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If you are looking to install a water purification system in your home, then you may have come across the wide range of options available for you to choose from. Unfortunately, making the right choice has proved difficult. You are not alone! In this post, we compare Water Softener vs Reverse Osmosis.
Most homeowners find it difficult to choose the right system to purify their whole house water especially when they have to choose between a water softener and the osmosis system. Choosing the best water filtration system will ensure you can get clean deionized water that tastes good. Therefore, it is vital to understand the difference between a water softener and RO system so that you make an informed purchase.
What is a Water Softener System?
A water softener is designed to get rid of water hardness which is often a combination of Magnesium and Calcium salts in a process referred to as ion exchange. Hard water contains high concentrations of these two salts between 120-180 PPM. Resin- a media in a water softener contains charged sodium ions from brine that is contained in the brine tank during the regeneration process. Once calcium and magnesium salts get into contact with resin beads, the deionization process takes place leading to converting the hard water into soft water.
If you are sourcing your whole house water from groundwater such as bore-wells, wells, hand-pumps, and tube wells, then you definitely have hard water in your house because calcium and magnesium salts are commonly found beneath the ground. So here is where you need a water softener the most.
FAQ: Read about our favorite water softener in our Best water softeners for well waters
What is a Reverse Osmosis Water Conditioner?
After soft water is processed from your water softener, it can be used for different home purposes except drinking. Why? It is because a water softener only removes the hardness of water but not the TDS levels that already exist in your water. To make it safe drinking, you can use an AquaSure RO system to remove the impurities and contaminants that may exist in water.
The RO system works by removing sediments, impurities, and other dissolved solids simply. This water filtration system uses a pressure pump that pushes your whole house water through a series of filters such as sediment filter, RO membrane, and activated carbon post-filter. This kind of filtration ensures all the impurities are filtered out leaving pure and great tasting osmosis drinking water. RO is a drinking water filter that filters out up to 90% of dissolved pollutants through a semi-permeable membrane.
Water Softener vs Reverse Osmosis: What are the Differences?
Water treatment is an important process in your homes, especially if you are looking to improve your groundwater. Both the water softener and reverse osmosis systems do great jobs in ensuring you get distilled water for whole-house use. However, there are primary differences between the two water treatment systems. Let’s look at those differences to have a better understanding of these two systems and how they work to deliver clean and purified water for home use purposes.
1. Water Treatment Process
A water softener works through the ion exchange process to remove minerals causing water hardness through a mineral tank. The entire process happens in a brine tank that contains brine that absorbs calcium and magnesium while releasing sodium thus making the water soft.
On the other hand, reverse osmosis systems use a membrane that filters impurities that contaminate water to get pure water that is good for consumption. The filtration is done by the pressure that forces impurities and other water contaminants through a membrane that ensures only pure water passes through.
2. Water Purification System Output
Certainly, no filtration process or system is flawless. In the RO system, water is purified up to 90% meaning you could still have traces of contaminants.
In water softeners, traces of sodium can be found in the water while calcium and magnesium are discarded. During the water softening process, extra sodium is added to the water through the treatment system. Therefore, if you are trying to avoid sodium, it is recommended you seek a medical opinion before installing a water softening system in your home.
3. Water Contaminants
A water softener is effective in softening water by removing calcium and magnesium from water. But it is not effective for removing other water contaminants such as impurities, pesticides, bacteria, and viruses. As such, it requires to be used along with another filtration system like a RO system for better quality water for the whole house.
The reverse osmosis system is efficient in removing several contaminants such as nitrate, sulfate, sodium, and lead that is contained in water. However, this system can be used alongside another filtration system that can get rid of contaminants such as dioxins, pesticides and organic compounds that are dangerous to human health.
4. System Maintenance
Both of these systems require regular maintenance needs. A reserve osmosis system features multiple filters that need to be replaced after a certain period depending on the filter to stay as efficient as possible. Water soften also calls for a similar maintenance level as it requires to be checked routinely for salt levels and cleaning of gathered materials.
5. System Efficiency
These two systems do a great job when it comes to water treatment. Though they work differently, they both utilize water pressure to purify the water output. Perhaps, the only drawback for the RO system is that it uses about three times as much water during the purification process compared to quantity output. As such, most homeowners prefer using the RO system for drinking water lines only.
Do I Need a Water Softener or Reverse Osmosis System or Both?
Whether you want a water softener or a reverse osmosis system or both systems, it will entirely depend on your home’s water needs. If you want to have clean pure water for whole-house use, then you probably need both systems. A water softener will soften the water while the reverse osmosis system will filter it. Therefore, you will get safe drinking water for healthy living while saving energy and your house appliances lifespans.