Getting annoyed with dry skin, hard water, smelly water or anything that can be seen or smelled is understandable. But what about the things in your water that can’t be seen or smelled? Those are the true dangers that need to be addressed.
If you’re concerned with the contaminants that might be in your home’s water, or if you’re simply fed up with the negative effects of hard water, you have lots of options when it comes to home water treatment. Below, we’ll explore the difference between water filters and water softeners and take a quick look at some of the options available to home owners.
A Simple Distinction
Water softeners do exactly what their name implies: they take your hard water, sift out all the bad, and replace it with good. Water filters, on the other hand, will filter your water without adding anything to it. They simply remove contaminants. Both water softeners and water filters keep the buildup of contaminates from accumulating too quickly in your pipes and can remove unwanted bacteria etc. before they ever reach your body.
Let’s look at a few key factors to determine what is best for your household and water.
Activated alumina filters—This cost-efficient option removes 99% of fluoride and arsenic, making it a highly effective choice.
Activated charcoal filters—These inexpensive filters trap pollutants in carbon pores, even removing chlorine from water. Since they don’t need electricity to work, they can help save on energy bills.
Ceramic filters—Also inexpensive, ceramic filters are simple to set up, don’t require electricity to work, and can last a long time. They work by trapping small pollutants in ceramic pores and are often treated with silver to kill microbes.
Reverse Osmosis Filters—In this highly effective setup, water is forced through a membrane with small pores, separating the clean water from the bad and flushing the bad away. Like activated charcoal and ceramic filters, reverse osmosis doesn’t require electricity to work.
Ultraviolet Filters—These use high frequency light to kill parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
Salt-Based water softeners—This option uses the ion exchange process to completely remove the minerals that cause hard water. They have a long lifespan and supply the entire house with soft water.
Salt-Free water softeners—With little maintenance required, salt-free water softeners neutralize minerals and prevent buildup without adding sodium to your water. They can often filter out other impurities in addition to the minerals that cause hard water.
Portable water softeners—Small and compact, these are perfect for travelers. They use simple table salt, require no electricity, and can go several weeks between regeneration cycles.
Showerhead water softeners—These simple cartridges can be screwed on to a showerhead. They are inexpensive and easy to install but only filter water from a single showerhead and nothing else.
Reverse Osmosis water softeners—This option uses high pressure to force water through a membrane that prevents minerals and other contaminants from passing through. They can even reintroduce healthy minerals back into the water and can provide unlimited softened water on tap.
Magnetic water softeners—Relatively new to the market, this affordable option neutralizes hard minerals to prevent them from bonding. They are easy to install and don’t require you to cut any pipes.
Which Option is Right for You?
The kind of water you have in your home and the end result you are wanting will determine what is going to work best for you and your budget. You may have hard or sulfurous water, or you might just want cleaner drinking water. Whatever your needs may be, they have a filter system or a water softener system that will be great for YOU.
Maybe you need or desire both? You can check your Consumer Confidence Report to see what kind of water issues you have if you are on public water. If you are on well water, you may have several factors and may need to consider both the filter and softener. You can have your water tested quite easily through your local EPA.
In today’s society, it’s easy to get affordable, healthy water at home. Don’t be afraid to explore your options and find the whole-home water treatment option that’s best for your needs.