There’s an endless supply of water filters and softeners being sold in the world, making it difficult for homeowners to determine what they really need for their home (and choosing the best one). So how do you choose? Whether you need a water filter, water softener, or reverse osmosis system depends on your home’s needs.
Let’s first dive into what each one means so you can determine what you need for your home’s water system.
What is Water Filtration?
When your water isn’t filtered, it can be unsafe to drink for multiple reasons. Water filtration is a broad term that basically means the process of filtering out the bad stuff from your water to make it safe to drink — everything from bacteria, algae, parasites, fungi, chlorine and so much more.
Water filters are designed to give you cleaner, safer and tastier water throughout your home. But while there are a couple different types of water filtration systems, like water softeners and reverse osmosis (RO), they are designed for unique purposes.
But there are multiple types of water filters, so how do you know which one you need?
There are under-the-sink and on-top-of-the-counter water filtration systems. A whole-house water filtration system will give you the filtered water experience throughout your home including sinks, showers and household appliances.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse osmosis is like the process of desalination: removing salt from seawater to make it drinkable.
In more technical terms, it’s molecules passing through a semipermeable membrane that allows filtration. For example, in the case of saltwater, it passes through the membrane to a less concentrated solution. This action leaves freshwater on one side and salt on the other side. The same method works on other contaminants found in water, such as impurities, physical substances, minerals, and much more. Some of those contaminants that RO helps remove up to 99% of are things like fluoride, chlorine, detergents, salt, lead, pesticides, nitrates and sulfates.
The benefits of having a reverse osmosis water treatment system include:
- Better tasting water – Water that has not been through reverse osmosis can have a funny taste.
- No chemicals – Reverse osmosis does not use any chemicals, making it more environmentally friendly.
- Soft water – Reverse osmosis removes the sodium ions that cause hard water problems.
- Removes odors – Reverse osmosis removes the impurities that cause odors in your water.
The kitchen is typically the focal point for RO systems for drinking and cooking purposes. However there are whole-house reverse osmosis filtration systems available, which means you’ll get RO water throughout your home including sinks, showers and household appliances. Keep in mind: whole house RO systems are only applicable if you’re sourcing water from a well, where there is high TDS (total dissolved solids) – or salts, minerals, and other contaminants are in the water where ion exchange is not sufficient. Whole house RO isn’t for homes who source from municipal or city water, as it becomes expensive to accomplish for the whole house. The typical RO wastes 3 gallons of water to the drain to produce 1 gallon of product water which would result in a high water bill and a lot of wasted water.
At Basin Water Solutions, our 5 stages and 50 gallons per day reverse osmosis drinking water system provides several benefits. Read more about Finding the Best Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System.
What is a Water Softener?
While reverse osmosis filters your water, water softeners condition your water to better standards.
Water softeners are the best option if you have a hard water problem. About 85% of homes in America experience some degree of hard water and Texas is no exception to this statistic, with areas we service being among the nation’s top hard water metro areas:
- San Marcos and surrounding areas
- Midland/Odessa and surrounding areas
- DFW Metroplex
Hard water occurs when rocks, soils, corroded plumbing, and other elements come in contact with water. It has high levels of magnesium and calcium, which can cause dry skin, water spots on your dishes, faded laundry, and buildup in pipes for appliances that use water. Hard water isn’t dangerous to drink, but clearly it’s not a good thing for you to have in your home.
Water softeners literally do what it sounds like. They use a process called “ionization” to replace magnesium and calcium ions in the water with sodium, salt ions, or potassium chloride — softening your water.
Benefits of a soft water system:
- Reduced soap or detergent usage
- Saves money
- Brighter laundry
- Spotless, shiny dishes
- Fewer clogs in pipes
- Longer-lasting appliances
- Softer skin and hair
Most water softeners on the market make promises of healthy, clean water that will improve the quality of one’s life on a day-to-day basis. However, many of the water softeners that make these claims only do the bare minimum.
Luckily, we’ve cut out the work and found the best water softener system for your hard water solutions. This water softener is ideal for all properties and provides several benefits. Read more about Finding the Best Water Softener System.
Reverse Osmosis, Water Softener, or Water Filtration: Which one do you need?
The short answer: It depends on the quality of your current water and any problems you want to solve for better water.
The long answer: Let’s take a look at what your goals might be.
If you want to improve the taste of your drinking water, improve the quality, or reduce contaminants for an overall better water filtration system in your home, reverse osmosis is the way to go. Users report that not only does RO water taste better compared to other water filters, but it also helps cooked meals taste better as well. Water quality impacts more than just health!
Other water filters tend to focus on treating the water of an entire building or home, mainly for the purpose of cleaning, laundry, and bathing.
If you notice annoying water spots on your clean dishes, your skin irritated after taking a shower, or your laundry starting to fade, a water softener might be the best option for you. But water softeners aren’t always totally separate from RO systems — they can help each other out! A water softener itself can take some of the load off the RO system and let it have a longer lifespan by helping remove magnesium and calcium pre-RO filtration.
If you just have a water softener, then many impurities will still be present in your water. If you just have a reverse osmosis system installed at your kitchen sink, your appliances, plumbing system, and the water your bathe in will have no improvement.. So sometimes you need both.
The cost savings are great news, too. Water softeners save energy and improve the lifespan of your home appliances. Reverse osmosis systems can save hundreds of dollars per year because users don’t have to buy water bottles to drink purified water. And it’s great for the environment! Popular water bottle brands are already using RO to fill their bottles, so you’re not missing out on anything by buying water from the store when you can get even better quality water right at home.
Contact Basin Water Solutions Today
To learn more about reverse osmosis, water softeners, filters, and ways to improve the quality of your water sources in West Texas, Central Texas and North Texas, contact Basin Water Solutions today. We have over 40 years of industry experience when it comes to water filtration systems and helped many residents in our local communities vastly improve the taste and quality of their water.
Basin Water Solutions specializes in the water improvement needs of both residential and commercial properties and can assist you in finding the best water solution based on your specific needs. Whether your goal is to have contaminant-free water drinking water for your home or business, they will provide you with options that best suit your requirements, expectations, and budget.