Homeowners often notice that their home’s water smells or tastes like chlorine. While this may seem alarming, the good news is that this doesn’t necessarily mean that your home’s water is contaminated. In fact, chlorine has been used as a primary disinfectant in drinking water since 1908. Currently, about 64% of all community water systems now use chlorine in order to disinfect drinking water.
Why Is Chlorine And/or Chloramine in Drinking Water?
Municipalities use chlorine and/or chloramines to disinfect the water in order to ensure that the water is free of pathogenic microorganisms which can cause illnesses such as typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, and gastroenteritis. This is because chlorine is a great disinfectant. The same concept as a swimming pool, chlorine is added to drinking water to minimize the spread of germs and to sanitize the water and ensure that it is safe to drink. The addition of chlorine to drinking water has been extremely effective in reducing the cases of water-borne illness that were prevalent previously. While chlorine can be harmful in high doses when added to drinking water it is in such small doses that it should be safe to drink. However, chlorine in the water can cause serious health problems, so it is always best to have your home’s water supply tested regularly to ensure that it is safe for consumption.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows drinking water treatment plants to use chloramine and chlorine but many treatment plants are starting to switch from chlorine to chloramine for 3 reasons:
Chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water and produces by-products can cause illness after drinking them for a long time.
- Chlorine sometimes is used up before it reaches the end of the water pipes in a system and doesn’t kill all the germs.
- Chloramine lasts longer in pipes and doesn’t produce as many harmful by-products. The EPA has written about chloramine here: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/chloramines-drinking-water
What Are the Side Effects of Chlorine or Chloramine in Drinking Water? Is Chlorine Harmful to Humans?
When chlorine is found in large doses, it can become harmful. However, most of the time, individuals will not notice chlorine in his or her water. When too much is used, however, the “pool smell” will emerge. Excess amounts of chlorine does cause a smell or bad taste, can dry out skin and hair and can have some health risks, including anemia in infants. Drinking water is considered safe as long as it’s chlorine levels do not exceed 4 milligrams per liter. Below this level, there are no known harmful health effects.
While the addition of chlorine and chloramine to municipal water supplies has helped eliminate disease by successfully killing bacteria, it can also cause health problems in the population. Children, the elderly, and immune-compromised members of the populace may experience adverse effects from ingesting chlorinated water. The levels of chlorine and chloramine in your home should be safe for consumption but more and more people are turning to water filtration systems to filter out unwanted chemicals like chlorine and chloramine.
What Is the Normal Level of Chlorine or Chloramine in Drinking Water?
Drinking water is considered safe as long as the chlorine/chloramines levels do not exceed 4 milligrams per liter. Below this level, there are no known harmful health effects. When either of these two chemicals are found in large doses, it can become harmful. However, most of the time, individuals will not notice chlorine or chloramine in water. Chlorine in drinking water can cause water to smell or taste like chlorine and can cause drying of your skin as well as unmanageable hair. Some people also find the taste and smell of chlorinated water offensive or unpleasant.
How to Remove Chlorine and Chloramine from Water
Many issues with chlorine or chloramines can be eliminated by installing a whole house carbon filtration system, however each substance requires a slightly different filter.
- Chlorine can be effectively filtered using standard activated carbon, with either coconut shell or coal-based filters
- Catalytic carbon beds are quite effective at filtering chloramine, and have been used for the last decade. However, catalytic carbon will remove chloramine for a year or more for a year or more before it needs to be replaced.
- Kinetico offers a new carbon filtration media called Hollow-core carbons (HCCs), that allow for 10 times the active filtration sites on each carbon particle, which results in a much higher filtration capacity. This provides a dramatic increase media bed life. Tests have shown that HCC filters effectively remove chloramine for up to four years depending on the variables.
Getting your water tested free water test by the water experts at Clearwater Systems to learn about the options available in filtering your home’s drinking water to remove chlorine or chloramines, and to ensures that your water is safe and free of these chemicals. Contact us today!