Whether you own a private well or have city water that runs through older pipes on its way to your house, the WaterWorks™ Total Iron Visual Test Kit gives you a quick and easy way to visually test the total iron content in your water.
What exactly is 'total iron' anyway?
For a more detailed explanation of the different types of iron one may find in their drinking water, we wrote an article called Iron in Drinking Water which does an excellent job of discussing the differences between ferric iron, ferrous iron, and iron bacteria.
But, in the interest of saving a little time, most folks start to wonder if they need to test for iron as a result of seeing ferrous (Fe+2) iron in their drinking water. It typically forms rust colored suspended precipitates that make water appear unsafe to drink. The majority of iron test kits on the market detect ferrous iron and only ferrous iron.
Ferric (Fe+3) iron may also show up in drinking water as insoluble (won't dissolve) reddish-brown solids that can wreak havoc on a water filtration system. Water treatment professionals and specialist sometimes refer to thie type of iron as 'red iron'... and recommend that anyone with red iron in their source water install filters to get rid of it before it clogs up pipes, washer screens, etc.
Note: Two other types of iron besides ferric and ferrous iron may also show up in drinking water -- iron bacteria and organic iron -- but the test methods for both exceed the capabilities of at-home drinking water test kits.
A company called National Testing Laboratories manufactures a mail-in test for iron bacteria.
What is the USEPA recommendation for total iron in drinking water?
At this time the US Environmental Protection Agency views iron in water not as a major health hazard, but rather as a general nuisance for the aesthetic problems it can cause (i.e. staining, clogs, discoloration of water, etc.)... and they set the 'action' limit at 0.3ppm, a level clearly indicated on the color chart included with the WaterWorks™ Total Iron test kit.
And if I find high levels of iron in my water? What then?
If after testing you decide you need an iron filter, we suggest taking a look at the iron filters offered by Filter Water. Last time we checked they carried iron filtration options ranging from basic setups that cost around $100 all the way up to high capacity, whole house iron removal systems that cost well over $2,000.