The short answer to this question is no. When used in isolation, a basic water softener cannot remove chlorine from your water supply. A basic water softener can remove water hardening minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and iron ions, but chlorine can only be removed with additional filtration. To fully understand this we will take a closer look at how a water softener works and how you can remove chlorine.

The Quality of Your Water Supply

Most homes in our country are supplied with water from public water treatment facilities where harmful contaminants are removed. The water is disinfected with chlorine or chloramine, and these are extremely effective at killing harmful organisms. Public water isn’t treated for water hardness, and even well water supplies may be hard. Water hardness occurs when water seeps into the ground, and it dissolves material that then changes its composition. Hard water has elevated levels of the water hardening minerals shown above, and although this isn’t harmful to health, it can cause problems in your home.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

A water softener is filled with sodium (salt), and it is installed where the public water supply enters the home. The water that passes through the water softener goes through an ion exchange process. The minerals in the water that cause hardness have their ions exchanged for the softer sodium ions. Periodically, the water softer undergoes a regeneration cycle, the hard ions are flushed away, and the water softener can continue to soften the incoming water efficiently. The sodium in the water softener has to be refilled regularly to ensure that there is enough available for the ion exchange process.

How Could a Water Softener Remove Chlorine?

If you want to soften your water supply and remove chlorine at the same time, you will need some additional filtration. One of the most popular methods is catalytic filtration; this process removes dissolved elements, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and chlorine, with an ion exchange process similar to that detailed above. This results in a silky soft water that will feel luxurious on your hair and skin when washing.

Another popular filtration system uses Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) to remove chlorine from the water. The GAC media is added to the water softener resin bed, and it eliminates the chlorine as the water passes through the water softening process. This can be effective for up to three years, but water softener resin can last up to ten years, and it is hard to remove GAC from resin. So, if you decide to use this method, it will be effective, but it will shorten the life of your resin bed because it will need to be replaced at the same time as the GAC.

Finally, there is KDF-55, this is a powerful chlorine remover that uses granular media for water filtration. This can soften water, but it needs to be placed in a media guard, which is often a basket that’s attached to the underside of the water softener valve. This system will remove large quantities of chlorine before the water passes into the water softener to remove the hardness.

If you would like to know more about removing chlorine and water hardness, contact a local water treatment professional for expert advice.