Water Softeners And Water Filters: Is There Really Any Difference?
Many people are usually confused when considering water softeners and water filters. Because most times the term, “water treatment” is used when talking about the different methods used in treating water, they are always asking, are water softeners different from water filters?
To better understand this you will need to know the difference between hard and contaminated water and how water softeners and water filters work in handling each of these water types.
What Is Hard Water?
This is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals consisting mainly of calcium and magnesium in the form of carbonates. Though these minerals are not harmful to humans there are however a number of problems associated with hard water. Some of these include, causing soap to curd and crystallizing in clothes causing premature failure and also precipitating in pipes which may necessitate replacing the plumbing more than necessary.
What Is Contaminated Water?
While hard water has to do with high concentration of dissolved minerals contaminated water on the other hand is water that has been influenced by foreign bodies. These are impurities which could make the water toxic.
For people who are on a municipal water supply the most dominant contaminant is chlorine or chloramines. Though these chlorine or chloramines are added to the water as disinfectants they are however, not very human-friendly. But apart from these, other contaminants can be things like pesticides, gasoline additives, and others that may get into ground water gotten from own water wells.
But, What Do Water Softeners And Water Filters Really Do?
A typical water softener uses a process called “ion exchange” to remove the dissolved minerals (which causes hardness in water) from your water. A water softener has a mineral tank filled with small resin beads. Initially, these resin beads contain negatively charged sites occupied by sodium or potassium ions. As water flows through the water softening system, the resin beads exchange the sodium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions that made the water to be hard in the first place. This results in softer water having a more natural taste, producing fewer clogs on plumbing materials and producing a brighter laundry. However, Water softeners do not remove suspended particles from your water.
Water filters on the other hand do not trap dissolved minerals from your water. Their main work is to remove contaminants. They use a variety of techniques to trap various contaminants like bad tastes and odors from your water. When contaminated water is allowed to flow through a water filtration system, unwanted particles stick to the filter and only pure water molecules are allowed to flow through.
Water Softener or Water Filtration System, Which Should Your Choose?
From the above it is clear that these systems help you with different things. However, in determining which you should choose, you need to first of all know the problem with your water supply. And to do this, you need a water test to determine if there are contaminants or there are mainly dissolved minerals causing hardness.
However, you really do not need a water softener except you are concerned about your appliances and plumbing corrosion; or your laundry, because of hard water. But a water filter is always a good idea. Apart from the fact that it helps in improving the taste of the water it can also greatly improve the effects. And so, whether you are on city water or a private well or another type of water source, a water filter is recommended.
Hope this article was helpful. Feel free to make your comments below.