Excessive iron in shower water can lead to several issues. It may cause skin problems like dryness and irritation due to its drying nature. It can also stain fixtures and surfaces and potentially discolor hair over time. Lastly, inhaling iron particles from the shower steam might lead to respiratory issues in susceptible individuals.
Hence, it is critical to remove excessive iron from the water before showering or bathing in it. Installing a whole-house iron filter is the most effective way to remove excessive iron from water, but it isn’t always possible. So, people look for cheap and effective alternatives and ask if a shower filter can remove iron from water.
Can a Shower Filter remove Iron from Water?
Certain shower filters, specifically those using redox (reduction-oxidization) processes, can remove iron from water. However, a comprehensive whole-house filtration system may be more effective for heavy iron contamination.
How a Shower Filter removes Iron from Water?
Understanding Iron in Water
Iron commonly becomes water through natural processes, like soil and rock erosion, or corroding metal in plumbing systems. In water, iron can exist in several forms, but the two most common forms are ferrous iron (Fe2+, soluble and clear in water) and ferric iron (Fe3+, insoluble and appears as reddish-brown particles in water).
Shower Filter Mechanisms
A shower filter is a device that is designed to clean the water that comes out of your shower head. It works by passing the water through several stages of filtration that can remove various contaminants, including iron.
Redox (Reduction-Oxidation) Process
Shower filters that remove iron often use a process called redox or reduction-oxidation. In this process, the iron atoms lose electrons (oxidation) and transform from soluble ferrous iron to insoluble ferric iron. The newly formed ferric iron then precipitates out of the water, allowing it to be captured in the filter.
KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) Media
A common type of redox filter media is KDF or Kinetic Degradation Fluxion. This high-purity copper-zinc formulation uses a basic chemical process known as redox to remove chlorine, lead, mercury, iron, and hydrogen sulfide from the water. When water passes over the KDF media, the iron reacts with the zinc and copper in the filter, causing the iron to oxidize and turn into insoluble particles. These particles are then trapped within the filter and removed from the water.
Regular Maintenance and Replacement
Filters used to remove iron need regular maintenance and replacement to remain effective. This is because, over time, the filter media becomes saturated with the iron particles it has removed, limiting its ability to filter out further iron.
Limitations of Shower Filters
While shower filters can effectively remove small amounts of iron from water, they might not be sufficient for water with high iron content. A more comprehensive water treatment system, such as a whole-house iron filtration system or a water softener, might be required to effectively remove iron from the water.
Benefits of Showering in Iron-free Water
Healthier Skin and Hair: Iron-free water prevents skin dryness and irritation and doesn’t discolor or damage hair over time, leading to healthier skin and hair.
Cleaner Shower Area: Without iron, the risk of unsightly orange or brown stains on your shower fixtures, tiles, and tub is reduced.
Better Respiratory Health: Eliminating iron reduces the chance of inhaling iron particles from the shower steam, which can cause respiratory issues.
Improved Water Clarity and Smell: Iron-free water is usually clearer and doesn’t carry the metallic smell often associated with high iron content.
Longer-lasting Appliances: Lower iron content means less buildup in your shower heads and plumbing, leading to longer-lasting appliances and less maintenance.
Alternatives to Remove Iron from Shower/Bath Water
Iron Filtration Systems
These specially designed filters use oxidation, sedimentation, and filtration to remove iron from water. These are effective but can be costly, and they require professional installation and maintenance.
Water softeners work by replacing iron ions with sodium or potassium ions. While not designed specifically to remove iron, they can handle low iron levels. They also help to reduce scale and improve the lathering of soap.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
These systems use pressure to push water through a semi-permeable membrane, which can remove iron and many other contaminants. However, they are often used for drinking water and for showers can be quite expensive due to the high water usage.
Oxidizing filters chemically oxidize iron, converting it from a dissolved state to solid particles that can be filtered out. These filters use different substances, such as manganese greensand, for oxidation.
A sediment filter can be an effective solution if the iron in your water is primarily particulate. It physically traps and removes iron particles from the water. However, it won’t remove dissolved iron.
Can Iron in Water Damage My Hair?
Yes, iron in water can potentially damage your hair. Over time, it can leave a residue that might cause your hair to feel dry, brittle, and straw-like. Additionally, iron can cause discoloration, leaving blonde or lighter-colored hair with a coppery or orange tint.
Is Iron in Water bad for my Skin?
Yes, iron in water can be harmful to your skin. It can cause dryness and irritation and even exacerbate certain skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It also leaves a residue on your skin that can clog pores and lead to breakouts or acne.
Can babies bathe with Iron Contaminated Water?
It’s generally safe for babies to bathe in water with iron, but if the iron content is high, it may cause dryness and irritation on their delicate skin. Also, iron in bath water can stain clothes and diapers. If you suspect high iron levels, consider having your water tested and treated if necessary.