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It can be pretty scary to turn the faucet and find that your tap water smells like bleach. The important thing to focus on is that if your water smells like bleach there’s a good chance that the problem has nothing to do with harmful contaminants. Often if your water smells like bleach it will have to do with the addition of chlorine rather than actual bleach. Chlorine is a regular addition to most public water systems because it disinfects potential waterborne illnesses.
The good news is that if your tap water smells like bleach there are some actions you can take to minimize or remove the smell. Though usually not harmful, it’s also not very appetizing if your water smells like bleach. Something as simple as a water filter may be able to help keep that smell at a manageable level.
Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?
For starters, you must know the difference between bleach and chlorine. It’s also worth noting that bleach is a broad phrase. It’s used for a variety of purposes, including eliminating germs. Some bleaches include chlorine, whereas others don’t.
Remember that chlorine is harmful on its own (even in low concentrations), but it’s a popular disinfectant. As a result, chlorine is commonly used in water treatment plants thanks to its affordability and effectiveness in killing microorganisms in the water. The most likely answer for why your water smells like bleach is due to higher levels of chlorine in your water.
Chlorine and chloramine are the most often used chemicals for municipal water disinfection. While these chemicals are deemed harmless when present in trace levels in the water, the consequences of extended exposure to chlorine and chloramine cannot be determined.
As a result, while these compounds effectively kill some pathogenic bacteria, they also have some undesirable side effects, such as foul-smelling tap water.
Even non-chlorine disinfection treatment plants are obliged by law to inject small amounts of chlorine before distribution. If your local water supply has a strong bleach or chlorine odor, it may distribute water over a long distance.
The most likely answer for why your water smells like bleach is due to higher levels of chlorine in your water. The EPA requires that a small bit of chlorine be placed in the water. This is because it helps to remove waterborne illnesses. In fact, chlorine has been used as a disinfectant in water dating back to the early 1900s.
The recommended levels to be placed in the water is less than 4 mg/L, but you’ll be able to smell chlorine at levels as low as 1 mg/L. At this level, it’s safe to drink and shouldn’t pose any risks to your health, according to the CDC.
When your water has been over-chlorinated you will notice that bleach smell. If you have a pool or know someone that has one you might be familiar with the smell. The reason for this may be that the local water has to travel further, so additional chlorine is added to ensure the water stays clean longer.
How Do I Fix it When My Water Smells like Bleach?
Since there is no way for you to stop the water company from adding chlorine to your water and it’s necessary that it’s included, your best option is a water filter. You can find a good water filter that’s inexpensive that will reduce or eliminate the smell of bleach from your water.
The water filters can remove both chlorine and the bleach smell. The chlorine here is absorbed by a carbon filter and removed from the drinking water. Using a water refiner to get chlorine-free water at every tap in your home is a smart way to save money. This is because they’re ideal for dealing with chlorine-tainted water.
You’ll also enjoy more pleasant showers and the feeling of having removed all the other negative consequences of chlorine is a great bonus. Contact a local soft water specialist to discuss your water issues and potential solutions.
Adding a water refiner to any home’s setup is typically a good idea. It’s the simplest method to guarantee that your entire family has access to clean, fresh water.
Water filters come in all types, too. There are faucet water filters that attach directly to your sink faucet, water pitchers with filters built in, under sink filters, and even shower water filters (yes, it’s important to make sure you’re showering with clean water).
If you can’t afford a filter, and your tap water smells like bleach you can also try refrigerating or boiling your water. As your water cools in the fridge for a short time the bleach smell will dissipate. If you want to boil the water, five minutes should be more than enough time.
Fill a pitcher halfway with cold water from the tap. Place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. During this time, you should notice that the bleach scent has faded. It’s even better if you leave your water out overnight.
Test Your Water
If you’re concerned about the chlorine levels in your tap water, test it yourself via home water testing kits or hire a lab to do it for you. These tests will reveal the amount of chlorine in your tap water and any other pollutants that may be present in it.
Contact Your Local Municipality
If your water contains more than 4 ppm of chlorine, call your water utility provider immediately to report the problem. Owners and operators of public water systems are required by law to guarantee that the water they provide is safe.
Sadly, there isn’t much you can do if your complaint is ignored. It’s also likely that your tap water doesn’t contain enough chlorine to be hazardous, but still smells like bleach.
Water filters will help to reduce the smell if your tap water smells like bleach. If you want something inexpensive, consider the CleanWater4Less countertop filter. The benefit here is that you don’t need any replacement filters. More importantly, it will filter thousands of gallons of water, so it will be worth the price you pay.
If you’d rather have a water filter that hooks to your sink, the Filtrete Advanced is a good budget option. This filter will filter all of the water that comes from the sink you hook it up to. Unlike a whole house water filter, this model handles one sink.
A water filter is your best option if your tap water smells like bleach. Filters range in price, from something simple like a tabletop pitcher to something that covers your entire house. If you have any other questions about how to improve your water, we’re here to help!
How to Know if There is Chlorine in Your Water
Because of varying levels of sensitivity, you will not always taste or smell chlorine in your water; however, that does not mean your water is free of chlorine. When chlorine has performed its function, it should be separated at the point of entry for public water supply. This is where a whole house water filter becomes extremely useful.
A simple water test will help you detect how safe your water is and let you know the most suitable treatment option. You can get the kit, especially for drinking water.
Does Chlorine Affect the Household Plumbing System?
Unless made from CPVC or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride resin, chlorine may also do a number on your pipes. This is more common in old plumbing systems, but carbon filtration can reduce the health risks of consuming something with this exposure.
It affects plastic pipes by eating into their structure slowly and reducing their lifespan and effectiveness. Chlorine may also affect copper pipes because of its corrosive nature. There is not much you can do about it because public utility systems need it to reduce bacterial contamination.
Does Chlorine Affect Your Health?
When consumed in small quantities, chlorine does not affect your health. Harmful bacteria in the water supply need a certain amount of chlorine to render them harmless. There are two components of chlorine when it comes to water treatment. The first is total chlorine and free chlorine.
Total chlorine is the amount introduced to water to purify it. Note that not every compound will be used up at once. Rather, active chlorine agents will attack and attach themselves to contaminants to create chloramines. Both compounds (the used chlorine and the particles that used to be a health threat) become inactive and need to be removed from the water.
The leftover is called free chlorine, and it will remain active to detect the presence of bacteria.
Although chlorine is popular in the water treatment sphere, a handful of side effects may accompany its use. They occur because of the presence of trihalomethanes, chemical compounds resulting from chlorine’s reaction and the harmful contaminants in water.
The reaction is suspected of causing birth defects, cancer, and respiratory challenges. If you presume too much chlorine in your water, consider drinking bottled water until you resolve the challenge.
Ph.D. graduate working as a water quality consultant for many government agencies helping them find solutions to the ever-growing problem of polluted water. Loves a good coffee!