What’s the Difference Between a Water Softener and a Water Filter?
If you’ve done any research on home water treatment systems, you’ve undoubtedly come across the terms water softener and water filter. While both of these systems are designed to improve water quality, they work in different ways and address specific aspects of water composition and appearance.
Water softeners are specifically designed to treat hard water whereas a water filter can remove a variety of components from water beyond just hard-water-causing minerals. Below, we take a look at some of the most popular water softeners and water filtration systems on the market to help you understand the role that each plays in improving water quality.
Hard water is a very common issue that many homeowners deal with. When ground water percolates up through deposits of limestone, chalk, and gypsum, it becomes infused with high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and other metallic minerals. While hard water is safe for consumption (and arguably has some positive health benefits) it can lead to a host of issues such as lime scale buildup on faucets and water-using appliances, cloudy spots on dishes, clothes that feel stiff after being laundered, and a chalky residue left on surfaces that the water has touched.
The main goal of a water softener system is to remove these hard-water causing minerals, and this is usually done through a process known as ion replacement. This entails running the water through a resin chamber that is filled with positively charged sodium ions. In an exchange that seems magical but is purely scientific, the calcium and magnesium ions are stripped from the water and replaced with the sodium ions. What results is softened tap water that won’t interfere with soap lathering or leave a chalky residue behind. Some homeowners even report that, with a water softener system installed, they can clean their dishes, clothes, and selves effectively using far less detergent and soap.
Water Filtration Systems
Rather than changing the chemical makeup of the water through ion exchange like a water softener does, a water filtration system uses one or more high-tech filters to remove particles that affect the water’s taste, smell, or appearance. Most water filtration systems on the market today, like those offered by RainSoft, use a combination of activated carbon block filters and other semipermeable membranes to filter water. Activated carbon is highly absorbent and can pull out a variety of organic contaminants that negatively affect the water’s smell, taste, and appearance.
Some water filtration systems, such as the RCUV™ Ultraviolet Water Disinfecting System, are also specifically designed to remove microorganisms that are commonly found in water—especially water that comes from a well rather than a chemically treated municipal water supply. However, rather than using chemicals to disinfect the water, the RCUV system kills the bacteria by exposing it to high levels of ultraviolet light.
Turn to Miami Water & Air for Your Water Treatment Needs
As South Florida’s premier dealer of RainSoft home water treatment products, Miami Water & Air is your trusted source for water softeners, water filtration systems, and more. We offer complimentary consultations and free water analyses to pinpoint the issues you’re having with the water at your home, and based on our findings, we will recommend the best water treatment system to suit your needs.
Contact us today to learn more about the products and services we offer to homeowners throughout the Miami, FL, area.