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Understanding the Difference Between Water Filters and Water Softeners

Water Filters Vs. Water Softeners in Columbus, OH

It's easy to take clean, potable water for granted. After all, all you have to do is turn on the tap, and this essential resource will immediately come flowing out. However, easy access isn't a guarantee of superior quality. Like many consumers, you might not be comfortable cooking with or drinking unfiltered tap water. You may be dealing with spotty dishes, stained fixtures, and discolored sinks and tubs. Although a water filter will solve some water quality problems, it won't resolve them all. Understanding the difference between water filters and water softeners will help you choose the right addition for your Columbus, Ohio home.

Water Filtration Creates Cleaner, Better-Tasting Water

Water filtration is intended to produce water that's both cleaner and better-tasting. Ultimately, water filtration is about improving the quality of water that people use. Although all municipalities treat their water, many contaminants are introduced as part of the treatment process. In most areas, water treatment facilities use large amounts of chlorine and chloramines to eliminate harmful microorganisms and to ensure general water safety. Their treatment processes are designed to prevent waterborne illnesses that are transmitted by countless common microbes. However, they are not intended to promote good general health.

In short, municipal water treatment represents a trade-off. Consumers can avoid bacteria, viruses, and other germs, but they must expose themselves to chemical agents that don't necessarily support their well-being. Although many of the cleaning agents that are used in these processes are only present in trace amounts, consumers who drink directly from the tap are cumulatively consuming large quantities of them.

While you may have used unfiltered tap water for the majority of your life, the health effects of consuming water cleaning agents are often unnoticeable to the individual. Understanding how the human body works is key for recognizing the impact of drinking trace amounts of chlorine and chloramine every day. Just as these chemicals are meant to eradicate harmful microorganisms, they indiscriminately kill both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria support healthy digestive processes, natural immunity, mood balance, and more. Even if the effects of exposing your good bacteria to chlorine aren't readily apparent right now, you may feel dramatically different after you stop consuming them.

You're familiar with chlorine from swimming pools and the bleach that you use to whiten your clothes. Chloramine represents a range of disinfectants for treating municipal water supplies. Chloramine chemicals are formed when chlorine and ammonia are used together. Many municipalities also use:

  • Algicide
  • Muriatic acid
  • Sodium bicarbonate or soda ash
  • Chlorine dioxide

Moreover, as treated water flows through municipal water delivery systems, it often picks up other contaminants along the way. These include both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and a diverse range of heavy metals from aging pipes. Heavy metal contaminants can also be introduced into residential water supplies via aging pipes in older homes. Investing in a whole-house water filter that effectively removes these contaminants can go a long way toward improving your health and the health of everyone in your household.

Water Filtration Can Also Improve the Quality of Your Baths and Showers

Just as drinking chemical contaminants and heavy metals isn't good for your body, showering and bathing in them isn't beneficial either. Adding a whole-house water filter to your home can actually clear up a number of common skin issues. Many people report improvements in chronically dry and cracked skin, eczema, contact dermatitis, and other skin problems. Constant exposure to certain water treatment chemicals can also lead to dry, brittle, and dull hair. If you struggle with hair breakage, hair thinning, or generally unruly hair, using a water filter may be a good way to minimize these issues, reverse them, or prevent further damage.

When you shower in chlorinated water, you aren't just absorbing this chemical and other water treatment chemicals via your skin. You're also breathing them in. Consumers who use whole-house water filters eventually become more sensitive to the taste, feel, and smell of their water. If you use a water filter at home for several months and then take a shower at a local fitness center, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the smell of chlorine. Although there won't be more chlorine present in your shower water than what you once showered in, you'll have a better ability to detect it.

Water Softeners Are Designed to Protect Homes

Where water filters are solely about protecting human health, water softeners are designed to protect homes and their fixtures. Water softeners remove or neutralize calcium and magnesium in residential water supplies. High levels of these minerals in water make it "hard." Hard water causes soap scum in sinks, bathtubs, and shower pans. It leaves spots on dishes. It can also make your skin feel dry after a hot bath or shower. When homes have excessively hard water, mineral deposits can clog their shower heads and, eventually, block their plumbing pipes. Hard water takes a tremendous toll on appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and in-refrigerator water dispensers.

However, even though water softening can provide a number of functional and aesthetic improvements throughout your home, having a water softener installed will additionally provide a number of impressive health benefits as well. Constant exposure to hard water is believed to have a negative impact on human health, and it may cause renal, neurological, and cardiovascular problems. Although calcium and magnesium are essentially good for the body, constant exposure to these minerals in high quantities is not. More importantly, the calcium and magnesium that you ingest when consuming hard water is not the same as the minerals that are found in supplements and foods. They cannot be processed or metabolized by the body in any safe or beneficial way.

Which Option Is Right for Your Home?

The removal of calcium and magnesium from your home's water supply does provide health benefits, but the real goal of water softeners is to protect your plumbing and prevent clogs, buildups of mineral deposits, and hard water stains. Water softeners make life easier. This is especially true for consumers who are constantly washing and rewashing their dishes in an effort to get rid of stubborn spots. If you live in a neighborhood that has excessively hard water, having a water softener installed can help limit your plumbing repair bills and extend the lifespans of many major appliances. It can also improve the texture, look, and all-around health of your hair and skin.

Water filtration will give you the benefit of cleaner, healthier, and better-tasting water. In time, you'll even recognize your water as smelling better. Water filters can eliminate nearly all of the chemical agents that are used to treat municipal water supplies. Some top-rated filtration systems are also able to remove fluoride. Much like the calcium and magnesium that are found at the tap, fluoride as it's present in municipally treated water supplies may cause more harm than good.

In reality, most homes need both water softening and water filtration. Although some of the benefits that these two appliances provide overlap, they ultimately have very different functions. Having both will give you the broadest range of health benefits. It will also keep your plumbing fixtures looking and performing exactly as they should.

At [company_name], we've been providing reliable plumbing service to residents of Dublin and Columbus, Ohio for many years. Homeowners can count on us for drain cleaning and drain repair services, hydrojetting, sewer excavation, and more. If you're looking for a way to get cleaner, healthier water in your home, we can help. Call us now.