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 the U.S. homeowners wonder which is better—a water filter or a water softener? Discover the important differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the perks they provide and how to figure out 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 treats water as it enters your residence. It’s installed right on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other impurities 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 wonder why you should get an inline water filter. After all, the water has already been cleansed at a water treatment plant. Unfortunately, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with harmful particles between the treatment plant and your home. Here’s how installing a water filter can improve the water in your home:

  • Healthier water: Water filters get rid of unsafe microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment collection in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, defending them from wear and tear.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters reduce the need for bottled water, helping create a greener environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra money on bottled water and decreases the stress 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 signs that you might need to get 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 putting in a filter for your safety.
  • Repeated plumbing issues: A whole-house water filter helps decrease plugged pipes, low water pressure and other problems.
  • Skin discomfort: If you notice anyone in your household is suffering from redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be helpful.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a history of contamination? Installing a whole-house water filter provides peace of mind against future problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener removes calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange acts similar to 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 notice once you install a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water minimizes scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, lengthening their life span and bettering their appearance.
  • Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t create a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, which keeps the water in your pipes and faucets flowing easily.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, generating 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 efficiently for lower energy bills.

How to Tell if You Need a Water Softener

Most water reserves in North America are deemed moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your city’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some clues that you could use a water softener:

  • Scale buildup: A white, chalky film on your fixtures and appliances is an indication of hard water, as are the white spots on your dishes, glass shower door and coffee maker. A water softener can help.
  • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators frequently become severely obstructed by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is a result of hard water.
  • Dry skin and hair: Hard water hinders soap from rinsing correctly, contributing to irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Continual appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater malfunctions often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.

Should You Use Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?

Inline water filters and water softeners each provide valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter takes away contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically targets hard minerals. In some circumstances, using a water filter and a water softener is appropriate. Evaluate your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.

Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in the U.S.

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is a trustworthy provider of water treatment solutions in the U.S., such as water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you determine if one or both solutions are necessary to help you enjoy the best water quality in your the U.S. home.

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