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

You need clean water for daily activities like cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Many Nashville homeowners consider the question of which is best—a water filter or a water softener? Examine the key differences between inline water filters and whole-house water softeners, the perks 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 house. It’s installed on your main water line, removing sediment, chlorine, bacteria and other contaminants from the municipal water supply before entering your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Benefits of Water Filters

If your water comes from a municipal provider, you may ask yourself why you should get an inline water filter. After all, the water has already been cleaned 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 residence. Here’s how using a water filter can improve the water in your home:

    • Healthier water: Water filters remove harmful microorganisms, carcinogenic materials and other debris for safer, better-tasting drinking water.
    • Reduced sediment: Water filters decrease sediment buildup in your pipes, appliances and fixtures, safeguarding them from harm.
    • No plastic waste: Inline water filters cut back on 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 minimizes 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 need a whole-house water filter:

    • Discoloration, unusual taste or nasty smell: If your tap water is anything but crystal clear, clean-tasting and odor-free, it may be contaminated. Consider putting in a filter for your protection.
    • Constant plumbing concerns: A whole-house water filter helps reduce blocked pipes, low water pressure and other problems.
    • Skin irritation: If you have redness, rashes or other skin issues linked to poor water quality, a whole-house water filter may be useful.
    • Past history: Does your local water supply have a history of possible contamination? Using a whole-house water filter provides peace of mind against long-term problems.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener takes away calcium and magnesium from water. A process called ion exchange works 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 reduces scale buildup on faucets, showerheads, dishwashers and washing machines, extending their life span and enhancing 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 effortlessly.
    • Better soap lathering: Soft water helps cleaning products lather more effectively, generating 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 work properly for lower power bills.

How to Determine if You Need a Water Softener

Most water supplies in North America are categorized as moderately hard, hard or very hard. You can learn about the quality of your local water by reading your local government’s water quality report. In the meantime, here are some clues that you could use a water softener:

    • Scale buildup: A white, chalky substance on your fixtures and appliances is an indication of hard water, as are the white spots on your dishes, glass shower door and coffee maker. A water softener can help.
    • Low water pressure: Showerheads and faucet aerators commonly become severely blocked 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 prevents soap from rinsing completely, causing irritated skin and brittle hair.
    • Continual appliance repairs: If your dishwasher or water heater stops working regularly due to scale buildup, a water softener may be a worthwhile investment.

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

Inline water filters and water softeners each offer valuable benefits, but they perform different jobs. An inline water filter removes contaminants and boosts overall water quality, while a water softener specifically targets hard minerals. Sometimes, 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 Nashville

Mid-State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing is a respected provider of water treatment solutions in Nashville, such as water filters and water softeners from Excalibur. Our skilled specialists can help you evaluate if one or both solutions are necessary to help you get the best water quality in your Nashville home.

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