Nowadays, drinking water from the tap is possible but highly unrecommended due to the many chemicals used for managing contamination. Just think about how easy it would be for a disease to spread through water. We are faced with the complexity caused by the human print. Taking the water from its natural clean source and bringing it to our kitchen requires adding chemicals to make sure it is not contaminated. These chemicals are not safe for consumption. We have to clean it again so that we can drink and stay healthy.
Do not despair though, because regardless that we have left our human print on nature, we have also invented and developed many ways of cleaning water. More so, making it even cleaner than it was when it came from the rock, for example.
One of the most widely and commonly used chemicals is Chlorine. It is a disinfectant that kills germs, like salmonella, E. coli, and many others that cause viruses. Although it cannot inactivate all microbes, this chemical has proven its effectiveness and has been used for more than a century. The fact of the matter is that we cannot do without it. What we can do is try to remove chlorine from our water in one of the many ways possible.
The first one is well-known and simplest in terms of actions needed – boiling. Being a gas, chlorine weighs less than water and will eventually evaporate but no one has that much time to wait. When boiled for twenty minutes at 100 degrees Celsius /200 Fahrenheit/ you will get a fast and good result and the taste will not be compromised. This method does not only remove chlorine, but also any remaining biological contaminations and microbes responsible for intestine related diseases. This method is like the first step of the available for purchase and home use water distiller that heats the water until steam is created to leave heavier in weight particles, molecules, and other compounds behind.
If you choose this method, you will surely have to wait for the water to cool in order to consume it. This will create the risk of other types of contamination because the water will be exposed to the surrounding environment. Another disadvantage is that it will consume power, be it electricity or some other source, hence increase your bills.
Activated Carbon Filter
As simple as it sounds the boiling method can be quite fidgety and seems like too much effort. Boiling the water, then waiting for it to cool. All the pots and pans and the drying and pouring can be annoying. That is one of the reasons this next method is not only more convenient but also guarantees clean, potable, and healthy water.
Activated carbon filtering is highly effective, attainable, and moderate in price. It will remove chlorine, almost all other pollutants, and last but not least – chloramine. Chloramine is a blend of chlorine and ammonia that has become as favorable and as extensively used for disinfecting water. It has as hazardous an effect as chlorine, if not more, and is much harder to remove from water.
Filters with activated carbon can now be attached to the tap and you can instantly get filtered clean water. There are special water containers with replaceable filters that you keep in your fridge and simply exchange the filter in due time under the given instructions.
Activated carbon filters are manufactured for as many purposes as possible and not only for drinking water. You can add a filter to your shower head and rid of skin allergies caused by the chlorine in the water, for example. Showerheads are even manufactured filter ready. You can have filtered clean water even outside your home by using a filtered water bottle. No matter where you fill it from, whether it is the office, the gym, or an outdoor drinking fountain the carbon filter installed in the bottle will clean it.
Longer lasting activated carbon filters are available for household installation. Depending on the quality of the water supply they can last up to a year before they have to be replaced. They are installed before the coils and the faucet connector and are not hard to replace at such a density.
A simple ceramic filter with activated carbon filling used in one of the dirtiest urban water supplies lasts up to three months before you have to replace it. Meanwhile every two or three weeks you can take it out, scrub it with a fine scrub and place it back again. This way you make sure that the water is as pure as it gets. The cost of the filter is more than twice lower compared to what you would pay for buying bottles of mineral water throughout the same period of time. More importantly, the packaging is reduced to zero. Finally, logistics is also eliminated.
Another more expensive and not so attainable method is by using a water filtration system. Typically, this is done by a reverse osmosis process that removes chlorine and all other pollutants by pushing the water through a special membrane and so leaving the contaminants behind. It is an automated, highly effective method used in industry and also commercially available for home use. However, there is installation needed, not all filters remove chlorine, and it can be costly to use at home. If you want to go the distance and raise the quality of water you consume, using a water ionizer would do the job and also give a better taste due to the difference in alkalinity level it creates.
Instead of buying a filtration appliance for your home, you can buy filtered water in bottles from a filtration facility. This is not an idle solution, however, because it means logistics, packaging and you might run out at an inconvenient time.
The cheapest option for cleaning water of chlorine would be evaporation. Being a volatile chemical, the chlorine will evaporate with time. To achieve that you will have to leave the water be in an open container, for example, and wait at least twenty-four hours. The warmer the temperature in the room, the faster the gas will evaporate. It will cost you nothing but a lot of patience. This method of cleaning chlorine from water is ineffective against chloramine or other pollutants. Another downside is that it is never good to expose any liquid to the environment for so long as it can easily be contaminated in many unpredictable ways.
There are a few options for using other chemicals to dissolve chlorine each bearing its pros and cons. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, for example, can break down chloramine and change it to chloride just like sodium thiosulfate does. The difference being that Vitamin C does not increase the level of total dissolved solids /TDS/ of the water, hence taste is not compromised but on the contrary.
Unlike chloramine, chloride is very suitable for microorganisms to grow, so this method should be a short-term solution and the purified water should be used or consumed fast.
Potassium metabisulfite is another interesting option to clear water of chlorine. Once applied in water it dissolves and neutralizes chlorine. Being volatile it evaporates afterward. This is a chemical used in breweries and wineries and is very potent because one tablet can dechlorinate up to fifteen gallons of water. Being such, it leaves an odor in the water, so the taste may stay the same, but it will feel bad because of the smell.
A method that doesn’t affect the taste of water is using ultraviolet light to clean both chlorine and chloramine. Both chemicals are light-sensitive, so the ultraviolet rays break down and destroy them. It is a fast method but still takes some time. The longer the exposure the cleaner the water.
Ultraviolet light does not clean organic toxins from the water it only breaks them down and its efficiency is not high on metals and other chemicals.
It is also worth mentioning that access to ultraviolet light is not easy. It is costly and also radiation is not healthy for your skin.
No matter which method you decide on or is most suitable for you putting it to the test with a water test kit would give you peace of mind regarding the water you and your loved ones consume.