Are you thinking of improving the quality of the water you use in your home? Many homeowners who are considering this investment are unsure about the differences between water filters and water softeners and their respective benefits. A basic understanding of the essentials concerning these two upgrades should make it easier for you to decide which would work better for you. What Does the Name Say? Water filters are all the systems that treat water and remove contaminants from it. They can vary in size – from small reversed osmosis drinking systems to large whole-house systems that filter all the water of a home. Water softeners also treat the water in the whole home by removing minerals from it, making the water soft and eliminating scale. So, the phrase water filter includes a much broader range of products and water softeners are types of water filters. Other filtration systems can specifically target a chemical or contaminant, such as carbon, iron, sulfur, fluoride, and sediments. These filters are completely different from what we call whole house filtration. The ins and outs of whole house water filters Whole water house filters use multiple technologies to purify water and extract contaminants. Sophisticated media are used to remove contaminating and polluting substances in various ways – adsorption, exchanging of ions, filtering of microns, catalytic conversion, and oxidation. This variety of media makes it possible to clean the water from a wide scope of chemicals – from natural to man-made to heavy metals. Most systems function on the principle of trapping and converting chemicals in their matrix and then disposing of them through backwashing or containing them in a media or cartridge which are replaced on a regular basis. To treat microbes, ultraviolet lamps attack the DNA of microbes thus sterilizing the water. There are also screen, sieve and membrane types of filtration. The Principle of Water Softeners Water softeners treats hard water with salt and ion exchange which results in the removal of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. This takes out the hardness from water. The resins used for ion exchange are sodium-coated. When water comes in contact with the resin, ions of calcium and magnesium are attracted to the active spots on the resin and sodium ions take their place in the water. There are also salt-free water softeners for users who don’t wish to put salt and other stuff in their water. The ceramic media in these systems is very advanced. They attract and neutralize minerals without backwashing, electricity or regeneration. Because they don’t need power, they are more eco-friendly and very low on maintenance.