Why is Iron in Water So BAD? (+ How To Remove Iron From Well Water)

What is the most effective way to remove iron from well water?

Aside from hard water, high levels of iron are some of the most common water problems that affect people that use well water.

The good news is that it is fairly easy t-o filter both iron and hard minerals out from your well water – at the same time!

It gets better, there are now multiple effective ways to do this. But by far the most effective way to remove iron, hard minerals and other things is to do it for the whole house. Instead of simply getting a filter for a single device like the sink.

This is especially important for people who get their water from a well as well water is notorious for iron contamination.

The result of this can be very annoying because iron usually creates ugly reddish patches, changes in smell and sometimes weird tasting water.

This article will highlight the most effective way to remove iron from well water.

In order to do this, we will look at whether iron is dangerous to drink, the effects on skin, hair, how to test for iron and finally how to remove it.

To be of most practical use, I compiled a list of the best whole house softeners that also filter out iron. This includes finding the biggest brands with the best customer reviews and ratings.

Iron in Drinking Water – Is It Harmful For Health?

The bottom line is the iron in drinking water is NOT dangerous but not really ideal in the form it appears in well water.

In fact, it’s important to know that Iron is not a contaminant but a natural mineral that comes with the symbol Fe.Optimh2o Reverse Osmosis + Claryum

Good quality iron in food and health supplements are essential nutrients that the body needs. This is because iron supports oxygen transported to the blood. However, the type of iron that enters your well water, although not necessarily poisonous, is not something that’s good for you either.

High levels of iron in water is also not good for pipes, plumbing and home appliances. Iron is second only to water hardness as the most common problem for well water users.

Iron In Water Effects On Hair and Skin?

Iron is actually an essential trace element that humans (and other living beings) need. This means that ingesting or consuming iron will not necessarily harm your health.

In fact, there are lots of people who probably need to consume more iron because they are iron deficient.

Having said all that, it is NOT advisable to get iron through contaminated well water but instead through a good diet and supplements.

Iron In Water Effects On Hair?

A high iron content in your water can cause hair to dry out. This is because it curls and weakens human hair upon contact. If this happens over a prolonged period of time your hair may fall out.

Aside from iron, your hair can suffer from high levels of other minerals in your water. This is especially the case with hard water that contains high levels of minerals like magnesium, copper and calcium. These minerals make your water “hard” and cause white limescale flakes in your kettle and it’s definitely not good for your hair.

Iron In Water Effects On Skin?

Any water with an extremely high content of iron can have lots of bad effects on your skin. From a practical level, iron and water do not mix well with soap. This is a big problem for people who suffer from dry skin.

Drinking Rusty Water Symptoms?

Bad Taste.
The brown or red color of “iron rust” in water is not attractive and makes water look dirty. Aside from making your water look bad, it can make your clothes look bad too. The Department of Natural Resources believes that oxidation in water is an “aesthetic contaminant”, as it is more likely to damage clothing in laundry. But it gets worse. If the amount of rust is too high, this can lead to bad tasting water.

Bacteria can begin to live or accumulate in well water that is high in iron minerals. If this is the case, your water will need treating as coliform bacteria may be present. Iron in well water may not be the only cause of this, the problem may also be Iron pipes in very old houses. Either way lots of iron in water can cause corrosion, cracks and breaks in the pipes. This in turn can lead to water leaks in the home. Also, the may be illnesses caused if your pipes develop things like mold and this gets into your drinking water.

How to Test for Iron in Water?

The bad news is that iron is a lot harder to treat and filter when compared to other common minerals that contaminate well water like calcium and magnesium. 

Apart from iron, well water is usually plagued by various compounds that require different treatment methods. There are also other factors such as the pH of the water that you need to consider in order to understand what the most effective method of filtration will be for your home.

The best place to start is to get a full water test kit.

You should find one that will test for everything in your water not just iron. The more information you have about what is contaminating your water, the better you are equipped to get the best water solutions.

Testing For Iron And Manganese in Well Water

If you are experiencing a bitter and metallic taste in your water (or orange-brown spots around your pipes and plumbing), chances are you have high levels of manganese in your water.

But before dealing with the problem, it’s important to know the extent. Knowing the level of iron and manganese will help you identify the right treatment method. 

A comprehensive water test kit will be able to check iron and manganese levels. But, as previously mentioned, you should try to get a complete water test kit that shows you everything.

Everything from hydrogen sulfide, bacteria, calcium, alkalinity and ph level.

Iron Levels In Water ppm?

Using a water test kit will never be as accurate as getting your water lab tested. So if you want (or need) to know the iron levels in water down to its ppm (parts per million) then a lab test is the best way to go.

Simply send your well water to an independent laboratory, pay their fee and get  your results. Of course this will not be as cheap as  buying a complete water test kit onlinebut it will be much more accurate.

You can avoid tests all together is you simply observe the telltale signs of iron water contamination in your well water. For instance, look out for iron corrosion in appliances, pipes, plumbing and anywhere your water touches.

Easy Water Treatment For Iron Removal = Reverse Osmosis

If you simply want to remove iron from drinking water (and not from all the water that comes in your home) then try reverse osmosis.OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis There a lots of filtration methods that remove iron like distillation but reverse osmosis is one of the best for drinking water.

This is because reverse osmosis generally removes all low molecular weight compounds. Compounds like manganese, iron, fluoride, salt, calcium and lead.

Reverse osmosis is also extremely efficient at removing minerals from water.OptimH2O Reverse Osmosis Under Sink Filters

This is why it is highly valued as a water purification process in the printing industry, where water without minerals has to be used.

It is very easy to pick an under-sink reverse osmosis system up from a place like AmazonSee customer reviews

They are also much cheaper when compared to whole house iron well water filters.

Dashed LineHow to Remove Iron From Well Water?

If you want to filter iron from well water that comes into the whole home (not just your drinking water) then you’ll need a whole house filter.

The following table shows the best whole house filter machines that effectively remove iron from well water. Also, the devices listed below are specially designed for well water and aim at treating common well water contaminations like iron, manganese and bacteria.

Air Injection Iron Filter For Well Water With Fleck 2510SXT No softener, filters manganese and iron.$$$1-2 Stage Filtration- Filters iron, manganese and removes rotten egg odor.
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter
Iron Pro 2 Water Softener
Softener and iron filter only.$$$1-2 Stage Filtration- Filters iron.
- Removes a hardness of up to 75 gpg.
- It has a grain capacity of 64,000.
Aquasana 500,000 Gallon Well Water RhinoAquasana Whole House Features ListYES$$$
(50% OFF with coupon code: AQGEEK50)
4-stage filtration (with optional add-ons e.g. UV filters).- Filters iron.
- UV filters remove 99% of viruses, e.coli, cysts, giradia, cryptosporidium and bacteria.

Fleck 2510SXT – Air Injection Iron, Sulfur, and Manganese Removal

This Fleck based air injection is specifically designed to treat the most common problems with well water. Specifically things like sulfur, iron and manganese that produce a foul egg scent.

This is because of its unique filter cartridge in the tank that specifically targets and collects oxidized sulfur and iron. All of this happens before the water goes through the drain during the subsequent regeneration cycle. The filters are easy to change if necessary but they typically last for 5 years.

This air injector fits in with the SXT softener models that are currently the most popular water softener model in the US.

However, the 2510SXT is not a normal water softener.

This model is indeed an air supply control. This means that you will receive the digital backwash control SXT with the 2510 valve.

Another plus is its easy operation and low maintenance. This is because you don’t need a separate pump to add air to this unique tank design.


Red CrossIt contains NO COMPLETE water softener or filter, it is an add on item.

Red CrossThis device can only effectively treat certain minerals. For instance, sulfur, iron and manganese.


Green Plus ArrowIt is a good filter treatment option for well water specific contaminants and it does this without needing chemicals or salt.

Green Plus ArrowSufficient capacity for larger households with 1-4 people.

Green Plus ArrowEasy to attach and remove, which means you can simply disconnect the system for repair.mrwatergeek winner badge

Green Plus ArrowIs capable of filtering sulfur up to 17 ppm, manganese by up to 11 ppm and iron up to 27 ppm.

Green Plus ArrowIs a high flow system that comes with a 12″ x 52″ 1 bypass.See customer reviews

Please note: The color of the tank you get might be different. Although it usually comes in almond you might get it in black.

Price: Check the lowest price available today.

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Water Treatment For Iron Removal: Iron Pro 2 Fleck 5600SXT Softener + Iron Filter 

As its name suggests, the Iron Pro 2 is a water softener that also filters and removes iron. It is a double tank softening machine that can handle very hard water of up to 16 GPM.

Iron Pro 2 Water SoftenerThis level of iron filtration is possible because it works with a fine mesh and this is what makes it a powerful filter that can last longer. The tank build and design is based on the ever popular Fleck water softener model. This is a good thing because Fleck is by far the best-selling water softener in North America, particularly in the US. Part of this popularity is based on the numerous positive reviews and its many happy customers.

The result of all of this is that the Iron Pro 2 deals with both problems of iron and hard water. This means that in addition to iron it also removes hard minerals such as magnesium and calcium.

One of the best features of this system is that you can program it to regenerate only when you need it. Meaning you can easily decrease or increase the amount of regenerated water. The result is more money saved through more efficient use of electricity and water.


Red CrossIt is essentially a softener with iron filtering capabilities.

Red CrossDon’t expect it to be the best water filter. It is not ideal if you have lots of complex and varied contaminants in your water. You should only really consider this machine if you have specific minerals that you want to filter out. Mainly minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium.


Green Plus ArrowBased on the best selling Fleck water softener model.

Green Plus ArrowTouch-screen controls.

Green Plus ArrowRegeneration on a meter basis.

Green Plus ArrowPower of internal support.

Green Plus ArrowBacklit LCD screen.

Green Plus ArrowDimensions: 12D x 48H.

Green Plus ArrowGrains: 64,000.


Dashed Line

Iron Removal Filter For Home: Aquasana Whole House Well Water Filter System (with Iron Filters)

This Aquasana model is for people looking for a serious water filter. Not just a softener with a basic iron filter like the other models. Aquasana is one of the best and most well known whole house filter brands on the market today. Their customers consistently write rave reviews and it’s a best seller on places like Amazon. Aquasana Rhino

This particular brand of whole house filters from Aquasana is specifically designed to treat well water.

This is why it contains elements such as catalytic coal and a KDF 85 filter that filters not only iron but other common well water issues like sulfur, VOCs, hydrogen sulphide and algae.

In addition to this, the UV filter (that you can add on) will enable your filter to remove 99.99% of viruses and bacteria. This is great for targeting viruses that survives in untreated well water.

One great thing about Aquasana is that they can include all the installation accessories and equipment. This means that you can potentially do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you knowing that you have everything they will need.

However, you should ideally get a professional plumber to install it for you because doing it yourself (if you’re not a professional) can void your warranty.

Another good thing is that it can effectively filter up to 500,000 gallons before the filter needs replacing.


Red CrossAlthough you can add on a salt free “softener” unit (i.e. the Aquasana SCM add on) to this device it is fundamentally a water filter first. This means that it is a powerful filter but mild softener so not ideal for extremely hard well water.


Green Plus ArrowPowerful water filter that will treat much more than just iron but bacteria and other nasties too.Aquasana Coupon Code

Green Plus ArrowYou can use it to treat 500,000 gallons of well water, which is a lot.

Green Plus ArrowYou currently get up to 50% off and FREE shipping by going direct to Aquasana and using promo code: AQGEEK50

Green Plus ArrowSpecially designed by Aquasana to treat well water as it targets the most common issues found in well water.

Green Plus ArrowThey also provide you with a professional installation kit that will include all the necessary installation equipment and accessories that you need.

Green Plus ArrowGetting the UV filter add on means that your device will additionally treat 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.

Green Plus ArrowIt will not affect the water pressure in your home because it is a high performance system.See customer reviews

Green Plus ArrowThis well water filter machine is very well made and this usually results in low to no on-going maintenance.

Price: Check the lowest price available todayCheck the lowest price available today.

**UPDATE This offer will end SOON** Get up to 50% OFF and FREE shipping using the promo code AQGEEK50.

Dashed Line

Air Injection Iron Filter For Well Water With Fleck 2510SXT No softener, filters manganese and iron.$$$1-2 Stage Filtration- Filters iron, manganese and removes rotten egg odor.
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter
Iron Pro 2 Water Softener
Softener and iron filter only.$$$1-2 Stage Filtration- Filters iron.
- Removes a hardness of up to 75 gpg.
- It has a grain capacity of 64,000.
Aquasana 500,000 Gallon Well Water RhinoAquasana Whole House Features ListYES$$$
(50% OFF with coupon code: AQGEEK50)
4-stage filtration (with optional add-ons e.g. UV filters).- Filters iron.
- UV filters remove 99% of viruses, e.coli, cysts, giradia, cryptosporidium and bacteria.

Which Is The Best Iron Filter For Well Water?

First things first, get a full water test kit to really see the level of iron mineral contamination that you’re dealing with.

Mr Water Geek ThinkingThe full water test kit should also be able to show you the degree of water hardness and other types of contamination that’s in your home.

The result of your test kit will help you determine the right well water iron filter solution.Aquasana Rhino

In very simple terms I would recommend making your choice based on the following:

Very hard with high amounts of iron? You should get the Iron Pro 2.

Water is highly contaminated with all sorts of things beyond iron and manganese? You should get the Aquasana Well Water with SCM softener and UV filter.mrwatergeek winner badge

Buying direct from Aquasana? Get Up to 50% OFF + FREE shipping on select products.

Coupon Code: AQGEEK50

aquansana apply promocode

I'm a health author, science enthusiast and 100% certified geek. My passion is to help you take control of your health and well-being by understanding the true importance of good quality water and healthy hydration.


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