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Common Problems from Having Iron in Well Water

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on


Having your own well can provide you with many benefits, such as not having to pay monthly water bills. On the other hand, there are also a few disadvantages. For example, well water often contains many types of impurities, such as iron and magnesium. Here are some of the problems linked with having iron in well water, along with how this issue can be corrected.

How Iron Can Get Into Your Well Water

Basically, there are two ways in which iron can invade your well water. Seepage is one method. Consider how rainwater or melted snow can easily pass through soil that contains iron. The iron that’s in the water can then travel into a well water supply.

Iron can also enter well water through the process of corrosion. Think of what happens when flakes from rust drop into the components of a well. The corroded water containing iron then goes from your well and enters your tap water.

Dangers from Iron in Water

Several hazards can occur from having iron in your well water.

  • Iron in water can give foods and beverages an unappetizing, metallic taste and make them look disgustingly dark or even black. This is especially the case for vegetables that are cooked in well water.
  • Orange or reddish stains on toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs are another huge problem of having iron in your water. Unfortunately, it only takes as little as 0.33 ppm (parts per million) of iron to create stains on floors and fixtures.
  • What’s more, when iron builds up in a dishwasher it can stain ceramic dishware. When iron enters your laundry equipment, it can stain clothing.
  • Besides staining, iron traveling with water can cause clogging in appliances and equipment, such as washing machines, dishwashers, water pumps and wells. This problem can lead to costly repairs.
  • Usually, there’s only a small amount of iron in tap water, meaning it probably isn’t enough to make you ill. Yet, sometimes water does contain ferrous iron that can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as cramping, nausea, vomiting and constipation.


Forms of Iron in Water

There are two main forms of iron in water: ferrous iron and ferric iron.

Ferrous iron, also known as clear-water iron, can’t be seen in water because it’s soluble, meaning that it can be dissolved in water. This form of iron, which is colorless and clear, is similar to sugar water as you can’t filter it out mechanically.

Ferric iron, which is also called “red-water iron”, makes water look cloudy. This form of iron has been oxidized and has changed into rust. Unlike ferrous iron, ferric iron can be filtered out mechanically.

Removing Iron from Water

The first step is having a water softener company test the pH of your water. Usually, water softeners are able to remove iron in water that has a pH that’s less than 7. However, if the pH is more than 7, this may not be your best option, and you’ll probably need to have an iron filter to get rid of iron from your hard water.

To do this, the water is first passed through a filter that contains a rich oxygen mineral environment. Next, the iron undergoes an oxidation process in which its solid particles become ensnared in the filter. Finally, the solid particles are flushed down the drain. This results in purified water that’s now clean, fresh and safe to drink.

Considerations and Warnings

  • It’s easy to confuse the words, “ferric” and “ferrous” and forget that ferric is the visible form of iron. One way to distinguish the differences is to think of the letters “i” and “c”, which are the last letters of the word “ferric.” In other words, associate “ferric” with the sentence, “I (i) see (c) it.”
  • Tap water should not contain more than 0.3 milligrams of iron per liter.
  • Proper well water maintenance is extremely important in keeping your water safe from impurities. This entails having your well water regularly inspected.

If you suspect you may have iron, magnesium, or any other types of impurities, in your well water, call Passaic Bergen Water Softening. Our local water softener company has three locations in the northern New Jersey area. Please contact us and find out more about how we can help you.



Wyckoff NJ

537 Goffle Rd
Wyckoff, 07481


Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Newfoundland NJ

2850 Route 23 North
Newfoundland, 07435


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Wayne NJ

2025 Suite B, Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
This office isn’t open on Saturday as it is not a retail location.