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5 Signs of Iron in Your Tap Water

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on


Iron is one of the most common contaminants in modern tap water, second only to hard water minerals and chlorine left in by municipal water treatment processes. While it’s nearly impossible to drink enough iron-filled water to make yourself sick (we’re made of iron, after all), it can make cooking with tap water an unpleasant experience and, worse, cause quite costly damage to your pipes and fixtures. If you have iron running through your taps, your best bet is to detect and deal with it early before it permanently damages your home. Not sure if you have an iron problem? Here are the five most noticeable signs of iron running through your tap water.

1) Ring and Streak Stains In the Toilet Bowl

Even if the iron is in a thin enough concentration not to be immediately obvious in a glass of water, the toilet is the number one easiest place to spot an iron problem because it is always partially full and runs more often than any other plumbing appliance in your home. Iron stains appear as yellow, orange, or red discoloration depending on the iron concentration (more iron = more and darker red). If your toilet has a yellow to red ring and, most distinctly, if the side fill spigots have left reddish streaks around the entire side of the bowl, you have an iron problem.

2) Yellow or Orange Stains in the Sink

The bathroom sink is the second most common place to see iron stains as it has a chance to build up every time you wash your hands, clean the bathroom, or brush your teeth, Yellowish to red stains can appear round the base of your fixtures and building up on the faucet and handles themselves if you have a mild leak at the connection and otherwise are most likely to appear in a ring around the drain where water tends to sit. If it looks like your sink is rusting even if your fixtures are made of a non-rusting alloy, that’s iron in the water again.


3) Rapidly Yellowing Teeth

Here’s something few people like to think about and perhaps the most personally motivating reason to deal with iron in your home. That staining quality that is the bane of your white porcelain bathroom fixtures is also going to start staining your teeth every time you take a drink of iron-infused water, dishes and beverages prepared with the iron water, or even brush your teeth using the tap water to rinse your brush and mouth. If your teeth are yellowing faster than is reasonable or your whitening efforts seem to be going backward, don’t blame the toothpaste or whitening strips, it’s iron in the water.

4) Constantly Clogging Pipes

The iron in tap water is actually millions of tiny flakes of rust suspended like very unpleasant herbal tea. The problem is that it tends to stick to whatever it passes, including the inside of your pipes. If your pipes have been losing water pressure, flowing more slowly, draining more slowly, or clogging on a regular basis, this could be the result of iron building up and effectively narrowing the width of your pipes.

5) Metallic, Harsh Taste in Food and Beverages

Every time you drink or cook with iron-filled water, you’re exposing yourself to the harsh metallic taste of rust. This is often identified as metallic, hash, and not at all tasty. Food and beverages prepared with iron water tend to be darker, red-tinged, and carry that undesirable taste into whatever you make.

If you’ve seen two or more of these signs, there is absolutely too much iron flowing through your tap water and it’s time to make a difference. The best way to save yourself and your home from the damages caused by iron is to install a home filtration system which usually goes right next to your water heater. This ensures that no matter where the iron is coming from, it stops flowing through your pipes, clogging the plumbing, staining the fixtures and your teeth, and ruining your cooking efforts. To find the right filtration system for your home, contact us today!



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