How do I choose the best hard water filter? (with photos)

Reverse osmosis water filters remove most harmful chemicals.

A hard water filter, also called a water softener, is designed to filter water to remove excess minerals. Hard water has a higher-than-normal content of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Mineral-rich water may sound healthy, but the limescale it creates can be hard on pipes, basins, clothing, and your skin. Hard water stains and stains can become a frustrating problem unless you use a filter to soften the water. While there are several types of filters available, you should generally choose between an activated carbon filter, a reverse osmosis filter, and a water softener.

Carbon filtration can remove organic compounds such as chlorine and sediment from the water.

Most hard water filters are normally installed between the water inlet pipe and the kitchen faucet, or wherever the water needs to be softened. In some cases, water treatment can start where the supply enters the home. This may be the best option for areas where the water is so hard that mineral deposits could otherwise build up and quickly clog water pipes. In areas where limescale buildup is a serious issue, water heaters and boilers may need to be serviced or replaced more often than usual if the water is not descaled before reaching them.

In electric water heaters, the buildup of hard water scale can cause the elements to burn out prematurely.

An activated carbon filter, also commonly called an activated carbon filter, uses particles of activated carbon to clean the water of things like loose particles and chlorine. Each pound (about 0.45 kg) of carbon has a surface area equal to more than 100 acres (about 0.40 square km) that can absorb impurities in the water. This type of hard water filter is commonly installed under the faucet to soften drinking water or water that will be used for showering or washing clothes, although models exist for the entire house.

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A hard water filter is another name for a water softener.

A carbon hard water filter creates generally odorless and pleasant drinking water, but does not tend to filter out things like minerals and other substances that are dissolved. Carbon filters fill with impurities over time and must be replaced to continue working. How often the filters need to be changed varies depending on the conditions of the water and the amount that passes through it.

The reverse osmosis hard water filter uses a membrane that normally removes particles too small for carbon filters to stop. Almost all filters of this type are connected to a single faucet in the home because they can be too expensive to use as whole-house filters. Only about 10% of the water that passes through these filters is clean, with the rest instantly going to wastewater. Despite the heavy use of water that a reverse osmosis filter requires, you may prefer it because it removes more small impurities than other systems and generally creates high quality drinking water. Occasionally, filter cartridges need to be cleaned or replaced to keep the system working.

A water softener may be best in areas of extremely hard water. These usually use small zeolite granules that have a negative magnetic charge, with positively charged sodium ions attached to them. Magnesium and calcium ions are attracted to zeolite because they have a positive charge. Its charge is stronger than that of sodium, so its motion forces sodium into the water, essentially swapping places with it. A softener can help protect a home’s water pipes and appliances from scale buildup, but it will add salt to the water supply.

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Many people who install water softeners also add a filter under their kitchen sink to remove salt from their drinking water. An activated carbon hard water filter is typically not suitable for removing sodium. A reverse osmosis filter, however, should remove most, if not all, of the salt added by the water softener.

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