How To Remove Rust From Well Water?


If your well water is rusty, it not only affects the taste and smell of the water but also suggests a problem that requires attention.

This article offers insights on effective techniques to eliminate iron from well water and explores the probable reasons and ramifications associated with having well water tainted with rust.

The presence of rust results in the formation of orange stains on your plumbing and devices and also lends an undesirable flavor to your water source.

To eliminate rust from well water, several methods can be employed such as sediment filters, oxidation and filtration systems, water softeners, and rust removal solutions.

In case the rust contamination in your water supply is attributed to corrosion in your water pipes and fixtures, it may be necessary to repair a specific section of your plumbing network for your well water.

Techniques for Remove Rust inside Well Water

Chemical dosing systems for permanent solution

The ideal solution for removing rust and iron from your well water plumbing system is a chemical dosing system utilizing hydrogen peroxide system. However, this system is the most expensive.

By infusing water with hydrogen peroxide, the chemical injection system induces oxidation of iron bacteria, thereby eliminating the underlying reason behind discolored water.

Hydrogen peroxide system has the ability to reduce hydrogen sulfide gas and manganese, two common well water pollutants found with iron.

It can also eliminate as much as 20 parts per million of ferrous iron, which is more than what you typically find in the source of water supply. Hydrogen sulfide gas is highly toxic to humans.

Oxygenation Systems

Chemical-free air oxidation systems function similarly to injection systems via chemicals in that they oxidize soluble ferrous iron particles then draw them out from the water via media bed, often made of birm/manganese greensand.

To remove the built-up rust, the medium must be frequently treated with a potassium permanganate solution in a backwashing process.

A filter system that utilizes air injection oxidation can effectively eliminate or removing iron and any leftover iron residue, along with sulfur and manganese, which are responsible for the unpleasant odor resembling rotten eggs in water.

Although air injection oxidizing filters can be costly, they are our top recommendation for treating elevated rust and iron levels as they are highly efficient and do not introduce any chemicals to your drinking water.

Sediment Filters

Using a sediment or a particulate filter is yet another method for well water rust removal.

Silt, sand, dirt, trash, dust, and big rust particles are removed using sediment filters. Sediment filters come in a variety of particle sizes, ranging from 5-100, and occasionally much higher.

Sediment filter can successfully remove any rust flakes that are present in your water.

However, If the main issue is with ferrous iron in a dissolved state, sediment filters are not effective in enhancing the quality of your water.

Iron Filters & Filters for Rust

In order to lower the amount of iron in the water, a whole-house water filter system often incorporates a specific iron or rust filter.

When the iron concentration in well water is greater than 3 ppm, a water softener cannot function on its own. An iron or rust filter is the best option in those cases to remove iron minerals.

Iron and rust are captured using iron filters. These filters frequently employ KDF media, which is done to favor removing iron from water by redox also known as oxidation-reduction/ion exchange resin, which replaces iron ions with unaffected, harmless ions.

Iron and rust filter cartridges are less expensive compared to air and chemical injection systems. However, they are only effective for mild iron issues, and their filter life is limited to a quarter or half a year.

To prevent rust build-up in your water, you’ll need to change the filter regularly.

Water Softeners As Permanent Fix

Water softener could be an appropriate anti-rust treatment if the iron minerals and rust levels in your water are just minimal to moderate.

A water softener’s primary function is to eliminate hard minerals like calcium and magnesium by exchanging them with sodium ions on a resin bed that has a charge.

A few specialist well water softening systems can remove iron more effectively, whereas the majority of water softeners can only lower it by a little amount (about 1-2 PPM/ 4 to 8 PPM).

Well water supplies containing hard minerals and iron can benefit from water softener systems, but they may not be effective for removing high to extensively high levels iron.

Products that remove rust

An additional method to avoid the accumulation of rust in the water supply is to utilize a rust elimination additive, like Rust Out, which is commonly used in the water softeners.

To remove rust from your well water plumbing system and current water treatment units, apply a rust removal solution. To prevent rust, you may need to utilize such product more than once a year because it doesn’t tackle the rust’s root cause.

To effectively remove rust using this technique, make sure you thoroughly follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Replacing corroded pipes and hot water boilers that are rusting

A rust remover enhancement product may be able to get rid of the rust in the water, however they won’t get rid of the problem’s root cause.

Your well water plumbing system ancient iron pipes can be to blame for the rust issue in one’s water supply.

Even though replacing corroded pipes and water heaters can be costly, it can potentially resolve the rust problems and eliminate the requirement for an iron filtration system in the long run, ultimately saving you capital.

If the house’s pipes or plumbing fixtures are galvanized or constructed of metal, rusty well water can also result. After some time, these metallic or galvanized pipes are vulnerable to corrosion, resulting in rusty water.

The issue may be resolved by replacing the metallic or galvanized pipes with Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes since they will never corrode or produce rust, even as they age.

What are the reasons behind well water turning rusty?

Rust in water is caused by the oxidation of iron and various other different metals. Some indications of rust present in the water include the presence of floating orange-brown or brown water particles, as well as brownish and reddish rings in the sinks and toilet bowls.

There are various reasons why water can turn rusty, including surface water coming into contact with metal surfaces, iron that has dissolved in soils seeping into the groundwater supply, and corrosion of iron/steel well components as well as pipelines. The probability of corrosion is higher when the water’s pH is elevated.

Bacteria In Wells

Rust and blockage in wells are brought on by two types of bacteria:

Iron Bacteria (IB)

They release a corrosive enzyme to break down metal and eat the waste. They don’t produce slime; instead, a transparent hollow tube entangles and clogs. Just around 12% of the rust in well systems is caused by IB.

Heterotrophic Bacteria (HB)

Every well contains these inherently present soil/water organisms, which are also responsible for 88% of the rust and clogging in well systems. They eat calcium, manganese, sulfate, and soluble iron (in some cases). After using that nutrient, they expel the leftover slime through their body walls.

It’s definitely recent if you investigate the piping and find a slimy mass rather than just a smudge.

When the population grows, the slime oxidizes (hardens) and becomes a food source for IB. Slime is produced by the microorganisms within the hollow tube, and it takes on the color of the tangled line.

The surface detritus remains slippery as the number of slime formers rises and the plugging gets worse; as you delve deeper, the plugging gets tougher and denser.

The water would have a marshy, musty, greasy, or sewage- or rotting-vegetation-like flavor and odor. If you let the water sit for a few days without using it, it becomes more obvious.

Rust in Well Water: What’s Wrong With That?

It’s doubtful that the rust in well water will get you ill. Although iron elements are crucial for human health, they also have negative impacts on the house.

The presence of rust in your water can result in a bad taste, orange or red stains on surfaces, blocked appliances and pipes, decreased water pressure, along with potentially costly replacements and repairing fees.

Does Well Water Including Rust Make You Sick?

Rust in well water, which is brought on by iron deposits exceeding 0.3 mg/L, is classified by the EPA as an aesthetic issue and is maintained as a secondary criterion. Rusty water has several unsettling consequences, including:

Rusty water may cause brownish and reddish rings on your clothes and baths as well as ferrous iron orange stains. In addition, the iron deposits in rusty water may cause your pipes to corrode and clog.

Foods taste bitter when cooked in rusty water that contains a lot of iron or manganese, which is bad for our health. Drinking rusty water with too much iron on a regular basis might put your health in danger for things like vomiting and respiratory issues. Additionally, pricey gadgets in your home might be harmed by rusty water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is taking a bath in rusty water okay?

Rusty water is safe for bathing but not for drinking. You won’t run any hazards to your health if you take a bath in this water. But, the water’s orange-brown hue and unpleasant odor could make you feel uneasy.

In order to prevent the iron in the rusty water from penetrating your skin, you can bathe in cold water rather than hot water if you are forced to take a bath in it.

In addition, body washes are a better option than abrasive soaps for preventing skin dryness. To keep your skin moisturized, don’t forget to use moisturizer.

Will bleach be able to remove the well’s rust?

No, bleach will never be able to remove rusty well water from your system. Contrarily, adding bleach to your rusty well or the water in it might make things worse and bring out more of the rust’s hue.

You can scrape your well’s rust and cover it with a rust-removal chemical to get rid of the rusty water. Also, you might decide to add a water softener or an iron filter in your home.

Do water softeners get rid of rust?

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest water treatment techniques for removing rust from your well water is a water softener, particularly one that uses salt as the softening agent. The sodium ions in the water softening device take the place of the calcium or magnesium ions in the water.

Normal salt-based water softeners, however, only function when the iron level of your water is less than 3 ppm. If your well water has severe rust issues, you need to install an iron filter.

Is rusty water a result of a water heater?

Indeed, a water heater can make the water rusty. Either the corrosion of your water heater tank or bacterial iron development in your plumbing system from well water might be the cause of the rust. The discharge of rusty water from your geyser might occasionally be caused by corrosion of the pipes or the well water plumbing system that links your water heater to the main water system.

Will rust be eliminated by boiling water?

No, you should never try to eliminate iron or rust with hot water. It may rid water of impurities like germs, parasites, etc. Nevertheless, boiling will not get rid of rust, which is a byproduct of a metal’s corrosion, including iron/manganese.

Final Thoughts

Rusty well water has a terrible appearance and flavor and might seriously harm your plumbing. Fortunately, using a specific water treatment technique makes it simple to get rid of rust from your water supply.

If you think your rust issues may be related to your water’s pH, test it. Low pH water is corrosive and hastens the rusting process. This problem can require the installation of a water treatment system, such as a soda ash/sodium hydroxide injection system, to control the pH of your water.

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