Homeowners are faced with all sorts of decisions when upgrading plumbing equipment. One of the most common topics in the field is whether or not someone should consider a water softener or a water filter. Since they are different pieces of technology, it’s important you select the right device for your applications.

Deciding between a water softener and a water filter is simple when you have a basic understanding of how each component functions. Your selection will depend on what you hope to gain from the installation. 

Culligan Water has the experience and expertise to help guide your decision regarding a new water softener or water filter. We’ve established this guide to teach you more about what to expect from water softeners and water filters and which one is right for your residential space.

What Is a Water Softener?

Water softeners are popular water treatment devices for families. Based on their name, you might be able to guess what these systems can do for your household. A water softener is designed to soften hard water moving through a plumbing system. Essentially, homeowners are able to remove minerals like magnesium and calcium from their water supply and alter how the minerals interact with metal piping.

You can think of a water softener like a chemical magnet. The technology is engineered to remove minerals from drinking water via an ion exchange process. A water softener usually has water pass through a series of beds where sodium ions prevent magnesium and calcium from ending up in your drinking glass.

Advantages of Water Softeners

A water softener is installed in your plumbing system solely to target magnesium and calcium. By reducing the hardness of your water supply, water softeners are excellent for eliminating scale and watermarks on moisture-prone surfaces. This might include bathroom tiles or the dishes you serve food with.

For a full list of water softener benefits, check out the details below:

  • Water softeners eliminate hard water throughout your entire home.
  • They are excellent for removing unwanted minerals, eliminating water rings in bathtubs, showers and sinks.
  • You can see cleaner dishes, drinking glasses and coffee pots after running the dishwasher.
  • Your skin and hair may feel less dry after using soaps and shampoos with a water softener installed.
  • Water softeners can reduce your chances of finding stains on clothing after a wash cycle.

Water softeners can be integrated into most plumbing systems.

What Is a Water Filter?

Water filters are necessary for removing contaminants from your water supply. This mostly includes things like sediment, dirt and sand that can get lodged within plumbing connections.

Having a water filter is a great way to make sure your water supply looks clear, smells pleasant and tastes good. There are more options for water filters over water softeners, as the technology can be installed to treat your entire home, specific sinks or just tubs and showers. The whole purpose of adding water filters to your plumbing network is to get rid of contaminants that are potentially harmful to drink.

Having a professional complete a water test is proactive for choosing a water filtration system. Water filters are designed to catch certain types of contaminants traveling through your plumbing system, so getting a better understanding of your water quality can help you decide on the right unit.

Benefits of Water Filters

Having a whole-home water filter is the best way to ensure your water supply is safe for drinking and cooking. These systems can be installed alongside water softeners for flexibility, too. You know your routine better than anyone else, so you might choose to integrate a water filter just to the sinks and appliances you use most.

The right water filter can give you numerous benefits, including:

  • Removing solids from water as well as chlorine, bacteria and heavy metals.
  • Reducing your need to buy bottled water.
  • Lessening the chance you’ll get sick from your home water supply.
  • Protecting the environment by using fewer plastic bottles of water.
  • Limiting mineral, chemical and metal buildups throughout your plumbing system.
  • Adding potential health benefits of drinking filtered water compared to unfiltered water.

How to Choose Between a Water Softener or Water Filter

Homeowners can get caught up in picking between water softeners and water filters. Choosing between the two technologies requires you to determine what it is you want to gain from adding a new softener or filter. 

Remember, water softeners are focused on improving the user experience. Water softeners will not filter anything out of your water supply besides calcium and magnesium. The primary purpose of a water softener is to make water less hard. Someone might consider a water softener if watermarks frequently coat dishes or a family member experiences dry skin after bathing.

Water filters are needed to consume water safely. You should have a professional install a filtration system if your tap water has a strange aftertaste. Homeowners might notice this after making coffee or cooking with tap water. Another significant indicator a water filtration system is right for your home is the sight of rust spots near drains. 

contact culligan water for water softeners

Contact Culligan Water for Your Water Softener or Filtration Needs

Culligan Water has more than 80 years of industry experience to help you decide on water softener and filtration technology. Whether you want just one device or both for your residential property, we can get the job done. We help those throughout Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Northern York and Juniata counties in Pennsylvania with product selection and installation services.

Have questions about the water softeners or the affordable water filters we have available? Contact Culligan Water for more information about our offerings for your home.