Water Filtration vs. Water Softening: What’s the Difference?

Sep 29 , 2022

Water Filtration vs. Water Softening: What’s the Difference?

As you probably know, the water filtration market has many different aspects of treatment to tackle, ranging from filtering for aesthetic factors like taste and smell, to filtering for serious contaminants and chemicals. One of the most frequent labels you might see on the market is water softening filtration, or filtering for hard water. If all the different labels have you confused, you’re not alone. Read on as we break down the different labels and help you decide what options are best for your filtration needs.

What is water softening filtration, and who needs it?

On its face, water softening filtration might seem a little counterintuitive – water seems soft already, doesn’t it? But as with other filtration methods, it’s not the water itself, but what’s lurking inside. Water is great at absorbing chemicals and minerals that it’s exposed to, and hard water happens when your water is exposed to naturally occurring elements like calcium and magnesium. These minerals can leach into groundwater and wind up in your septic or municipal water treatment system through the water cycle. Since municipal systems focus on contaminants that are more immediate health hazards, hard water minerals are not treated as a primary concern. Septic systems often have little defense against hard water. 

Can hard water harm your health? The answer is no; although it may not be the best-tasting, hard water is perfectly safe to drink. However, it can make using your home’s water more difficult, which can damage your plumbing and fixtures. Hard water leaves deposits of the minerals, called scale, along plumbing lines and end points like faucets and sinks. This scale causes buildup, occluding plumbing lines and eventually requiring costly repairs to clear out.

Without a water softening filtration system, hard water deposits cause added wear and tear on washing machines, dishwashers and other water-using appliances. If that’s not enough, the minerals in hard water have a hard time bonding to the molecules in soap, making it harder to clean clothes, dishes and more. Because more soap is needed to create sufficient lather, bathing in hard water makes your skin dryer and hair flatter, too. So, while it may not be life-threatening, it’s safe to say that hard water can be a very costly annoyance.

That’s where a water softening system comes in: It filters specifically for those minerals, eliminating hard water scale buildup and its effects on the water in your home. It can improve the taste of your water, too. A downside of the water softening system, however, is the prospect of maintenance. Some systems require the addition of salt, which can be detrimental to your local aquatic ecosystem when it re-enters the area water cycle. In fact, some jurisdictions have banned the use of saltwater softening systems for that reason.

How does simple water filtration compare?

In contrast to water softening filtration, which focuses on minerals, simple water filtration works to remove contaminants that pose more immediate concerns to those exposed. This can include volatile organic chemicals, pathogens and heavy metals, and many more, although it varies from system to system. These contaminants may not mess with your plumbing or necessitate repairs, but the effects could be much more devastating in the long term, and maybe in the short term, too. There are many ways to improve your home’s water quality, but the best way is through a water filtration system.

There you have it: two different water hazards that can lead to problems down the line. Fortunately, nearly all of King Water Filtration’s treatment systems filter for contaminants and the minerals that cause hard water scale buildup. For added benefit, by combining these services, King Water systems are more economical since they’re covered under the same warranty and require no maintenance after installation, saving you time and money. The lack of additives also makes our systems more environmentally friendly, too. Since King Water systems don’t introduce extra sodium or chlorine into the water, they can be used where saltwater softeners have been banned before.

Whether you’re considering water softening filtration or contaminant treatment, reach out to us at King Water Filtration. We can help you protect your home and your family from waterborne threats and keep your household water safe.