Water Treatment for Rust
Rust is water's before friend. They can be found everywhere together. From your favorite shirt coming out of the laundry with a rust stain on it, to the rust lines that seem to have sprang out of nowhere in your shower, even in your driveway where your once pristine concrete now has rust streaks all over where your downspout meets the road. How can you treat your water for rust before it ruins your bathroom and clogs up your pipes? There are several cost-efficient ways to break up rust's and water's friendship.
Many homeowners opt to have a whole-house filtration system installed, especially in areas known to have a heavy iron supply in the ground water. Iron is a naturally occurring element and is present in almost all water, but the higher the concentration the more disastrous it can be to household items like your water heater and piping. A whole house filtration system uses the power of salt pellets and/or charcoal activated filters to remove large deposits of rust from your water and provide a cleaner, more chemical-free product. Though the main drawback to treating water for rust this way is the high price, in some areas it is absolutely necessary unless you want to be replacing your clothes and appliances on a regular basis.
Another popular water treatment for rust is the use of special rust-removing chemicals such as those present in “Rust Out”, “Lime-A-Way” and “Rust-Rooter”. These commercial products all help eliminate rust build-up in washing machines and dish washers as well as removing rust on shower walls and in sinks. These products are designed for water that is non-potable, in other words you are not drinking the water.
If you have ever wondered why you take an item of clothing out of the washer and it has rust stains on it that is a classic symptom of rust buildup. As iron deposits on the inside of an appliance such as a clothes washer or hot water heater, rust forms quickly. Rust will soon break free and travel through pipes to stain whatever it can. In severe cases large rust deposits breaking off can actually clog pipes. Water heater manufacturers recommend fully draining your tank every year to help eliminate iron deposits that often settle in the bottom of the water heater tanks increasing rust production and decreasing the lifespan of the heater.
Even though high iron content in water is not dangerous for consumption, it often leads a bad taste to the water and most people prefer to remove it because of its discoloration of the water. Specially designed iron filters remove both iron deposits as well as manganese which can stain clothes and plumping fixtures. Iron filters contain a filtering device (usually a combination of charcoal and gravel) that may also introduce small amounts of chlorine which can break down rust.
In severe cases where regular treatment methods for rust can't remove enough iron due to a heavy concentration, specialized settling tanks can be installed to help iron particles fall to the bottom through a series of filtering actions. These tanks can then be emptied every so often and the rust particles and other impurities dumped. The biggest drawback to a system like this is the cost. Most of these type of systems are usually only found in commercial establishments that have needs for rust-free water.
Now that you know what causes rust stains and rust building in your plumbing, try some of these ideas to help eliminate it. Unfortunately, rust and water will always be best of friends and we can't eliminate rusting altogether. However we can use tools to help us limit their friendship and hopefully have water that tastes better and doesn't stain our clothes.