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Will Water Softeners Remove Chlorine?

Will water softeners remove chlorine

In today’s world, the quality of the water we consume and use daily has become a significant concern. Among the various methods employed to improve water quality, water softening is a widely discussed topic.

However, a common question arises: Do water softeners effectively remove chlorine from water? This article delves into this query, exploring the functionality of water softeners, the composition of tap water, and the specific role of chlorine. Understanding these aspects is crucial for anyone looking to ensure the safety and purity of their household water.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a filtration system designed to remove hardness-causing minerals like calcium and magnesium from water. These systems typically operate on the principle of ion exchange, where hard minerals are replaced with sodium or potassium ions.

Water softeners come in various types, including salt-based ion exchange softeners, salt-free water conditioners, and magnetic or electronic descalers. Each type has its unique mechanism and suitability, depending on the water quality and the user’s needs. Understanding these differences is essential for choosing the right water softening solution.

The Composition of Tap Water

Tap water, while generally safe for consumption, often contains a variety of dissolved minerals and chemicals. Among these, chlorine is commonly used for disinfection purposes.

While effective in killing harmful bacteria and viruses, chlorine can also lead to several health and environmental concerns. Other contaminants like lead, pesticides, and industrial pollutants can also be present, depending on the water source and local water treatment practices.

How Do Water Softeners Work?

The core function of a water softener is to address water hardness, primarily caused by calcium and magnesium ions. Through an ion exchange process, these hard minerals are replaced with sodium or potassium ions, resulting in ‘softened’ water.

This process is facilitated by resin beads within the softener tank, which attract and hold onto the hard minerals. However, it’s important to note that standard water softeners are not designed to remove other contaminants like chlorine although some products such as the Ultramax 860 Water Softener will remove both chlorine and pesticides as a byproduct of it’s function.

The system we use for a dual unit is a Dual tank BAF system softener and chlorine filter (GAC bed) CMTO-BAF-565-100. These are made here in Calgary and provided by ClearWater.

Chlorine in Water: Risks and Concerns

Chlorine, while effective in disinfecting water, can pose several health risks. Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can lead to skin irritation, dry hair, and other dermatological issues. Additionally, chlorine can react with organic matter in water to form harmful byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs), which are linked to increased cancer risks. The environmental impact of chlorine, particularly its contribution to the formation of dioxins, is also a growing concern.

Advanced Water Softening Techniques

While traditional water softeners are effective in reducing water hardness, they are not inherently designed to remove chlorine. However, advancements in water treatment technology have led to the development of systems that can tackle both hardness and chlorine.

One such method is catalytic filtration, which involves a process that changes the chemical structure of contaminants like chlorine, making them harmless. Another popular technique is the use of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC).

GAC is adept at adsorbing chlorine and its by-products, effectively purifying water before it undergoes the softening process. Additionally, KDF-55, a high-purity copper-zinc formulation, is increasingly used in water softeners for its ability to remove chlorine, heavy metals, and control scale, bacteria, and algae. These advanced techniques signify a leap forward in water treatment, offering comprehensive solutions for households concerned about both water hardness and chlorine content.

Combining Water Softeners with Chlorine Filters

For those seeking a more holistic approach to water treatment, combining a water softener with a chlorine filter is an effective strategy. This integrated system ensures that water is not only free from hardness minerals but also from chlorine and its harmful by-products. Such combinations typically involve installing a separate filtration unit, like a carbon filter, before the water enters the softening system. This setup ensures that chlorine is removed in the initial stage, followed by the softening process.

The benefits of using combined systems are manifold, including extended lifespan of plumbing and appliances, improved taste and odor of water, and enhanced overall water quality for drinking, cooking, and bathing. This section will explore the practical aspects of combining these systems, including installation considerations and maintenance.


To conclude, while standard water softeners are not designed to remove chlorine, there are effective methods and combined systems available that can address this issue. Advanced water softening techniques like catalytic filtration, the use of Granular Activated Carbon, and KDF-55, as well as integrated softener and filter systems, offer comprehensive solutions for improving water quality.

By understanding these options and their benefits, homeowners can make informed decisions to ensure their water is not only soft but also free from chlorine and its associated risks. Ultimately, the choice of system depends on individual water quality needs, budget, and the specific concerns one aims to address.

George Pinel
George Pinel

Master Plumber

I have been involved in this family owned business for 33 years now.

It has always been and will continue to be the core focus of Instant Plumbing & Heating to provide a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust and integrity of our service and products.

This achieved by using the best quality materials. I as a business owner continue to mentor and treat my staff with the highest regard and respect, this interns helps them deliver to the client great quality workmanship and service.

It is our professional goal to leave a situation better than when we arrived both in how we do our work and in how you feel for having chosen us to do your work, we are in the anxiety reduction business using plumbing and heating service work to do it.

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