What is the Cheapest Way to Remove Iron From Well Water?

cheapest way to remove iron from well water

Iron is a chemical element which occurs in many of earth’s substances including water. Although this mineral is crucial for the growth and development of the body, consuming it with your daily water is somewhat more harmful than beneficial. Increased levels of iron might be found in mineral water, tap water and especially in wells. Knowing that well water is the main source of water for the whole household that is a troublesome issue. But then how might one know that his well water is full of iron?To identify the presence of iron in well water firstly take a transparent glass fill it with water from your well and allow it to stand. In that way you will be able to examine all of the main factors that will indicate iron. Before examining your water keep in mind the two sorts of iron that might appear – that is ferric and ferrous.

  • Color

One of the first steps to examine the iron is simply to look at the color. If you see discoloration of red, yellow or orange water, you probably have ferric iron present in it. Since ferric iron is the type of iron that has been oxidized it can be captured in a filter. On the other hand, if you see your water coming clear at first but you can spot a red or brown color after it sits, your well probably has ferrous iron which has not yet been exposed to the oxygen and has to treated in other ways that filters (but we will inform you about that later in a text).

  • Taste and smell

Other factors of identifying iron in your well water is to evaluate taste and smell. If your water has either types of iron present you will notice a red, yellow or brown residue and it will give your food and beverages a metallic taste with acidic smell. 

Even though iron is a vital contaminant, the human body takes a needed amount with inner processes or foods. This means that consuming iron with your daily water is excessive. Iron in your water is harmful for your health and will negatively affect your hair and skin cells. The latter becomes even more serious if the iron in your well signifies the presence of iron bacteria (microscopic organisms that feed off of the iron) which, once entered the body, might cause infections and diseases when digested. Moreover, iron might be rough on your laundry, dishes, baths, pipes etc.

We believe that if by now you have doubts whether your well water has iron you are sure willing to eliminate it since this is a problem that overtakes your family and house from the inside and out affecting the quality of your life. As you understand the importance of clearing this mineral out the cheapest way to remove iron from your well water would be to use simple household elements like a bucket. However, in this article we will present more ways of removing iron from well water that are both cheap and effective.

For easy comparison take a look at the summary of the best ways to remove iron from your well water depending on their advantages and costs:

SedimentationDIY process, that requires basic elements found in every home10-20$
Active CharcoalRemoves toxins but keeps beneficial salts and minerals10-30$
ChlorinationTime consuming yet cheap and effective from the core of the problem5-10$
Water SoftenersTreats both water hardness and iron. Most effective when using with additional filters.300-500$
AerationA natural process in which iron is removed together with other harmful elements like ammonia, chlorine, methane and many more.300-700$
PasteurizationVery effective yet pricey5.000-10.000$
Reverse OsmosisMakes your water the purest it can be.150-1000$
All of these methods are described in details below.

Cheapest Ways to Get Rid of Iron from Well Water

Water Sedimentation

How much will it cost: 0 to 10 $ (that is if you do not own a bucket or a any sort of storage tank)

Filter: 18$

In terms of its elements water can be improved simply by leaving it sit undisturbed until larger particles like iron would settle on the bottom. This method is called sedimentation. Although, the sedimentation method has been practised since ancient times it is still valid to this day. To sediment your water at home simply fill a bucket or a larger storage tank if needed and let it sit for a few hours. After that time larger particles and microbes will be sedimented, yet for the smaller contaminants like clay particles and smaller microbes let the water sit overnight. After your water has settled carefully remove your cleared water without disturbing sedimented particles.

Although sedimentation method is the cheapest for more effective results of sedimentation consider using sedimentation filters. These types of filters physically block any unwanted particles from your water making it clean for you to use daily.

Activated Charcoal

How much will it cost: 0-5$

Filter: 25$

Another easy and cheap way to remove iron from your water is by using activated charcoal. Because of its abilities activated charcoal filters your water from toxins yet keeps beneficial minerals and salts. To create an activated charcoal filter simply crush your charcoal and place it tightly into a container made of dense material. Then let your water drip through the filter and enjoy clean water supply.

This type of inexpensive home made filter will clear only small amounts of water. Therefore, for larger quantities use activated charcoal filters that are inserted into the water cleaning systems providing free from iron water supply for your household.


How much will it cost: 5-10$

A cheap way to remove all types of iron from your well water is to disinfect it. The cheapest and most effective way to do so is to use a combination of any form of household bleach and white vinegar. Before starting disinfecting your well examine your water for any types of iron, bacteria and microbes. Then turn your pump off and pour bleach and vinegar in a rapid, continuous flow. After that turn your pump power on and rinse the inside of your well thoroughly. Open all indoor faucets (if any) and let the water run until no chlorine smell can be detected. For full protection let the chlorine residue set in your well and the plumbing for at least 8 hours and flush completely. At this point you might see rusty water coming from your indoor faucets – these are iron particles leaving your plumbing system. Before the disinsection is completed make sure to change all of the other water treatment filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Although, this type of treating your well from iron requires more effort it is one of the most effective ways to remove iron from your well water without excessive costs.

More Advanced Methods to Remove Iron

Water softeners

Water softeners are one of the most popular way of clearing water. This includes treating your well not only for its hardness but also the presence of iron. Because they remove calcium and magnesium industrial water softeners can clear your well water from ferrous iron. However, it is still seen that in some cases iron might be detected even after the treatment with water softeners. Consult a professional or consider adding another type of filtration for 100% quality.


Aeration is a method when water and air are brought in close contact to dissolve gases. In this way a turbulence is created which activates a scrubbing process and oxidation. After that iron particles can be easily filtered. This method treats your water not only from iron but also other harmful elements like ammonia, chlorine, methane and many more. However, keep in mind that excessive presence of oxygen in your water might become corrosive.


Pasteurization method is widely known as used when working with foods or certain types of beverages (e.g milk). When pasteurizing your well water a steam or hot water is injected to keep the temperature of your well water at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes. This way of removing iron from your well water is very effective yet might be on the more expensive side.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a certain type of membrane to eliminate almost all of the elements from your water. Making the purest water possible RO water is completely free of all types of iron. That’s why you should consider getting Reverse Osmosis system for well water.

Take a look at a visualized reverse osmosis process:

Filters that remove iron from well water

  • iSpring WSP-50 Reusable Whole House Spin Down Sediment Water Filter 50 Micron, 1″ MNPT + 3/4″ FNPT, Brass
iSpring WSP 50 cheap water filter to remove iron from well water

This sediment filter protects your entire plumbing system from sediment, rust, dirt, sand, and large particles and is ideal for filtering sediment larger than 50 micron. Its stainless steel screen material allows an easy cleaning and flushing process as once the cartridge gets clogged contaminants exit through the bottom. This means that the same cartridge might be used multiple times without needing to change it.

Find this product on Amazon

  • iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System w/ 20-Inch Big Blue Sediment, Carbon Block, and Iron & Manganese Reducing Filter
iSpring WGB32BM whole house water filtration system for iron removal

This filter is specifically designed to clean your water from iron and manganese yet has the qualities to also filter contaminants like sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents. With a capacity of 100,000 Gal. of water (enough to supply a family of four with clean water for a full year) your water will be filtered through a two stage process that uses carbon block filters. With easy DIY installation, this filter installed into your main water supply line will ensure clean water for your whole household and with the cartridges that are low maintenance you will be able to enjoy a carefree water filtration.

Find this product on Amazon

Tip: take notice for innovative technologies like UV or template assisted crystallization

How Iron Gets Into Well Water

No matter how much effort a homeowner puts into maintaining its well, iron entering its water is inevitable and mostly caused by the natural events of our planet. Firstly, iron finds oneself into the water of your well through earth’s crust which is full of this mineral due to rainfall, snow or other water elements. Moreover, the Illinois Department of Public Health states that iron makes up at least 5% of earth’s crust. Besides that, another way of iron getting into your well water is through rusty and corroded plumbing. Over time iron casings within your well will begin to rust due to exposure to oxygen. Consider replacing and maintaining your pipes regularly as it also might be a part of the problem. 

What Types of Iron Can be Found in Well Water

Ferrous iron

Ferrous iron is the type of iron that has been dissolved within the water. This means that you will not be able to identify it visibly right away. However, if you leave a glass of water to sit in an open environment, atmospheric conditions like oxygen will force a reaction called oxidation. If after some time you see a red or brown flakes at the button of your glass that is ferrous iron.

Ferric iron

On the other hand ferric iron is the type of iron that has not been completely dissolved whinin the water of your well. Because it has been exposed to oxygen ferric iron is easily identifiable by its orange, red or brown color. That is if you see your well water being any of the similar discoloration – ferric iron is present in your well.

Bacterial iron

Bacterial iron is the type of iron that has bonded with other types of iron present in your well.

You can simply identify it by comparing your well water residue (if any) to tomato soup. If you see a sludge like material that signifies the presence of bacterial iron in your well. In most cases bacterial iron emerges due to bad well maintenance and servicing. When present bacterial iron clogs the well pump, damages pipes, congests plumbing and creates conditions for other harmful bacteria to grow.

Health Effects of Iron Consumption

The World Health Association (WHO) reports that “daily intakes of iron in food — the major source of exposure — range from 10 to 14 mg (7,8). Drinking-water containing 0.3 mg/litre would contribute about 0.6 mg to the daily intake. Intake of iron from air is about 25 µg/day in urban areas.” Therefore, even though iron is a mineral needed for many processes in our bodies to succeed including red blood cell production,  the types of iron that can be found in well water can be harmful and even toxic especially when used in excessive amounts.

  • Effects on hair

First of all, iron in water may have negative effects on your hair and skin. When absorbed by your hair iron will cause your hair for discoloration, dryness, frizziness and metallic odour. Moreover, some types of hair might develop orange or red colour since oxidized iron functions as peroxide.

  • Effects on skin

When in contact with your skin iron water can damage skin cells that may lead to wrinkles, dryness, eczema, acne and clogged pores.

Also it is important to remember that although bacterial iron does not have any effect on the health it might cause other bacteria to grow which might be harmful and cause illnesses and diseases.

For more information on the intake norms of other elements visit who.int


Depending on the type on iron use different techniques of identifying the presence of this metal in your well water. When ferric and bacterial iron is visible because of its color identifying ferrous water requires more time. In any case, put checking iron levels in your well water on your regular maintenance list as it might have negative effects on the health of your whole household. With a variety of filtering methods varying from as simple and cheap as sedimentation to whole water cleaning systems and enjoy your iron free well water!

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