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Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Chlorine?

Chlorine is an essential germ-killing ingredient in pool water, but in tap water? That’s another story. Chlorine in your water supply can be worrisome and potentially dangerous. So how do you address this?  Can you use reverse osmosis?

Good news: you can, though you can also use a number of other similar systems.

A reverse osmosis water filtration system can significantly reduce chlorine and other potential pollutants in your drinking water. Below, you’ll find a description of how this water conditioning system improves the appearance and taste of your water, as well as some alternative systems that might yield even better results.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

If you learned about osmosis in high school science class, it might be time for a refresher. Simply put, osmosis is a process in which highly concentrated particles move across a membrane into a less concentrated area, usually balancing both sides of the membrane to have the same concentration. 

Imagine you’re at a crowded party and hardly have space to move on the dance floor. You and your friends move into the bar area instead where you can catch your breath and move around more freely—that’s sort of like osmosis. 

Does osmosis remove chlorine? Definitely not. That’s a job for reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis, as the name suggests, is a water treatment process that encompasses the reversal of the dispersing process explained above. Instead of balancing both sides of the membrane, you’ll be leaving all the particles on one side to create a pure solution on the other—in this case, pushing the uncontaminated water particles through the membrane but leaving the contaminated particles, like chlorine, behind while improving the water quality.

How Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Chlorine?

Reverse osmosis water systems may be equipped with a number of carbon filters and membranes to feed water through in order to filter out certain contaminants. 

Household water generally passes through all these stages as part of the reverse osmosis filtering process:1

  • Sediment prefilter
  • Activated carbon prefilter
  • Pump
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • Activate post carbon filter
  • High-pressure switch

As  untreated water is pushed through the system, the water molecules pass through but nearly all of the chlorine particles are caught in the reverse osmosis membrane and never make it to your kitchen faucet. That means that the water that does come out of the sink has a negligible concentration of chlorine, if any at all.

Reverse Osmosis Systems starting at only $25/mo. Try before you buy!

What Else Does Reverse Osmosis Remove?

According to the International Water Association, reverse osmosis removes “more than 90-99.99% of all the contaminants including minerals from the drinking water supply.”2 Some examples of harmful contaminants that reverse osmosis systems remove include:3

  • Pesticides
  • Prescription drugs2
  • Bacteria, including salmonella and E.coli
  • Particles like protozoans (such as giardia and cryptosporidium) and asbestos
  • Radionuclides, such as uranium and radium
  • Viruses, including hepatitis A and rotavirus
  • Chemical contaminants like heavy metals, copper, fluoride, magnesium, cyanide, and arsenic

With all these harmful contaminants being removed, is reverse osmosis water alkaline? The short answer is no. Alkaline water refers to the pH level of water where reverse osmosis is dealing with contaminant removal and filtering of the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pore size of reverse osmosis filtration systems is as small as 0.0001 microns.3 With a reverse osmosis system in place, there’s a very low chance of the above-referenced particles making it into your water.

How Does Chlorine Affect Osmosis? 

Reverse osmosis membranes used to be ineffective at controlling the chlorine removal due to a semi permeable membrane and thus contaminant levels would rise. They would break down when exposed to this chemical water sanitizer. 

However, enhanced polymer selection has led to the development of new reverse osmosis membranes that don’t appear to degrade as much as their predecessors. These membranes, coupled with reverse osmosis filtration systems’ use of activated charcoal filters, allow them to remove chlorine from a household’s water supply more effectively.4

How Else Can I Remove Chlorine from My Water Supply?

Reverse osmosis is an effective filtration system for a number of contaminants, but it also uses a high quantity of water in the process—much higher than other systems that can be equally effective.

If you’re looking to explore your options further, consider these alternatives to reverse osmosis:5

  • A water conditioner – A Salt-Free Water System, for example, will remove chlorine and chloramine to deliver clean, tasty water to your faucets. These conditioner systems use much less water than reverse osmosis to achieve similar chlorine-free water.

Keep Chlorine and Other Contaminants Out of Your Water with Rayne Water

A Reverse Osmosis System is an effective way to prevent a chlorinated water supply. Additionally it can help prevent chloride, lead, and other chemical contaminants from the water you drink everyday. This water filtration system can greatly improve the taste, odor, and overall quality of your drinking water, but so can many other alternatives like conditioners and other systems. 

Talk to one of our experts today to decide which system is right for your home. With our custom solutions, you can take control of the water you drink and the health of your household with Rayne Water.

Sources: 

  1. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Drinking Water Treatment: Reverse Osmosis. https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/html/g1490/build/g1490.htm/
  2. The International Water Association. Reverse Osmosis and Removal of Minerals From Drinking Water. https://www.iwapublishing.com/news/reverse-osmosis-and-removal-minerals-drinking-water/
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/home-water-treatment/household_water_treatment.html/
  4. Nature Partner Journals. Chlorination Disadvantages and Alternative Routes for Biofouling Control in Reverse Osmosis Desalination. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41545-018-0024-8/
  5. Rayne Water. Removing Chlorine from Drinking Water. ​​https://www.raynewater.com/blog/removing-chlorine-from-drinking-water/