Today’s inquiry came to us from ‘Sperry07’ who asked, “I know water softeners work for hardness but I heard they can get used to take out iron, too. Is that true? Can I use my water softener to remove iron from my well water?”
In this day and age where virtually, and sometimes literally, every penny counts in a family’s budget, finding ways to save money matters — but when it comes to investing in your family’s safety through the use of a water filter, make certain you purchase and install the correct filter(s) for the job at hand!
While a water softener typically does have the ability to remove some amount of dissolved iron from water, the act of removing iron can do serious damage to the mineral bed designed specifically to reduce water hardness. If pressed to remove iron on a regular basis the damage can eventually add up… to the need for an expensive service call by water filter technician.
Another way to think about it: Asking a water softener to do anything other than remove water hardness lessens the device’s water softening efficiency, interferes with the proper operation of the device, typically causes damage to the device, results in higher than normal consumption of salt by the device, and may result in your having to pay someone to come out and repair your softener after its adsorption media gets plugged up with iron.
Pick the right tool for the job at-hand
When attempting to turn a screw would you A) Hit the screw w/ a rolled up newspaper; B) Use an app on you iPhone; or C) Turn the screw with a screwdriver. Hopefully you chose ‘C’ just now.
The same sort of logic applies to water filters, as well. Filter Water, an online vendor of drinking water filters we recommend on a regular basis carries several types of water softeners and homeowners can install separate inline iron, sediment, multi-filter, etc. cartridges to work in conjunction with the water softeners Filter Water carries.
On the topic of iron removal, however, the experts at Filter Water suggested, “To treat up to 3 ppm ferrous or ferric iron (metal iron), use Pentek RFFE20-BB Iron Reduction Filter in a Big Blue 20×4.5 Housing. If iron is above 3 ppm or if it is bacteria-based, use Iron and Hydrogen Sulfide Whole House System up to 15 ppm. If iron level is above 15 ppm, or for line larger than 1″, look at Commercial Iron Removal Systems.”