I have seen several companies on the market urging people to test their water for the presence of iron, manganese, or hydrogen sulfide content, advising that a positive result will require the purchase of an iron water filter.
Many of these types of filters are whole house apparatus, meaning that the single filter system protects every faucet and water outlet in your home.
Iron is one of the most common contaminants found in municipal water systems, and the two main forms of iron contamination are rust (or ferric iron), and dissolved (ferrous iron). The former can be removed by mechanical sediment filters such as reverse osmosis systems, but the latter is said to require the use of “special” iron water filters. Are either of these types of filters really what you need though?
A reverse osmosis whole house iron water filter is actually one of the least effective types of water filter systems currently in use. As I have already pointed out they are of absolutely no use to you where ferrous iron is concerned, and there are many other things that this type of water filter system is incapable of stopping as well. The product lets through dissolved metals, microscopic pathogens, and chemical agents.
This is because of its design, using a porous membrane as the primary filter with only an activated granular carbon pre-filter as the only methods of defense. The activated granular carbon pre-filter removes most of the chemical agents from your drinking water, but not all of them. The porous membrane filter is capable of removing virtually nothing except particulates present in the water.
These types of iron water filter run on electricity, produce as much as five times more wastewater than they do clean water, and are extremely expensive.
Why would you pay a huge sum of money from something that is wasteful, and doesn’t do but a fraction of the job you need it too? There are more inexpensive units that will actually do more for you than the larger whole house filters will, but not by much.
These products don’t require backwashing like many whole house water filter systems do, and their filters are fairly easy to replace. Still though, for effective protection from the reverse osmosis alternative iron present in your water you are going to be sacrificing protection from other equally harmful contaminants. There is a better way than to spend several hundred dollars on a product that only removes some of the contaminants threatening your health.
A better choice than a whole house iron water filter would be a point of use drinking water faucet filter. The best of these filters will remove the toxic heavy metals from your water through ion exchange, which replaces harmful metals with beneficial sodium and potassium. The ion exchange filter also aids in the removal of the harmful chemical agents that activated granular carbon can’t quite get.
The combination of ion exchange, activated granular carbon, and sub micron filtration (pathogens) makes the purchase of this filter a far smarter choice than investing in a limited ability iron water filter. Why only go halfway when you can remove everything harmful from your water?