We are often asked "What is the best iron filter?". The real answer is, it depends.
The process of converting Ferrous iron to Ferric iron is dependent upon several factors. The most important factor for effective iron removal is the pH level of the water. The pH level strongly dictates which approach to take regarding the removal of iron. Higher pH levels are more favorable for effectively oxidizing the iron. A pH level of 6.8 or higher is desirable. Low pH waters can also be effectively treated for iron removal, but the process becomes a little more involving.
- Ferrous - This type of iron is often called "clear water iron" since it is not visible in poured water. It is found in water which contains no oxygen, such as water from deep wells or groundwater.
- Ferric - Ferric iron is also known as "red water iron". This type of iron is basically ferrous iron which has been exposed to oxygen (oxidized), usually from the air. These oxidized particles are generally visible in poured water.
- Bacterial Iron - Slime depositing in toilet tanks or fouling water filters and softeners is a good indication of the presence of bacterial iron. Iron bacteria live by obtaining energy through the oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron and utilize the resulting CO2 to create organic molecules for their existence. Growths of these bacteria result in a gelatinous material, which can clog pipes and cause a foul taste. This material often forms in the tanks of toilets and will produce a "rainbow" slick on the surface. Iron bacteria can be readily identified by the red, feathery floc which forms overnight at the bottom of a sample bottle containing iron and iron bacteria. In some places, it causes great damage; in others, it is considered a minor nuisance.
Additional Iron Bacteria & Sulfur Reducing Bacteria Information:
Bacterial contamination of a water supply doesn't always mean 'health hazard'. Some types of bacterial contamination are more annoying than harmful. Iron and sulfur bacteria are two of the most common bacterial contaminants that well owners face. Neither type of bacteria is particularly harmful, at least not at the levels usually seen in well systems. However, they can be incredible nuisances.
Iron Bacteria is generally more common than sulfur bacteria, simply because iron is abundant in ground water. Iron bacteria are "oxidizing agents". That is, they combine iron or manganese dissolved in ground water with oxygen. A side effect of the process is a foul smelling brown slime which can coat well screens, pipes, and plumbing fixtures. This slime isn't a health hazard, but it can cause unpleasant odors, corrode plumbing equipment, and clog well screens and pipes. If conditions are right, the bacteria can grow at amazing rates and an entire well system may be rendered virtually useless in just a few months.
There are several signs that may indicate an iron bacteria problem. Water may have a yellow, red, or orange color. Rusty slime deposits may form in toilet tanks. A strange smell resembling fuel oil, cucumbers, or sewage may be noticeable. Sometimes the odor will only be apparent in the morning or after other extended periods of non-use.
There are two categories of sulfur bacteria: sulfur oxidizers and sulfur reducers. Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria produce effects similar to those of iron bacteria. They convert sulfide into sulfate, producing a dark slime that can clog plumbing. Sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRBs) live in oxygen-deficient environments. They break down sulfur compounds, producing hydrogen sulfide gas in the process. Hydrogen sulfide gas is foul-smelling and highly corrosive.
A related nuisance problem that can result from sulfate in water is sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. These nonpathogenic bacteria convert sulfide into sulfate, producing a dark slime that can clog plumbing and/or stain clothing. Blackening of water or dark slime coating the inside of toilet tanks may indicate a sulfur-oxidizing bacteria problem. Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are less common than sulfur-reducing bacteria
Many of our customers know they have iron in their well which causes staining on fixtures and applications or off-tastes in drinking water. The first step to treating these problems is having your water tested to find out what type of iron you have and exactly how much iron you're dealing with. With this information, RainDance can then direct you to the best water treatment equipment that will work with your water chemistry and give you the results you expect.
Email our well water team: WellWater@RainDanceH2OStore.com or chat with a Live Rep to start your iron filter shopping!