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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 wonder which is right for them—a water filter or a water softener? Explore the key differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the perks 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 cleans water as it enters your house. It’s installed right on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other impurities from the municipal water supply before flowing to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal company, you may question why you might need an inline water filter. After all, the water is treated at a water treatment plant. The problem is, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with impurities between the treatment plant and your home. Here’s how using a water filter can benefit you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters remove harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters reduce sediment collection in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, defending them from harm.
  • No plastic waste: Inline water filters cut back on the need for bottled water, adding to a greener environment.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra cash on bottled water and decreases 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 safe and healthy drinking water. Here are some signs that you might need to get a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, strange taste or undesirable smell: If your tap water is anything but crystal clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Think about installing a filter for your health and well-being.
  • Repeated plumbing issues: A whole-house water filter helps alleviate blocked pipes, low water pressure and other troubles.
  • Skin irritability: If you experience redness, rashes or other skin issues linked to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be beneficial.
  • Past history: Does your local water supply have a record of pollution? Using a whole-house water filter offers peace of mind against long-term problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener eliminates calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange operates 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 is what you’ll find once you install a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water decreases 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, keeping your pipes and faucets flowing effortlessly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water ensures cleaning products lather more effectively, producing 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 energy charges.

How to Determine if You Need a Water Softener

Most water supplies in North America are characterized as moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your local municipality’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some signs that you could use 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 eliminate this problem.
  • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators often become severely 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 stops soap from rinsing properly, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Repeated appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops working often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners both supply valuable benefits, but they perform different operations. An inline water filter eliminates contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically targets hard minerals. In some cases, utilizing 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., carrying high-quality water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team 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.

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