Using and Installing an Iron Water Filter

An iron water filter is the best way to remove unwanted iron from water. Higher levels of iron in culinary water, although not likely to cause health problems, can smell unpleasant and can build up on plumbing fixtures such as tubs, showers, sinks and toilets. These problems can often be avoided by installing an iron water filter.

Locating an Iron Filter

These filters work better when installed near the main water line from the street. They should be installed between the water line where it first enters the house, and any water softener or purification system. However, it should always be located where there is space to service the filter and where it is not exposed to freezing temperatures. Next in line after the iron filter, is the purification system, then the hot water heater.

Preparation for Installation

Installing an iron filter requires preparation. Before the filter is installed, any existing iron visible, such as those evident in sinks,  bathrooms, or appliances, must be removed. They can usually be removed by applying inhibited muriatic acid or resin mineral cleaner to rust stains. These additives should remain on the iron deposits until the filter has been installed. Hot water tanks must be drained, and the main water shut-off valve must be turned off. If a water well is to be included in the iron filtering system, the water well pump power must be shut off, and the pressure tank emptied. All house water faucets must be opened to relieve pressure and drained of any water in the lines.

Installing the Filter

Shut off valves between the street water line and the location where you plan to install your iron filter. At your filter installation location, a section of the water pipe will need to be cut out to make room for the filter and 2 shut-off valves. One valve should be installed between the filter and the street. This valve will only be necessary if the filter is installed some distance from the main shut-off valve. But the valve between the filter and the water softener or hot water heater will need to be installed, regardless of the filter's location. In connecting the filter to the water pipes plumber's tape or cement should be applied to pipe fitting threads.

Using the Filter

When installed properly the filter will work automatically to remove iron from the water. To use the filter after it has been installed, the water will need to be turned on and the fittings checked to be sure they are not leaking. Water conditioners will need to be regenerated, toilets flushed, and hot water tank flushed. Appearance of rust in the water from the hot water tank will require you to add half a gallon of liquid bleach to the tank water. The tank should be full and allowed it to sit for half an hour. Then, it should be flushed again. Water in the faucets should be allowed to flow, flushing out residual iron, then closed. Water can then be used without telltale sign of iron that were evident before installation of your iron filter