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Water Softeners vs. Water Filtration: What You Need to Know

When it comes to our water, we want to know we are using, and drinking, the best water possible. But there’s a lot out of our control in terms of the quality of our tap water, which is why many North Carolina homeowners choose to install an additional system to purify their H2O. The two systems available to take on this issue are water softeners and water filtration systems. Both water softening and water filtration are processes used to improve the quality of water, but in different ways and with varying pros and cons. In this blog, we’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can decide what is best for your home’s water system.  

Related Post: 10 Common Signs of a Water Problem

What is Water Softening?

Water softening is the process of removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium from water that make it "hard." Hard water can cause something known as scaling, which creates mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures, appliances, on clothing and dishes. Hard water also reduces the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, so you have to work harder to keep things clean. Water softeners typically use ion exchange technology to remove the calcium and magnesium ions and replace them with sodium or potassium ions which are softer minerals.

Water softeners are a popular solution for addressing hard water problems, but as with any solution, there are both pros and cons to consider. Here are some of the main advantages of using a water softener in your home:

  • Reduced scaling: One of the main benefits of a water softener is that it reduces scaling caused by hard water. This can help extend the lifespan of plumbing fixtures and appliances.
  • Improved cleaning: Soft water can improve the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, leading to cleaner dishes, clothes, and surfaces.
  • Reduced energy consumption: Soft water uses less energy to get hot, as the heat doesn't need to overcome the insulating effect of mineral buildup.
  • Lower maintenance costs: With less scaling and buildup in plumbing systems, there may be lower maintenance costs over time.

Like anything, there are cons to water softeners such as:

  • Cost: Water softeners can be expensive to purchase and install.
  • Maintenance: Water softeners require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to operate effectively.
  • Sodium content: Water softeners use salt to replace the minerals in hard water, which can increase sodium levels in the water, making this a concern for those with certain health issues. 
  • Environmental impact:When the brine from water softeners is discharged into the  environment, it can be harmful to plants and wildlife, and contributes to water pollution.
  • Taste: Some people find that water softeners leave a slightly salty taste to their tap water.

What is Water Filtration?

Water filtration is the process of removing impurities and contaminants from water through a filter. This process can remove things such as, sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, and other substances that may be harmful to health or cause unpleasant tastes or odors. Whole house water filters are a great way to rid your water of contaminants so you can experience long term benefits. 

There are several types of water filters to choose from, like activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis filters, and UV filters, that all have their own specific advantages and disadvantages.Water filtration is often considered the best method for improving the quality of tap water for the following reasons:

  • Removes a wider range of contaminants: Water filtration can remove a wider range of contaminants, including sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and other impurities that may be harmful to health or cause unpleasant tastes or odors. Depending on the type of filter, it can also remove pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other chemical contaminants.
  • Versatility: Water filtration offers a versatile range of filter types and technologies, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This means you can choose a filter that best suits your specific needs and the contaminants you want to remove.
  • Cost-effective: Water filtration is often more cost-effective than other methods of improving water quality, such as bottled water or water softeners. While some filtration systems can be expensive to install, they can be more affordable over the long term than ongoing purchases of bottled water.
  • Environmental benefits: Using a water filtration system can reduce the need for single-use plastic water bottles, which can have a significant environmental impact. It also avoids the environmental impact of salt discharge from water softeners.
  • Taste and odor: Water filtration can significantly improve the taste and odor of water by removing unpleasant flavors and smells, such as those caused by chlorine or organic compounds.

In summary, water softening specifically addresses the issue of hard water by removing minerals that cause scaling and other issues, while water filtration removes impurities and contaminants from water altogether. The choice of which method is best for you will depend on your budget and specific water quality concerns. At Dr. John’s H2O, we can walk you through the process and answer any questions or concerns you may have to help you make the best decision for your home, health and family. Reach out today and let us help you get the best water possible.