Dealing with Rusty Water
Throughout the United States and Canada a common plumbing issue is brown or rusty water. Although this issue is more common for homes with private wells, high iron content is not limited to rural areas. Many suburban communities with a public water supply still obtain their water from large city wells. A common misconception is that a water softener will solve these problems. A good water softener will soften the water but does not effectively filter out iron.
The iron issue is often ignored because it does not pose a real health or safety risk, it is
more of a nuisance. Clogged plumbing fixtures, stained toilets, and faulty dishwashers are common symptoms. Most homeowners are resolved to their fate, that they can never drink their water. All the while bottled water services continue to supply the home with gallons upon gallons of water for drinking and cooking.
Before we go into ways of treating iron in your water let’s get a little background on the different types of iron.
Clear Water or Ferrous : Clear water iron is water with iron that is dissolved in the water. So you can’t see it but you can taste it and it will stain plumbing fixtures, clothes, appliances etc. When this type of water is exposed to air the iron will eventually begin to come out of solution and begin to turn red or rust color.
Red Water Iron or Ferric : Red water iron has already been oxidized, it appears red or orange and it does a real nice job ruining anything it comes into contact with, including clothes, appliances, fixtures, etc. Did we mention that it tastes like you’re eating a tin can? Have you had any friends or relatives with well water that say “my water is fine” when they have red water iron present? Guess what? They are deluding themselves. No one wants their potable to water to taste like a penny and to ruin plumbing fixtures, clothes and appliances.
Did You Make Egg Salad? No That’s My Drinking Water.
Another common problem with drinking water is a rotten egg smell. This is dissolved hydrogen sulfide, it’s more common name is “sulfur”. Hydrogen sulfides can enter into the water system through wells or cisterns from decaying and decomposing plant material. Below are a few of the problems common to high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide:
- Rotten egg smell
- Bitter/ foul taste
- Rotten egg smell on the hot side only. (The magnesium anode rods common to many water heaters can break down chemically naturally occurring sulfates to hydrogen sulfides.
- High concentrations of sulfides can cause similar problems to that of high iron concentrations.
- Black stain on plumbing fixtures
- Slime or residue in pipes, fouling appliances and fixtures.
- High hydrogen sulfides can be corrosive to metals. If you have copper water piping or cast iron waste piping in your house this is bad.
- Hydrogen sulfide can foul the resin bed in a common ionic exchange water softener.
Manganese in Your Drinking Water is an Issue Too!
The last fairly common component present in our drinking water that can foul our
plumbing fixtures and appliances is Manganese. Manganese if dissolved usually presents no real issues however in high enough concentrations and throw in a little oxygen and the Manganese can pose a real problem. Here are some of the common problems listed below:
- If in high enough concentrations can clog pipes:
- Can react with some common household beverages to create a black slime.
- Manganese deposits can settle in water heaters and storage tanks and water softeners seriously effecting the longevity of the equipment.
What Can You Do to Treat Your Water?
Well there are quite a few options actually.
You can buy a whole house filter, however if you have a high level of iron in your water you’ll clog the filters so quickly it wouldn’t be cost effective. (Most canister water filters negatively affect the water pressure as the filter gets fouled. So you must change the filter cartridge just to get your water back to neutral.)
So if you have a high iron content in your drinking water most times you add an iron tank to get rid of that iron en masse. If you have a water softener the iron tank would be installed before the softener. Simple right?
Lets say it right here, ground water that has iron usually picks up other impurities along the way as well. What happens if your water has hydrogen sulfides (sulfur)? Once again a sulfur tank would have to be installed. Sulfur scrubbers are usually two tank systems. And then you have Manganese, Manganese is usually filtered with a whole house taste, smell and sediment filter, however if there is a high level, even that will not be affective.
Where can I Find the Space for All This Equipment?
So if you had all three of these minerals present in your drinking water you could potentially have a water softener, and iron tank, two tanks for the sulfur and a whole house filter for anything you’ve missed. That seems excessive don’t you think?
Go to the Source to Find the Product
There are a few products on the market to take care of these issues but we found the company that manufactures a product for quite a few others, Charger Water Treatment Products. Their Iron Break III takes care of Iron, Sulfur and Manganese in one fell swoop. It is also a 5 micron taste, odor and sediment filter as well. When people ask us about filtration we tell them this is a forever fix because you the homeowner are never bothered by changing cartridge filters to remove iron ever again. The Iron Break III regenerates and cleans the filter bed by itself. So you never have to lose water pressure again because the filter is clogged. You’ll never have to get your hands dirty by changing a nasty filter that has been sitting in the canister awhile. Simply put the Iron Break III is one of the finest water treatment products on the market……period.
If you have any questions please contact ThePlumbingInfo.com or you can find Charger at
www.chargerwater.com/stories/home. Charger Water Treatment Products has a full line of products from smaller home products to plan and spec filtration for commercial and industrial buildings. Call them for a certified plumbing professional in your area and if you’re in the Chicagoland area call Expert Plumbing Service @ (888)517-4900 or you can find them on the web @ www.expertplumbers.com