Water softeners serve a specific purpose: they remove hardness minerals from your tap water. But as it turns out, the ion exchange process that’s used by water softeners can also remove traces of a few other types of water contaminants, including iron. Today we’re going to talk about whether or not a water softener alone is a good enough solution for getting rid of iron in your water by answering the question, “Can a water softener remove iron?”
Two different types of iron
Iron can be present in two different forms: ferrous and ferric. Ferrous iron is a completely dissolved version of iron. You can tell if your water has ferrous iron if the water from your taps comes out clear but turns yellow, red or brown after sitting out in the open.
Ferric iron, on the other hand, is an oxidized form of iron that takes on the form of a physical particle. This type of iron is visibly noticeable as soon as water comes out of your taps.
Can a water softener remove iron?
The effectiveness that a water softener has on removing iron depends on the type of iron that’s in your water. Ferrous iron contains a positive charge, so it can be removed in small quantities by the ion exchange process that’s used by water softeners. If your water contains large amounts of ferrous iron, however, the iron can actually change forms and damage your water softener.
Because ferric iron is in the form of a physical particle, it cannot be removed by a water softener and must be taken care of by a different filtration technique.
How can you help your water softener remove high amounts of iron from your water?
- Use “iron out” salt. “Iron out” salt is a type of salt that you can use for your water softener that improves its ability to remove iron from your water. Although it still does not remove all of the iron from your water, it removes more iron than conventional salt and will help protect your softener from rusting.
- Use a separate iron removal filter. The most effective way to remove iron from your water is to use a separate filter for iron removal before water enters your softener. With conventional water softeners, you will have to install a completely separate filter. If you install the WaterMax from Hague, this type of filtration can be included in the same unit that’s used to soften your water.
If you have any questions about whether or not a water softener can remove iron, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact EPA Water Consultants, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We provide service all over Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including towns like Buckingham, Lansdale and Chalfont, PA.