For many people, water softeners and water filters may seem like the same thing. But in fact, they are completely different, and each can play an important role in the home. 

What Water Softeners Do

Water Softeners are designed to remove calcium and chlorine from your water supply. Limescale and chlorine buildup in your pipes, valves, water tanks, taps, shower heads. This buildup can eventually cause plumbing to either leak, split, or stop working altogether. Limescale also damages the finish on chrome work, such as your taps and shower heads, so reducing buildup and regularly clearing it is aways important.

Installing a water softener will stop the buildup by removing limescale and chlorine from your main water supply. Then the water that flows through your pipework, showers, dishwashers, washing machines etc., will stop getting buildup. Softened water also reduces the amount of detergents and soaps you need.

Unfortunately, you cannot drink softened water. Water softeners work by adding salt to the water supply. If you've ever accidentally had sea water in your mouth, you'll know salt water is pretty horrible! If using a water softener for the rest of the house, you'll still need to have main/raw water feed to your kitchen tap for safe drinking. This will mean that the pipework in your kitchen will still get limescale buildup. 

For more information about water softeners, contact a company like Houston Water Products.

What Water Filters Do

A water filter takes away some calcium, debris and nasty flavors in water by using a charcoal filter. Although the water tastes nice and is safe to drink, water filters don't completely remove limescale. So, if you have a water filter installed, you will still get that limescale buildup. It will be a little slower, but it will still get there. It also won't affect the amount of soaps and detergents you need to use. Using water filters is also more expensive as they need replacing fairly often, so they are usually only used on the drinking tap water.

Using Water Filters and Water Softeners Together

Ideally, you would use both water softeners and filters for a home water supply.  A water filter installed in just your drinking water/kitchen tap would mean you have safe and nice tasting water to drink on demand. Then, a water softener would take the work of the rest of the house by providing soft, non-limescale water to limit the amount of cleaning needed to keep it off your taps.