Do I Really Need a Water Softener or Is an Inline Filter Sufficient?

We all need clean water for everyday routines like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many the U.S. homeowners consider the question of which is best—a water filter or a water softener? Discover the key 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 goes into your home. It’s installed right on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other pollutants from the municipal water supply before flowing to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal supplier, you may ask yourself why you should get an inline water filter. After all, the water is already cleaned at a water treatment plant. Unfortunately, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with pollutants between the treatment plant and your residence. Here’s how using a water filter can benefit you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters get rid of unhealthy 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, safeguarding them from harm.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters reduce the need for bottled water, adding to a greener environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra money on bottled water and decreases the pressure on your plumbing system.

How to Tell if You Need a Whole-House Water Filter

About one-third of American households rely on home treatment systems for quality drinking water. Here are some telltale indicators 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 adding a filter for your protection.
  • Constant plumbing problems: A whole-house water filter helps decrease clogged pipes, low water pressure and other problems.
  • Skin discomfort: If you have redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be beneficial.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a background of possible contamination? Installing a whole-house water filter provides peace of mind against potential problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from the water entering your home. A process called ion exchange operates 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 find once you put in a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water minimizes scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, extending their life span and bettering their appearance.
  • Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t leave a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, which helps keep your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, resulting in 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 work efficiently for lower electricity charges.

How to Know if You Need a Water Softener

Most water reserves in North America are categorized as moderately hard, hard or very hard. You can learn about the quality of your local water by reading your local government’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some signs that you could benefit from a water softener:

  • Scale buildup: A white, chalky residue 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 you get rid of this unsightly issue.
  • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators frequently become severely blocked 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, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Continual appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater malfunctions regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile purchase.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners each offer valuable benefits, but they perform different operations. An inline water filter takes away contaminants and improves overall water quality, while a water softener specifically targets hard minerals. In some instances, using a water filter and a water softener is necessary. 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., including water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our skilled specialists can help you evaluate if one or both solutions are necessary to help you achieve the best water quality in your the U.S. home.

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