Understanding Water Refiner Systems

Water is an important part of our everyday lives. From when we wake up to when we go to bed, water is featured in many of the activities we take part in, and is essential for our existence in several ways. Unfortunately, water does not start out clean and ready to consume in most areas of the world. It needs to be treated before AND after it comes into our homes.

Water refining (also called water conditioning) is one way we can treat water at home or in the office to ensure that everyone has clean, clear, fresh water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, or bathing. Understanding the reasons to condition water and how these systems work is integral to getting the most out of the process and it can end up saving you time, hassle and money. Here are some of the most important questions that can help you understand and whether a water refiner/conditioner system is the best choice for your needs.

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that has a high level of calcium and magnesium in it. All water starts out soft, but as it filters through the ground, it picks up high levels of these minerals. When hard water comes into your home, the minerals contained in it can cause irritating issues like discoloration on clothing and itchy, dry, uncomfortable skin. These minerals leave deposits that form when hard water is heated, which a US Geological study has found can reduce the life of appliances, raise hot water costs, clog pipes and more.

What is soft water?

Soft water is water that has low levels of calcium carbonate and other ions in it. To be classified as soft, water needs less than 85.5 parts per million of calcium carbonate. As a basis to start with, rain water starts out soft, but as it hits the ground and picks up other minerals, it becomes “hard water”. 

What does a water refiner do?

A water refiner not only takes out hard water minerals, but it removes contaminants like chlorine as well as removes any bad taste and foul odors from the water. A water refiner can also filter out some more common particulates found in water like pesticides, hormones, arsenic, iron and lead. Did you know your water can contain these foreign bodies?

What is the difference between water softeners and water conditioners?

It’s important to understand the difference between water softeners and water conditioners so you can get the proper water treatment solution in your home or business. Let’s go over what each can and can’t do for you.

A water softener can:

  • Remove calcium and magnesium from your water
  • Reduce scale build-up
  • Reduce soap and detergent use
  • Reduce dry skin issues caused by hard water

A water softener can’t:

  • Take out harmful chemicals like pesticides and chlorine
  • Remove bacteria and viruses from water
  • Make tap water healthier to drink

A water refiner/conditioner can:

  • Reduce scale build up
  • Remove additional chemicals from water
  • Remove chemical smell from water
  • Saves money by using less water than a water softener 
  • Change the chemistry of the particles in hard water

A water refiner/conditioner can’t:

  • Remove hardness particles from water
  • Lower TDS (total dissolved solids) in water
  • Stop scale build-up off of appliances, dishes ,showers, etc.

Which one do I choose?

Now that you have a better understanding of what each of these water filtration systems does, you can better decide if a softener or a refiner is the best choice for you. Water refiners/conditioners filter water and remove chemicals and impurities, but keep the minerals. If you want to reduce water hardness, then water softener is the choice for you.

Keep in mind both these systems have their limitations, so it’s all in what you need the filtration system for. It’s important to note that soft water from an ion exchange water softener contains sodium ions, which adds sodium to the water. Your water won’t taste salty (salt and sodium are different) but if not regulated, it can have high levels of sodium, so always make sure to have a water assessment done if you have high blood pressure. To that same point, water refiners don’t add sodium. 

Whether you refine or soften your water, just make sure to decide which one is best for your home or business before you start shopping.

Need a quality filtration system?

Independent Water Service can recommend and install the right water filtration system for your specific needs. We offer free water analysis and help you choose which system works for you. Our free water analysis checks for softness, impurities and other factors that may affect your household or business’ water. We offer systems for both residential and commercial spaces.

We proudly serve Yakima and Kittitas Counties and have been your local trusted water service since 1986. Call to schedule your free water analysis today!