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

We all need clean water for daily activities like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many the U.S. homeowners consider the question of which is better—a water filter or a water softener? Examine the important differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the advantages they provide and how to figure out 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 filters water as it comes into your house. It’s installed right on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other pollutants from the municipal water supply before entering your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal company, you may wonder why you could use an inline water filter. After all, the water is cleaned at a water treatment plant. The problem is, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may pick up impurities between the treatment plant and your home. Here’s how installing a water filter can benefit you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters get rid of harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment buildup in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, safeguarding them from damage.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters cut back on the need for bottled water, helping create a greener environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra money on bottled water and reduces the stress 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 top-quality drinking water. Here are some telltale indicators that you need a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, odd taste or nasty smell: If your tap water is anything but absolutely clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Consider putting in a filter for your protection.
  • Constant plumbing issues: A whole-house water filter helps reduce blocked pipes, low water pressure and other issues.
  • Skin discomfort: If you experience redness, rashes or other skin issues connected to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be useful.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a track record of contamination? Getting a whole-house water filter provides peace of mind against future problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from the water entering your home. A process called ion exchange acts somewhat 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 notice once you set up a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water reduces scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, prolonging their life span and improving their appearance.
  • Clog-free plumbing: Soft water doesn’t leave a hard mineral coating to adhere to your plumbing system, keeping your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water is a good way to make sure 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 run effectively for lower electricity bills.

How to Determine if You Need a Water Softener

Most water reserves in North America are considered moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your city’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some indicators that you could benefit from 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 eliminate this problem.
  • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators frequently become severely obstructed 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 stops soap from rinsing correctly, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Continual appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater malfunctions regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile purchase.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners each supply valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter takes away contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. In some instances, 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 remedies 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 get the best water quality in your the U.S. home.

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