Reverse Osmosis System VS. Water Softener

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Soft Water vs. Reverse Osmosis Systems - Do I Need Both?

Whether your business or home water system is provided by a water system company or comes from a well, you may want to improve its taste and quality. But the question is, how do you do it?

Water may contain impurities that can be removed by a high quality reverse osmosis system. However, an estimated 85% of Americans have hard water to some degree. So, do you need both soft water system and reverse osmosis for a complete solution?

A Soft Water and Reverse Osmosis System Compared

Reverse osmosis systems and water softeners have two different purposes. A reverse osmosis system purifies water by filtering out lead, nitrates, pesticides, sediment, and various other contaminants. But does a reverse osmosis system soften water? Well, it does to some degree because it removes some magnesium and calcium that cause hardness staining and corrosion. Although this results in extra wear on the membrane used to filter the water, water that has been purified through a reverse osmosis system:

  • Tastes better since impurities that can cause an unpleasant taste are removed
  • Is crystal clear and free from smell
  • Is better for your health and will not aggravate allergies
  • Is environmentally friendly since no chemicals are used in the process and plastic waste is reduced if you drink less bottled water.

A water softener removes the magnesium and calcium that cause the hardness, staining, and corrosion. This process:

  • Reduces the unpleasant scum that is caused by limescale
  • Prevents your pipes and appliances from becoming clogged with limescale so they will work better and don’t need to be repaired or replaced as often
  • Ensures soap and detergents work much better so you, your clothes, and your dishes are much cleaner at less cost
  • Makes skin and hair appear healthier
  • Helps skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

Do You Need Both Soft Water System & Reverse Osmosis?

The question is, do reverse osmosis systems soften hard water? Since the answer is yes, to some degree, it seems only a reverse osmosis system is necessary. However, it’s not that straightforward.

The first thing you should do is test your water to see what it contains. You can buy testing kits online and some water treatment companies, including Gordon Water, will test your water for free.

If your water contains a significant quantity of impurities, a reverse osmosis system is necessary. If you also have hard water, as most American households do, a water softener is also recommended.

A combination of water softener and reverse osmosis system is often the best option because the water softener will first remove the calcium and magnesium that cause the hardness before the water is then filtered and purified by the reverse osmosis system. This type of set-up will protect the reverse osmosis system because filtering hard water wears out its membrane much quicker so this will last much longer if the water is softened.

A reverse osmosis system is much less efficient at softening water and can produce a lot of wastewater. One option is to have a water softener at the point of entry, so all water used is soft but only has a reverse osmosis system at a faucet(s) and icemaker that provides clean, safe drinking water. The alternative is to install a whole house reverse osmosis system for all the water in your home.

Getting the best solution can be confusing but we’ll provide all the help and advice you’ll need. That way, you’ll get the most affordable, practical, and effective solution.

Soft Water & Reverse Osmosis System Specialists

Tamara Carter

Serving the Greater Kalamazoo Area
(269) 217-3587
[email protected]

Robin Bartells

Serving Grand Rapids to the Lakeshore
(616) 293-1297
[email protected]

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