have fine iron sediments in our water. We put in a cheap whole house filter system for about $50. We then went to a plumbing supply place and bought filter cartridges that filter to a MUCH smaller particle size. We've worked our way down from 25 microns to 10 microns and next we will try 5 microns. Smaller than that we will have to upgrade to something that can do smaller stuff but I doubt it will be a reverse osmosis system like some water stores want you to believe.

    We did have a comprehensive well water test done too and the iron levels were not so high that it spiked their findings, it's just a matter of preserving our appliances. ;)