A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered chromium-6 is drinking water supplied to almost 200 million Americans. This is significant because this contaminant is a known carcinogen, which comes from manufacturing and agricultural waste products. The drinking water in all 50 states can also contain many other dangerous contaminants, including arsenic, lead, mercury and more. Even bottled water is not a viable alternative and the EWG found that 10 popular bottled water brands are selling products that contain 38 known contaminants. For these and other reasons, many people choose to install water treatment systems in their homes. In this article, we will explore water softening and whole-house filtration to see which is best for your home.

What is a Water Softener?

Around 85% of American homes are supplied with water that is characterized as hard. Hard water contains an elevated concentration of dissolved minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron. These minerals make the water harder to use in the home, plumbing pipes and water using appliances can be damaged. Hard water degrades the performance of soap, it damages fabrics and it can cause dry skin and hair problems. The most reliable way to remove hardness from water is an ion-exchange water softener system. The incoming water passes through a media tank filled with charged resin media balls that attract the mineral ions and an exchange takes place. The mineral ions are left behind and salt (sodium or potassium) ions are added to the water.

What is Whole-House Filtration?

Whole-house filtration can remove the contaminants and pollutants that are found in public and private water supplies. These systems can remove harmful microorganisms, chemicals, chlorine by-products, heavy metals, and more. There are point-of-use (POU) systems that can be installed at a single faucet that’s usually located at the kitchen sink. This is a less expensive way to get cleaner water for drinking, cooking, filling pitchers, and preparing food. But, a whole-house filtration system will deliver cleaner and healthier water to every tap and plumbing fixture in the home. This is important because some contaminants can even enter the body via the skin when you take a shower. So, if you’re interested in gaining access to cleaner water for showering, bathing, cleaning, and other tasks this is the best option.

Which is Best?

As you can see, a direct comparison is impossible because these two water treatment methods are used to treat very different water quality problems. A whole-house water filtration system cannot remove hardness from hard water. A water softener cannot remove the contaminants that a whole-house filtration system can. This is why many people with hard water and water contamination concerns install both systems in their homes. When these two systems are installed in series the incoming water supplier is cleaner, fresher, and softer which has a dramatic effect on every aspect of water use in the home.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, contact your local water treatment specialist.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.