Remove Chloramine From Water

Remove Chloramine From Water

The last thing you need is to be afraid to drink water in your own home. Just picture filling up a glass from your tap, only to be met with a faint chemical smell, leaving you questioning what it could possibly be. Well, we can tell you that it’s likely just because of chloramine, a common water treatment agent.

So, let’s take a look at what exactly chloramine is and how you can remove it from your water – and if you need to remove it at all.

What is Chloramine?

Chloramine is a substance often used with or as an alternative to chlorine. It plays a significant role in water treatment and is created by combining chlorine and ammonia.

Many city water systems have started to use chloramine because of how it can disinfect water over a prolonged period. Chloramines dissolve at a slow rate, offering protection against waterborne diseases that may affect water being transported far.

Chloramine is basically the unseen guardian ensuring your water’s safety.

Much like chlorine, chloramine gives off a noticeable taste and odor. Also, despite chloramine being less prone to producing harmful byproducts compared to chlorine, its presence in tap water can still be quite off-putting.

What is Chlorine? 

Chlorine is a naturally occurring element that plays an important role in our everyday lives, especially in maintaining the safety of our drinking water. It’s quite a potent disinfectant that’s mainly used in city water treatment plants to eliminate waterborne illnesses. Chlorine potentially eradicates these pathogens, ensuring our tap water is safe to drink.

But, like with chloramine, the presence of chlorine in drinking water can be a bit of a mixed blessing.

Although it purifies water, chlorine also has a strong smell and taste, often compared to that of a swimming pool. This smell indicates the chlorine’s effectiveness but can be quite unpleasant for some.

Difference Between Chloramines vs Chlorine

Both chlorine and chloramine are used to purify water. But, they’re different when it comes to factors like composition, behavior, and how they affect water quality:

  • Composition: Unlike chlorine, which occurs naturally, chloramines are synthesized from chlorine and ammonia.
  • Behavior: Chloramine molecules are quite stable which means they can stay in water for quite some time, whereas chlorine typically evaporates fairly quickly.
  • Impact on water quality: Chlorine and chloramine can both be used as a disinfectant. However, chlorine’s taste is more noticeable. Chloramines also have a fairly distinct smell and taste but it’s usually less intense. The main difference here is that chloramines are a lot harder to remove from water, as a special water filtration system is required.
  • Health and environmental considerations: With municipal water systems, water is generally treated with chlorine or chloramines. When this happens, chlorine can combine with organic substances in the water to form disinfection byproducts, like trihalomethanes, which are associated with health concerns. Chloramines produce fewer disinfection byproducts but still present hazards that can have negative health effects. This is particularly true when it comes to patients on kidney dialysis, as well as aquarium maintenance because of how hard it is to remove chloramine.

Do You Need to Remove Chloramine from Water?

Reducing high chloramine levels in your water supply is necessary considering its lasting disinfectant properties. Although it’s good at keeping traveling water clean, it still has some drawbacks.

It can cause health issues, give off a sharp chemical taste, and even corrode pipes and degrade rubber components in your home. Although chloramine is a lot more challenging to remove, using a comprehensive water filtration system, like reverse osmosis or a catalytic carbon filter, is necessary to ensure your water’s safety.

Does Boiling Water Remove Chloramine?

Unfortunately, boiling water doesn’t remove chloramines effectively. Although chlorine can evaporate from water simply by exposing it to air or through boiling, it’s not the same case for chloramine. Chloramine stays in water for much longer because its molecules don’t dissolve easily. This renders traditional removal methods like boiling water and open-air exposure practically useless for chloramine reduction.

A more robust solution is needed to remove chlorine and chloramine from water properly. An efficient filtration system, such as granular activated carbon (CAG) filtration, is necessary to get rid of both substances.

How To Remove Chloramine from Water 

Boiling water to eliminate chloramines isn’t the most effective approach. Consider these alternatives:

Whole House Reverse Osmosis 

For comprehensive removal of chloramine from your water supply, a whole-house reverse osmosis system is a good choice. This advanced filtration system purifies water right at the entry point of your home.

This tackles the issue of the chlorine odor and taste but also removes many other contaminants through a semipermeable membrane. Through this process, you’re more assured that every drop of water in your home is free of unwanted elements.

This is an ideal solution for households seeking to improve the quality of their water.

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis 

If targeted water purification is your aim, an under-sink reverse osmosis filter is an excellent option. As you might’ve guessed, these systems are specifically designed to provide purified water at a particular location, such as your kitchen sink.

Under-the-sink systems work like whole-house systems. They also use reverse osmosis alongside carbon filtration. This process involves using an activated carbon filter or a catalytic carbon filter. They’re easy to set up, so you can quickly get clean, odorless drinking water.

Also, under-the-sink models tend to be more affordable than whole-house systems.

Side Effects of Chloramine in Drinking Water 

As we said earlier, chloramine has an important function but it’s not without its downsides. Here are the side effects of chloramine being in drinking water sources:

  • Skin and eye irritation: Chloramine can aggravate skin conditions, leading to rashes, scaliness, and flakiness. It also can cause eye irritation, resulting in bloodshot or itchy eyes, especially after showering or bathing.
  • Breathing issues: Breathing in chloramine vapors, especially in enclosed spaces like showers, can irritate your nasal passages and lead to sinus problems.
  • Taste and smell: Although it’s less harsh than chlorine, chloramines can give off a chemical aftertaste and smell.
  • Risky to kidney dialysis patients: Chloramine can contaminate dialysis fluid. If it enters the bloodstream, it can cause hemolytic anemia, which is a life-threatening condition.
  • Toxicity to marine life: Chloramine is harmful to aquatic animals and plants. It can even be lethal to fish and other marine life when absorbed through their systems.
  • Rubber deterioration: Exposure to chloramine deteriorates rubber plumbing parts like toilet flappers and rubber casings.
  • Nitrification risk: The ammonia in chloramines can convert nitrates through nitrification, this can potentially deplete chloramine residuals and allow for microbial growth in the water supply.

Common Contaminants in Municipal Water Sources 

These are the contaminants that you’re most likely to find in municipal water sources:

  • Chlorine and chloramines
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Microorganisms
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Nitrate/nitrites
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Heavy metals
  • Lead

Common Contaminants in Well Water Sources 

Here are some of the most common contaminants that you’d find in well water sources:

  • Radionuclides
  • Heavy metals
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Fluoride
  • Hard water minerals
  • Organic chemicals
  • Nitrates/nitrites
  • Excessive iron and manganese
  • Microorganisms


What does chloramine smell like?

Chloramine generally gives off a “pool” smell that’s less intense than chlorine but still quite noticeable, especially in enclosed spaces.

What filter removes chloramine?

To remove chloramines, a granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration system is usually the best way to go. These systems are specifically made to target and get rid of chloramine, along with other contaminants.

How much free chlorine can remain in drinking water?

The CDC recommends maintaining a free chlorine concentration between 0.2 and 4.0 parts per million (ppm) in drinking water. This level is enough to disinfect drinking water while minimizing health risks.

How can you tell if your tap water has chloramine in it?

Identifying the presence of chloramine in tap water can be a bit tricky. This is mainly because it’s harder to smell than chlorine. You could buy a water testing kit to find out, but, generally, the best method is to check with your local utility provider.

How long does it take to remove chloramine from water?

Removing chloramine from water usually takes longer than removing chlorine from water. The time depends on whether you intend to do so naturally or not. With a system, it can take a few minutes. But, without a system (by airing it out) the process can take several days.

Final Thoughts

If you want to maintain both the safety and quality of your drinking water supply, then start by wrapping your head around all the complexities we’ve just mentioned. Yes – chloramine plays a key role in disinfecting water, but its side effects show the need for effective removal strategies.

Using carbon filters is a reliable solution, giving you a balance between having clean water and mitigating the potential side effects of chloramine.

Lastly, do your best to stay on top of the latest updates related to purifying water and the quality of water in your region. Government websites and forums can be very helpful in this regard.

About the author

Carlisle Edwards (Sr. Writer, Water Filtration) writes our content on water filtration, reverse osmosis, and avoiding waterborne contamination. He has experience in water and food safety and conducts microbiology research. He’s WaterAudit’s resident sports fan, and loves cheering on his local LA Galaxy soccer team.