Do I Really Need a Water Softener or Is an Inline Filter Sufficient?
You need clean water for daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many Birmingham homeowners wonder which is better—a water filter or a water softener? Explore the primary differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the advantages 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 cleans water as it comes into your residence. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants 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 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 pick up harmful particles between the treatment plant and your home. Here’s how using a water filter can improve the water in your home:
- Healthier water: Water filters remove harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
- Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, shielding them from harm.
- No plastic waste: Inline water filters cut back on the need for bottled water, contributing to a greener environment.
- Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra your hard-earned cash on bottled water and reducesthe strain 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 safe and healthy drinking water. Here are some signs that you need 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. Give consideration to putting in a filter for your health and well-being.
- Constant plumbing problems: A whole-house water filter helps reduce plugged pipes, low water pressure and other issues.
- Skin discomfort: If you notice anyone in your household suffering from redness, rashes or other skin issues linked to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be useful.
- Past history: Does your local water supply have a background of contamination? Installing a whole-house water filter offers peace of mind against long-term problems.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener removes calcium and magnesium from the water entering your home. A process called ion exchange acts 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, here is what you’ll discover once you install a water softener:
- Longer plumbing life span: Soft water reduces scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, lengthening their life span and enhancing their appearance.
- Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t leave a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, which keeps the water in your pipes and faucets flowing easily.
- Better soap lathering: Soft water ensures cleaning products lather more effectively, which results in cleaner dishes, brighter laundry, and softer skin and hair, even with less soap and detergent.
- Energy savings: A water softener helps your plumbing appliances work effectively for lower electricity charges.
How to Know if You Need a Water Softener
Most water reserves in North America are considered 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 clues 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 significantly obstructed 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 hinders soap from rinsing thoroughly, resulting in irritated skin and brittle hair.
- Frequent appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater fails regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile purchase.
Should You Buy Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?
Inline water filters and water softeners are two tools that supply valuable benefits, but they perform different operations. An inline water filter removes contaminants and elevates overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. Sometimes, having a water filter and a water softener is required in order to make sure you have high-quality water. Evaluate your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.
Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in Birmingham
Norrell Service Experts is a trusted provider of water treatment solutions in Birmingham, such as water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our experienced professionals can help you determine if one or both solutions are necessary to help you enjoy the best water quality in your Birmingham home.