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Is Iron in Water Bad? (Plus Simple Ways to Remedy It)

Is Iron in Water Bad? (Plus Simple Ways to Remedy It)

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Have you ever wondered why tap or well water tastes differently? Whether you are enjoying a glass of water at your own house, at a neighbor’s house or even at a public restaurant, these waters will taste slightly different. 

You might begin to wonder why this would be case, as doesn’t all water come from the same place?

The answer is yes, within each city water does come from the same place, but no, the water might not taste the same. The most likely answer as to why is simple – the levels of iron are different in each instance where you are drinking or using water.

Within this article, I’m going to cover the gamut of questions concerning iron within water. Why is there Iron in my Water? Are there any negative effects of having elevated levels of iron in water? If you have too much iron, can you reduce the amount? 

I’ll give you the answers you are looking for so you can feel comfortable with the amount of iron you have within your own water source.

Why Is There Iron in My Water?

Iron is a natural substance within the Earth. Most water supplies within cities are based upon needing rain water to fulfill demand. As the rain water seeps through the ground and into the water supply used by cities, it will pick up iron deposits along the way. 

Once the water is gathered by your water company, it is filtered and screened for a variety of different chemicals. It is tested for iron, but as long as it meets the approved baseline, then it is allowed through and is ready for distribution to your place of living.

The typical baseline for iron within your drinking water is less than ten milligrams per one liter of water. At a normal rate, it is barely noticeable to your senses, but it still provides you with some substance. 

In fact, if you do drink water from your house, more than likely it is providing you with up to 5% of your needed iron intake on any given day! 

The Negative Effects of Having Elevated Levels of Iron in Your Water

As with any element, there are going to be some negative side effects if you have elevated amounts. 

From a health standpoint, your body already deals with iron in a very positive way. Iron helps with your blood stream, as it moves oxygen around and throughout your body. 

It is not wise to deprive your body of iron, as it is a necessary component to a healthy lifestyle. This is why, when you go to donate blood or platelets, they test for your iron; if your levels are too low, then the blood you donate will not function properly.

In contrast, having an excess amount of iron is not detrimental to your health either, as long as you don’t have too much for too long. If you have too much iron, your skin will start turning more of a bronze color, and it could lead to some joint pain or even diabetes. 

You could also experience an iron overdose if you take an iron supplement and you have elevated levels of iron in your water. If this is the case, you’ll experience some random vomiting and nausea, along with the bronzed skin.

If you experience any of these on a constant basis, you should go see your doctor and have them test your iron levels.

There are some other, non-body related side effects to be aware of. One of the first signs of elevated iron levels in your water will be with your clothes you wash in your washing machine. 

You will see a red, rusty color starting to show up on your clothes, and when this happens, you need to have the issue addressed immediately. 

This color stain is nearly impossible to get out of clothes; once it is there, you can’t get rid of it. Sometimes the color is caused by iron, and other times it is a sign of rust within your pipes, which could have been caused by too many iron deposits in the pipes. 

Either way, if you see any rusty red stains on your clothes, you need to have the pipes of your living area looked at right away.

You’ll also notice a more metallic tasting water if you have elevated levels of iron. Although you may drink the water by itself and it may taste alright, once you start combining the water with other ingredients, the metallic taste will start to become enhanced. 

This is especially true when you make lemonade, hot chocolate, tea or coffee. You might also notice the water will turn a black or inky residue when cooking vegetables or pasta. 

Once again, if this happens, have your water tested right away, as this is a clear sign of elevated iron levels.

How to Reduce the Amount Iron in Your Water

It is possible to reduce the amount of iron you have coming into your place of living. However, as with everything, it depends upon how much you want to spend to help alleviate this issue. 

Before you were to make any decisions, if you feel as if you have too much iron in your water supply, you should have it tested first. Although there are some kits you can find at a local hardware store, it is recommended that you have this test completed by a professional plumber. 

The kits at a hardware store are only set to test certain types of iron, whereas a licensed plumber will be able to give you the full array of iron readings. 

Once you determine what the amount of iron is (remember, the baseline is 10 ml per 1 liter), then you can come up with a solution.

Within the marketplace, there are a variety of treatments which are available. You might just need a water softener or a basic filtration device installed, which are a little pricey to begin with, but the maintenance is pretty low. 

Or, you might have a serious problem and need to do an ozonation treatment, which is basically adding oxygen into the water in order to help absorb some of the iron. This is a very powerful, but very expensive, treatment.

One other solution you may be able to employ is using well water versus the tap water you currently have. A well water system means digging out a hole deep enough to find a natural water source, which is typically between 100 – 500 feet deep. 

This can be very costly at first, but once installed, you won’t have a water bill again as the water for your place of living will come directly from the ground. With the well, you would also have to invest in a pump, which would need to be serviced yearly.

Final Thoughts

You already more than likely have iron in your water, and hopefully it is at a low traceable amount. You can test your water to ensure it is no more than the standard baseline, but you only need to have it tested if you start seeing some rusty coloring or if you start to experience some major intestinal issues on a constant basis.

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