Small quantities of iron can be troublesome in water. Dissolved iron in quantities as low as 0.3 parts per million can cause a lot of sink, fixtures, and floor staining. Additionally, iron causes some distinct changes in the taste of foods. The removal of iron is an essential part of improving the quality of water that comes into the home as well as protecting a person’s plumbing.
Types of Iron in Water
Most of the water softeners mainly aim at the removal of magnesium and calcium from the water system. However, most people who are living in the cities will have to deal with iron in the water system. Most people question, does a water softener remove iron? Before one can embark on the removal of iron from water, there is a need to understand the type of iron affecting the water system.
The first type of iron that exists is ferrous iron. This type of iron is completely dissolved in water. The best way to identify whether there is ferrous iron in the water is by collecting water and letting it sit for a day or two. If the water turns from clear to a rusty brown or yellowish color, then the water has ferrous iron that needs to be removed.
The second type of iron that creates problems in water is ferric iron. This is iron that has already been oxidized. The process of oxidation changes the iron into reddish particles. Having a particle property means that this type of iron can cause actual clogging of the showerheads, pipes, and filters over time. Additionally, the ferric iron causes a lot of wear and tear of the cleaning systems that people use in their homes.
Water Softeners and Iron Removal
Water softeners can provide a practical solution when it comes to iron removal from water. There are two questions that arise from the types of iron in the water. First, does a water softener remove iron that is ferrous in nature?
Ferrous iron is dissolved in water, but it has positive ions that can be swapped by the sodium ions used in water softeners. However, for this to work there is a need for the water to have some acidic properties. Acidic water dissolves the iron to ensure that it is ferrous allowing the water softener to work effectively using sodium swapping in the home.
Secondly, does a water softener remove iron that is ferric? Unfortunately, water softeners are not able to swap ferric iron from water since it already has formed into particles. The only way to remove particles is through the use of a filter. Measuring the amount of ferric iron can determine the best filter that can be used. Small quantities that are less than 1.5 parts per million can be removed using the filters that come along with the water softener. However, this means that the filter will have to be replaced more often. Any more will have to use a more advanced filter in the home.
Does a water softener remove iron that is both ferric and ferrous? A simple solution to remove iron from water involves first determining the type of iron that is in the water. In the case of ferrous iron, the use of the water softener will swap out the iron with sodium in the same way that calcium and magnesium iron are removed.
However, in the case that the iron is ferric a determination of how much ferric iron is important. Any amounts below 1.5 parts per million can be removed using the filter in high-quality water softeners.
Iron in water causes a lot of issues like pipe clogging and staining in the home. However, high-quality water softeners can easily remove the dissolved ferrous iron and filter out small quantities of ferric iron protecting your home from the harmful effects of iron in the water system.