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I recently had a well installed and had a professional come out and perform a water sample. It turned out that the water from the well is high in iron. This wasn’t a surprise to me since my mother, who lives next door, has a similar well with the same issue. Before installing her filtration system, the high iron content wreaked havoc on her appliances.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that despite having a filtration system from the same company, her water still has a distinct metallic taste. The professional I spoke to mentioned that this could be due to a low pH rather than the iron. For reference, my water has a pH of 6.8. My goal is to have excellent tasting water, and I don’t want that metallic taste.

Here’s the solution he recommended:

  1. New filter with calcite and greensand media to correct pH and remove iron
  2. Softener to remove existing hardness and approximately 5 grains of added hardness from the filter

Given this information, I have a few questions:

  • Is there anything that stands out as potentially unnecessary or questionable about the proposed solution?
  • Would I be able to save money by sourcing the filters myself from a different company?

I understand that the company representative has a vested interest in selling me their products, so I wanted to seek out some unbiased opinions. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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    No matter how you proceed, make sure your contract includes a clause to guarantee that the levels of contaminants being remediated shall not exceed X ppm or grains for Y months or years, and that the details and cost of any required periodic maintenance is spelled out in detail. If the company expects to visit every 3 months to maintain your system at additional expense, you need to know that before you sign, not after. Hint: Greensand needs to be maintained.
    – MTA
    Jul 6, 2023 at 12:26
  • There are multiple ways to control iron which you should research, review, and consider from a total cost of ownership point of view. I'd hardly consider your mother's water as treated by this company tasting "off" as being a strong endorsement for them. Then again, a reverse osmosis drinking & cooking water filter system separate from the general treatment system is common enough, since the taste of the water you don't drink is immaterial.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 6, 2023 at 13:47
  • Welcome. I've removed cost from your question as it's off topic here, as well as the company details (which aren't particularly relevant). Please see How to Ask and take the tour.
    – isherwood
    Jul 6, 2023 at 15:51
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    Sharing detailed test results rather than vague "high in iron" could inform commentary on potential filtration options. i.e., for less than ~4ppm iron often a water softener alone will do the job adequately without excessive fouling. Above that level pre-treatment of some sort is needed. Slightly shorter resin life and the occasional permanganate addition to the salt tank gets balanced with not having to buy and maintain a whole separate filter for iron removal.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 6, 2023 at 16:54
  • Asking for opinions, biased or otherwise, makes this off-topic.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 7, 2023 at 17:45

2 Answers 2

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Costs (specific) are off-topic as too variable with time and location.

But. On the subject of costs, generalized:

If you are willing and able to install your own filters sourced elsewhere, you can definitely save money. Usually a lot of money. Work from your water test results, not from duplicating what they want to sell you. There are a multitude of iron removal filtration methods - which one is best depends on what else you might need to filter (manganese is a common co-contaminant) and the level of iron in your water, as well as considerations such as "first cost .vs. ongoing operating cost" which can vary widely with the type of filter chosen.

Also you can have independent laboratory testing done. Many on-line filter sources will run a basic set of tests for free (their vested interest, but not commonly in error, since checking up on them with an independent test is quite simple) or you can have a state laboratory or other independent laboratory test the water, perhaps more throughly, for a fee ranging from small to large depending on what set of tests you run.

Depending on your locale you may want to check for more things than a basic test will cover, at least once, on a new well. The testing results then inform your treatment system choices, so you don't buy filtration for things beyond your actual needs.

You or your mother might want to have her "as treated" water tested independently since it tastes "off."

One common approach to the water you consume, as opposed to all other water, is a reverse osmosis drinking & cooking water filter system separate from the general treatment system, since the taste (and many types of contaminants) of the water you don't drink is immaterial. Those systems do have maintenance costs of their own, of course.

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Our water is similar in that it is high in iron, but we also have very low pH (around 6.1 untreated). Our solution was a neutralizer (calcite) system that the water goes through first. While this is designed primarily for correcting pH, it also serves to do a basic cleanup of the water. After the neutralizer, we have a softener (because the neutralizer raises the hardness). You can buy water softener pellets that correct for iron, which have worked great for us.

I'm not an expert, but I bought the tanks and control units on line and installed it myself. The hardest part is getting the piping lined up right, since our system required two neutralizers. However, I had a good sense of what was needed, and if I had to do it all over again I think I would have paid a company, since if the water chemistry hadn't ended up where I needed it to be, I'd be kind of stuck. (As it is, I had to make corrections to the filter media by adding corosex, since the calcite by itself wouldn't raise the pH enough.)

Whether someone else does it or not, make sure it is set up so that the refill ports and/or the softener tank is easy to access. You don't want to have to pay to have someone come and do the refills; doing that by yourself will save you money.

Some of my neighbors have reverse osmosis for drinking water under the kitchen sink; our water tastes great so we didn't need that.

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