General Question

sanari's avatar

Which is better for a home, water filtration system or a water softener?

Asked by sanari (485points) June 13th, 2009

We have really hard water in our home. Our goal is to soften the water.

What are the pros and cons of each system, and in your experience, which was the most expensive over time?

Thank you!

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17 Answers

whatthefluther's avatar

I’m not sure what type of water filtration system you are considering, but generally the two systems serve different purposes and are not mutually exclusive. Water softeners reduce the high concentrations of calcium and magnesium found in hard water, whereas activated carbon filtering is effective for reducing organic compounds, sediment and chlorine but not minerals, salts and dissolved inorganic compounds.

augustlan's avatar

We have extremely hard water here. In fact, it ruined a brand new dishwasher in just over a year. We had a water softener installed at the same time we replaced the dishwasher and I couldn’t be happier with it. It got rid of all that sediment I used to see in my water glass, and made the water quite clear. We also have a refrigerator water dispenser with a filter in it, and drinking water from that after the softener was installed is like liquid heaven.

Darwin's avatar

The one problem with water softeners is that they put increased sodium in the water. Your refrigerator filter may or may not get it out before you drink the water. Thus, if you or someone in your house suffers from high blood pressure or is otherwise sodium sensitive it might be a good idea to drink and cook with bottled water, while using the softened water for bathing and in appliances.

tehrani625's avatar

I would get the water softener being that its going to do exactly what you want. I am guessing that if you were to get a water filter you would get one that sits in line with the cold water in to your house. That would mean that all the water you use to wash your car, water your lawn, or even fill up your pool will be conveniently filtered, because of this it can get expensive. But it depends on how your going to configure it and what kind of water filter you get. A water softener has a bi-pass mechanism that you can activate for when you do things like wash your car or fill up your pool.

sanari's avatar

Follow-up question:

I really am not familiar with the different systems. It seems that a water softener is what I would want. So where do water softeners install? Do I have to have one for each water source, or is there one big one to manage the water globally in the house?


augustlan's avatar

@sanari You get 1 whole house system installed. Check out Sears for lots of good information on water softeners.

sanari's avatar

Thanks, I found an example and read about it. It seems the device retains a tank of water. We have a tankless water heater. Does this device come before or after the water heater? Just wondering, and thank you :)

Bri_L's avatar

It would be hooked up before the water heater. Before any water goes to any device in the house. That way the build up wouldn’t occur in the faucets, shower fixtures, dishwashers, laundry etc.

We are putting one in to for the same reasons you are so if your wrong sanari we will both go down together! :-)

augustlan's avatar

Yep, @Bri_L is correct. It gets connected to your plumbing after it comes into the house (no use softening water for outside use), but before it goes into anything else like a water heater.

sanari's avatar

It appears we actually pour salt in some compartment – is this true? lol.

Thanks Bri and augustlan :P

augustlan's avatar

It is true… but not just any old salt. They sell giant bags of salt pellets just for water softeners.

tehrani625's avatar

You might want to ask a/your plumber about installing it before the water goes into your house but after your sprinklers get the water from the water main into your house. That is how we have it and it saves us money on the salt that you can get at places like Lows or Home Depot. You also don’t have to do it that often, but you do have to keep tabs on it every few weeks or so.

sanari's avatar

I’m really just doing research before we have all the plumbing redone in our home. It’s an older place – and we are redoing everything [electrical, plumbing and ductwork].

tehrani625's avatar

Oh, good luck with that then.

filmfann's avatar

You want a water softener. That was one of the best investments I made when we moved to an area with very hard water. Don’t worry about salt levels, but you may find problems with the salt in your pipes if they are old and corroded.
We use a Rainsoft, with a lifetime guarentee.

sanari's avatar

Thanks :) I’ll look into Rainsoft.

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