According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines” – and the trend is rising.
Compared to chlorine, the advantage of water disinfection with chloramines, monochloramine to be more precise, is that the latter is less aggressive and much more stable (does not dissipate as rapidly). What’s more, chloramines have a lower tendency to form halogenated disinfection by-products (DBPs) which are known carcinogens.
However, water chloramination can produce higher levels of other currently unregulated DBPs and N-nitrosodimethylamine. Both have been shown to be genotoxic. In addition, chloramine can leach lead from pipes, especially in areas with older housing. The toxic heavy metal will dissolve into your water and eventually enter your bloodstream, a serious health risk.
Other than that, chloramine can cause respiratory problems, it damages plumbing systems, fixtures and household appliances, and it’s deadly to fish in aquariums and ponds.
In other words, there are a variety of reasons why more and more people want the disinfectant out of their water. And it makes a lot of sense, as there are no benefits to consuming chloramine once the treated water has reached your home.
How can you remove chloramine from your water? Learn all you need to know below.
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Chloramine Reduction||Type|
Sonaki Vitamin C Chloramine Shower Filter
Abundant Flow Water Whole House System with Catalytic Carbon
|$$$||Very High||Whole House System|
Top Reverse Osmosis Unit: Home Master TMAFC-ERP
|$$$||Up to 98.0%||Reverse Osmosis Under Sink|
Aquagear Filter Pitcher
Big Berkey for Your Countertop (Gravity Based)
|$$$||Below Detectable Levels||Gravity Unit (Countertop)|
Chloramines are compounds of chlorine and ammonia. Although there are different forms, the one that you will predominantly find in your water supply is monochloramine being the most stable.
How to remove chloramine from water? We have listed different methods below, but only included those that actually make sense for home water treatment:
Carbon decomposes chloramine. The chlorine is then rendered harmless. However, the ammonia is left behind. So it might very well be that if you use a carbon filter to remove chloramine from your water, the ammonia content will increase.
What you can do about this is add an additional cation exchange media type filter, such as zeolite or a regular softening cartridge.
We will soon provide a guide on removing ammonia from water.
What, you want to learn more about how to remove chlorine? Follow this link: https://www.best-osmosis-systems.com/how-to-remove-chlorine-from-water/
Contrary to many people’s belief, skin contact contributes much more to our everyday chloramine exposure than ingestion. The same goes for chlorine.
Thus, if you truly want to reduce your body’s daily chloramine load you won’t get around a shower filter, or even better a whole house filtration system that treats the water in your entire home.
As far as shower filters are concerned, the Sonaki is most effective at chloramine neutralization using vitamin C.
Claimed reduction rate: 99.9% (test data provided).
The filter uses natural pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C recovered from oranges, so no need to worry about quality issues here.
Also, the unit can be upgraded with an additional 5-stage filter (Puremax) that removes a range of contaminants including particles, turbidity, rust, lead, phenols, chromium-6 and THMs.
The biggest drawback is the price of the Vitamin C cartridges which go fairly quickly. They usually cost a little less than $8 a piece.
Considering that you are probably looking at monthly or bi-monthly replacements, costs can start to add up quickly.
Pro tip: Reuse the cartridges by refilling them yourself. One pound of ascorbic acid on Amazon costs about 10 to 15 bucks. 3 pounds are available for $35 USD.
This will provide you with plenty of vitamin C to purify your shower water at a much more affordable price.
Want all the details? Here is the full shower filter review
Refilling Sonaki Cartridges
The top is glued on so you need to apply some force to pop it open. Tightly grab the filter and press upwards on the top part just above the black O-ring. Rotate the cartridge while doing so. The glue will give in eventually. If not, soak the cartridge in very hot water and try again.
Once the top has come off, tap it upside down to get the seal and cap out. Make sure to not lose any parts. Wash everything and let dry.
The refilling itself is child’s play. All you need is some food-grade vitamin C powder. Refill each cartridge below the line where the cap sits. The more you get inside, the longer the cartridge will last obviously. Put the cloth, O-ring and cap back on. That’s it!
Due to required contact time, carbon filtration is less suited for chloramine reduction with shower filters.
The best chloramine filter by far is a whole house backwashing unit that utilizes catalytic carbon media. Regular carbon can also work, though. You just need to make sure that you have enough carbon, meaning large filters, to allow for sufficient contact time – the more carbon the better! You might also want to consider using multiple stages/tanks in a row.
One whole house system that we like to recommend is the Abundant Flow Water BWF-CC15-56SXT with 1.5 cu. ft. catalytic carbon by Centaur.
The system is rated at 3 gallons per minute service flow which is not a whole lot, but enough for 1-2 bathroom and 2-3 people, says Abundant Flow Water.
FYI: Periodic use, lower contaminant levels and/or fewer contaminants may allow for higher flow rates. In most applications, intermittent flow rates of 2-3 times the service flow rate are possible, so 6 to 9 gpm at max which is plenty of water.
The BWF-CC15-56SXT features a Fleck 5600SXT digital head valve for easy configuration + efficient automatic backwashes. The backwashing forces water through the tank in reverse direction, flushing any accumulated dirt down the drain. This saves you from frequent and costly filter changes.
Apart from chloramines (and chlorine), the system also removes iron and hydrogen sulfide, pesticides, herbicides and many other chemicals, organics as well as unpleasant tastes and odors.
DIY installation is doable as long as you have basic plumbing skills. Built-in bypass valve? Check!
Lastly, there is a 5-year warranty on the valve and 10 years on the tank in case anything goes wrong.
As an alternative to the whole house system above, you might want to check out the much more popular Home Master HMF2SMGCC designed for chloraminated city waters.
The unit features catalytic carbon, too, and also helps with chlorine, sediment, turbidity, pesticides, herbicides as well as some light and heavy metals – reduction up to 95 percent.
Overall, you will have cleaner and better tasting water throughout your entire home
Thanks to the oversized filters, water flow is high (up to 10 gpm) and replacements are required no more than once a year or every 95,000 gallons, whichever comes first (annual costs ~$215.00 USD).
The construction is solid and the install straightforward.
Yes, purifying your water with the help of an RO system will reduce the amount of dissolved chloramine significantly.
Like we said, the RO membrane itself is not very effective at eliminating the disinfectant. However, the various carbon pre-filter stages that basically every system is equipped with are. In addition, the slow processing speed increases contact time.
Another benefit of using a reverse osmosis system for chloramine removal is that the semipermeable membrane takes care of the ammonia.
We recommend you take a closer look at the following 3 systems:
Top Reverse Osmosis Unit: Home Master TMAFC-ERP
Read Full Review
Lowest Maintenance Costs: iSpring RCC7
Read Full Review
While Home Master does not provide a specific reduction rate for chloramine with their TMAFC-ERP, it’s still our favorite product. Both the Aquasana OptimH2O and the iSpring RCC7 have proven to be capable of chloramine reduction in independent lab tests.
The reason why the Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian Full Contact is our number 1 is because it uses catalytic carbon, and it’s the only system made in the USA and backed by a 5-year limited warranty that we know of. What’s more, customer feedback is outstanding.
Also, the built-in permeate pump enhances water efficiency, purity and flow rate while reducing wastewater production to a minimum keeping your water bill low. Additional features are the remineralization stage for healthier and better tasting water, and the UV light that kills pathogens and helps to further reduce chloramine levels.
The only real drawback: The Home Master costs considerably more than its 2 competitors.
Speaking of which, the iSpring RCC7 is highly affordable, even cheaper to maintain and is certified by the WQA to remove 95% chloramine. Plus, you get a 1-year money-back guarantee for ease of mind.
The Aquasana OptimH2O is the most thoroughly tested of all three. Chloramine reduction: 97.66%, believe it or not, thanks to the catalytic carbon filter.
There are 3 non-RO under sink water filter systems that we recommend for chloramine removal:
The benefits of using a filter pitcher rather than a whole house or under sink filtration system are that it’s easy to use and clean, portable, relatively inexpensive and doesn’t require installation.
On the downside, a pitcher needs regular refilling, filtration is slow (as you have learned by now that’s actually a good thing for getting rid of chloramine), most models won’t remove a whole lot of contaminants, and the filters are prone to clogging.
That being said, our top filter pitcher is the Aquagear which removes 99.9% of chlorine + chloramine in addition to more than 89 different tap water pollutants – all according to NSF Standards 42 & 53.
The recyclable filters are Made in USA and last for 150 gallons (3-6 months). On top of that, the pitcher itself is covered by a lifetime guarantee.
Good news: Berkey filtration systems reduce chloramine to below detectable levels, according to lab reports that we found on the official Berkey website.
The gravity-fed units come in seven different sizes – the Big Berkey being the most popular by far – and are great for your countertop but also if you are on the go.
Generally speaking, the water that comes out of a Berkey tastes great. Plus, although the achieved purity level is exceptional, more or less all healthy minerals in your water will be preserved.
More on Chloramine Filtration
Chloramine can be removed from water by simply letting it sit. The problem, however, is that this is quite a lengthy process. Why? Because monochloramine is relatively stable and does not dissipate very fast. The half-life in standing water can be way above the 100-hour mark. Tip: The half-life can be greatly shortened by aeration or stirring.
Yes, boiling will help to remove chloramine from water. For example, the time required to remove 50% of the chloramine from 10 gallons of water by boiling is roughly 27 minutes.
Boiling water for tea or coffee will remove about 30% chloramine. (Source)
Now, we know that Brita filters are very popular, because they are inexpensive. So, sorry to spoil the party, but Brita’s Standard and Longlast filters are not certified to remove chloramine. The same goes for the Brita On Tap – although this does not automatically mean that they are completely ineffective against it. After all, they all use activated carbon and both Brita pitchers allow for a long contact time.
It depends on what system you are going for. Aquasana’s OptimH2O reverse osmosis system, for example, is NSF certified to remove 97.66% chloramines. As for the Aquasana Rhino, there is a version (EQ-400) specifically designed for tackling the disinfectant. The unit comes with upgraded catalytic carbon and larger tanks for increased water contact time. Then there is the Aquasana AQ-4000 countertop that reduces chloramine to more than 97%.
As for the AQ-5300, chloramine reduction is insufficient. And both the AQ-4100 & AQ-4105 shower filters do remove chloramines but to what extent we do not know.
Vitamin C neutralizes chloramines just as it neutralizes chlorine. The biggest benefit of this method is that vitamin C won’t add any unwanted chemicals or salts to your water.
The drawback is that ascorbic acid degrades within a couple of days rendering it useless.
Chloramines have to be removed from water for aquariums as well as hydroponic applications. This is because (A) it kills fish, they take it directly from the water into their bloodstreams through their gills, and (B) it can inhibit plant growth.
For aquarium water, a common approach is to add sodium thiosulfate or another suitable additive into the water. The average tap water requires between 0.04 and 0.12 grams of crystalline sodium thiosulfate per gallon. Products are available online and at your local pet/aquarium supply store.
What you can also do is make use of carbon filtration as explained above. You need to be careful, though: The carbon won’t reduce ammonia content. In fact, it will actually increase ammonia levels. Thus, you must add a primer that converts the chemical into a safe, non-toxic form.
The same applies to a bunch of additives. If a product label mentions chlorine and chloramine but does not list ammonia, beware. Another agent might be required complementary.
If you have any questions or thoughts about how to remove chloramine from tap water please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!