Asked on Jun 07, 2016

Rust/iron removal from well water

Mindy DuFlunker
by Mindy DuFlunker
I have rust/iron in my well water. The home has been vacant for two years. I had a new filter system installed: Chlorine injector, Carbon Filter and softener. I am sure the water tank as well as all of the pipes in the house are full of iron. The bath tubs/ toilets and showers were cracked with the stuff. I used Iron Out and cheese cloth to remove all the stains. I know all of the water pipes and water tank are full of this gunk. How do I get them clean? And should I have the filter system before the tank?
  19 answers
  • William William on Jun 08, 2016
    Is a rust filter part of the filter system? The filter system should be right in the main before it goes to anything in the house. You may need to call a water softener company to see if they can flush the system or if it's possible to do it.
  • Ranger Ranger on Jun 08, 2016
    Mix Bicarbonate of Soda with salt in equal quantities. Make bucket loads and keep flushing your pipes and/or drains, followed by hot water. Also, add to your water tank some Chlorine. Any dealer will advise you on how to use it, but the container should have a chart on it. We used it for a month or so and it cleaned everything out. Difference in taste to water was minimal but we did boil drinking water for a while. Check the library for a book on household uses for Bicarbonate of Soda - it is truly brilliant.
  • Porland1624 Porland1624 on Jun 08, 2016
    Use white vinagret is the best to remove the rust
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 08, 2016
    I would contact an expert in plumbing and get an opinion. This might not be a "do-it- yourself" project.
  • Cre5605900 Cre5605900 on Jun 08, 2016
    Rid-O-Rust. We have iron in our well water as well. If you don't have a filter. Rid- O Rust works well the cost about 7 or$ 8 a gal. or $26.00 a case of 4 gals. Just spray it on let stand then wash off. Rust stain will re-develop so you'll need to re-treat
  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Jun 08, 2016
    When we bought our current home we had the same problem. After two years of replacing frozen plumbing we decided to do the following. 1. We got a whole house water filtering system. (Rents out on monthly basis.) water quality test revealed sulfur, magenese, and iron in higher than accepted levels. 2. Had to replace the hot water tank, so we went with a larger capacity tank. (Twenty five gallons for a family of five just wasn't working). 3. Replaced all drains to septic mainline. As clogged as they were its no wonder sinks were slow to drain. 4. Replaced every single water supply line with the Flex lines. Each point of use has a separate line feeding it, coming from a manifold by the hot water tank. That was pricey, but needed to be done. I examined the water supply line removed from the kitchen sink. It was clogged 3/4 of the way shut with a rusty, muddy looking coating of crud. This is what our tap water had to pass through on its way to the faucet! Best decision we made for this house, safe drinking water!
  • Bobbi Young Bobbi Young on Jun 08, 2016
    first of all, no bleach or anyhthing with chlorine; mixed with the iron in the water you cause a reaction and everything will be orange!! Even your hair! If you have culligan they will flush your system. The cost was not bad--but you have a mess @ all faucets to clean up. It does help. Iron out or rust out help, but the problem will be on going and you just have to keep up with it. The special things with well water!!!
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jun 08, 2016
    Unfortunately I rented a lovely condo/apartment with a view of the Washington Monument in an historic building, high rent, high end location. But it was old. Hardly any water pressure, stains, and no pressure. After 6 months of having the landlord 'clear drains, he told me the entire building is so old, the association decided it too expensive to replace the pipes. I should have paid attention as to why i kept seeing large bottled water delivered to the other until all the time. I should have also noticed my health declining. I got out at end of lease.
  • Jemma Dee Jemma Dee on Jun 08, 2016
    My area has well water so it is extremely hard and rusty. When the washer is filling you can even smell the chlorine! Unfortunately this is a rental so I am stuck with poor quality water. Fo r drinking water I have a counter top filter attached to the kitchen sink and then I filter it through a Brita pitcher.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jun 08, 2016
    I do not have iron, but calcium. Friends across the road have iron. I am still looking for a solution!
  • Cindy Cindy on Jun 08, 2016
    I have well water, I use it mainly for outdoor use, especially our sprinklers, it turns our sides of our home and chain link fence a rusty color. My husband went to Lowe's and bought one of those outside water tank that you fill with gallons of the rust free water treatment that you connect to your well water line. It worked great but was too expensive. So hopefully someone could help me out. We just had our home repainted, it is a light green. Should of painted it a rust color.
  • Trish Trish on Jun 08, 2016
    you will have to sacrifice the hot water tank to get rid of the rust even with a filter system. it accumulates in the tank and will continue to leach into the hot water supply no matter what you do to clean it. chorline bleach will help but you need iron out run thru the whole system before you replace the hot water tank and then after. do all the cold lines first replace the hot water tank and rum the iron out thru the system aftet the tank is gone and then put the new tank in...its complicated but worth it. the dishwasher and washing machine lines if they are rubber may need to be replaced as the iron out doesnt work on rubber i dont think.
    • Mindy DuFlunker Mindy DuFlunker on Jun 11, 2016
      @Trish Widdershoven I have been using iron out by the pounds. No one is living there yet so I have been putting about two cups of the stuff in the salt in the water softener and running water in all the pipes daily. By the end of the day the water seems clear but the next morning the first quart or so is red.
  • Peter Peter on Jun 08, 2016
    You may have Iron bacteria wich turns to rust when exposed to air.A sand filter is best and cheapest.Allow the water to trickle down through the sand.You then need to pump it via a pressure pump or up to a tank.Works 100% but is a bit of a hassle to do it properly
  • Sue Hill Sue Hill on Jun 08, 2016
    There is no cure that I am aware of, but but if you are able to back flush the water system it will clean out a lot of the junk (Google that term). Don't use bleach, it doesn;t work and will leave orange residue. When doing laundry, Borateem is a good product. It softens the water and makes the detergent work better.
  • Linda Graovac Linda Graovac on Jun 08, 2016
    Look for someone to install a potassium permanganate filter.
  • Mary Warnock Penner Mary Warnock Penner on Jun 08, 2016
    If it is just iron bacteria you can "shock " your well every year or 2 depending on how much water you are using. I have the iron bacteria so I do it every 2 years. ...essentially you pour 1-2 gallons of javex into the well then turn every COLD tap on full blast and leave for a few hours. It will clear out the bacteria in the cold pipes, you don't want it to get into the hot water tank though. ...or you could be showering and cooking with javex water for weeks!
  • Bobbi Young Bobbi Young on Jun 09, 2016
    we were putting the chlorine product in our well periodically--ruined our pump!! You must be careful! No matter what you do--the iron is still in the water. The best advise I have is have the filter/softener and clean frequently!! I have no stains in my toilets or any where else! Stay away from anything that contains bleach. I use the peroxide based toilet bowl cleaner--works great. I also put a squirt of dawn in the toilet tank and clean it out weekly also! Helps with the bacteria!
  • Trish Trish on Jun 12, 2016
    Is it all the water? What happens if you run only cold?
    • DORLIS DORLIS on Jun 13, 2016
      @Trish Widdershoven It is not in my water, but acros the road it is. Talk to county Extension, they can help you with testing, etc.
  • Bobbi Young Bobbi Young on Jun 12, 2016
    it is ALL the water! Have the water tested--you will learn what you need to do to make it managable! It is quite intimidating; but you can do things that help! We use culligan services--our water is delicious!! Yes, my hot water smells occassionally--drain the tank if it is bad--that is about all you can do to the tank! I plan to get a tankless heater when I need a new one, but I am not just buying one just because!! I am not a fan of wasting money!! I am more than happy to shear my experiences--don't let it overwhlem you!! You will need filtration and softening! Recently my husband was cleanign the salt holding tank and decided (without thinking) to go buy bleach!! Well, I am blonde, I couldn't figure it out, ky hair was breaking off and turning orange!! WHY?? I had no idea he had cleaned out with bleach--even that small amount of chlorine makes a mess!! It is much harded to take care of the mess bleach causes that to use alternatives!!