In order to make your tap water safe for drinking and using at home, it needs to be passed from different appliances such as water filters, softeners, and conditioners. All these appliances are used for different purposes and have different working mechanisms. The most common in every household are water softeners and water filters.
In this article, we will look at the basic difference between water filters and water softeners. You may need both of the appliances at one single time at your home. Let’s explore them in more detail.
Water Filters vs. Water Softener
The most important question that comes to your mind is what you need, a water softener, or a water filter. Both of them work differently and are required in different circumstances.
You need a water filter when you have contaminated water in your home. It is used to filter water for drinking, cooking, and washing eatable purposes. You can assess the quality of tap water by getting it tested.
You need a water softener when you are getting hard water at your home. Hard water contains an excess of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are harmful to your appliances and plumbing fixtures. Hard water leaves signs on your machines, faucets, and plumbing. If you notice a white-colored scale build-up on your appliances, you are suffering from a hard water problem.
The Working Mechanism
It is the working mechanism that sets them apart.
Water filters come in different shapes, sizes, and working capabilities. The number of filters starts from 1 and go up to 7, a lot of water filters also come with a RO membrane, a UV filter, and a re-mineralization stage. You need to select the relevant model according to the quality of your tap water. As the water passes from each step or filters, the respective contaminants are removed by it. Once the water comes out of the filtration plant through your faucet, it is fit for drinking purposes. Water filters can be connected to a single faucet or main water supply depending upon your needs and water quality.
Water softeners use a softening salt to remove hardness and scale causing minerals from your water. They are connected to the main supply line of your house and soften the water by removing calcium and magnesium from your water. After water enters your home from the main supply, it goes into a water softener and is then supplied to the entire house. The actual process that happens inside the softener is an ion exchange process. With the help of resin beads, calcium and magnesium are removed from the water. The resin beads contain positively charged sodium ions, calcium, and magnesium ions have a negative charge on them. Due to the difference in electric charges, the exchange process becomes easy. The calcium and magnesium ions are left behind and the water with sodium ions move forward.
Filter and Salt Replacement/Refilling
Filters and softening salts are like fuel to each of them.
Water filters employee a specific number of water filters and provide you with pure drinking water. Each filter has a set life of filtration capacity. Most of the filters available in the market work for around 6-8 months or 200-300 gallons of water. Some high-quality filters can filter more water and can last for approximately 8-10 months. They need to be replaced once their life is over.
They use softening salts to remove calcium and magnesium from your water. The salt consumption depends upon the number of gallons you filter. You will have to ensure that a constant level of salt is available for effective functioning. Oil-based and magnetic softener systems also need respective replacement of working material but not as often as compared to salt-based softeners.
It is imperative to look at the result of what water softener and water filters of different types do and remove from your water.
Commonly three types of water filters are used for the filtration process, carbon filter, UV light filters, and reverse osmosis membrane. A carbon filter removes chemicals, sediments, minerals, and bacterial organisms, and the UV filter is effective for eliminating bacteria and other microorganisms that are left behind by a carbon filter. In contrast, a reverse osmosis membrane is effective in filtering everything from water other than water.It is so small that it allows nothing but water to pass through it. A reverse osmosis membrane is often used with a re-mineralization stage. Water produced from the 3 types of filter is safe for drinking and has a better taste without any odors. All the filters are unable to remove the hardness of water; yes, they may remove calcium and magnesium from your water but only in trace amounts. They cannot remove them as effectively as a water softener.
A water softener only removes calcium and magnesium from your water source, and it is not fit for drinking, considering a large number of sodium ions present in it. If you are sensitive to sodium in your diet, you must never consume water for a water softener in any form. It must be used for appliances; you can bath with softened water. Softened water will also contain other contaminants in it which will be filtered by a water filter.
Pros and Cons
Conclusion: Water Softener vs. Water Filter