If you have well water, you probably want to treat it in some way before you drink it. Treatment could be as simple as filtering out the sand and particulate matter, or you may want to run your water through a water softener if it has a high mineral content. Even if you use city water, you may still want to use a water softener or filter so you know the water is safe for your household. To do this, you can buy a water softener, water conditioner, or filter. Here are the differences between these options.
Water Filters Make Drinking Water Safe
There are many types of water filters, from an inexpensive carbon filter you put at the end of your faucet to a more costly reverse-osmosis system that's installed under your sink. The purpose of a filter is to get rid of harmful substances in the water and improve its taste and odor. Filters remove heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes. They are generally attached to a kitchen faucet so the water you use to drink and cook with is safe to consume. However, if you have a well, you may want a whole-house filter to remove silt before it enters your home and damages the plumbing. Water filters may remove some minerals, but they do not make water soft. You need a different appliance for that.
Water Softeners Protect from Mineral Buildup
If your water has a high mineral content, it is considered to be hard water. Hard water is damaging to your home. It causes scale to build up on appliances that use water. Scale can even build up in your pipes and lead to plumbing problems later on. Hard water can also stain porcelain and leave stains on your laundry. The solution is to have a water softener installed. A water softener uses salt to chemically change the mineral composition of water so it becomes softer. A water softener requires ongoing maintenance to keep it filled with salt and flushed out so it operates properly. You can actually feel the difference in the treated water. It has a silky feel that many people enjoy when they bathe or shower. One advantage of soft water is that it makes soap work better, so your laundry gets cleaner and shampoo lathers more. The biggest advantage to a softener is that it protects your home from scale build up. A softener is not a filter, though, and softeners are not intended to purify drinking water.
Water Conditioners Filter and Soften Water
A water conditioner is an appliance that softens water in a different way. A water conditioner doesn't use salt. Instead, it relies on filters or ceramic plates that trap the minerals. You may need to buy a water conditioner if softeners are not allowed in your area. Another reason you may prefer a conditioner over a softener is if you are annoyed by the slick, silky feeling of water softened with salt. Also, a conditioner requires much less maintenance. You'll have to change or clean the plate or filter on a regular basis, but you won't need to lug around big bags of salt and worry about keeping the unit maintained. Some water conditioners also filter out other things besides minerals, so they do double duty. However, you want to make sure you understand exactly what you're buying when you get a water conditioner since the term is often used loosely and can be applied to different types of appliances.
Determine your needs and then talk to a professional about the best way to achieve your goal. You may need a water softener combined with a sink filter, or you may find a water conditioner alone will provide all the protection you need.
Visit sites such as http://johnsonwater.com/ to learn more.