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Reverse Osmosis VS. Water Softener: Which One Do I Need?

Reverse Osmosis vs. Water Softener

Treat your water well, and it’ll treat you well in return. The water flowing into your home might contain excess minerals, bacteria, sulfur, chlorine, or even acidity. In fact, most American homes have at least one of those issues with their water supply, and over half of homes have more than one. That’s why we recommend getting some kind of home water systems installed in your house.

But which one? All whole house water softeners are not created equal. There are different kinds to treat different issues with your water supply. If you’re struggling with acidic water, a sediment filter won’t do a thing for you. That’s why professionals will almost always either ask you if you’ve tested your water supply or offer to test it for you. Based on the most common water issues across the country, the most popular water treatment systems are water softeners and reverse osmosis filters. When might you want one or the other? When would you want or need both? We’re here to help.

Signs You’ll Want a Water Softener

Hard water is probably the most common water issue. Hard water contains too much calcium and magnesium, which turns into a chalky deposit on your dishes, sinks, showers, and bathtubs. It also causes scale buildup in your pipes and fading in your clothes. In more serious cases, hard water will even dry out your hair and skin. If you experience enough water hardness to see signs of it, you’ll definitely benefit from getting a water softener for whole house. A water softener uses a tank with a resin bed to pull those pesky minerals out of your water, replacing them with harmless and tasteless sodium ions. 

Aside from the symptoms we mentioned above, there are others to look out for. If you notice your water pressure gradually decreasing, that might mean you have hard water. Specifically, it means you’ve had hard water long enough for it to create a scale deposit inside your pipes, which messes with water flow. That same scale buildup might cause your heating to work harder and your electrical bills to go up. Lastly, you might notice that it’s a nightmare to clean soap scum off the shower every week. 

What About a Reverse Osmosis Filter?

A reverse-osmosis or RO filter doesn’t target a single contaminant; it actually handles most of them. Your typical RO system has multiple filters that target different contaminants, including fluoride, chlorine, arsenic, sediment, and various pesticide compounds. That means you might want an RO system for a bunch of different reasons: 

  • If your water supply has a rotten egg smell to it, that’s sulfur. It’s not dangerous, but you don’t need us to tell you that it is annoying. 

  • If you notice orange staining on your appliances, you’re dealing with excess iron. 

  • If your water smells odd, potentially like cleaning products or a swimming pool, that’s chlorine. Chlorine is also not toxic, but it can leave your water tasting or smelling very off-putting, which can affect your own odor after a shower. 

  • Are you noticing particles in your water that look like dirt? That’s sediment, which is especially common with well water. 

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