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Whole House Chlorine and Chloramine Water Filtration Systems

Remove Chlorine from Drinking WaterAre you concerned about Chlorine and Chloramines in your water?

Considering a whole house chlorine and chloramine water filtration system for your family?

These water treatment systems are particularly useful if you are on city water, as chlorine has long been, and still is, the preferred disinfection method used in municipal treatment systems.

There are three primary chlorine/chloramine removal methods in water treatment.  All filtration systems use a type of activated carbon and remove chlorine tastes and odors.

1. Carbon Cartridge Filter Systems 
2. Carbon Up-flow Non-Backwashing Systems
3. Carbon Automatic Backwash Systems

Carbon Cartridge Filter Systems:

Pros: Easy to install, requires no electricity, cartridges can be changed easily, different types of filter cartridges can be used, lower upfront costs.

Cons: May restrict flow rate and pressure in home, not suitable for large homes or high water use, higher cost due to need to frequent filter cartridge changes, cartridge can become fouled and bacteria can grow on cartridge.

Filter cartridges are the least expensive method of chlorine removal initially; however, over time their upkeep will actually become more expensive than that of a backwash or upflow carbon filter, as you’ll have to replace the filter cartridge regularly to keep the filter working properly.

We often recommend Big Blue radial carbon filters for homeowners looking to filter their water of chlorine with a cartridge filter, as they are relatively inexpensive, offer great flow rates, and are very effective filters.

To remove chloramines with a cartridge filter, you’ll need a special filter that uses catalytic carbon. A catalytic carbon cartridge filter will effectively remove chloramines as well as chlorine and other foul tastes and odors.

For users looking to filter chlorine and chloramines with a cartridge filter, we recommend the Pentek Chlorplus chloramine removal system. This system comes with everything you’ll need for installation and operation and will filter your water down to 1 micron while offering superior performance compared to regular granular carbon media.

Carbon Up-flow Non-Backwashing Systems

Pros: No drain required, no backwash or wastewater, suitable for higher flow rates and larger homes, lower costs due to much less expensive bulk carbon used instead of filter cartridges.

Cons: Media can get fouled if sediment is present; best when used with a prefilter. Can develop tastes and odors if chlorine levels in city water are low and filter is not used daily.

With this type of system water flows down a center distributor tube and up through the carbon. Carbon upflow non-backwashing systems are preferred for removing toxic chemicals (not usually found in treated municipal water) such as pesticides and herbicides.

Carbon Automatic Backwash Systems

Pros: Less pressure drop, better flow, media lasts longer. The once a week backwash and rinse keeps carbon filter clean and free of sediment. Carbon media is ‘reclassified’ meaning the granular media is stirred up exposing fresh sites on the media. Sediment is removed and flushed out to drain.

Cons: Needs to be connected to a drain (although in some cases the backwash water can be run outside and used to water plants). Upfront costs are a little higher than upflow or cartridge types.

A backwashing carbon filter on the main water line leading to your home will remove chlorine from your water and can be especially useful if you are also looking to filter sediment, rust, and odors from city water.

In a downflow backwashing filter, water flows through the top of the tank, down through the media from top to bottom, and back up the distributor tube.

During the backwash cycle, however, the flow of water is reversed, and water flows down the distributor tube and up through the media to lift, expand, and clean it.

The carbon media inside the filter will remove the chlorine from your water along with any unwanted tastes and smells that it may bring, while sediment and rust will be trapped and then flushed during the filter’s backwash cycle.

Because this backwash cycle can be programmed to run automatically after a certain amount of gallons of water used or days elapsed, carbon backwash filters require very little maintenance: about all you’ll have to do is remember to change the filter media inside every 4 to 5 years.


If you are just removing chlorine, a coconut-shell-based carbon media will work wonders (and effectively remove other odors, as well). However, if you are looking to remove both chlorine and chloramines (formed when chlorine and ammonia mix) you would be best to use catalytic carbon.

Catalytic carbon is a specially treated high activity granular activated carbon manufactured by steam activation of select coconut shell charcoal. The catalytic activity of this type of activated carbon makes it highly effective for the removal of chloramines and hydrogen sulfide from potable water. Its large micropore volume makes it particularly well suited for the removal of low molecular weight organic compounds and their chlorinated by-products such as chloroform and other trihalomethanes (THMs).

Browse our selection of chlorine and chloramine filters, including the filters mentioned in this series, and consult our Resource pages to read more about carbon backwash filters, chlorine, and other waterborne chemicals.

And don’t forget, you can always e-mail us at [email protected], leave us a message on Facebook, or use our online contact form to get quick, personalized assistance with your water woes.  

Thanks for reading!

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  • Clean Water Systems & Stores, Inc., Water Treatment Equipment,Service & Supplies, Santa Cruz, CA

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