There are a lot of terms out there when it comes to water treatment, and it can be hard to make sense of them all. Two of the most common ones are water softeners and water filters. But what are these, and what do they really do? We’ll do our best to answer your burning questions.
A water softener system uses technology called ion exchange to remove hardness minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Inside the tank, there is a layer of resin which is made up of tiny plastic beads. These beads hold sodium or potassium ions, which are exchanged for the calcium and magnesium ions. You need sodium or potassium to soften water.
When there are high levels of hardness minerals in your water, it can cause a variety of problems throughout your home. Hard water can also affect your hair and skin. When combined with soap, it forms a curd which is difficult to rinse off. If you have hard water, a water softener will save you time and money and improve your quality of life.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
A reverse osmosis system is usually made up of several filters. Typically, it has 1 or 2 prefilters, which remove sediment, dirt and chlorine, and a postfilter, which removes unpleasant tastes and odors. The reverse osmosis membrane is after the prefilter and before the postfilter. Using pressure, water is forced through the semipermeable membrane, leaving almost all contaminants behind so only pure water is left.
While whole-house reverse osmosis systems are available, they are not necessarily the best option. They waste more water than other whole-house filtration systems, so they are typically installed at a point-of-use, like the kitchen sink.
Whole-House Water Filters
The most common type of whole-house water filtration system has a filter media bed of activated carbon. This reduces a range of contaminants, including chlorine. By reducing chlorine, you protect your hair, skin and appliances from the damage it causes.
There are advanced filters that have additional properties such as bacteriostasis, or inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Some filters can also remove chloramines, which are a combination of chlorine and ammonia that some water districts use. Regular activated carbon doesn’t do a great job of removing them, so you need special filter media to do so.
Additionally, there are whole-house filters that target other specific contaminants, like iron. These are usually used for private well applications. If you have your own well, you should have it tested by a state-certified laboratory. This way, you’ll know exactly what contaminants you need to worry about, and a water specialist can help you find the right treatment options.
Water Softening and Filtration Systems
If you want to have both a softener and a filter, there is the option of getting a combined system. These have layers of different filter media and perform the functions of both a softener and a filter all in one unit. All Puronics water softeners are also water filters. They use enhanced filter media for advanced filtration. You can find out more by exploring our website.
The best way to find out what type of system is right for your family is to consult a water specialist. You can sign up for a free water test with one of our Authorized Dealers. They’ll help guide you toward making the best choice based on the results of the test.