29. May 2013 · Comments Off on The Difference Between A Water Softener And A Water Filter · Categories: News · Tags: , , , , , , ,


People install water softeners and water filters in their homes for a variety of reasons, ranging from health concerns to the aesthetic. It’s important to note that water softeners and water filters perform different processes, so before you invest please make sure you know what it is you want to achieve and the difference between the two types.

Water Softener Units

A water softener’s sole job is to remove the minerals from water which make it hard. Hard water has a substantial amount of magnesium and calcium in it, elements which are harmless to healthy humans and animals but which have an effect on equipment and detergent use.

Around 60% of homes in the UK have a hard water supply. You should be able to tell easily enough if you are included in this number – if scale deposits collect in your kettle, your bathroom tiles get stained with a white residue and you have trouble getting your shampoo to lather up, it might be that your water supply is hard.

While the effects given as examples above are not particularly troublesome, requiring only elbow grease and more shampoo, there are a set of hidden consequences that can be inconvenient and costly to households. This is because scale built up over time by hard water has a detrimental effect on washing machines, dishwashers, boilers and central heating systems, which have their working lives diminished, don’t work efficiently and require additional maintenance and repair.

Some people also believe that hard water is bad for skin and hair because of the residues, though science remains divided on the subject. It’s important to make decisions based on what you believe is good for you and your family.

Hard water is easily treated with the installation of a water softener unit. This includes a resin filter which traps magnesium and calcium before it gets to the tap. The filter is rinsed out with a small amount of brine solution on a regular basis, using pure, food grade water softener salt to ensure it remains effective and efficient.

Water Filters
In the UK we have an excellent, clean public water supply. http://www.stwater.co.uk/leisure-and-learning/learning-zone/how-we-clean-water/. It is filtered to a safe standard at the treatment plant and harmful bacterias are killed with chlorine. In England, though not in the rest of the UK, fluoride is added for dental health, before it even reaches the tap.
However, not everyone wants added chlorine in their water, for either drinking or bathing in. Even at such low levels it has a definite odour and taste. Some people believe it dries out skin, making the effects of eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions worse; others simply don’t like the thought of drinking this chemical and worry about its long term effects on health and well-being.

In addition, some homes are not connected to a public water supply; in especially remote areas of our countryside some houses are still supplied from a natural spring, lake or well.

Both households could opt for a water filtration system. Some models do remove the effects of hard water, while others focus on removing various impurities from the supply such as chlorine, chemicals and heavy metals (like lead), bacteria, pesticides and sediments, depending on the type of filtration required. Purifying water using a water filter is done using carbon block cartridges and filters, UV light, and sometimes a pre-filter to remove sediment.

Some filters, however, are said to remove the good stuff as well as the unwanted, filtering out beneficial substances found in natural water. In addition, some use a rather hefty amount of water in their processes, so those with a water meter or who are concerned about using water wisely might object.

See other articles in our resource section for more details about the effects of hard water on household equipment.