What Are The Differences Between A Water Filtration System And A Water Softener

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What Are The Differences Between A Water Filtration System And A Water Softener


You’re wondering whether you should invest in a water filtration system or a water softener. 

It seems like going for a water filtration system is a broader solution. But what about a water softener for the home? Does a water filtration system cover what a water softener does? What is a water softener for and how exactly does it benefit differently from a water filtration? Or does it?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you choose which system is best for your home saving you money buying what you don’t really need. Let’s first get into the basic mechanics of each system.

Water Filters - A Basic General Filtration System

When we talk about water filters, it’s basically any system whether localized like a filter on your faucet or generalized home water, filtering and removing any particle sediments, pollutants, bacteria or chlorine taste that enter into your house.

Water filtration systems include activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis, alkaline or water ionizers, ultraviolet filters and infrared filters. Typical whole house filters might include sediments filtration, iron and sulfur capturing filters, fluoride absorption filters and carbon type filters



Biological filters often use ultraviolet lamps to kill off any microbial like bacteria and viruses, destroying their DNA. It basically refers to any water filter of any kind.



Water Softeners Remove Scaling

Have you seen those white sediments looking like soap scum that stick to any surface close to any water source? Those sediments are scales that are caused by the minerals in the water specifically from calcium, magnesium and iron. These are the very particles that make water hard.

The water softener specifically fights against water hardness through its system of filtration that captures and keeps these specific particles in the water such as the Fleck 5600 SXT. The water softener filtration system typically does whole house water filtration covering the needs of the entire home.

Hard water coming through your home leads to a number of negative effects. It leaves a film of flaky soap scum on your glassware, kitchen and bathroom fixtures. It reduces the efficiency of your water appliances like water heaters. It speeds up corrosion and rust in your water plumbing system. It reduces the lather and effectiveness of your soap and shampoo during your baths and showers. It makes your laundry feel more stiff and stains white in time.

If you were to bring your water sample to your local dealer for an analysis, you’d want to know about the hardness range of your water. Water hardness is measured in milligrams per liter. You’ve got soft water if you have its hardness range less than twenty milligrams per liter. You’ve got hard water if you find the number ranging a hundred twenty-one to over a hundred and eighty milligrams per liter.

You can see visually if you’ve got a hard water problem. You’ll see soap scums on the faucet and spout of your bathtub and sink, white scale build up on your dishwasher, water heaters and humidifiers. The system is almost free of any maintenance other than adding bags of salt into the tank once every month or so. A household of two adults will use about a bag of salt or two a month with each bag of salt costing about $5. That’s about $120 a year. Not bad for an effective water softener system.

The result of softer water in your home after passing through a water softener system is being able to sustain the efficiency of your water equipment by keeping them away from any scale build-up. You’ll save on energy use and cost as your appliances are more efficient. You’ll have full lather with less water when you’re taking a bath or showering. Your clothes and the vibrancy of their colors will last longer.

A typical water softener system with its tanks, electronics and tubing lasts between fifteen to twenty years depending on how much water goes through its system according to the number of occupants in your home. So, in effect, water softeners are part of the bigger umbrella of water filtration.


The Process of Water Softeners

The water softener filtration system works on the water that comes into the house into two tanks, one containing ionic resin beads and the other containing fine gravely salt. Both are important in the process of a softener filtration system.

Once the water gets into contact with the ion-exchanging resins, calcium, magnesium and other particles in the water are captured and held. The sodium solution that coats these resins then takes their place in the water as sodium ions.

The salt in the other tank mixes with some water making a brine which intermittently flows into the resin tank to flush the contaminants captured in the resin out. This happens every couple of days with the hard ions getting rinsed out into the wastewater drain automatically. Some trace amount of salt naturally enters into the water you drink with this system.


Salt-Free Water Conditioners

There are alternatives available in the market for a salt-free water conditioner. This may be a concern for people who are particular about the amount of salt they take in for health reasons.

However, the latest water testing is done comparing the effectiveness of these salt-free alternatives to water conditioners consistently reveal they’re not effective at all in neutralizing the effects of scaling. Neither are they able to maximize the use of your soap as water softeners do.


A Holistic Alternative To Water Filtration

Knowing water softeners fall under the category of water filtration in general, it is a good idea to combine the effectiveness of different kinds of filtration in order to address the water use needs of your home.

There is no doubt water softeners like the Fleck 5600 SXT are an effective solution to water hardness and scaling. Unlike the process of distillation where the process of filtration completely takes away any minerals in the water, water softeners allow for healthy minerals while taking out larger scaling particles.

A logical alternative to this is combining the strengths of different water filtration into a composite system. A combination often practiced is having both a water softener system and a reverse osmosis water filtration. The water softener system makes your water soft and your reverse osmosis system takes out the trace salt and other remaining elements you don’t want in your water.

You may opt for a UV lamp filtration process to take care of any biological contaminants in the water coming into your home.


First Know What You’ve Got In Your Water

It’s important to start off learning what’s in your water and that will let you know what sort of water filtration system you’ll need. Get a sample of your water and bring it to your water provider to have it looked at. Your water solution comes from the quality of your water from its source.

Remember that all the different water filtration systems are there available for you to incorporate into your water quality solution. Each has its own strengths with their focus on what they filter out of your home.