Common household water treatment options include chlorination, distillation and filtration. Let’s explore the strengths and costs of each one. We’ll also discuss the importance of choosing an effective home water treatment method.
In this comprehensive article we’ll also discuss the following:
- Why chlorine is dangerous
- How to remove chlorine
- How effective is distillation?
- The limitations of distillation
- Why many people choose filtration
- Advanced levels of water filtration
- The costs of filtration and reverse osmosis systems
- What are your options?
Let’s start with the first water treatment method: chlorination
Chlorination is effective for water disinfection
Chlorine is a cost-effective water disinfectant that has been used for decades. It can effectively kill bacteria. Chlorine can kill microorganisms responsible for:
- Typhoid fever
- And other diseases
As a result, many water utility companies use chlorine (either in liquid or granular form) for water treatment. Its effectiveness and affordability makes chlorine the clear choice for killing microorganisms and other pathogens in drinking water.
According to research, chlorine effectively kills microbes by the following mechanism:
- Chlorine reacts with the cell wall barrier
- Complete or partial destruction of cell wall barrier results to release of constituents from the cell (contents spill out)
- Cellular functions cease (the cell dies)
This is an oversimplified mechanism but it’s enough to provide us a clue how chlorine kills microbes. This knowledge is also helpful in understanding how chlorine affects human cells.
Why chlorine is dangerous
As discussed earlier, chlorine reacts with the cell wall and eventually causes the death of the cell. This is what makes chlorination effective in killing bacteria.
However, this mechanism could also be responsible to the adverse effects of chlorine to human cells. After all, the cells of bacteria and humans are similar. In addition, human cells are also vulnerable to strong oxidants such as chlorine and its by-products.
For example, inhalation of chlorine may irritate our lungs and nasal passages. The chlorine may react with our cells and completely or partially destroy them. Our bodies may also overreact from the presence of chlorine. Our bodies may perceive it as a threat. This may result to allergies (our common immune response) as a defence against foreign bodies and harsh substances
In addition, chlorine can also result to the following:
- Exposure to chlorine (especially through inhalation) can cause chest tightness
- Watery eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Burning sensation in eyes, nose, throat and skin
Worse, chlorine has also been linked to higher incidences of certain types of cancer (especially rectal and bladder cancers). These areas are where the chlorine and the water we drink end up. That’s why these areas are particularly susceptible to the effects of chlorine in drinking water.
One possible way this occurs is through the production of trihalomethanes. These substances can encourage the multiplication of free radicals. These free radicals can then damage or destroy human cells.
Why is chlorination still used?
Water treatment plants and utilities still use chlorine because it’s cost-effective. More importantly, chlorination prevents worse and more immediate problems from occurring (e.g. cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever). The microbes responsible for these diseases can send someone to the hospital in a matter of hours. These are also known to be immediately fatal especially to children.
In addition, it’s only recently that chlorine’s harmful effects were only revealed. It’s due to the recent advances in chemical and toxicological analysis. That’s why there have been no suitable alternatives yet for chlorine. Although chlorine can cause adverse effects, it’s still effective in killing pathogens in drinking water.
Many individuals and families are already aware of the chlorine’s negative effects. Thankfully, they now have the option to remove chlorine before the water touches their mouth or body. In the next section, we’ll discuss some of your options.
How to remove chlorine from drinking water
Whole house filters and shower filters can effectively remove chlorine from water. Whole house filtration can filter out chlorine before the water runs through your pipes, faucets and shower. On the other hand, shower filters will remove chlorine before water comes out of the shower head.
Filters that effectively remove chlorine are usually carbon-based. That’s because this type of filter effectively adsorbs chlorine (chlorine sticks to the filter’s surface). As a result, the water coming out of the filter is now free from chlorine.
For partial protection, a shower filter is enough to protect you and your family from chlorine. After all, taking a shower exposes us to possible large amounts of chlorine. The chlorine can affect us through inhalation, accidental ingestion and skin exposure. Moreover, the effects can accumulate due to our daily bathing and long-term exposure. That’s why having a shower filter is a worthwhile investment whether in apartments or homes.
For full protection, a whole house filter is a good investment. Every drop of water that comes out of the taps and showers will almost be free from chlorine. In addition, whole house filters can also remove sediments (where harmful substances are likely hiding).
Quality whole house filters can filter up to 20 litres of water per minute. This is more than enough to satisfy the needs of the whole household. In other words, it can provide chlorine-free water for the whole family 24/7.
Let’s talk about distillation
Aside from chlorination, distillation is also an effective way to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. After all, most microorganisms won’t be able to endure the heat of boiling water. In addition, distillation also removes behind most solid contaminants.
Here’s how it works. Water evaporates leaving behind contaminants (and also killing the bacteria). The water then condenses into a container which will be ready for consumption (after some cooling). Almost only the pure water will be at the other end.
However, there are possible substances that have a lower boiling point than water (e.g. some inorganic and organic chemicals). As a result, these contaminants come with the water as it evaporates.
That’s why distillation is not 100% effective in having safe and clean drinking water. In addition, water distillers are expensive upfront and in the long term. They use huge amounts of heat and electricity while not producing optimal results.
Other limitations of distillation
Water distillers are effective in removing the following:
- Hardness (dissolved calcium and magnesium)
- Most dissolved solids
However, there are still limitations to its overall effectiveness. As mentioned earlier, it might not remove some organic and inorganic chemicals (with lower boiling point than water). Moreover, there are possible failure points before consumption.
For example, the distilled water might be “re-contaminated” after cooling and passing through tubes before consumption. In addition, distillers rely on several mechanical and electrical parts. Failure in any of these can result to contaminated water.
Aside from its limitations, some people realise that distilled water tastes flat (e.g. it just tastes unnatural). This might discourage you from drinking more water. It can get in the way of your goal of consistent hydration (and less reliance on sugary drinks).
With those limitations and disadvantages, many people now look for more effective and more affordable household water treatment options. They also search for a complete purification system that removes both microbes and harmful substances.
Why many choose water filtration?
This method is the complete solution. If you chose a high-quality unit, it can remove bacteria, sediments, chlorine, heavy metals and other substances before they can reach your glass of water.
Other advantages of water filtration are:
- More cost-effective especially compared to water distillation
- Complete solution (removes almost everything that can threaten your health)
- Neat and compact (many units now can fit under the sink)
- Point-of-use protection (unit filters water before it reaches tap)
- No risk of “re-contamination”
- Pleasant-tasting water
- You have options (2, 3 or 5 stages)
For instance, a 5-stage water filter (with reverse osmosis) can remove bacteria, chlorine and heavy metals. At the final stage it can even help improve the taste. As a result, this becomes your safest and most practical option that can even support your hydration objective.
How filtration works
Basically, this process leaves behind the contaminants while only allowing the pure water to pass through. The process becomes more effective if the filter is finer (e.g. 0.05 microns). Filtration even becomes more powerful if coupled with reverse osmosis (use of high pressure to facilitate filtration).
This is especially true in multi-stage units. For example:
- First stage removes the “big guys” (e.g. dust, sediments, rust, debris)
- Second stage removes chlorine (for membrane protection)
- Third stage removes most chemicals
- Fourth stage further removes fine grains and dust
- Fifth stage ensures water has a superb taste
For units with fewer stages, the overall process is still similar. The initial stages will remove the big particles. The middle stage (or this might be even coupled with first one) will remove everything else. The final stage is for improved aesthetics (better-tasting water).
What are your options?
For less than $300 you can already have a 3-stage water filter that can remove the following:
- Sediment particles (rust, slime, dirt, asbestos)
- Heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminium, cadmium)
- Chlorine and trihalomethanes
- Microorganisms (Giardia, Cryptosporidium)
- Other substances especially volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
The package may or may not include free installation (contact us today here at Filtap about our Specials). We also provide a comprehensive warranty because we’re confident about our products and installation.
You can also choose a complete reverse osmosis system (RO) for your home. Even if it has 5 stages, it can still fit under almost any kitchen sink. This provides a total water purification solution.
Household water treatment options Sydney
Here at Filtap we specialise in providing water filtration solutions to Sydney homes and apartments. We service greater Sydney, Central Coast & Wollongong areas.
Through the years, individuals and families have been requesting us to install water filters for them. We’ve already installed 3- and 5-stage water filters for hundreds of homes and apartments.
Call us today at 1300 733 853 and ask us about our pricing and Specials.