Does a Water Softener Filter Water?

Does a Water Softener Filter Water?

As a kid, the concept of soft water versus hard water never made sense—how could a liquid be hard? And although the difference is clear as an adult, some questions still remain. For instance, do water softeners filter water? And should you soften your water for drinking?

Many people confuse water softeners with other systems like water filters, so let's explore the difference between these systems and how they work.  

What Do Water Softeners Do?

You've probably noticed the white substance left behind when water dries—that's handiwork of hard water.

Hard water has a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium that often leave mineral deposits or "hard water stains" as water evaporates. These minerals can leave a filmy residue on surfaces, skin, hair, and laundry. Consequently, many households improve water quality by softening the water supply that feeds into their bathrooms and washing machines.

So how do water softening systems work? Many water softeners use salt and ion exchange resin beads to trap calcium and magnesium ions in water and exchange them for sodium ions. Other systems utilize salt-free water conditioners or magnetic descalers that descale hard water and lower the mineral content. These methods effectively reduce water hardness, leaving your shower and sink mineral free.

Types of Water Softeners

There are a few common methods of softening water that can address different household needs. If your soft water needs aren't dire enough to warrant a full system, there are some at-home remedies for hard water that you can try your hand at. However, if your home is developing water scale buildup (i.e. mineral buildup), your water quality issues might need to be addressed with a softening system.

At-Home Remedies

Baking soda: Is your laundry looking a little dingy, and lifeless? The minerals in your washing machine water might be contributing to these negative effects. If that's the case, the simple addition of baking soda to your laundry might do the trick! Add around half a cup of baking soda to your next load and see the difference. 

Vinegar: If you're finding spots on dishes right out of the dishwasher, it might be hard water. Next time, just use a splash of vinegar with your dish detergent to get the sparkle back in your best dining ware. 

Boiling water: Experiencing dry skin or even itchy skin? The minerals in your water might be the culprit. Consider adding some boiled water into your skincare routine. Just boil the water for a few minutes, let it cool a bit, and scoop the water off the top of the pot to wash your face. The minerals will settle at the bottom of your pot, so take care not to scoop up any of the white sediment. 

Installed Softening Systems

Whole-house systems: Whole-house softening systems are installed on the main water line that supplies your entire home, meaning you'll have soft water in every tap, shower, toilet, and water-using appliance. 

While whole-house systems can revitalize your laundry and keep your glassware clean, they might affect how you water tastes. Drinking too much soft water can also remove essential minerals from your body, making whole house systems less beneficial for your health.

Isolated systems: Isolated water softening systems can be installed in some areas of your home depending on your need. You can install a softener under your bathroom sink and in your shower, or even use softening tablets in your washing machine and toilet tank. Isolated systems in your showers and bathrooms can help boost hair health and prevent dry skin.

These isolated systems allow you to soften the water you need to, while keeping your tap water full of the beneficial minerals your body needs so you can have smooth hair and healthy, tasty drinking water.

Water Filter Versus Water Softener: What's the Difference

Remember, whether they're ion exchange softeners, water conditioners, or water scalers, water softening systems cannot filter water from contaminants. They only remove or reduce the mineral content. 

Ion-exchange water softeners, for instance, take calcium and magnesium mineral ions and replace them with sodium ions. This process reduces the hardness of water and the negative effects of minerals on your home's water systems. With an ion-exchange system, you can have cleaner dishes, shinier hair, softer laundry, and easier-to-clean surfaces.

Water filters, on the other hand, remove harmful chemicals and contaminants from tap water, making it healthier for consumption. These systems utilize methods like reverse osmosis, adsorption, and distillation to remove a range of contaminants from drinking water. Bacteria, chlorine, sediment, and heavy metals can all be addressed by water filtration, not water softening. 

Do I Need a Water Softener?

Water softeners are certainly helpful, but not always necessary. Depending on the needs of your family, you can decide if a water softener is worth it for you.

If your hard water is having adverse effects on your skin and hair, you may want to install a water softener under your bathroom sink or in your shower. Likewise, if you'd like to improve the quality of your laundry or cut down on cleaning the hard water spots from surfaces, look into getting a water softening system. 

What Do Water Filtration Systems Do?

Unlike water softening systems, water filtration systems are designed to remove impurities and contaminants from water, ensuring that it is safe, healthy, and tasty. These systems can target a wide range of pollutants, including sediment, chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and viruses, effectively reducing the harmful effects these contaminants may have on our health.

As water passes through various filter types such as activated carbon or reverse osmosis (RO), these systems trap or neutralize harmful substances, leaving behind clean, purified water. Depending on the specific filtration method and system, water filters can improve taste, odor, and overall quality of water, making it suitable for drinking, cooking, bathing, and household use.

Types of Water Filters

There are many different types of water filters to choose from. Let's explore each one to help you choose which type best fits your family's needs.

Pitcher filters: Pitcher filters are easy to use and require no installation or plumbing work. They are budget-friendly, making them accessible for many households. These filters are also portable, allowing you to have filtered water wherever you go in your home.

On the other hand, pitcher filters have limited capacity, so you may need to refill them frequently, especially in larger households. The filtration process can be slow, requiring time for the water to pass through the filter.

Countertop filters: Countertop filters offer a balance between performance and convenience. They have higher filtration capacities compared to pitcher filters and can accommodate the needs of larger households. 

Unfortunately, these filters may take up counter space, which could be a drawback in smaller kitchens. 

Fridge filters: Fridge filters integrate seamlessly with refrigerator water dispensers and ice makers, providing filtered water and ice cubes directly from your fridge. 

Replacement cartridges, however, can be more expensive than other filter types, leading to higher operating costs over time. Additionally, the filtration capacity may vary depending on the specific refrigerator model.

Whole-house filters: Whole-house filters provide comprehensive water filtration for your entire home, ensuring clean water from every faucet. They can remove a wide range of contaminants and help extend the lifespan of plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Because these systems attach directly to your main water line, professional installation is usually required, leading to higher upfront costs. Depending on the system complexity and water quality, maintenance and filter replacements can also be more intensive. 

Under-sink filters: Under-sink filters offer efficient filtration while saving space on the countertop. They can remove various contaminants and provide clean water for drinking and cooking purposes.

Under-sink filters like the Aquavis Pulse also feature quick and easy installation with no professional help or maintenance required. 

Do I Need a Water Filter?

Whether or not you need a water filter depends on your water source and your desired water quality. Municipal water supplies typically undergo treatment to meet safety standards, but they may still contain traces of chemicals and pollutants like chlorine or lead that affect the taste and health of tap water.

A water filter can improve tap water taste, odor, and safety by removing impurities. If you're concerned about the quality or taste of your water, or if you want to reduce your family's exposure to harmful contaminants, a water filter is the solution for you.

Do I Need Both a Water Softener and a Water Filter?

Having both a water softener and a water filter isn't a necessity, but it can be a good option depending on your home's water needs.

A water softener primarily addresses hard water by removing minerals like calcium and magnesium that cause scaling and buildup in pipes and appliances. On the other hand, a water filter targets contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, or pesticides, improving overall water quality and taste.

If your water is hard (i.e. leaving mineral deposits) and also has issues like foul odor, unpleasant taste, or visible particles, you may benefit from both systems. However, if your main concern is either hardness or specific contaminants, you can consider prioritizing one system over the other. 

Soft Water Benefits

Soft water offers numerous advantages that can improve your daily life and household efficiency.

Prevented buildup: One of the most noticeable benefits is the prevention of scale buildup in plumbing fixtures, appliances, and water heaters. This advantage not only extends the lifespan of these devices but also improves their efficiency.

Enhanced skin, hair, and laundry care: Soft water improves the effectiveness of soaps, shampoos, and detergents, allowing them to lather and rinse away more completely. This increased effectiveness can provide you with softer skin and hair, cleaner laundry, and reduced consumption of cleaning products.

Easier cleaning: Soft water can help preserve the appearance and longevity of clothing, dishes, and glassware by preventing mineral deposits and spots. Without hard water, cleaning showers and bathrooms can be a breeze!

Water softening offers some great benefits, but bear in mind that it can't solve all your water quality issues. Water filters like those from Aquavis are the only systems that can rid your water of dangerous contaminants such as lead and PFAS.

Filtered Water Benefits

Filtered water comes with a range of benefits that contribute to both your health and lifestyle.

Filtered contaminants: Water filters remove dangerous contaminants such as chlorine, lead, pesticides, and bacteria, ensuring that the water you consume is safe and healthy. Contaminant free water can lead to improved overall health by reducing the risk of waterborne illnesses and long-term exposure to pollutants.

Improved taste: Filtered water also tastes and smells better because it removes the chemicals and organic matter that cause unpleasant odors and flavors. Better tasting and smelling water can make it easier to drink more and stay adequately hydrated throughout the day.

Lower costs: Installing a filter like the undersink Aquavis Pulse can provide you with clean, delicious water at a much more affordable price than store-bought water. Plus, activated carbon filters offer you refreshing water without all of the microplastics found in plastic water bottles. 

Investing in a water filter like those from Aquavis can improve your water quality and health for a fraction of the cost!

Benefits of Combined Water Softening and Water Filtration

Combining water softening and water filtration systems can offer comprehensive benefits for your home's water quality. Such systems not only eliminate the hardness minerals that cause buildup in pipes and appliances, but also remove a wide range of contaminants and impurities.

By softening the water, these systems protect plumbing fixtures, water-using appliances, and water heaters from damage, extending their lifespan and improving energy efficiency. Simultaneously, water filtration removes chlorine, sediment, heavy metals, chemicals, and microorganisms, ensuring that your water is safe, clean, and free from unpleasant tastes or odors.

This combination leads to softer skin and hair, cleaner laundry, and spot-free dishes, as well as better-tasting, healthier, and safer water for drinking and cooking. Overall, opting for a combined water softening and filtration system provides a comprehensive solution for maintaining healthy, high-quality water throughout your home.

Choose Aquavis for Healthier, Cleaner Water

If you're hoping to equip your home with a water filter, Aquavis can help! Our under-sink filters combine ease and convenience with top-quality filtration, offering you healthy, clean water right from your tap. These filters also save on space and allow you to utilize other water treatment systems (like water softening) in other parts of your home. 

So what are you waiting for? See how Aquavis can improve your water quality today!

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Take Your Water to the Next Level with Filtered Water
While there are so many types of drinking water, one of the most popular options is now filtered water. Filtered water helps make water safe, is a convenient option, cuts down on plastic waste,  and improves the quality of tap water, with a minimal cost.
Aquavis is expanding access to delicious, fresh, and clean drinking water with our innovative under-the-sink water filters which take minimal space while delivering delicious water that can help improve your quality of life.
Try out Aquavis water filters today to taste the difference!

The Aquavis Pulse

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