Iron in water need advice

We recenty purchased a home. We have found that the water (well water) has alot of iron in it. All the homes in this area have water softners,or conditioners. (Oddly enough the previous owners put up with it.) The water stains clothes and fixtures yellow. It also has a strong metalic taste and a kind of odd sweet metalic odor. I really wouldn't describe it as a rotten egg smell. We are in the process of shopping around for a water conditioning system. Any advice on what to purchase would be greatly appreciated. We have had one test at a plumbing place that had the results as follows. Iron 2, Hardness 6 and Ph at 6.9. One other place had the following. Iron 2, Hardness 8 and Ph at 7. We are having several companies come and test give estimates. We also will be having a new hotwater heater installed at the same time. The names of some of the systems that have been mentioned are as follows. Water Care, Water Right, Kinetico, Addie, and I have also heard of a system called Iron Curtain. The price quotes over the phone have been anywhere from $800. to $24,00. Any advice on what to choose or NOT to choose would be appreciated. Also is Culligan any good? We want to fix the water problem but not over do it with things we don't need. We want to get a quality system with that doesn't cost a fortune to maintain. Thanks, Karen
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Service is very important so I would talk to several neighbors and taste their water before making a decision. There are bacteria which live in high iron water. Some people super chloronate their well periodically to knock them out for a while.

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The actual organisms that usually are found in iron rich water are not bacteria they are archaea. Most archaea favor hot water and thrive in the hot water heater. If you are comfortable with sterilizing your system and maintaining it as a sterile system I'd suggest installing an in-line Ultra Violet sterilizer. It works for me.
Boden
Art Begun wrote:

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A UV light will kill the bacteria etc. but if there are IRB in the water, the iron in the cell will be released into the water as they die. The cause of hot water only odor is sulfate and sulfate reducing bacteria in the water reacting with anode rod in the tank.
Here's about the only primer on well rehab and maintenance in the US. At least it's the only one I have found; regardless, I think it's the only one needed. http://www.groundwatersystems.com/bioprimr.html#TARGET%207 that's only one page of many concering the subject.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com
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Shocking a well can cause water quality and pump/plumbing problems that are pricey to 'fix'. In many areas, most water that has high iron, does not have IRB or other types of bacteria. In those waters that do, IRB is responsible for most to lot of the iron content. Shocking a well with IRB and the other type of reducing bacteria, like manganese and sulfate, can make the problem worse over time. Then the only solution is to clean the well and very few people will be able to find anyone that does that.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassoicates.com
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I had my own well in a house for 7 years and a private utility well for 3 years. The private well company used to superchlorinate the water every 6 months. It had tons of iron. I had a mild problem with my own well and used to add chlorine every year of so on recommendation from the guy who fixed my pump when something went wrong. We used the water for the house and a water source heat pump and went thru a ton of water. That is my experience. I'm no expert other than 10 years of living with 2 different wells. Glad to be on city water now.
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I don't consider myself an expert either but I know I disagree with many and can put up a fairly solid argument against shocking wells. And lately I see there are reports and statistics supporting my thinking. I've have 16 years in water treatment with 99% of all work done on roughly 1000+ residential wells. I used to physically shock and superchlorinate wells and gave instructions to many more people wanting to treate their own wells. I also followed up with bacteria and iron testing on many of them. Most (60% initially) failed followup testing and of those few that didn't, 90% of those that initially after shocking showed an improvement in iron content or no bacteria, failed in the next 12 months or the iron was back with a vengence. Not to mention the reduced output of the well. I didn't know enough back then to now of the problem or see that as a concern, or the potential pump and plumbing problems. I just blindly followed officialdom's suggestion/requirement for shocking whenever.
But note that the private utility guys' superchlorinating every six months didn't improve things. And now after your experience, your desire to be on chlorinated and the floaties removed 'city' water at much greater monthly and long term expense to you with no price caps or competition to drive prices down. Look into disenfection by-products called THMs, among other 'thing' being found in 'city' water today. Then maybe iron isn't such a biggie.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com
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The last name of the four may be the best price so far, but the others should be the higher prced ones; they are proprietary, along with the last name mentioned. That's not a good thing for you and you wil be paying a lot just for the name but that won't solve any water quality problems you have, equipment does that.
You need to know the cause of the odor/taste before you do anything more than listen to proposals. It probably is the iron but, maybe not. Assuming you have a very good sense of smell, and the odor is not H2S (sulfur) and that the iron content is responsible for the odor, a softener is the best way to treat your iron and of course the hardness. But it has to be a softener with a control valve and resin etc. that can handle the amount of iron you have for a long time or you'll be very unhappy and poorer but still need to treat the problem. \
If bacteria is responsible for the odor, then you need more and/or different equipment. So, you need to find out if you have IRB/MRB (iron and/or manganese reducing bacteria). They are harmless but can cause an odor very similiar to H2S. You should ask if tannins are normally found in your area, they can cause yellow tint in water; but so can another) form of iron than what the iron tests you've had can find.
If you want more information, email me.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com
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