Everyone loves water. We drink it and use it to prepare juices and food; to clean our bodies, clothes, and everything else. We use it to water plants and countless other things. We cannot survive without water, but we need to ensure that we consume and use only clean water. There are various ways to get water clean, so let’s find out what is the difference between water filters and water softeners.

How you treat your water will vary depending on where you live and the number of contaminants present in your local water supply and the water quality. Even though tap water that is treated by the municipality generally needs less treatment than rural, well water, it still has harmful contaminants and needs to be filtered and softened to remove chlorine and contaminants. With the various water treatment options, how does one know which is best for their home?

What Is A Water Filter & What Does It Do

Water Filters & Water Softeners

The process of filtering particles and pollutants from water is known as water filtration. Water filtration systems can be whole-house filters that filter the water from the main entry pipe, tap filters that are installed on individual pipes such as the pipes on your kitchen sink, or even large-scale water filters found at the municipal water treatment facility. They come in many forms and sizes to suit varied needs.

Water filters remove particles and contaminants from water by using a fine physical impediment, chemical, or biological process. Lead and insecticides are removed from your drinking water by applying a variety of water purification procedures. Some common methods for removing contaminants include reverse osmosis filters, activated carbon filters, and sediment filtration.

Most commonly, the water filter system is fitted under your kitchen sink. It purifies the water that comes from your counter tap. Pollutants are trapped and removed through a system of cleansing or are contained in a cartridge membrane that must be changed every month or bi-weekly, depending on the brand or type you use. Drinking water filters, countertop filters and whole-home water filters are a must in these times. Homeowners looking for a reliable way to remove contaminants and physical particles from water should opt to use a water filtration system.

What Does A Water Softener Do?

No one likes hard water. Most people don’t even know that water is hard; they only realize that it tastes different or that it their pipes have marks around them. Hard water causes filmy soap scum, destroys appliances, and dries hair and skin. The most common sign that your water is too hard is the scum around your pipes. Most households depend on tap water for personal use and others use it commercially. With water being such a precious commodity, you see why we need to ensure it is soft enough for household use. This prevents damage to our bodies and appliances.

The main parts of a water softener work in partnership to extract the minerals from hard water, monitor the flow of water, and periodically clean the system through a regeneration process.

The process through which the water softener works is the ion exchange. Ion-exchange resins and salt are used to remove the calcium and magnesium hardness from water. They coat the resins in a sodium solution. When hard water comes in contact with resin beads, the calcium and magnesium ions migrate out of the solution to the active sites on the resin and replaces it in the solution with sodium ions. Resins beads have a negative charge, while calcium and magnesium have a positive charge. We all know that opposites attract, so we then see that the negative charge of the minerals attracts to the positive charge of the resin beads. To further expound, as the hard water passes through the resin, the beads grab hold of the mineral ions and remove them from the water. The column of the resin beads strips all the hardness out of the water as it passes through the mineral tank and the softened water then flows into your household.

Differences Between The Two Systems

What are the key differences between water filters and water softeners? We want to help you to make an informed decision when choosing the system that is best for your home. It’s absolutely important that you understand how each system works. Here are some fundamental differences between a water softening system and a water filtration system.

  • The systems have different technologies: Water softeners use salt and ion-exchange resins to remove calcium and magnesium from hard water in order to prevent limescale damage. Water filters use a variety of water purification techniques to remove physical and microbial contamination that rids impurities from your drinking water.
  • They have different water treatment methods: Water softeners should remove hardness-causing minerals and contaminants from water, like magnesium and calcium.

Water filters treat contamination and remove impurities from water, like heavy metals (lead, copper, cadmium, mercury), pesticides (herbicide, insecticides), dirt, and sediment from your drinking water.

  • The systems have different maintenance needs: What needs regular maintenance is the salt-based water softeners. Water filtration systems do not need as much maintenance as water softeners. The water filtration system however is more expensive to install and the filters must be changed often.

 Can They Work Together?

For cleaner, healthier water, it is easy to see why many households choose systems that include the capability to filter chemical impurities, remove bacteria and viruses. Choosing a water filter or softener should depend on the current condition of your water. In a nutshell, a water softener protects your possessions and your body, while a water filter protects your health. Both systems can be used together or alone, but it is wise to have both systems installed to ensure complete protection and clean, healthy water.

Lone Star Water Services has been helping families set up and maintain water treatment systems for many years and are here to help you bring safe drinking water into your home. Contact us for a consultation.