http://www.isopurewater.com/Water-Softeners_c_937.htmlMany people confuse water softeners as a form of water filtration. Water softeners exchange calcium and magnesium ions for other salt ions like sodium or potassium. Calcium and magnesium ions create something called “hard water” and it is not aesthetically pleasing to the eye. People will find white spots on the glass or a hard thick white lime build up on the faucet. This can cause problems for the home with the pipes, showers, and appliances like the dish washer or coffee machine. Water softeners can stop and reverse the effects of scale build up.
However, water filtration systems are systems that remove contaminants or particulates such as carbon filtration, sediment filtration, iron filtration and so on. The most common question I hear is “can my water softener be used to remove Chlorine?” The answer is no, it can’t do anything other than exchange ions to create soft water. Water filter systems help improve the actual water quality and typically fix things that typically cannot be seen by the naked eye like chlorine, pesticides/herbicides, or bacteria.
Water filtration systems are best used as a pre-filtration to any softener to not only extend the life of the softener but to give your home a full range of filtration and water conditioning. Water filtration systems like a carbon filter will extend the life of a softener’s resin by removing the chlorine in the water. Chlorine can easily damage and breakdown the softener’s resin which reduces the life of the softener and will cause you to change out resin earlier than expected.
Iron tends to work too well on softener resin and can “foul” the resin quickly and there for it needs to be removed before it enters a water softener. Levels higher than 0.3 ppm recommend having the iron filter in order to prevent fouling. Iron water filter systems using Filox/Pyrolox, Birm, or Greensand are a must as a pre-filter for a softener.
A very standard setup is using a carbon filter with a water softener on a home with city tap water. Homes with well water may need extra filtration with an iron filter if the iron levels in the water are over 0.3 ppm of iron. It’s always best to check your iron levels before installing any system in the home. If you have any questions, always call a professional for some advice before purchasing any unit.