Do I Really Need a Water Softener or Is an Inline Filter Sufficient?
We all need clean water for everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many North America homeowners ask themselves which is right for them—a water filter or a water softener? Examine the important differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the advantages they provide and how to determine which one is best for your needs.
What Is an Inline Water Filter?
An inline water filter is a point-of-entry filtration system that filters water as it goes into your home. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants from the municipal water supply before entering your plumbing fixtures and appliances.
Benefits of Water Filters
If your water comes from a municipal provider, you may ask yourself why you might need an inline water filter. After all, the water has already been treated at a water treatment plant. However, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with harmful particles between the treatment plant and your residence. Here’s how using a water filter can improve the water in your home:
- Healthier water: Water filters take away unsafe microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other debris for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
- Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, protecting them from damage.
- No plastic waste: Inline water filters diminish the need for bottled water, contributing to a greener environment.
- Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra money on bottled water and minimizesthe strain on your plumbing system.
How to Tell if You Need a Whole-House Water Filter
About one-third of American households depend on home treatment systems for quality drinking water. Here are some signals that you need a whole-house water filter:
- Discoloration, odd taste or undesirable smell: If your tap water is anything but absolutely clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Think about adding a filter for your health and well-being.
- Frequent plumbing issues: A whole-house water filter helps alleviate plugged pipes, low water pressure and other problems.
- Skin irritation: If you experience redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be beneficial.
- Past history: Does your local water supply have a record of possible contamination? Installing a whole-house water filter can give you peace of mind against potential problems.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange acts somewhat like a chemical magnet, replacing these “hard” minerals with sodium ions to “soften” the water.
Benefits of Water Softeners
If you have hard water, this is what you’ll observe once you install a water softener:
- Longer plumbing life span: Soft water reduces scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, lengthening their life span and bettering their appearance.
- Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t cause a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, keeping your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
- Better soap lathering: Soft water is a good way to make sure cleaning products lather more effectively, which results in cleaner dishes, brighter laundry, and softer skin and hair, even if you use a smaller amount of soap and detergent.
- Energy savings: A water softener helps your plumbing appliances run effectively for lower electricity charges.
How to Know if You Need a Water Softener
Most water resources in North America are categorized as moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your city’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some signs that you could use a water softener:
- Scale buildup: A white, chalky film on your fixtures and appliances is a sign of hard water, as are the white spots on your dishes, glass shower door and coffee maker. A water softener can help eliminate this problem.
- Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators commonly become severely blocked by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is a sign of hard water.
- Dry skin and hair: Hard water stops soap from rinsing correctly, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
- Continual appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops functioning often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile acquisition.
Should You Use Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?
Inline water filters and water softeners are two tools that supply valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter eliminates contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. In some cases, utilizing a water filter and a water softener is appropriate. Consider your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.
Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in North America
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is a trustworthy provider of water treatment solutions in North America, carrying high-quality water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you determine if one or both solutions are necessary to help you get the best water quality in your North America home.