The Hard Truth About Iron in Well Water

Imagine life without water for drinking, bathing, and washing. It would almost be impossible. Water is a necessity, so high levels of iron are particularly concerning.

Regular water testing is essential to protect your loved ones and minimize damage to your appliances. Luckily, many testing devices can produce precise and quick results.

Going forward, keep in mind that iron levels above .3ppm can seriously damage your appliances, clothes, and dishes.

How Iron Gets into Well Water


As rainwater or melted snow travels from the surface into a well, it may pick up iron along the way.

Soil Erosion

You may have noticed that your well water changes color right after it rains. That is because of the soil and dirt collected by rainwater as it flows into the well. Soil has traces of iron, which dissolves into the rainwater as it flows along.


Most casings and pipes leading to and from the well are made of iron, which is bright and shiny when new. However, when exposed to water and air, iron turns a particular brown color due to rust formation. The rust flakes off and dissolves into the water, which then flows into wells or your home.

Effects of Iron in Well Water

On Your Health

Iron is a must-eat nutrient required to sustain various bodily functions. Though it is almost impossible that you would consume a toxic level of iron solely through drinking well water, this metal may be detrimental to your skin and hair. It could turn your hair darker, give it a terrible metallic odor, and make it dry and weak.

Excessive iron can damage your skin cells, resulting in wrinkles. Besides, dissolved iron will stimulate the formation of soap scum, which clogs your skin pores, causing annoying skin problems such as eczema and acne.

Perhaps the most severe health consequences will result from iron bacteria. These iron-feeding microorganisms leave behind a gross slime on the inside of your pipes. The slime forms a perfect environment for the growth of harmful organisms. Consuming such contaminated water increases your risk of infection.

Other Effects

Clogged Pipes

Rust particles and iron fragments could stagnate for prolonged periods in your pipes. When this happens, particles accumulate as more rust forms, eventually blocking water flow in your supply system or appliances. You will have to spend a lot of money to have your pipes unclogged or replaced in most cases.

Awful Taste and Smell

Iron in water has a terrible metallic taste and smell. This is particularly evident when you cook vegetables in iron-rich water.


Soap scum leaves red, yellow, and brown stains on your laundry, sinks, and dishes. Consequently, your items will look unsightly, despite how much you try to scrub them.


Iron in the diet is healthy. However, it should be a cause for alarm when vast amounts of the metal find their way into your well water. That is because excessive iron in water damages your hair, skin, appliances, and water supply system.

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