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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is filtered water hard or soft?
You could say that filtered water is softened, but not the same as with a water softener. Depending on the water filter’s type and capacity, it might be able to remove hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, case in which the water becomes soft. And, unlike a softener, it doesn’t add sodium to your water supply, so it’s safe to drink, give it to pets and children, and even water your plants with it.
Does a water softener remove sediment?
A water softener on its own does not remove impurities. It only removes hard minerals by replacing their ions with sodium ones. However, many water softeners come with a pre-filter system or you can install a pre-filtering system on your own. Most pre-filtering systems can remove physical impurities such as sediment, rust, or other undissolved particles. A few of them can even remove chemicals that affect taste or odor, such as chlorine and chloramines or hydrogen sulfide.
Why is soft water slippery?
Soft water replaces those magnesium and calcium ions with sodium ions. The result is soft water, loaded with salt. The salt is what makes the water feel slimy. After you buy a water softener, you might feel slimy and slippery after you take a shower, like you haven’t gotten all the soap off of you.
Now you know all of the differences between water softeners and water filters. If you have further inquiries, feel free to visit the rest of our website and check out all of our other articles regarding types of water filters, water softeners, buying guides, reviews, and so forth. Feel free to also share this article if you’ve found the information useful. We hope you’ve found this article easy to understand and that you are now able to make an informed decision.