Access to pure drinking water is essential in the office or home. However, it is often impossible to come across the purest water unless there has been additional filtration to make it safe. There are a couple of methods available to use for purifying the water. The most common methods include using water softeners and reverse osmosis (RO) systems. 

It is possible to find homeowners being confused about the two. This guide will help you explore these two methods and choose the right one. Sometimes, you may find yourself using both, which is okay. 

Water Softeners 

Water softeners are essential in homes whose supply is light to heavy hard water. This is because the water softeners will reduce the water hardness to make it more usable in the house and reduce mineral buildup or deposits in the faucets and pipes. 

The process of softening water includes the removal of iron, magnesium, and calcium. If these minerals are left to accumulate in the drains, pipes, or faucets, that is how you would end up with leaky faucets and clogged pipes. 

You may also notice chalky films on cleaned glasses, dry skin after showering, and more. This is all a sign you have hard water.

Types of Water Softeners

Water softeners use different mechanisms to remove the heavy minerals from the water. The main options in the market include salt-based softeners and salt-free water softeners. Let us see what they are all about below. 

Salt-Based Softeners

These are the most common softeners in the market right now. They are available in many sizes so that you can always find the right one for your home or office setup. 

These softeners work by drawing the heavy minerals found in hard water through the resin in the water softener and then exchanging them with salt or sodium. Once the heavy minerals have been removed, you have better water for your home and no more clogged pipes or leaky faucets. 

As much as these water softeners are easy to run and available, they need frequent recharge with salt. Some might need a weekly recharge so that they can keep working efficiently. 

The salt-based softeners can also be portable. This makes them ideal for applications such as RV or if you live on a boat. You simply connect the water softener to the campground water supply, which is filtered before you can use it in the RV. 

You can also come across dual-tank water softeners which use the same technology. For these tanks, they are ideal for filtering heavy minerals. The additional tank is for the regeneration cycle, while the other tank provides the household with softened water. 

A single-tank water softener is often quite enough for most homes. The dual tank might be a better option for commercial setups. 

Salt-Free Water Softeners 

The name salt-free should give you an idea of what kind of water softener you get. In this case, the system does not use salt to remove the heavy minerals from the hard water. 

It is expected that the water softener will remove the minerals. That is not the case with the salt-free water softeners. They work by changing the chemical composition of the hard water. This leads to the crystalization of the minerals in the water. The result is that the minerals will not scale or deposit on the pipes as the water flows. 

Because of how they work, the salt-free water softeners will not take up much space. However, they might cost more initially, depending on which type you choose.

Selecting a Water Softener 

Choosing a water softener system might depend on a few factors. These include;

  • The size of your home and the type of water hardness in your supply
  • The capacity of the water softener. Each water softener will have a rated capacity for you to consider. 
  • What is the available area for you to install the water softener? The salt-based systems tend to take up more installation space. 
  • Brand reputation. Of course, you would want a brand known for making high-quality water softeners. 

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems 

Reverse osmosis systems utilize multiple stages to filter water and remove as many contaminants as possible. Most residential RO systems have three stages of filtration to help reduce almost all contaminants by pushing the water through a semipermeable membrane. 

The freshwater from the RO system is called the permeate, while the leftover concentrated water filled with waste is called brine. 

Benefits of RO Systems 

Many households in the U.S. have a reverse osmosis water system. However, should you opt for such systems? What are the benefits? Below is what to expect with such systems. 

  • The RO systems are mostly good for your health. This is because the unit can help with the removal of lead, fluoride, chlorine, and many other impurities. As such, it is a cost-effective method for efficient water filtration and health improvement. 
  • Since RO systems work without electricity, you would not have to deal with more energy costs. The water is simply pushed through the filtration stages thanks to the water pressure. 
  • When the water is filtered, you remove up to 99% of the contaminants. This means that you can improve the way the water tastes and appears. Expect to have better drinking water. 
  • You can save a lot more money with such a system. This is because you do not need to spend more on buying water jugs from the grocery store or having them delivered. You can now get clean water a lot more easily. 

Types of RO Systems 

The reverse osmosis systems have plenty of options and are mostly categorized by how they work. Here are some top options in the market. 

  • Under-Sink RO Systems: Well, you should easily know where to put this. In case you need to save on your kitchen counter space, this is what you get. You can have it installed under the sink so that it does not interfere with kitchen aesthetics. 
  • Whole-House RO Systems: If you have the budget for it, this is a great option for you. It is more expensive, but expect it to cover all your needs for water filtration in the house. 
  • Portable and Countertop RO Systems: This is what you get if you want more portability. The countertop RO systems are compact enough to filter your water without necessarily taking up space for your kitchen appliances. 
  • Commercial RO Systems: The commercial systems are for those needing more water treatment at any time. The filtration process is the same as with household units, only that the commercial system has more capacity and more components, including pumps, monitors, gauges, and more. 

Considerations When Picking an RO System 

You should consider a couple of things for picking reverse osmosis systems. These will help you get the right unit. Here are some ideas;

  • Look at the customer reviews and reputation of the brand to see if the brand can deliver on your needs. 
  • The pricing is also important. This can guide you in picking the right unit based on the budget. 
  • The units should also be easy and quick to change filters if the need arises. 
  • Of course, you should definitely get units with affordable replacement filters so you can use them for a long time. 
  • You definitely need to consider an eco-friendly RO system also. This is because RO systems traditionally have a high water wastage. So, make sure it has improved technology to minimize this. 

Conclusion: Choosing the Right System for Your Needs

Now that you know more about these two systems, you might be wondering which is the best for you. 

You will get a water softener if you are experiencing hard water in your water supplier. However, if you need to remove sediments, chlorine, and more contaminants, consider using an RO system. 

That is why, at times you may get people installing both systems. The water softener will be useful for extending the filters of the RO system while at the same the RO system will remove more sediments at the same time. As you can see, using both systems has many benefits.

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