Many consumers do not understand the differences between functioning of water filters, water purifiers, and water softeners. Some individuals use the terms interchangeably and believe that the process behind water filtration, water purification, and water softener system is same. As a matter of fact, all three systems work on different principles and remove different types of impurities from water.
Impurities Present in Water
The need for water filters, water purifiers, and water softeners arise from the fact that water does not exist in its purest form, which is a pure combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Water picks up impurities minerals, chemicals, and other impurities along its way. Some of them are desirable while others are undesirable. Calcium and Magnesium are two examples of desirable minerals, while undesirable impurities include chlorine, traces of pesticides, herbicides, and bacteria and viruses.
Water purifiers, water filters, and water softener systems used remove these impurities, but their degree of purification varies.
Water Filtration Systems
Water filtration systems remove several impurities such as chlorine, lead, mercury, magnesium, hydrogen sulfide, iron, etc. These also inhibit the growth of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and algae, but do not completely remove them.
Water Purification Systems
Water purification systems are very effective in removing microorganisms but do not remove chemical impurities. As a result, water purification and water filtration systems are often used in conjunction. Combined use of the two systems results in almost pure form of water.
Water Softening Systems
The purpose of water softener systems is completely different from water filtration and purification systems. These do not make water any safer to drink; instead they are used to remove minerals that result in scale build-up. Using water softener systems results in cleaner glassware, scale-free faucets, and improve quality of bathing and laundry products.
A combination of these three systems provides an all-in-one solution by removing all impurities for complete water purification.
How does a Water Softener System Work?
Water softener systems contain salt and ion-exchange resins that remove calcium and magnesium from the water. These resins are coated with sodium ions and when water comes in contact with the resins, magnesium and calcium migrate out of the water and sodium ions take their place.
Salt-free water softener systems are also available for people who do not want to add salt to the water. In these systems, ceramic media are used in place of sodium ions that attract and neutralize calcium and magnesium ions to remove water hardness. These systems are environment-friendly as they do not need electricity for their operation and their 100 percent salt free nature makes them a healthy water softening option also.