Reverse Osmosis Versus Water Softener: How Do They Compare?

Reverse Osmosis Versus Water Softener

When you begin looking into treating your water, there are many different solutions out there. It is hard to know whether you need a water filter for your whole house, a water softener, or a reverse osmosis system.

The first thing you need to do is to test your water so that you know what you are trying to accomplish. Knowing what kind of contaminants or pollutants are in your water will help you to answer this question.

What Is a Reverse Osmosis System?

A reverse osmosis water system purifies your water by forcing it across a semipermeable membrane. The semipermeable membrane filters out all of the contaminants and pollutants, so that the water is basically purified before it enters your home.

It gives you safe water that tastes good. It also has a prefilter and a post-filter to remove larger debris and sediment, so it is a very effective water filter.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener system softens water by removing minerals that make water hard. This will actually help to protect your pipes and appliances because hard deposits in water can build up and cause problems for you.

If you have a lot of iron, calcium, or magnesium in your water, a water softener will help to eliminate these destructive minerals before they harm your pipes and other appliances.

How Does a Reverse Osmosis System Work?

A reverse osmosis system is also a kind of a filter because it uses pressure to force water across a semipermeable membrane. Almost all of the contaminants and pollutants are filtered and the water that enters the home is purified.

Because this system removes impurities, the water is great for drinking, cooking, doing laundry, showering, and just about anything else you need to do with it.

How Does a Water Softener Work?

A water softener uses salt or ion exchange resins to treat hard water. Its job is to remove the mineral deposits, including calcium, magnesium, and iron from your water so that they do not enter the house and damage appliances and pipes with buildup.

You can also find salt-free water softeners, which are great if you don’t want to use salt to treat your water. In some respects, a water softener is similar to a water filter system because it is filtering out minerals that you don’t want, but if you need a water filter system, the water softener will not do this job alone.

Related: Tips to Soften Hard Water Without a Water Softener

Can Both Be Used Together?

In fact, when people are looking at the pros and cons of reverse osmosis vs. water softener, they often end up using both systems, especially if they have hard water. The water softener is necessary to eliminate hard water, and it will actually improve your reverse osmosis system and protect it from damage from contaminants.

The type of system or any combination of systems that you need will be determined by what the pollutants are in your water. The best way to find out is to have your water tested. You will know exactly what is in it and what system you need to eliminate it.

Benefits of a Water Softener

There are many benefits to using a water softener, including the following:

  • Clear water
  • Appliances last longer
  • Cleaner dishes and glasses
  • Soft skin and silky hair
  • Saves time cleaning
  • Helps to get rid of water spots
  • Food and beverages that use water taste better

Benefits of a Reverse Osmosis System

There are also benefits to using a reverse osmosis system, such as:

  • Better tasting water that is free of contaminants
  • Environmentally friendly (no plastic bottle needed)
  • Purified crystal clear water
  • Healthy water (contaminants are removed)

Why You Benefit From Having Both Systems

If you have contaminants in your water, you can get both a reverse osmosis system and a water softener. The water softener will actually protect your reverse osmosis system and it can last longer.

If you don’t have a water softener, the reverse osmosis system is subject to the same problems with buildup as it filters your water. While the water that comes into your house will still be good for drinking and showering, the system will take the abuse of the hard water.

You should have your water tested first. Then you will know exactly what is in it. If you find that there are no traces of minerals that leave deposits and buildup and make your water hard, you may only need a reverse osmosis system.

If you want to have the clearest water for your home, you will want a reverse osmosis system. This system will leave you with purified water that tastes and smells great, and you will be doing your part to save the environment by not buying plastic bottles of water.

Jon Agarwal

Jon Agarwal works as an environmental consultant focused on water resources, and he volunteers his time for non-profit organizations. He lives in the heart of Melbourne with his beautiful wife, two sons, and three Persian cats. He particularly enjoys working part-time as it leaves him the time to work on his own writing and share his knowledge. Visit our About page to learn about the contributors of Healthy Buddys.

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