We drink it, we bathe in it, we use it to wash our clothes and to clean our homes. Without doubt, water plays a central role in our lives. And we are all fully aware of its importance.
Therefore, we go to great lengths to ensure that our drinking water is pure and clean. This means that when it comes to water cleanliness, we also scrutinize it with respect to its chlorine and chloramine content.
Chlorine and chloramine are the most common water disinfectants that are present in our municipal water. And while some of us don’t give it a second thought, many homeowners are searching for ways to get rid of chlorine and chloramine from their water supply.
Chlorine and chloramine kill bacteria and pathogens in a very efficient way, however, they can cause health issues as well.
Let’s see what the disadvantages and risks of having chlorine and chloramine in your water and the best solutions for chlorine and chloramine removal.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine has played an important role in removing disease-causing microorganisms from water supplies for a long time.
It is the cheapest, easiest way of keeping water safe to drink and making it easier to use in households.
However, the presence of too much chlorine in drinking water or prolonged exposure over time to chlorine and its by-products can lead to some serious issues regarding your health.
The most notable side-effects of ingesting chlorine and its by-products with your drinking water can lead to:
- Asthma attacks
- Skin problems such as rashes, itchiness, psoriasis and eczema
- Dry hair
- Higher risk of breast cancer and bladder cancer
- Nervous system issues in small children
Therefore, chlorine should be considered a health-related water contamination issue that should be dealt with at the point-of-use, i.e., where chlorinated water is consumed.
Why is Chlorine Used in Water Disinfection?
In recent years, chlorine has gotten a bad reputation, but let’s not forget that before chlorination water-borne diseases and deaths because of water borne diseases were rampant.
Because chlorine is inexpensive and easy to handle, municipalities have always preferred using chlorine as the main disinfectant agent. Chlorine is considered a cheap disinfection agent compared to other water treatment processes.
Once added to the water, it dissolves easily, kills germs, viruses, bacteria and other contaminants, and water becomes safe to consume. Also, chlorination is easy to perform, to control and to monitor.
Chlorine vs Chloramine
Lately, a growing number of water suppliers have chosen to use chloramine as the main disinfectant agent instead of chlorine. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia.
Although the most common water treatment agent in use is still chlorine, switching to chloramine can help the water suppliers remove harmful microorganism a lot easier and a lot better.
The main reasons for the switch to chloramine disinfection are:
- Chloramine is chemically more stable than chlorine
- It has a longer lasting effect and efficacy during distribution
- It is more effective than chlorine, it cleans the water better and removes harmful contaminants more efficiently
- Chloramine has a slower evaporation rate compared to chlorine, so it is harder to remove from water
While chloramine may outperform chlorine in terms of efficiency (especially when it comes to issue of chlorine resistance of some microorganisms), it’s also much more difficult to remove, which comes with its own set of issues.
How to Remove Chlorine from Water?
There are a wide range of possibilities to remove chlorine from water. Some of the methods are so easy that you will be able to do it yourself at home without needing any help or special knowledge.
One of the most reliable chlorine removal methods is to invest in a professional water filter, however, other methods can also offer good results:
This is the simplest DIY way to get rid of chlorine. You simply let your water breathe by leaving it out on the sun.
With the help of this method your water will become chlorine free. As many DIY shortcuts, the process of this method takes more time compared to professional water filters.
In case you need drinking water, this method might be too time-consuming, but if you want to water your plants, this method is absolutely efficient and rewarding.
- Reverse Osmosis Systems:
In case you want to buy a professional water filter to get rid of chlorine in your water, the best choice would be a RO System.
Containing special filter media that can remove chlorine, namely activated carbon, these filters easily remove chlorine and other contaminants as well.
If you seek the fastest and best method to have top-quality drinking water, installing a Reverse Osmosis System is probably the best choice you could make.
- Chemical Neutralization:
This method requires special knowledge of chemicals, so it can’t be considered a DIY way of getting rid of chlorine found in your tap water.
Basically, with this method, you will neutralize chlorine and transform it into chloride or other byproducts that are not harmful to health anymore.
Which is the Best Filter for Chlorine Removal?
Here’s a rundown of the best filters for removing chlorine from your drinking water:
- Activated carbon filters: these filters are easy to find on the market in two different forms – carbon block and granular activated carbon. Because they boast a large surface area and adsorption capability, they can remove 99.9% of chlorine from your water, helping you to have top quality drinking water. They are made from raw organic materials such as wood or coconut shell. They not only remove chlorine and its by-products from water, they also solve issues such as unpleasant tastes and odours in tap water.
- Ceramic filters: Combine these filters with carbon filters in order to increase their efficiency.
- Multi-stage reverse osmosis filters: As we have mentioned above, reverse osmosis systems are one of the best filter media choices to remove chlorine from tap water. Multi-stage RO systems have both carbon block and granular activated pre-and post-filters, so with their help it is simpler and faster to get chlorine-free, great tasting and odourless tap water.
How to Remove Chloramine from Water?
When it comes to removing chloramine from tap water, you should take a different approach.
Compared the chlorine, chloramine is a different compound and it is much harder to remove from water.
Thanks to the low molecular weight, chloramine is impossible to remove with a simple carbon filter, you will need a catalytic carbon filter in order to get chloramine-free pure drinking water.
In order to remove chloramine, you will need to follow two steps during the filtration. As we have mentioned before, chloramine is a mix of chlorine and ammonia, so the removal process consists is basically fighting the compounds one by one.
The first part of filtration requires an extensive carbon filter. This filter will fight the chloramine molecule and remove the chlorine included in it.
The second step is performing a reverse osmosis filtration technique or a cation filter. This way the ammonia content will be eliminated.
Be advised that filtering out chloramine from your water will require more financial investment, this technique is more expensive compared to the filtration of chlorine.
Which is the Best Filter for Chloramine Removal?
Filtering out chloramine from your tap water is not as easy as filtering out chlorine, but it’s an achievable task.
You can try an undersink water filter to tackle the issue if you’re looking to remove chloramine from your drinking water alone.
This means that you’ll be removing chloramine from cold water alone. If you want to get rid of chloramine from your entire water supply, you need to look into a point-of-entry filtration method.
The best choice is to install a whole house filtration system. As most shower filters aren’t designed for chloramine removal and undersink filters are limited to the point of use, the best way to handle chloramine removal is to invest in a whole house filtration system.
To sum up, chlorine and chloramine at safe levels controlled by municipalities can cause no serious harm to your health.
Even so, it is very important to be aware of the possible issues and health problems these disinfectant agents can cause.
This especially if you’re an at-risk category, i.e., you’re pregnant, nursing, you’re prone to skin problems, you’re dealing with asthma, or you have a compromised immune system.
Overall, it is always better to make sure that the water you consume day by day helps you stay healthy and doesn’t make you sick or cause you any serious health issues.
Installing a professional water filtration system will surely keep you safe from any adverse health effects caused by these contaminants. So why risk it when it is possible to nourish your body with top-quality chemical-free water?