Having access to safe drinking water is important for everyone, no matter where you live. Great tasting water makes life more enjoyable, and may even help improve your health if it promotes optimal hydration. Lastly, water that actually cleans and doesn’t cause soap and scale buildup is helpful for easy home maintenance.

The big question is … how do you get this safe, great-tasting water that’s healthy to drink and makes your life easier in more ways than one? Do you use a water softener, a water filter, or some combination of the two?

Difference between water softeners and water filters

Water softeners and water filters have similar functions in that they both take things out of water. In fact, softeners are actually a specialized type of filter. So, you could say that water softeners are water filters, but not all water filters are softeners. The difference lies in how they work and what they remove.

Water softeners, just as the name implies, “soften” hard water. This is most commonly accomplished by trading excess calcium and magnesium ions in the water with sodium ions through a process known as ion exchange. It’s important to note that calcium and magnesium are the only things removed via a water softener – other contaminants can still remain. Softeners are usually installed where the water first enters a home so that all of the water is treated at its source.

Water filters, on the other hand, remove other contaminants such as lead, chemicals, and chlorine. Some of these contaminants affect the safety of drinking water, while others affect the taste or smell. Water filters are available for an entire house, or can be more specialized like the reverse osmosis system under the kitchen sink that only treats drinking water.

You can use the following guidelines to see which water treatment option is best for you.

You might need a water softener if you have …

  • Lime scale buildup on tubs, showers, and fixtures
  • Water spots on glass dishes and silverware
  • Dry, itchy skin and brittle hair
  • Water using appliances that deteriorate more quickly than they should

A water filter could be a good solution if you have …

  • Metals in your water – lead, mercury, copper, iron, nickel
  • Concern about water contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and pesticides
  • Poor tasting or foul smelling water

How to choose the best water treatment option

The choice between a water softener and a water filter ultimately boils down to what’s in your water and what you’re trying to fix. Sometimes, the problems are less obvious than the ones mentioned above. That’s why it’s important to get a water test to know exactly what is or isn’t in your water. Once that is known, your friendly CalSoft representative can help you decide what makes the most sense for your household needs and budget. It could be a water softener, water filter, or both.

Just remember, great water is just a phone call away!

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