Aquagear

How to Remove Chlorine From Water

How to Remove Chlorine From Water

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. That’s because at quantities below 4 ppm (parts per million), chlorine can have disinfectant benefits. However, ingestion of larger amounts can be deleterious 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 remove chlorine from water. These include evaporation, chemical neutralization, reverse osmosis filtration, carbon filters, distillation, UV light treatment, and whole house filtration. They range from simple, do-it-yourself techniques to more complex professionally installed systems. By taking steps to make our water safe to drink, we can minimize risks to our health. Here are six common methods to remove chlorine from water.

Evaporation

This is the simplest and most cost-effective method for removing 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, 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 should bear this in mind if you have a larger household or plan to use this tactic long-term.

Chemical Neutralization 

Chemical neutralization is another technique that can be employed to mitigate the harmful effects of chlorine. Certain dechlorinating agents, such as ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate (in the form of Vitamin C), can neutralize chlorine in water. Potassium metabisulfite tablets are used most commonly to neutralize chlorine. They are powerful in neutralizing 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 water. 

Reverse Osmosis Filtration 

An increasingly utilized method to remove chlorine is reverse osmosis filtration. This system works by reversing the movement of water in the process of osmosis, so that the water moves from a concentrated solution to a dilute solution across 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 are highly regarded for the quality taste they produce. However, they waste a lot of water, can be costly, and reverse osmosis membranes are susceptible to decay, calling for intermittent replacement.

Carbon Filters

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. Activated carbon filters are often made of organic materials, such as coconut shells or coal. This filtration process is potent in removing chlorine from water, but must be monitored closely. Higher levels of contaminants in the water will wear the filter out faster, requiring more frequent changes.

Distillation

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 

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 depends on the species 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 Filtration 

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, occur at higher quantities. To keep yourself and your household safe, there are several techniques you can employ to remove chlorine from your 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 choosing a water filtration system include cost, your water needs, and which particles it removes.

At Aquagear, our filters are specifically tailored 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 in chlorine removal. 

 

FAQ

  1. Who sets the standard for maximum safe levels of chlorine in tap water?
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the standard. Currently,
    4 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine are considered safe and unlikely to cause adverse effects.
  2. Can I boil my water to remove chlorine?
    Yes,
    you can boil water for 15-20 minutes to remove chlorine.
  3. 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.

Resources

  1. Chlorine. Retrieved from epa.gov. (January 2000)
  2. What If You Don’t Like the Taste of Chlorine in Your Water? Retrieved from alaska.gov
  3. Hyper-Chlorinated Water Management. Retrieved from cityofdenton.com (September 2014) 
  4. Hassan Vally and Neil LA Misso. Adverse reactions to the sulphite additives. Gastroenterology and Hepatology from Bed to Bench. 2012 Winter; 5(1), 16-23. 
  5. Water Facts: Number 6 Reverse osmosis units. Retrieved from water-research.net (February 1994)
  6. What is Adsorption? Retrieved from int-ads-soc.org.
  7. Water Treatment Using Carbon Filters: GAC Filter Information. Retrieved from health.state.mn.us 
  8. Drinking Water Treatment: Distillation. Retrieved from extensionpublications.unl.edu (December 2013) 
  9. Banu Ormeci, Joel Ducoste, and Karl G Linden. UV disinfection of chlorinated water: Impact on chlorine concentration and UV dose delivery. Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology - AQUA. 2005 May; 54(3), 189-199.
  10. Pros and Cons of Water Filtration Systems and Processes. Retrieved from buildingclean.org.
  11. A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use. Retrieved from cdc.gov (August 4, 2020) 
  12. Choosing Home Water Filters & Other Water Treatment Systems. Retrieved from cdc.org (August 4, 2020)
  13. Water Disinfection with Chlorine and Chloramine. Retrieved from cdc.gov (November 17, 2020)
  14. What If You Don’t Like the Taste of Chlorine in Your Water? Retrieved from alaska.gov