What comes to mind when you hear “chlorine?” Your backyard swimming pool, perhaps? The chemical is, indeed, found in many swimming pools. However, you may have been able to taste it in your tap water, too. Municipalities include chlorine in public water supplies because at quantities below 4 ppm (parts per million), the chemical has disinfectant benefits. However, ingestion of larger amounts can be harmful to the human body. Chlorine is a major irritant, and acutely, it may cause symptoms such as wheezing, burning mouth, and blurred vision. Empirical data has linked prolonged chlorine exposure to respiratory ailments such as pulmonary edema, as well as bladder cancer.
Yikes. Given these hazards, do we have control over the chlorine in the water we drink?
Fortunately, yes. Technology has advanced to give us scientifically-backed forms of water filtration and purification. There are several methods to eliminate chlorine from water. They range from simple, do-it-yourself techniques to more complex professionally installed systems. These include evaporation, chemical neutralization, reverse osmosis filtration, carbon filters, distillation, UV light treatment, and whole house filtration. By taking steps to get rid of chlorine in your water, you can minimize risks to your health. Read on for more details on six common methods for how to remove chlorine from water.
Evaporation to Eliminate Chlorine
This is the simplest and most cost-effective way to remove chlorine. If you fill a pitcher with water and let it stand for a few hours, it will gradually evaporate. Whether the evaporation occurs promptly or over time depends on the temperature of your home. In warmer weather, tap water chlorine tends to evaporate faster. While evaporation doesn’t require big bucks or much effort on your behalf, it isn’t the most time-friendly. You need to bear this in mind if you have a larger household or plan to use this tactic long-term.
Chemical Neutralization in Water
Chemical neutralization is another technique to mitigate the harmful effects of chlorine. Certain dechlorinating agents, such as ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate (in the form of Vitamin C), can neutralize chlorine in water. Potassium metabisulfite tablets are powerful agents that neutralize chlorine and other unpleasant chemicals. For some people, these tablets can cause symptoms of sulfite sensitivity, which include dermatitis, abdominal pain, and life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Furthermore, certain individuals don’t like the introduction of additional chemicals into their drinking water.
Reverse Osmosis Filtration
An increasingly utilized method to remove chlorine is reverse osmosis filtration. A reverse osmosis system works by reversing the movement of water in the process of osmosis, so that the water changes from a concentrated solution to a diluted solution via a semipermeable membrane. As water moves through this membrane, chlorine and other contaminants are left out. Reverse osmosis systems don’t use added chemicals and is a highly regarded method for the quality taste it produces. However, reverse osmosis filters waste a lot of water and therefore can be costly. Reverse osmosis filters also ontain membranes that are susceptible to decay and require replacement intermittently.
Carbon Filters to Remove Chlorine
Carbon filters, which come in activated and catalytic forms, can remove chlorine from water. Activated carbon filters rely on the process of adsorption, which involves the separation of chlorine from water by taking it into the surface of the activated carbon. Since chlorine molecules are larger than water molecules, they’re too big to make it through the filter pores and into dispensers. Activated carbon filters often contain organic materials, such as coconut shells or coal. These water filters remove drinking water chlorine effectively but you need to monitor them closely. Higher levels of contaminants in the water will wear the filter out faster, requiring more frequent changes.
Distillation of Chlorinated Water
Distillation is one of the oldest methods in water treatment. This process gets rid of chlorine by heating water to its boiling point, and then collecting water vapor while it condenses. Since chlorine can’t evaporate and condense, it’s separated from the rest of the water droplets. Though this method eradicates nearly all unwanted substances in water, it can recontaminate water if left idle for a large amount of time. Like reverse osmosis filtration, distillation can also be expensive and require regular maintenance.
UV Treatment of Drinking Water
Most people associate UV light with a sunny day. But surprisingly, ultraviolet disinfection processes can destroy chlorine, reducing the residual amount of the chemical in water. The amount of chlorine eradicated from tap water depends on the type of chlorine, type of UV irradiation, and water quality. UV treatment has proven highly effective in removing bacteria and viruses. However, its ability to remove chemicals like chlorine is not as robust.
Whole House Water Filtration Systems
As the name suggests, whole house filtration systems treat the majority of water that enters a residence. They’re installed at the point of entry (or POE) of the home, after the water meter. These water treatment systems are becoming more popular due to their efficacy and their low level of upkeep. They can be expensive, though, and sometimes require plumbing to be redone.
Chlorine is prevalent in today’s water supply. However, major health risks, both acute and long-term, only occur at higher quantities. To keep yourself and your household safe, there are several techniques you can employ to get chlorine-free water. Each comes with its individual strengths and drawbacks, so it’s best to discern which is optimal for your residence. Factors to consider when you choose a water filtration system include cost, your water needs, and which particles it removes.
At Aquagear, we specifically taylor our water filters to remove chlorine from tap water. They’ve been independently tested to SM and EPA protocols by an ISO 17025 lab, and remove 96.5% of chlorine. We use activated coconut carbon, an effective filter medium for removing chlorine from your tap water.
Who sets the standard for maximum safe levels of chlorine in tap water?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standard. Currently, experts consider 4 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine safe and unlikely to cause adverse effects.
Can I boil my water to remove chlorine?
Yes, you can boil water for 15-20 minutes to remove chlorine. This process is a great way to eliminate chlorine and microorganisms, but it will actually leave you with a higher concentration of some chemical contaminants that only a water filter can remove.
What are other contaminants that Aquagear’s filters remove?
Our filters at Aquagear remove over 99% of other common contaminants like lead, asbestos, and microplastics. For a comprehensive report, click here.