Do I Really Need a Water Softener or Is an Inline Filter Sufficient?
You need clean water for everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many Houston homeowners wonder which is best—a water filter or a water softener? Explore the key differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the benefits they provide and how to determine 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 enters your residence. It’s installed directly on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other pollutants from the municipal water supply before flowing to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.
Benefits of Water Filters
If your water comes from a municipal supplier, you may wonder why you might need an inline water filter. After all, the water is already cleansed at a water treatment plant. The problem is, many local water supplies barely meet EPA standards, and water may be contaminated with pollutants between the treatment plant and your residence. Here’s how setting up a water filter can benefit you:
- Healthier water: Water filters remove unsafe microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other potentially harmful particles for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
- Reduced sediment: Water filters minimize sediment accumulation in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, protecting them from harm.
- No plastic waste: Inline water filters reduce the need for bottled water, contributing to a greener environment.
- Cost-effectiveness: Access to clean, safe tap water saves you from spending extra money on bottled water and reducesthe 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 crystal-clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Give consideration to installing a filter for your health and well-being.
- Constant plumbing concerns: A whole-house water filter helps alleviate blocked pipes, low water pressure and other problems.
- Skin discomfort: If you have redness, rashes or other skin issues connected to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be beneficial.
- Past history: Does your local water supply have a track record of possible contamination? Using a whole-house water filter can give you peace of mind against future problems.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange works similar to 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 find once you install a water softener:
- Longer plumbing life span: Soft water reduces 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, which helps keep your pipes and faucets flowing efficiently.
- Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, resulting 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 work efficiently for lower power bills.
How to Know if You Need a Water Softener
Most water supplies in North America are considered moderately hard, hard or very hard. Learn more by reading your local government's water quality report. In the meantime, here are some signs that you could use a water softener:
- Scale buildup: A white, chalky film 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 you get rid of this unsightly issue.
- Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators often become badly blocked by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is a sign of hard water.
- Dry skin and hair: Hard water stops soap from rinsing completely, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
- Repeated appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater fails often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.
Should You Use Both a Water Filter and a Water Softener?
Inline water filters and water softeners both provide valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter removes contaminants and improves overall water quality, while a water softener specifically addresses the problem of hard minerals. In some instances, using a water filter and a water softener is appropriate. Assess your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.
Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in Houston
Church Services is a respected provider of water treatment solutions in Houston, such as water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you evaluate if one or both solutions are necessary to help you enjoy the best water quality in your Houston home.