If you have excessive staining in your basins, tubs and sinks you may be in need of an iron water filter. Large amounts of iron in the water leading to your home can cause this orange colored staining. It’s also not uncommon for a rotten egg smell that seems to come from your water along with the staining. The smell is not caused by the iron, but rather by sulfur which is commonly carried in the water along with the iron.
It’s really quite unfortunate that iron in the water will cause discoloration on our fixtures, because otherwise the iron would be a relatively benign or even health element to have in our drinking water. But since it’s a nuisance, and because of the foul smelling sulfur that often comes with it, most people will want to get an iron water filter for their home. The extent of the size and cost of your filtration system will depend largely on the amount of contaminants you have in your water.
If you get your water from a public utility your iron problems will likely be minimal, if you have any problems at all. Most people who have extensive contamination issues with iron or any other material are typically drawing from a well. If your house is supplied by well water you should get your water tested to find out what, exactly, is in your water and in what amounts. Having you water tested will also let you know if your water is even safe to drink. An iron water filter will not make water that is non-potable suddenly drinkable.
Most system for filtering the iron from you water involve large tanks that must be set up in an area that is not often used. The setup appears similar to a water softener system, and has similar plumbing. If you have a utility area of your home, such as where there is already a furnace or water heater, this is a typical installation location. The location will also need access to drainage, as the system will need to flush out the filtering media from time to time.
A recent alternative to large, dedicated iron water filter systems is a cartridge based system. If you home is served by a municipal water supply and you still have issues with excessive iron in the water this could be a preferable solution. Rather than having large tanks to find a place for and filter media to replace, it’s possible to have 20 inch cartridge style filters.
While a cartridge style iron water filter system will require less installation and plumbing work than a tank based system, there is still some work that needs to be done. Since most plumbing is hidden away inside the home’s walls, you will need to modify the plumbing so that part of your main line will be accessible and have room for 20 inch filters. Since the filters need to be replaced periodically, you should keep enough room around them so that you can easily access them and where there will not be excessive damage from any accidental water spillage during replacement.
If you consult a qualified plumber before the installation of any such system, they will likely be able to guide you on the proper installation methods and give you ideas based on their experience. And you may decide that, after talking with your plumber, installing the iron water filter may be a job best left to professionals.