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

Everyone needs clean water for daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many Birmingham homeowners ask themselves which is right for them—a water filter or a water softener? Examine the key differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the advantages 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 goes into your home. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other impurities from the municipal water supply before it gets to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal supplier, you may ask yourself why you could use 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 pick up harmful particles between the treatment plant and your residence. Here’s how using a water filter can benefit you:

  • Healthier water: Water filters take away harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other impurities for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
  • Reduced sediment: Water filters minimize sediment collection in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, safeguarding them from wear and tear.
  • 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 your hard-earned cash on bottled water and decreases the pressure on your plumbing system.

How to Tell if You Need a Whole-House Water Filter

About one-third of American households depend on home treatment systems for top-quality drinking water. Here are some signs that you need a whole-house water filter:

  • Discoloration, unusual taste or nasty smell: If your tap water is anything but absolutely clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Think about putting in a filter for your safety.
  • Frequent plumbing concerns: A whole-house water filter helps alleviate clogged 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 record of pollution? Using a whole-house water filter can give you peace of mind against potential problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener removes calcium and magnesium from the water entering your home. A process called ion exchange works sort of 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 put in a water softener:

  • Longer plumbing life span: Soft water minimizes scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, extending 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, which keeps the water in your pipes and faucets flowing smoothly.
  • Better soap lathering: Soft water ensures cleaning products lather more effectively, resulting in cleaner dishes, brighter laundry, and softer skin and hair, even when using less soap and detergent.
  • Energy savings: A water softener helps your plumbing appliances operate properly for lower energy charges.

How to Tell if You Need a Water Softener

Most water resources in North America are categorized as 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 commonly become significantly blocked by mineral deposits within 18 months of use. Watch for this because it is another indication of hard water.
  • Dry skin and hair: Hard water prevents soap from rinsing thoroughly, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
  • Frequent appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater fails often due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile acquisition.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners are two tools that provide valuable benefits, but they perform different functions. An inline water filter removes contaminants and improves overall water quality, while a water softener specifically removes hard minerals. In some circumstances, using a water filter and a water softener is necessary. Consider your specific needs and water quality to determine the best solution for your household.

Schedule Water Filter and Water Softener Installation in Birmingham

Norrell Service Experts is a trustworthy provider of water treatment solutions in Birmingham, including water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our team can help you decide if one or both solutions are necessary to help you get the best water quality in your Birmingham home.

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