how to remove copper from water

Water is our necessity and clean water is something we all should have access to. These days, water is contaminated with multiple elements, including copper. While copper is beneficial for our health, consuming it in excessive amounts may prove detrimental and may potentially affect our health. Hence, it is important to consume copper-free water. 

But, you may wonder how to remove copper from water, especially if your water source is private wells or you get water from municipal authorities. Well, we have enlisted the best solutions to remove copper from wells and tap water so you can enjoy contamination-free water.

Potential Signs of Copper in Water 

If you want to learn how to get rid of copper in water, you must first observe various signs of copper contamination in water. Here are a few signs you should look for.

Metallic Taste

Water is tasteless by nature but if you experience a bitter or metallic taste in your drinking water, it may be a potential sign that your water contains excessive amounts of copper. Such water is not safe for consumption and you must avoid drinking it at all costs as this may lead to several health problems, including diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, headaches, etc.

Blue-Green Stains

If you spot bluish-green water stains on your sink, faucets, and showers, there’s a high likelihood that these are due to copper.

Plumbing Leaks

If you notice your pipes leaking, this is due to corrosive water. Water corroded with copper results in pitted corrosion that makes water seep out of your pipes.

Pipe Corrosion

Pipe Corrosion

Similarly, corrupted water also leads to pipe corrosion, giving a bluish-green tinge to your pipes. This is quite dangerous as this means that this water has also found its way into your drinking water which may harm you and your loved ones’ health. 

Sources of Copper in Water

Now that you have learned about the potential signs of copper in water, let’s examine the various sources of copper in water.

  • Plumbing Work

The pipes in your home are generally made of copper. When these get corroded, copper-infused water seeps through the pipes and mixes with your drinking water. The amount of copper in water depends on how long the water has stayed in the pipe, the type of minerals in the water, etc.

  • Private Wells

Moreover, if you have a private well, copper can get into drinking water by contaminating the water in your well.

  • Agricultural Practices

Besides pipe corrosion, agricultural practices like farming, mining, and industrial practices may also lead to copper corrosion. For instance, copper is mostly used in pesticides to control algae growth in water reservoirs which may seep through the soil and into water below.

  • Industrial Discharge

Copper can also enter the water via industrial discharge. While industries are usually advised to dispose of their discharge in far-off places. Sometimes, the industrial waste finds its way into the natural groundwater, leading to copper corrosion. Since copper stays in the water for a long time as it is not easily broken down via microorganisms, it leads to severe water contamination.

  • Mining

Mining sulphide ores may lead to acid drainage which releases copper into the water sources.

Health Risks of Copper Exposure  

Copper is a trace element that is needed by our bodies to maintain optimal health. However, excessive consumption of copper leads to severe health risks which may affect our quality of life. These include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Jaundice

  • Greying of hair

  • Acute metal fume fever (characterized by a bitter taste in mouth, chest pain, fever, cough, headache, and general weakness)

If you are exposed to copper for a long period of time, you may develop severe lung inflammation, affecting your lungs. Moreover, you may be at the onset of the following severe risks:

  • Kidney failure

  • Difficulties in speaking

  • Liver failure

  • Muscle aches

  • Nausea

  • Anemia

You must remember that copper poisoning is pretty rare in healthy adults. However, individuals with pre-existing health conditions like Wilson’s or Menke’s disease may be more prone to copper poisoning as these conditions result in unusual copper absorption. 

Health Risks of Copper Exposure
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How to Test for Copper in Your Water?

If you want to know how do you remove copper from water, you first need to test it. There are various ways through which you can test copper in your water.

1. Observation

You can observe copper levels in water through the naked eye. If your water has low levels of copper, it may leave bluish-green stains on faucets, taps, or sinks. This water is still safe to consume and leaves no metallic taste. However, if you have a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth after drinking water, chances are that water in your home is high in copper. This water is not safe to consume and you need to get your water sources professionally tested.

2. Copper Testing

You can contact a certified laboratory to perform a copper test to check if your water is polluted with copper. You may also use an at-home copper test kit but laboratory tests are more accurate.

3. Water Supply

Your municipal water supply company tests water frequently and if you spot suspicious signs of water contamination due to copper you may request the authorities to do the copper test and hand over the results. 

6 Ways of Filtering Copper Out From Well Water & Tap Water

By now you must wonder how to remove copper from drinking water. Well, we have enlisted the six best ways of filtering copper out from water. You must remember that boiling water is not the solution to eradicating copper as it increases copper concentration in water due to water evaporation. Instead, try the following tried and tested methods to remove copper from water.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

The first and the best method is reverse osmosis which pushes unfiltered water through a semipermeable membrane with full pressure. The membrane has small pores that block copper but allow clean and filtered water to pass through. Reverse osmosis system can remove up to 99% of copper from water. This process is the top choice among homeowners as this system can be placed under the sink which generates clean water through a separate faucet.

This efficiency makes RO a reliable method for reducing copper levels in water to meet safety standards. Like SimPure T1-400 Under Sink RO Series, it has a copper removal rate at 99.83%. See more at SimPure T1-400 RO Series SGS report.

SimPure T1- 400 RO series

Activated Carbon Filters

Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon filters remove copper through adsorption, where copper ions bind to the porous surface of the activated carbon. The extensive surface area and high porosity of activated carbon allow it to trap and hold copper particles effectively. Additionally, the carbon's surface may undergo slight chemical reactions, enhancing its ability to capture copper ions. These filters are efficient in removing copper from water due to their high adsorption capacity, making them a widely used method for water purification. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of the filters are essential to maintain their efficiency.

Distillation Units

If you wonder how to filter copper out of water naturally, then distillation is the best process. Distillation is the process of purifying water via evaporation. Water distillation units convert water into steam, eliminating copper as copper cannot evaporate. Once the water returns to its liquid state, it is completely purified. However, distillation takes time, making it less ideal for home use.

Ion Exchange Filters

Ion exchange filters are another method if you wonder how to remove copper from well water. These filters feature a system of charged resin beads that remove excess copper from water. They work by exchanging copper ions with hydrogen ions. The discharged water passes through these beads which captures copper and other toxic contaminants, resulting in clean and pure water.

Ion exchange filters not only purify water, but also reduce water hardness by eliminating excess calcium and magnesium in water. This method can be used to purify the whole water of your home. It is particularly beneficial for water with low levels of copper.

If you are using ion exchange filters for copper removal, you need to regularly maintain these filters to ensure it is working efficiently. Also, you need to plan for safe disposal of ion exchange filters’ waste products, preventing them from seeping into clean water.

If your home water has high levels of copper, this method will not be viable as its maintenance and discharge costs are pretty high.

KDF Media

KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) Media removes copper from water through a redox (oxidation-reduction) reaction. It consists of a high-purity copper-zinc alloy that exchanges electrons with contaminants, converting copper ions into insoluble forms that are easily filtered out. This process is highly efficient, with the KDF media effectively removing up to 98% of copper and other heavy metals. It also inhibits bacterial growth and enhances the performance of activated carbon filters, making it a reliable and long-lasting solution for water purification.

Ultrafiltration Systems

UF systems remove copper by using semi-permeable membranes with pore sizes ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers. These membranes allow water and small molecules to pass through while retaining larger particles, including copper compounds. Copper in water typically binds to organic matter or forms colloidal particles, which are effectively trapped by the UF membranes. Ultrafiltration is highly efficient in removing copper, achieving removal rates of over 90%, due to its ability to filter out even small particulate-bound and dissolved copper forms. This makes UF a reliable method for reducing copper concentrations in water treatment applications.

Reverse Osmosis vs. Activated Carbon: Which Is Better for Copper Removal at Home? 

While there are multiple methods for removing copper from water, not all methods are viable for home use. Considering efficiency, cost, and maintenance, reverse osmosis and activated carbon filters are the best methods for copper removal at home. So which is better? Let’s analyze their pros and cons.

Reverse Osmosis 

  • Effectiveness: Highly effective at removing copper and other contaminants.
  • Cost: Initially expensive but cost-effective in the long run due to lower maintenance.
  • Installation: Requires professional installation, potentially adding to upfront costs.
  • Maintenance: Regular filter changes needed, typically every 6-12 months.
  • Additional Benefits: Removes a wide range of contaminants, improves overall water quality, suitable for various water sources.

Activated Carbon

  • Effectiveness: Moderate effectiveness in removing copper, more effective against organic compounds and odors.
  • Cost: Generally more affordable upfront but can be costlier in the long term due to frequent replacements.
  • Installation: Easy DIY installation for faucet filters, whole-house systems may require professional setup.
  • Maintenance: Filters need replacing more often (every 1-3 months).
  • Additional Benefits: Removes chlorine, improves taste and odor, environmentally friendly.

So, if your goal is to remove a wide variety of contaminants and have a big budget, reverse osmosis may be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget and only want to remove common contaminants like chlorine and copper, then activated carbon filters are the best.

Ultimately, the "better" choice between RO and carbon filtration depends on your specific water quality concerns, budget, and preferences. It may also be possible to combine both methods for comprehensive water filtration, depending on your needs.


Clean water is beneficial for our health so we must take proactive steps to ensure our home water is safe to drink. If you spot certain visible signs of copper water contamination, you must instantly get your water tested. If you wonder how to remove copper from water, you may choose from a wide variety of water filtration systems depending on your budget and preferences. Drinking copper-infused water leads to severe health risks such as kidney problems, stomach issues, vomiting,and jaundice. Therefore, you must implement a water purification system at home for safe use. 

If you have any further questions regarding water contamination or water filtration, visit SimPure’s blog.