Many homeowners make the mistake of believing that water softening and water filtration systems are one and the same. However, the truth is, the two whole house systems serve very different purposes. Consequently, while some homes will require the use of both systems, others will require one or the other, and some will require no water treatment system at all. Below you will learn more about what each of these systems do and how you can determine whether or not you will require the use of these systems in your home.
Water Softening System
A water softening system is designed to remove the high mineral levels from your water that cause hard water. Removing these minerals is extremely important; hard water can lead to dry skin, mineral deposits on shower surfaces and household appliances, and the inability to effectively remove soap residue from your clothing during the washing process.
While you can choose to have your water professionally tested in order to determine whether or not you require a water softening system, it is also possible to determine the hardness of your water on your own.
In order to determine how hard your water really is, you will simply need a clean plastic drinking bottle with a cap and a few drops of dish detergent. Begin by filling the bottle halfway with the water that you will be testing. Next, add a few drops of dish detergent to the water and put the cap on the bottle. Finally, give the bottle a few shakes and remove the cap. If the bottle is overflowing with soap suds, you do not have hard water and will therefore not require a softening system in your home. However, if the bottle fails to fill up with suds or if these suds quickly go away, your home could benefit from a softening system.
Water Filtration Systems
While water softening systems work to remove certain hard minerals from your water, whole house filtration systems work to remove the other impurities which may be present in your water. For instance, a filtration system will eliminate chlorine, fluoride, sodium, and contaminants that can impact the quality of your water.
Nearly all tap water will contain some impurities. However, this does not mean that all homes are in need of a water filtration system. In order to determine whether or not your home is in need of filtration, you will first need to determine whether or not the impurities in your water exceed the recommended levels that are issued by the federal government. If you are using a city water supplier, the hard work has already been done for you. Simply request a copy of the latest water quality report in order to see how your water measures up against federal standards.
If you are using a well, you will need to have this water tested by a lab in your local area in order to determine how your water measures up to federal safety standards. If this test determines that your water supply contains moderate or high levels of even a single contaminant, you will need to consider the installation of a whole house filtration system.