Chloramine, which consists of a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, is added to the water of many cities as a substitute for free chlorine.

It is often referred to in the plural, as “chloramines,” because it can take on a number of forms according to the pH and mineral content of the water.

The whole reduction discussion for chloramines can become quite complex, but the main thing you need to know is that chloramine is removed from water with essentially the same strategies that are used to remove chlorine. This means that carbon filtration is the best removal method, and, contrary to urban legends, filter carbon does indeed remove chloramine. The problem is that it takes more carbon and more contact time to do the job. In practical terms, this means that if your city disinfects your tap water with chloramines you’ll need to get a larger and better carbon filter than you would need if chlorine alone were used.

For drinking water, you can consider high-quality carbon units that use lots of carbon. And, contrary to another widely promoted myth, reverse osmosis units do remove chloramine. In fact, they do it well, because any good RO unit contains a couple of carbon filters and the water gets an extra slow pass through the first one.

In choosing carbon for chloramine removal, a specially prepared carbon called “catalytic” carbon is far superior to regular carbon. Catalytic carbon is a specifically processed grade of filter carbon that is designed especially for, among other things, exceptional chloramine removal.

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