How to Remove Chlorine and Chloramines From Water
If you get your water from a municipal water supply like 86% of US households, it’s almost certain your water has been treated with chlorine or chloramines. When you detect the odor of bleach in your home’s water, you’re smelling these disinfectants.
While the removal of chlorine taste and odor can be as simple as the installation of a carbon filter, reduction of the actual chemical compounds requires more robust treatment.
Why are chlorine and chloramine added to water?
Because water supplies are susceptible to contamination from both natural and man-made substances harmful to human consumption, public water supplies both filter the water and add chemicals for disinfection and treatment.
Cities across the U.S. started adding chlorine to disinfect their water supplies in the early 1900s, making American drinking water supplies among the safest in the world.
Chlorine is potent and dependable against a long list of pathogens, eliminating potential waterborne diseases. Even at low levels, chlorine residue is harmful to microorganisms, and will kill or deactivate them.
Chloramines are chemical compounds created when ammonia is included (or mixed) with chlorine. Chloramine can serve as an alternative or be used in conjunction with chlorine.
Like chlorine, chloramine is used to kill harmful bacteria and microorganisms in municipal water supplies.
One reason many cities and water treatment facilities are switching from chlorine to chloramines is to reduce the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs are organic chemicals that occur in drinking water as a result of chlorine treatment. Disinfection by chloramines produces very little THMs and other byproducts.
Another advantage of chloramines is that they provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water travels through the pipes to households. Chloramines remain in the water distribution systems longer than free chlorine, and also remain active much longer within plumbing. The downside is that chloramines are also harder to remove from your water supply.
Is chlorine and chloramine safe to drink?
While you may hate the idea of chemicals in your water, the entire purpose of treating municipal water supplies with chlorine or chloramines is to make your water safe to drink.
The Safe Drinking Water Act empowered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate drinking water, requiring municipalities to keep chlorine levels below 4mg/L. Because chlorine odor is detectable above 1 mg/L, you might still smell it at your tap.
If the level of chlorine in your water is below 4 mg/L, your water is safe to drink, but you may still find the taste objectionable.
To verify if your water supply is using chloramines, you can check your Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), an annual drinking water quality report which you can get from your local water supplier or the EPA. The CCR summarizes your risks of contamination, potential health effects, and an accounting of the treatment center’s actions to restore safe drinking water.
How do I remove chlorine and chloramine?
If you are looking to treat your water for chlorine, you need to decide if you are satisfied with just eliminating the objectionable taste and odor, or if you want a filtration solution to get rid of the chemical itself.
Chlorine taste and odor treatment
If your goal is to make your water taste and smell better, there are multiple options for chlorine treatment.
Carbon filtration reduces chlorine taste and odor. You can either filter the water at the point of use - such as your drinking water faucet, or the point of entry - where plumbing enters your home.
To treat the chlorine smell in the water you drink, cook, or shower with, install a carbon filter at the tap, dispenser, or shower head.
Point of use options include:
- Faucet Filter
- Water Pitcher Filter
- Countertop Filter
- Undersink Filter
- Reverse Osmosis Undersink System
- Refrigerator Filter
- Shower Filter
You could also install a replaceable cartridge filter at the point of entry to your home.
If you want to go beyond removing the taste and odor of chlorine to actually reducing it in your water supply, a whole home carbon tank system can treat the water for every tap in your home. You can choose from either a low maintenance carbon tank system, or a more robust backwashing carbon filter system.
If you are concerned about chloramines in your water supply, the typical activated carbon filter is not an effective treatment. You will need the robust filtration of a catalytic carbon filter to treat chloramines.
Chloramine Reduction System
Does chlorine/chloramine cause harm to pets?
If you have an aquarium, you probably already know that any tap water you add needs to be dechlorinated, both for the health of your fish and the good bacteria in your aquarium filter.
For other pets, such as dogs and cats, whether chlorine is dangerous depends on how much they drink. The safety level of chlorine in tap water is based on human consumption, not small animals. If you want to be sure what you’re feeding Fido is safe, you may want to consider using filtered water for your pet too.
Effective Solutions Treat Chlorine in Water
When you want to rid your water of chlorine or chloramines, Tier1 offers a range of safe, effective treatment options to meet your needs. If you want to ensure your water is free of other contaminants, it’s always a good idea to test it to find out exactly what’s in it in order to choose the most effective treatment solution.
If you’d like a personalized recommendation for your home, the Technical Support Team at Tier1water.com is available to chat or answer your call.