Choosing the right water treatment system for your home can be confusing since there are so many options to choose from. It may help if you understand the differences between the major systems available. Here's a quick look at the different types of water treatments for home use.
If your main interest is in filtering sediments out of well water, then a whole-house filter is a good choice. This filter attaches to your water main, so that the water is filtered before it branches out to the different outlets in your home. The filter removes sand, clay, rust, and other particles that give well water a cloudy appearance. The filter may also have charcoal in it to remove foul odors and bad tastes from the water.
A whole-house filter ensures all the pipes and appliances in your home are protected from debris that can cause clogs. Otherwise, tiny sand and clay particles could clog your coffee pot eventually or keep your laundry from being as clean as it should be. These filters are made to remove large particles only. This is what keeps them affordable. They are not the same type of filter that removes viruses and chemical contaminants. While you could attach a reverse osmosis filter to your water main, it would be a waste of money since you don't need purified water to do your laundry.
Water Softening Systems
Water softeners are similar to whole-house filters. Their purpose is to protect your plumbing and appliances. As an added benefit, the soft water they create also makes your skin and hair feel silky when you shower. That's because soft water makes more suds than hard water, so even your dish soap and laundry soap work more efficiently too. Water softeners use salt to remove magnesium and calcium from the water that would otherwise leave scaly buildup on your appliances and plumbing pipes. Just like other whole-house filters, however, water softeners do not remove chemicals or microbes from the water.
Point-Of-Use Water Purification Systems
If your primary reason for wanting a water filtration system for your home is to make your water supply safer for drinking, then you want a purification system that fits on your kitchen sink. These are usually reverse osmosis systems combined with a charcoal filter. You can attach the system to your faucet or have a plumber install it under the sink so that it is out of the way. This water purification system forces water through a membrane. Chemicals, heavy metals, microbes, and other contaminants are blocked by the membrane, so only purified water flows on through your faucet.
Depending on whether you have well water or municipal water, you may need to have more than one water treatment system in place to give you safe drinking water and to protect your pipes too. If you're not sure where to start, have your water tested. Once you know what sediments, minerals, and contaminants are in your water, you'll know what type of water purification services you need.