Water is essential for life, but water contaminants can be debilitating. You must treat your water before consuming it.
Unfortunately, what comes through your faucet is not always pure H2O, and your water supply will openly admit that in their yearly consumer reports. Instead, there are certain levels of contaminants deemed either safe or unsafe.
You can purify water by boiling it or chlorinating it. However, ingesting too much chlorine can induce stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea, and it can also cause dry, itchy skin and eye irritation. In high doses, it can even be fatal.
This article will explore why chlorine purifies water, whether there’s chlorine in your drinking water, what levels of chlorine are safe, the effect of boiling on purified water, and whether boiling will remove chlorine from water.
Scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.
Why Chlorine Is Used To Purify Water
One of the primary means of purifying water is chlorination, which is the application of chlorine dioxide to water. It’s a popular method for good reason.
The chemical reactions that occur when chlorine dioxide is added to water serve to kill off water-borne organic contaminants and pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and on occasion, also cysts, such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium.
But that’s not all – chlorine will also react with inorganic impurities, so it is considered by some to be a more effective method of purifying water than the more common method of boiling water. (Seeing as boiling water does not remove inorganic impurities.)
Chlorination has become such a popular treatment for water in swimming pools. However, as we discussed in our introduction, ingesting too much chlorinated water is bad for you, causing symptoms, such as stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. So you should not have too much chlorine in your drinking water.
Is The Water From Your Faucet Chlorinated?
The disinfectant method used by city water suppliers is chlorination. A small amount of chlorine will be present in your water supply whenever you release water from your kitchen or bathroom faucet.
How Much Chlorine Is Considered Safe To Drink?
Your water supplier will not supply you with water that’s dangerous to consume. They test the water supply to ensure that it’s safe to drink, and they will even send you a consumer report which lays out what’s in your water.
They send you water that’s safe to drink, even though it has undergone the process of chlorination, by ensuring that the levels of chlorine in the water fall under a level that is categorically safe for you to drink.
The cut-off safety point for chlorine in water stands at 4 milligrams per liter. As long as the chlorine levels in your water come to this amount or less, then the water is perfectly safe to drink.
Effectiveness Of Boiling Water To Purify It
One of the reasons boiling water is considered such a beneficial means of purifying water is because of how convenient it is. You can always boil your water in a kettle or on a stovetop with a pan.
However, boiling your water before it arrives at your faucet isn’t possible for your water supplier, which is why they rely on other methods, such as chlorination.
There are some significant limitations of boiling water to purify it. It is beneficial for removing water-borne organic contaminants and pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and more.
However, it’s not so good at getting rid of the inorganic contaminants you can find in water. Instead, for heavily contaminated water, these inorganic contaminants will sit at the bottom of the container as the water boils.
Boiling water as a way of purifying it is not 100% effective since it only helps to remove the organic, biological contaminants.
We often recommend using multiple methods to purify your water if you have the means.
Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine From It?
Yes, boiling water for 15 minutes is sufficient to release all the chlorine from the water from your faucet.
Chlorine will naturally evaporate as the water boils. Chlorine can evaporate from water at lower temperatures as well. And this goes for both chlorine and chlorine dioxide.
So, to sum up, although chlorine and chlorine dioxide can help purify water for use in swimming pools or as drinking water, levels of chlorine that are too high can cause problems. This can result in stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting. It can even be fatal.
However, so long as the chlorine in your water comes to under 4 mg per liter, it will be perfectly safe to drink.
You should treat the water to remove excess chlorine before you drink it. And the good news is that you can do this very easily – by boiling it!