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Water Softeners vs. Water Filters


What is the difference between a water softener and a water filter? This is a question very few people understand. To get to the bottom of this you need to understand what hard water is and what contaminated water is.

Hard water is water that is high in mineral content. The mineral content consists mainly of calcium and magnesium in the form of carbonates. This "hard water" is not harmful to humans but can be a nuisance on plumbing fixtures, pipes, and hot water heaters.

Contaminated water is water that has chemicals in it. This water still has the calcium and magnesium in it but also has been influenced by something it picked up in the environment. If you are on city water the most dominant contaminant is chlorine or chloramines. There is a good side and a bad side to this. The good side to adding chlorine or chloramines to the water is it kills bacteria, without it being added to the water, out breaks of disease would be prevalent. On the other hand by adding it, it causes problems with humans as it is designed to kill living organisms "people". This is why if you are city water you should have some type of water filtration system to filter the chlorine or chloramines. If you are on a well you may think you are safe because you don't have chlorine. Think about this though, how many pesticides, gasoline additives, and paint thinners to name a few go into the ground water? Water that becomes contaminated is unsafe to drink or bathe in. That leads to the question, do I need a water softener or a water filter. The answer to that all comes down to where you get your water.

The main purpose of a water softener is to deal with the water "hardness". There are many different types of water softeners. There are ion exchange methods, magnetics, electrical, and catalytic methods. All of these methods have their pros and cons but they all deal with the effects of hard water can have on you home.

A water filter by itself will only deal with the contaminants in your water. There are just as many water filters as water softeners. A carbon filter is a type of filter that will remove the most contaminants by itself. These filters are capable removing or reducing hundreds of contaminants in the water. A water softener is not something you need, however a water filter is always a good idea. Besides improving the taste of the water it dramatically improves the effects. Most people claim to have softer skin and hair after using a water filter. Whether you are on city water or a private well or another type of water source, a water filer is recommended.

If you have hard water and you want the best of both worlds, a combination of a water filter and water softener is the best solution. Again, there are many different companies offering many different systems to accomplish the softening along with contaminant removal.

The technology in both water softening and water filtration has come a long way in recent years and it just keeps getting better. Water is an essential part of our lives and it is something we deal with on a daily basis and because of that it important to understand it and get the very best from it.

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Water softeners do not remove contaminants, such as chlorine, chloramines, THM's, VOC's, SOC's, they are designed to address hard water issues.
It is recommended that a whole house water filter be coupled with any water softener.

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