When it comes to choosing between water softener systems and water filtration systems, the most common question that needs to be answered is: what is the final quality of water that I get?
Underground water is the most common source of water for municipal systems. This water is known to have a higher percentage of minerals compared to surface water. This higher mineral content contributes towards making water hard. Water softeners focus on eradicating minerals from water while water filtration systems address the much broader spectrum of issues in water quality.
Water Softener Systems vs Water Filter Systems – Which one gets the edge?
In order to make an informed choice between these two different systems of water treatment, it is necessary to understand how each of these systems work. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the major differences between water softening systems and water filtration systems.
The way these two systems treat water is different.
Water filters are known to remove the contaminants from the water.
Water softeners, as their name implies, are supposed to remove minerals from the water that cause hardness and scale.
Therefore, while it is easy to state that water softener is also a water filter, the term ‘water filter’ covers a wide range of products that are more than just water softeners. Some of the water filtration systems include iron & sulfur removal filters, sediment filters, back-washing carbon filters and fluoride adsorption filters. These are the systems that are entirely different from water softeners in terms of filtration tasks they do.
The technology used is different
Water filters employ variety of technologies to deal with the contamination. Pollutants are removed from water by the use of advanced media beds. The processes followed are oxidation, catalytic conversion, micro-filtration, ion exchange and adsorption. Several different types of media are used to treat everything from heavy chemicals to natural and man-made chemicals. The water that comes out passing through these media beds is known to be safe for drinking purposes.
On the other hand, water softeners use salt and ion-exchange resins to remove magnesium and calcium from the water. These resins have a coating of sodium solution that forces magnesium and calcium ions to migrate out of the water and reach active sites on the resin where they are replaced with sodium ions.
Both these systems have different maintenance needs
Salt-based water softeners need to be maintained on regular basis. One of the major maintenance tasks that need to be done is restocking consumable salt. Non-salt based systems need lesser maintenance but they are often damaged by trace amounts of oil. Magnetic systems are known to have the least maintenance requirements and can be installed for cheap, but they are ineffective against metallic dissolved materials.
On the other hand, water filtration systems don’t need much maintenance, but they are more expensive to install. If all you need is to make the water less hard, using water softener systems will be more cost efficient. However, if you seem to have additional water quality concerns like bad taste or waterborne pathogens, iron staining, bacterial contamination and chlorination, softening systems will fail to deliver good results.
Both these water treatment options are widely used. The choice you will make will depend largely on your budget and water filtration needs. Make sure that you test the water beforehand to determine its filtration needs. This will help make sure that the treatment option you have chosen is right for your needs. If your looking for some in-depth reviews and comparisons of water softeners, click here to check out some of the top rated systems.