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

We all need clean water for everyday routines like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many the U.S. 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 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 treats water as it goes into your home. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants from the municipal water supply before entering your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal provider, you may ask yourself why you could use an inline water filter. After all, the water has already been cleansed at a water treatment plant. Unfortunately, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with impurities between the treatment plant and your residence. Here’s how using a water filter can assist you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters remove harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other potentially harmful particles for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters decrease sediment collection in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, safeguarding them from wear and tear.
  • 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 your hard-earned cash on bottled water and reduces the pressure on your plumbing system.

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

About one-third of American households rely on home treatment systems for top-quality drinking water. Here are some signs that you might need to get a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, unusual 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 safety.
  • Repeated plumbing concerns: A whole-house water filter helps decrease plugged pipes, low water pressure and other issues.
  • Skin discomfort: If you have redness, rashes or other skin issues attributed to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be useful.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a record of contamination? Using a whole-house water filter can give you peace of mind against potential problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from your water supply. A process called ion exchange works 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’s 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, prolonging their life span and bettering their appearance.
  • Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t leave a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, which helps keep your pipes and faucets flowing effortlessly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, resulting 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 efficiently for lower electricity expenses.

How to Determine if You Need a Water Softener

Most water resources in North America are characterized 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 local municipality’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 residue on your fixtures and appliances is evidence 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 frequently become badly clogged 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 thoroughly, contributing to irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Frequent appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops functioning regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.

Should You Use Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?

Inline water filters and water softeners each provide valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter eliminates contaminants and elevates overall water quality, while a water softener specifically addresses the problem of hard minerals. In some circumstances, 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 the U.S.

Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is a respected provider of water treatment solutions in the U.S., 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 achieve the best water quality in your the U.S. home.