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Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems

Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems – Which One Do I Need?

When taking a decision between  water filter systems and water softener systems, the most important question that has to be answered is: what's the final quality of water that you need?

Commonly, underground water is the primary source of water for municipal systems. Underground water has a higher percentage of minerals in comparison to surface water. 

This greater mineral content increases water hardness.

Water softeners concentrate only on removing metals and minerals from water, while water filters handle a much broader spectrum of problems in water quality.

Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems -- Which one has the advantage?

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For making a smart decision between these two different methods of water treatment, it's vital to know how each of the systems operates.

Below are some of the significant differences between water softening systems and water filtration systems.

How Do These Two Systems Differ in Operation?

A water filter is a system specially designed to remove impurities or contaminants from water, such as heavy metals (lead, copper, cadmium, and mercury), pesticides (herbicides, insecticides), soil, and sediment. 

The reason water utilities and individuals attempt to eliminate these chemicals is so they can make water taste or smell better, and to reduce any danger, the substances have on the health of everyone that gets in touch with them be it through direct ingestion (drinking and cooking) or skin contact (showering).

Types of water filters include activated carbon filters, Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, and microporous filters.

Based on the type of water filter used, contaminants are trapped in a system and then removed by cleaning or filter cartridge replacement, or else they get flushed down the pipe right away.

On the other hand, when softening water, the principal objective isn't to remove unhealthy contaminants - as hard water don't pose a health hazard.

Quite the contrary, hard water minerals are beneficial to your body.

Instead, a water softener aims to stop the accumulation of limescale to increase the lifespan of your home's plumbing system, dishwasher, washing machine, and other household appliances that use water.

This is especially helpful for your water heater, which can not operate if pipes are clogged with scale.

Water purification may happen by removing calcium and magnesium ions (hardness minerals) or by changing the behavior of these ions to lower their affinity to attach themselves to surfaces.

Softeners that remove hardness minerals are salt-based systems, which include either potassium or sodium into the water that they treat.

Regarding water heaters or salt-free softeners, there are various types available; some apply magnetism, others are chelation-based, where the hardness minerals are adhered to a chelating agent and because of this get suspended in the water.

The technology used is different

Water filters use a variety of techniques to remove contaminating offenders.

Pollutants are removed from water by using advanced media beds. The procedures followed include oxidation, micro-filtrationcatalytic conversion, ion exchange, and absorption. 

Many kinds of filter media are used to treat everything from harmful chemicals to human-made and natural compounds. The water passes through these media is proven to be safe for drinking purposes.

In contrast, water softeners use ion-exchange resins and salt to eliminate calcium and magnesium from the water. These resins have a coating of salt solution which compels calcium and magnesium ions to migrate from the water and reach active sites on the resin in which they're replaced with sodium ions.

Both have different maintenance requirements

Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems

Salt-based water softeners must be maintained on a regular basis. One of the significant tasks that will need to be accomplished is restocking consumable salt.

Non-salt based water softener systems require minor maintenance, but trace quantities of oil frequently damage them. Magnetic systems are proven to have minimum maintenance requirements and may be set up for cheap, but they're ineffective against metallic dissolved materials.

On the other hand, water filter systems do not need much maintenance, but they are more costly to install.

If you only need to make your water less hard, then utilizing water softener systems will be far more cost-efficient.

But if you look to have additional water quality issues like the poor taste or waterborne pathogens, bacterial contamination, iron staining, and chlorination, softening systems will fail to deliver results.

Do Water Softeners Filter Water?

Although water softeners eliminate excess minerals from tap water by substituting them with salt, the procedure does not automatically make your tap water safe to drink.

This is the reason your job should always think about setting up a water filtration system to make sure that chemicals and other dangerous substances are removed from your water before you even consider serving it.

Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems--Which Should You Install in Your House?

Water Softeners vs Water Filters Systems

Selecting a water softener or filter depends on the present condition of your water.

If there's a good deal of calcium and magnesium dissolved in it along with your household appliances begin to develop scale, you're dealing with hard water, and a softening process is most likely the best solution.

On the other hand, if you drink tap water in your home and it has an unusual taste, or it smells odd, it is very likely that it is contaminated. In this situation, a water filtration system is an ideal option.

Both water treatment choices are used together in many homes.

The choice you'll make will depend mostly on your budget and unique water treatment needs.

Be sure that you test the water ahead to determine its filtration needs.

This will help to make sure the treatment option you've chosen is ideal for your needs.

Additional References:

Ed Carmichael

About the Author Ed Carmichael

Ed is a water specialist in Tampa, FL. He built to help his friends and family learn about DIY solutions to common water quality issues in the home.

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