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

Everyone needs clean water for daily routines like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many the U.S. homeowners ask themselves which is better—a water filter or a water softener? Discover the primary differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the perks they provide and how to determine 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 filters water as it goes into your residence. It’s installed right on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants from the municipal water supply before it gets to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal provider, you may wonder why you could use an inline water filter. After all, the water is cleansed at a water treatment plant. The problem is, 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 using a water filter can assist you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters take away unsafe microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other potentially harmful particles for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters decrease sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, defending them from harm.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters diminish 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 minimizes the strain 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 safe and healthy drinking water. Here are some signals that you might need to get a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, odd taste or nasty smell: If your tap water is anything but crystal clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Give consideration to adding a filter for your health and well-being.
  • Repeated plumbing problems: A whole-house water filter helps alleviate clogged pipes, low water pressure and other troubles.
  • Skin irritability: If you have redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be useful.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a background of pollution? Using a whole-house water filter offers peace of mind against long-term problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener eliminates calcium and magnesium from the water entering your home. A process called ion exchange acts somewhat like a chemical magnet, replacing these “hard” minerals with sodium ions to “soften” the water.

Benefits of Water Softeners

If you have hard water, here’s what you’ll notice once you set up a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water decreases 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, keeping your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, producing cleaner dishes, brighter laundry, and softer skin and hair, even when using less soap and detergent.
  • Energy savings: A water softener helps your plumbing appliances run effectively for lower electricity bills.

How to Know if You Need a Water Softener

Most water resources in North America are considered moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your local municipality’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some indicators that you could see a real difference in the quality of water in your home by installing 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 you get rid of this unsightly issue.
  • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators often become badly clogged by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is another indication of hard water.
  • Dry skin and hair: Hard water stops soap from rinsing correctly, contributing to irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Frequent appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater malfunctions regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile acquisition.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners both offer valuable benefits, but they perform different operations. An inline water filter takes away contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. In some cases, having 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 trusted provider of water treatment solutions in the U.S., including water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you decide 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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