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A high concentration of iron is one of the most common water quality issues. Iron, whether dissolved or even slightly oxidized, can cause many effects on our health and wellbeing – from unsightly stains to embarrassing hair discoloration – not to mention it can disrupt your household appliances.

Removing iron from water is one of the best things you can do for your family’s health. It isn’t just a matter of aesthetics – it’s about protecting yourself and your household from harmful effects that could be caused by too much iron in the water that you drink every day.

In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about iron water contamination and the benefits of removing iron from water.

How Does Iron Get Into Water?

Iron usually gets into water from rusty pipes or surrounding rocks and soil. In fact, the EPA estimates that almost 1 in 4 Americans get their water from a system that delivers water through iron-containing pipes. On top of this, iron levels may increase in your well water if your well is older, because the corrosion of metal components causes more to seep into the water.

Types of Iron in Water

Two types of iron can be in your water.

Dissolved Iron

This type is found in high levels and can cause dark, rust, or reddish staining. Removing dissolved iron from water often requires a home filtration system like an under-sink filter or a whole house filter, because the source (the pipe) will still deliver high levels of iron in the water.

Ferric Iron

This type of iron is at low levels and causes pale yellow to gold staining. The issue usually comes from older plumbing materials that are corroding and leaching iron into your water. Removing only the ferric iron may be all you need to do to improve your water quality.

How To Detect Iron in Water

There are several ways to test for high levels of iron in your water.

  1. Smell test: If you can smell a metallic odor coming from the tap, there is probably too much iron (or manganese) in the water. 
  2. Visual inspection: Iron stains are typically brown or orange in color. You may find them in toilets, sinks, tubs, and showers.
  3. Water testing: If your water smells like rust or is discolored, there’s a chance that it contains high levels of iron (or manganese). It is best to contact a professional to conduct a water test.

Test results will show if there is too much iron in the water and how much there is. Removing iron from water can be done with either an under-sink filtration system, whole house water filtration system, or other methods such as a reverse osmosis unit.

What Do High Iron Levels Look Like?

Iron levels in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/l), which is about three parts per million (ppm). However, if you have very high iron levels in your water, it may appear yellow or orange.

5 Benefits of Removing Iron From Water

1. Removes Unsightly Stains

Removing iron from water eliminates the unsightly stains caused by high concentrations of iron in the water. Removing these stains will:

2. Removes Iron Buildup

Iron builds up over time and causes equipment to corrode more quickly than it should. Removing iron from the water helps avoid this buildup and prevents expensive appliances from needing replacement prematurely.

3. Removes Offensive Odors and Bad Tastes

Iron can give off a metallic smell or unpleasant taste in drinking water. Removing iron from your drinking water can help restore a fresh, clean scent to your household. It will also help restore a fresh, clean taste to your tap water. Removing Iron from water is also known to improve the taste of coffee, tea, and other beverages made with filtered water.

4. Removes Other Contaminants

Iron is one of the most common contaminants in water. Removing iron from the water helps to get rid of other pollutants as well. We often think of only removing lead, mercury, and arsenic from water sources to improve quality, but removing iron can also help reduce the number of harmful chemicals that end up in the water you drink.

5. Strengthens Health

The EPA has deemed iron to be a human carcinogen after years of research and studies. Long-term effects include:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Infections
  4. Alzheimer’s disease

Removing iron from the water prevents these effects, so people can live better lives without worrying about health complications related to high iron levels in the drinking water.


Removing iron from water is one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of your household’s drinking water. It benefits your health, helps keep appliances working properly, prevents embarrassing stains, and keeps water tasting great.

If you suspect that your water has iron, KWater Treatment can help. We will give you a free water test, and recommend and provide the most efficient solution to your water problems. Visit our website to view our locations or contact us for more information.

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