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Why Does My Tap Water Smell Like Chlorine?

By Jeff Wise May 14, 2024

Why does my tap water smell like chlorine?

Does the smell of chlorine in your tap water make you cringe?

You're not alone. Many people wonder why their tap water smells like chlorine.

In this article, we will dive into the reasons behind this odor and whether it poses any risks to your health.

Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect drinking water and kill off harmful bacteria and viruses.

While this is an effective method for maintaining water safety, it can leave behind a distinct odor that some find unpleasant.

There are a few potential causes for the chlorine smell in your tap water.

One possibility is that the disinfection process is working efficiently, and you are simply detecting residual chlorine that hasn't completely dissipated.  Gross!

Another reason could be the presence of bacteria or organic matter in the water, which reacts with the chlorine and produces odorous compounds.

It's important to note that while the smell may be off-putting, it doesn't necessarily indicate a health risk in your town.

However, if you have concerns based on your research as to the health effects of the byproducts of chlorine you may want a water filter.

Stay tuned to learn more about tap water and how to mitigate or eliminate the chlorine smell in your water.

Why Does My Tap Water Smell Like Chlorine?

Causes of Chlorine Odor in Tap Water

Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect drinking water and kill off harmful bacteria and viruses.

While this is supposed to be an effective method for maintaining water safety, it can leave behind a distinct odor that some find unpleasant.

One possible cause of the chlorine smell in tap water is residual chlorine that hasn't completely dissipated.

The disinfection process may be working efficiently, and the odor you're detecting is simply the leftover chlorine.

Over time, the chlorine will naturally dissipate or evaporate, reducing the smell.

Another reason for the chlorine smell could be the presence of bacteria or organic matter in the water.

When chlorine reacts with these substances, it forms odorous compounds.

This reaction can occur in the water supply system or even within your own plumbing if there are any organic materials present.

We have previously discussed the harmful health effects due to chlorine and chlorine byproducts.

They will tell you it's regulated to ensure it remains within safe limits.

However, it's documented that the harmful effects are something to pay attention to.

Health Effects of Chlorine in Tap Water

Health Effects of Chlorine in Tap Water

My water smells like chlorine is it safe to drink?

While the smell of chlorine in tap water may not pose a significant health risk, it's worth understanding the potential effects of chlorine on your overall well-being.

Chlorine is primarily used in water treatment to kill off harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

This disinfection process helps protect public health by preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.

However, chlorine itself can have some side effects.

Exposure to high levels of chlorine can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.

Some individuals may experience respiratory symptoms such as coughing or wheezing.

Skin irritation is another possible side effect of chlorine exposure, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Ingesting small amounts of chlorine through drinking water is generally considered safe according to "officials".

We don't agree and neither does the Environmental Working Group.

Some individuals may be more sensitive to chlorine and may experience digestive discomfort if the concentration is higher.

The benefits of using chlorine as a disinfectant does NOT outweigh the potential risks.

They try to downplay this issue and call it, "disinfection byproducts"...we call it "toxic trash."

Seriously though, is it safe to drink water that smells like bleach?

Is Drinking Faucet Water Bad In General?

Now that we've discussed the causes and potential health effects of chlorine and chlorine byproducts in tap water, let's address the broader question: is drinking faucet water bad?

In most developed countries, we're told tap water is rigorously monitored and treated to meet stringent safety standards.

Government agencies and water authorities regularly test tap water for various contaminants, trying to make sure that it is safe for consumption.

However, we don't believe tap water is the healthiest thing to drink let alone drink it every day.

You have to ask yourself this question though. When does water treatment contamination reach the danger point?

Water contamination can vary depending on your location.

If you have concerns about the quality of your tap water like millions of Americans do, we recommended you take our water quality quiz to see exactly which contaminants are in your tap water.

Does Hard Water Have a Smell Like Chlorine?

Hard water itself doesn't inherently have a smell.

It's known for its high mineral content, primarily calcium and magnesium, which are odorless.

However, the presence of hard water can sometimes be accompanied by a noticeable scent in your tap water.

This is because the minerals in hard water can interact with other elements or be a sign of an underlying issue.

For instance, a metallic smell might indicate high iron content in your water supply, which is not directly related to hardness.

Conversely, a rotten egg odor could be caused by hydrogen sulfide gas naturally occurring in the water source or by bacteria reacting with magnesium in hard water.

Additionally, hard water can contribute to pipe erosion, releasing a musty or earthy smell if sediment builds up.

So, while hard water itself is odorless, it can sometimes influence the overall smell of your tap water depending on the minerals present, bacterial activity, or even the condition of your plumbing.

If you notice a strange odor in your water, it's best to identify the specific scent to determine the cause and take appropriate action, such as having your water tested.

Is it Safe to Drink Water That Smells Like Bleach?

Is it Safe to Drink Water That Smells Like Bleach?

Tap water tastes like chlorine?  Is that safe?

A 2010 study by the National Cancer Institute found that about a quarter of the human population may have a genetic susceptibility that raises its risk of bladder cancer from trihalomethanes (Chlorine byproducts).

In 2011 a French research team found that men exposed to more than 50 parts per billion of trihalomethanes had significantly increased bladder cancer risks.

We could show you study after study showing similar research but the point has been made.

My water smells like chlorine, is it safe to drink? That's ultimately up to you to decide.

What is the Best Water Filter to Remove Chlorine

How do you get the chlorine smell out of tap water?

If you're looking to remove or reduce the chlorine smell in your tap water, using a water filter can be an effective solution.

There are various types of water filters available, each with its own ability to remove chlorine and other contaminants.

One of the most popular water filter options for chlorine removal is activated carbon filters.

These filters use activated carbon to adsorb the chlorine and other impurities present in the water, resulting in improved taste and odor.

Another option is reverse osmosis (RO) filters, which use a semipermeable membrane to remove chlorine, along with other contaminants, from the water.

RO filters are highly effective but tend to be more expensive and may require professional installation.

It's important to choose a water filter that is 3rd party tested to ensure its effectiveness in removing chlorine and other contaminants.

Additionally, consider the maintenance requirements, filter lifespan, and cost when selecting a water filter for your home.

Why Families Choose Berkey to Filter Chlorine

Why Families Choose Berkey to Filter Chlorine

When it comes to choosing a water filter to remove chlorine and other contaminants, many families opt for Berkey filters.

Berkey is a trusted brand known for its reliable and efficient water filtration systems.

Berkey filters utilize a combination of activated carbon and other filter media to remove chlorine, pesticides, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and other impurities from tap water.

These filters are capable of producing clean and great-tasting water, free from the chlorine smell and taste.

In addition to their effective filtration capabilities, Berkey filters are also known for their long filter lifespan and low maintenance requirements.

This makes them a convenient and cost-effective option for families looking to improve the quality of their tap water.

In conclusion, if your tap water smells like chlorine, you absolutely want to consider a water filter.

If you prefer to remove or reduce the chlorine smell in your tap water, consider using a water filter.

Activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis filters are popular options for chlorine removal.

Berkey filters, in particular, are highly regarded for their effectiveness and convenience.

Remember, ensuring the safety and quality of your tap water is essential for maintaining your health and well-being.

Stay informed and take the necessary steps to address any concerns you may have about the chlorine smell in your tap water.

Shop our collection of Berkey Water Filters here.

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