Getting clean water is increasingly becoming an issue, so you have to rely on different purification methods to fix that. There are different methods to use, but two of these stand out. That is reverse osmosis and water softening. People often confuse both water treatment methods, but here are the differences between both.
Reverse Osmosis vs. Water Softener
Most eco-friendly households made the switch from buying bottled water to installing a water filter or water softener. While both purification methods may appear similar, there are major differences between both methods. Although the water treatment process is almost identical, reverse osmosis works by removing solids and visible particles from water. On the other hand, water softeners reduce the mineral composition of the water to make it soft. They degrade minerals like manganese, iron, magnesium, and calcium found in the water. Aside from that, there are various components that mark the differences between both water treatment systems.
Reverse osmosis uses a membrane that applies pressure to the water molecules, blocking them and ensuring that the treated water is separated from the water. On the other side, water softeners purify water by exchanging the cations of water. That is, it releases sodium chloride and absorbs minerals like magnesium, calcium, etc, that cause scale buildup. This process is commonly known as the ion exchange process.
Although both methods are considered the most effective, they both have their different drawbacks. Reverse osmosis purifies water, but residual contaminants are still present, although they barely have any health effect.
Water softeners release sodium chloride into the water, which is basically additional salt in your water. This is considered unsafe, and although the water is purified, the presence of sodium requires caution when used. There might be a need to seek another filtration method for people who have a low tolerance to sodium.
When it comes to achieving all-around effectiveness, reverse osmosis systems do better than water softeners. It removes multiple forms of water pollutants and toxins that are dangerous to human health. From lead to sulfate, sodium, and other similar chemicals, reverse osmosis works very well.
With water softeners, only minerals are eliminated. It doesn’t remove multiple contaminants, so it is often used alongside other filtration methods. It can either be a pre-treatment or polishing process but not an efficient purification method.
Pure water is naturally colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Since reverse osmosis removes multiple contaminants, it also removes any foul odor and retains the original taste. Water softeners, on the other hand, are great for filtering water for daily use. However, they subtly affect the taste of the water as sodium chloride is released into the water during the purification process.
Reverse osmosis has many filters that need to be checked to ensure they are fit for purifying water. To maintain pure water, you’d have to change the filters that come with the RO system. However, this maintenance check should be done periodically.
Water softeners also require system maintenance. Unlike reverse osmosis, they require regular servicing and replacement of filters to ensure there isn’t a sodium buildup.