We all need clean water for day-to-day tasks like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many Charleston homeowners wonder which is right for them—a water filter or a water softener? Discover the important differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the benefits 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 comes into your home. It’s installed directly on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other impurities from the municipal water supply before it moves into your plumbing fixtures and appliances.
Benefits of Water Filters
If your water comes from a municipal provider, you may question why you could use an inline water filter. After all, the water is already cleaned at a water treatment plant. However, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with harmful particles between the treatment plant and your faucets. Here’s how installing a water filter can benefit you:
- Healthier water: Water filters get rid of unsafe microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
- Reduced sediment: Water filters minimize sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, shielding them from harm.
- No plastic waste: Inline water filters diminish the need for bottled water, adding to a greener environment.
- Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra cash on bottled water and reducesthe stress on your plumbing system.
How to Tell if You Need a Whole-House Water Filter
About one-third of American households use home treatment systems for top-quality drinking water. Here are some signs that you might need to get a whole-house water filter:
- Discoloration, strange taste or nasty smell: If your tap water is anything but absolutely clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Think about installing a filter for your health and well-being.
- Frequent plumbing problems: A whole-house water filter helps decrease clogged pipes, low water pressure and other troubles.
- Skin irritation: If you experience redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be helpful.
- Past history: Does your local water supply have a background of contamination? Installing a whole-house water filter provides peace of mind against future 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 works 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, this is what you’ll discover once you set up a water softener:
- Longer plumbing life span: Soft water reduces scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, extending their life span and enhancing their appearance.
- Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t create a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, which helps keep your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
- Better soap lathering: Soft water is a good way to make sure cleaning products lather more effectively, generating 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 run efficiently for lower power expenses.
How to Know if You Need a Water Softener
Most water supplies in North America are categorized as moderately hard, hard or very hard. A good way to find out about the quality of water in your home is by reading your city’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.
- Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators commonly become significantly obstructed 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 properly, contributing to irritated skin and brittle hair.
- Frequent appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops working often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.
Do You Need Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?
Inline water filters and water softeners both provide valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter removes contaminants and improves overall water quality, while a water softener specifically targets hard minerals. Sometimes, using a water filter and a water softener is appropriate. Consider your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.
Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in Charleston
Pardee Service Experts is a trusted provider of water treatment remedies in Charleston, such as 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 Charleston home.