Why does my water smell/taste of chlorine?

Chlorine in drinking water is not harmful, but some people are more sensitive to the taste and smell of chlorine than others. Chlorine is essential to protect public health and so it is added to drinking water as the final stage of treatment to kill any harmful germs that may be present. The concentration of chlorine in drinking water is monitored closely 24 hours a day.

Water suppliers try and keep chlorine levels as low as possible, while at the same time ensuring supplies are kept safe. Chlorine concentrations can vary throughout the day and through seasons, and may be higher if you live close to a water treatment works.

The taste of chlorine can be reduced by filling a jug or glass container, covering it and allowing the water to stand in the fridge until it is needed. If you don’t use it within 24 hours, you should discard it. If you do need to discard it then why not use it to water your plants rather than pouring it down the sink?

If you're really sensitive to the smell and can still detect it after storing it in the fridge, try boiling the water for about five minutes. This removes most of the chlorine. After the water cools, store it in a closed container in the fridge. Again, if you haven’t used it all within 24 hours please discard it.

You might also consider using a home treatment device like a water filter, generally these are not necessary but some customers like to use them. There are several types of water filters on the market ranging from jug type filters to permanently fitted devices. You will need a filter containing activated carbon, which absorbs chlorine and other substances which can influence the taste of the water.

Any device which is ‘plumbed-in’ must comply with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. If not properly maintained, these devices may cause problems with water quality.  Click here for further information and advice about the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

Sometimes chlorine reacts with materials used for tap washers, anti-splash devices and seals in kettles and this can cause an unpleasant ‘chemical’ taste.

A chlorinous or metallic taste in hot drinks, especially tea, will not be due to the presence of chlorine. Instead it is most likely to be associated with plumbing materials, such as rubber washers, or if you have appliances (such as vending machines, dishwashers or washing machines) plumbed in close to taps used for drinking water.

To solve this, either change the hoses for ones approved by  WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme), for example a food-quality hose, or change the isolating valve for one fitted with a check valve - also known as a one-way or non-return valve.

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