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Water Softener vs Water Filter: What You Need To Know

You need to make sure that your home’s water is safe to cook with, clean with, and drink. Therefore, you might be thinking about getting a water softener. Or, you might have heard that a water filter is the better option.

While water softeners and water filters are similar, they are not identical. a water softener is designed to remove excess minerals from your water supply, such as calcium and magnesium. In contrast, a water filter is designed to remove contaminants.

If you want to improve the taste and health of your water, you may have had water softeners and water filters recommended to you. Do you need a water softener, a water filter, or both? Take a look at a few important points below, and make sure you choose the right option for your plumbing system.

What Are Water Softeners?

A water softener has been designed to remove excess minerals, such as magnesium ions and calcium ions, that otherwise contribute to the hardness of your water. A water softener can be compared to a magnet that removes calcium and magnesium using ion exchange processes.

In a water softener, the water itself will be forced through resin beads that are covered in either sodium or potassium ions. While sodium ions are the most common, some people prefer potassium ions, particularly if they have been told that they need to reduce the amount of sodium they consume.

As the water gets forced through these positive ions, the calcium will be forced out of the water supply, replacing it with either sodium or potassium ions. Therefore, a water softener can help you reduce your hardness level by stripping calcium or magnesium from your water supply.

While a water softener is exceptional at removing calcium and magnesium, understand that calcium and magnesium are not necessarily harmful to your health if you drink them. In fact, your body requires calcium and magnesium to function properly; however, a water softener can help prevent annoying stains, spots, and rings that otherwise form on various surfaces throughout your house. 

What Is a Drinking Water Filtration System?

A water filter, or a drinking water filtration system, is designed to remove contaminants and solids that may have been dissolved in your water supply. These contaminants can have different impacts on your water depending on whether you are cooking, cleaning, or drinking it.

A water filter can significantly improve the taste and smell of your water, and it can also remove contaminants that may be harmful to your health. A few examples include chlorine, lead, and even bacteria. You can read more on how filters work.

If you are looking for a drinking water filtration system, there are several options available. For example, some people use countertop filtration systems, while other people use shower filters and filters they can install underneath the sink. If you are looking for a comprehensive water filter, you will likely decide to use a whole-house water filtration system. Some are easier to install than others, so you need to assess the differences between water filters before you decide which one to go with.

Different water filters can use different filtration systems to reduce certain types of contaminants, so you will want to test your water to see what you need to remove before you purchase a water filter.

What Are the Main Differences Between Water Softeners and Water Filters?

There are several significant differences when looking at water softeners and water filters. Some of the main differences include:

A Water Softener Focuses on Excess Minerals

A water softener focuses on removing excess minerals only. Specifically, a water softener removes calcium and magnesium ions. On the other hand, if you have other contaminants that you need to remove, a water softener might not be the best option.

For example, a water softener is not necessarily going to remove a lot of chloride, lead, iron, and other contaminants that might be present.

A Water Filter Focuses on Removing Contaminants

If you need to remove other contaminants from your water supply, a water filter might be the better option. A water filter can remove iron, lead, and other contaminants that might otherwise be harmful to your health.

Keep in mind that if you need to reduce the hardness level of your water, a water filter might not be the best option. While water filters come in many shapes and forms, not all of them are going to remove calcium and magnesium. Instead, a water filter is going to focus on other aspects of your water supply.

A Water Softener Can Protect Your Plumbing Supply and Appliances

You may need a water softener if you need to improve your water pressure or remove annoying stains and rings on your pipes, shower heads, and faucets. If your water is too hard, there will be an unusual white scale left behind when the water evaporates. This white scale is a mixture of calcium and magnesium that is left behind.

Now, imagine this white scale building up on the inside of your pipes. It can reduce the diameter of your pipes, reducing your water pressure. Furthermore, this white scale can also impact your clothes and dishes. Over time, this could damage your plumbing system and appliances, so if you want to protect your pipes and appliances, you may need a water softener.

A Water Filter Can Make Your Water Safer To Drink

Remember that calcium and magnesium ions do not mean that your water is unsafe to drink. These ions simply leave a white scale behind that can impact your pipes and appliances. On the other hand, if you need to remove contaminants that make your water unsafe to drink, you need a water filter.

For example, a water filter can remove bacteria that might otherwise make you sick. If you are concerned that your water supply is not safe to use or consume, a water filter is probably what you need to go with.

Do I Need a Water Filter or a Water Softener?

Clearly, there are several differences when comparing water filtration systems to water softeners. So, which one do you need to go with?

A few important points to keep in mind include:

  • If you have been told that your water is not safe to drink, you need a water filter. A water filter will remove contaminants from your water supply.
  • If you have been told that your hardness level is too high, you need a water softener. A water softener will remove calcium and magnesium that would otherwise damage your pipes and appliances.
  • If you want to remove the white scale that has been building up on your dishes, pipes, and appliances, you may want to go with a water softening system.
  • Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to choose one or the other. You might benefit from installing both a water softener and a water filter. 

There are plenty of choices available if you are looking for a water softener or a water filter. Therefore, consider reaching out to an expert who can help you find the right system to meet your needs. 

Make Sure Your Water Supply Is Safe and Protected

From time to time, you need to test your water supply to make sure there are no contaminants present. You should also keep an eye on the hardness level of your water supply to protect your plumbing system and appliances.

If you are looking for the best water filters and water softeners, take a look at some of the options from DROP to improve your water quality. You can find some exceptional products to ensure that your family has a safe, clean, and reliable supply of water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking.

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