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

We all need clean water for daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many the U.S. homeowners wonder which is best—a water filter or a water softener? Examine the important differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the perks they provide and how to decide 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 house. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other impurities 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 supplier, you may ask yourself why you might need an inline water filter. After all, the water has already been treated 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 residence. Here’s how setting up a water filter can improve the water in your home:

  • Healthier water: Water filters remove harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other potentially harmful particles for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, shielding them from damage.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters reduce the need for bottled water, helping create a greener environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra your hard-earned cash on bottled water and reduces the strain on your plumbing system.

How to Tell if You Need a Whole-House Water Filter

About one-third of American households depend on home treatment systems for quality drinking water. Here are some telltale indicators that you should use a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, odd taste or unpleasant smell: If your tap water is anything but crystal clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Consider installing a filter for your health and well-being.
  • Frequent plumbing concerns: A whole-house water filter helps reduce plugged pipes, low water pressure and other issues.
  • Skin discomfort: If you notice anyone in your household is suffering from 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 long-term problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener eliminates calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange works sort of 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 find once you put in a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water minimizes scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, prolonging their life span and improving 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 easily.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, resulting in 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 effectively for lower electricity charges.

How to Know if You Need a Water Softener

Most water supplies in North America are characterized as 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 indicators that you could use a water softener:

  • Scale buildup: A white, chalky substance on your fixtures and appliances is a sign 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 obstructed by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is a sign of hard water.
  • Dry skin and hair: Hard water hinders soap from rinsing thoroughly, contributing to irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Repeated appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops working frequently due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile acquisition.

Do You Need Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?

Inline water filters and water softeners both offer valuable benefits, but they perform different functions. An inline water filter eliminates contaminants and elevates overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. In some circumstances, 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 the U.S.

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is a trustworthy provider of water treatment remedies in the U.S., such as water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you determine if one or both solutions are necessary to help you enjoy the best water quality in your the U.S. home.

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