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Water Softener vs Water Filter: Which One Do You Need?

At Full Speed Plumbing, we understand the importance of clean and safe water in your homes. This is not only crucial for your health but also for the longevity of your appliances. However, navigating the choices between a water softener and a water filter can be daunting. You might ask yourself, “Which solution do I need?”. 

Today’s blog post is a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision, understand the differences between the two, and solve any water-related problems you may have. We aim to provide you with top-notch service and ease your journey towards achieving the best water treatment system for your home.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a device designed to help homeowners solve the problem of hard water. But what exactly is hard water? 

Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium. While these minerals don’t harm your health, they can create nuisances around your home. You might notice a chalky residue on your dishes, fading clothes, dry skin and hair, or a shortened lifespan of your home appliances.

So, how does a water softener work? Simply put, it uses a process called ion exchange. As hard water enters the softener, it flows over resin beads charged with sodium or potassium ions. These ions swap places with the calcium and magnesium, softening the water. 

The result? A significantly improved home experience for you and your family. From softer skin and shinier hair to longer-lasting appliances and brighter laundry, the benefits of a water softener are manifold. By investing in a water softener, you’re investing in the comfort and convenience of your household.

What is a Water Filter?

A water filter, on the other hand, is a device primarily designed for purifying your water. It’s a key player in ensuring the water you consume and use in your everyday life is clean and free from contaminants. But how does a water filter achieve this?

Fundamentally, a water filter removes undesirable particles, chemicals, and microorganisms from water. It pushes the water through a physical barrier or a chemical or biological process to eliminate these impurities. The goal is to produce safe water for drinking and other household purposes.

Water filters can be directly attached to plumbing fixtures, like your kitchen sink, bathroom shower, or even the whole house. They can effectively sift out contaminants, including chlorine, lead, bacteria, and pesticides. This purification process ensures that the water you drink and cook with is healthy, tasty, and filtered to perfection.

By investing in a water filter, you are taking a proactive step towards safeguarding your health and enhancing your daily living experience. Not only do you get to enjoy purer, cleaner water quality, but you also protect your plumbing fixtures from the adverse effects of contamination. It’s a win-win for your health and home!

Water Softeners vs. Water Filters: Benefits and Limitations

Although water softeners and water filters offer a wide range of benefits, they also have a handful of drawbacks, some of which include:

Benefits of Water Softeners

Here are some of the benefits of water softeners:

  1. Enhances Home Experience: A water softener can significantly improve your home experience, resulting in softer skin, shinier hair, brighter laundry, and longer-lasting appliances.
  2. Prevents Household Nuisances: Reducing the hardness of water prevents the chalky residue on dishes and the fading of clothes.
  3. Extends Appliance Lifespan: Soft water is gentler on home appliances, extending their lifespan and improving efficiency.

Limitations of Water Softeners

Some of the limitations of water softeners include:

  1. Does Not Purify Water: While a water softener treats hard water, it isn’t designed to purify water or remove contaminants.
  2. Requires Regular Maintenance: For optimal performance, water softeners need regular maintenance and salt replenishment.
  3. Salt Usage: Some people may be concerned about the extra sodium added to their water.

Benefits of Water Filters

There are several positive aspects to water filters, including:

  1. Ensures Safe Consumption: Water filters purify water, making it safe for drinking and cooking by removing harmful contaminants.
  2. Enhances Taste: Water filters can improve the taste of your water by sifting out substances like chlorine.
  3. Protects Plumbing Fixtures: They also safeguard plumbing fixtures from the adverse effects of contamination.

Limitations of Water Filters

Lastly, the drawbacks of water filters are as follows:

  1. Does Not Soften Water:  Water filters purify water but cannot treat hard water.
  2. Limited Scope: Some filters may not be equipped to remove all types of contaminants. It’s crucial to choose one based on your specific needs.
  3. Maintenance: Similar to water softeners, water filters also require regular maintenance for effective operation.

Which Product Should You Choose?

Deciding between a water softener and a water filter is not necessarily an “either-or” choice. For the optimal home experience and the pinnacle of health and safety, we at Full Speed Plumbing recommend utilizing both a water softener and a water filter. 

The water softener will address the hard water issues, enhancing your household convenience and extending the lifespan of your appliances. Concurrently, the water filter will ensure that your water is free from harmful contaminants, safeguarding your health and enhancing the taste of your drinking water. 

If the task of installation or ongoing maintenance appears daunting, remember to contact a professional plumber from our team at Full Speed Plumbing.

We have the professional certification required to provide you with top-notch service, guiding you through every step of the way. With Full Speed Plumbing, you can rest assured that your journey toward achieving high-quality water for your home is in capable hands.


Achieving optimal water quality can seem complex, but with the expert guidance of Full Speed Plumbing in Mount Vernon, Washington, it’s simpler than you think. Our top-tier customer service is dedicated to easing your worries and guiding you through the process, ensuring you have the purest, cleanest, and softest water in your home. 

Say goodbye to the expense and waste of bottled water and hello to the convenience and comfort of improved water quality. Act now and contact Full Speed Plumbing to schedule an installation today.

4 Ways to Make Your Tap Water Taste Better

We’ve all been there – you fill your glass with tap water, take a sip, and the taste doesn’t hit the mark. 

Well, worry no more! We’re here to help you transform your regular tap water into a delightful thirst quencher. After all, staying hydrated shouldn’t feel like a chore. It’s important to remember that enjoying the taste of tap water significantly adds to your daily hydration routine. It not only quenches your thirst but also contributes to your overall well-being. 

And who better to guide you in your hydration journey than your reliable partner, Full Speed Plumbing

So, let’s dive right into the simple yet effective ways to enhance the flavor of your tap water. Stick around to the end for more helpful tips from Full Speed Plumbing. Let’s make every sip count!

The Basics of Tap Water

Before we explore how to improve the taste of tap water, let’s first understand its composition. Tap water is composed primarily of H2O but may contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which contribute a unique taste profile for each region’s tap water supply. You may even detect some chlorine due to water disinfection processes in certain locations.

The Health Significance of Tap Water

Tap water is more than just a thirst quencher. It plays a critical role in our overall health. Regular water consumption aids digestion, enhances skin health, regulates body temperature, and even boosts brain function. The minerals present in tap water can contribute to your daily nutrient requirements, supporting bone health, cardiovascular function, and more. 

Improve the Taste of Your Tap Water with These Nifty Tips

Tired of drinking the same old tap water? You can drastically improve the flavor by using these tips:

#1 — Activated Carbon Filters

First up on our list is the widely popular Activated Carbon Filters. These filters work wonders in improving the taste and odor of your tap water. They function by attracting and absorbing impurities from the water, thanks to their porous nature. 

Doing this effectively eliminates chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and certain parasites from your tap water and makes it taste better overall! Remember, it’s all about improving its flavor!

#2 — Reverse Osmosis Filters

Reverse Osmosis Filters provide another method of water purification that stands out, known for removing more contaminants than any other filter available today.

Reverse Osmosis filters water through a semipermeable membrane, effectively trapping and filtering out impurities like fluoride, lead, pesticides, and more to improve its flavor and overall taste. Reverse Osmosis can drastically enhance tap water by filtering out contaminants like fluoride, lead, and pesticides from your drinking supply.

#3 — UV Filters

UV Filters have emerged as an innovative solution for water treatment. This technology uses ultraviolet light to kill harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses in your water without altering its flavor, taste, or color – an attractive feature if your priority is eliminating microbial contamination rather than aesthetic concerns.

Contact an experienced plumber, like one of our team members at Full Speed Plumbing, to learn more about the benefits of UV filters.

#4 — Infuse Your Tap Water for a Natural Flavor Boost

In addition to filters, infusion is another fantastic way to enhance your tap water’s taste. Infusing your tap water with fruits, herbs, or even spices improves the flavor and adds a dose of natural nutrients. You get a refreshing drink that’s a delight to your taste buds and a source of antioxidants, vitamins, and other beneficial compounds straight from nature’s pantry. 

Here are some popular flavor combinations to try if you’re into experimenting with flavor chemistry:

  • Lemon and Mint
  • Cucumber and Basil
  • Strawberry and Kiwi
  • Ginger and Orange

With these natural infusions, your tap water becomes much more than just hydration—it’s a healthful, flavorful experience.

Storing Tap Water for Enhanced Taste and Odor

For a noticeable improvement in the taste and odor of your tap water, consider storing it in glass containers. This simple yet effective method works because glass is a neutral material that does not transfer any odor or taste into the water. 

The Risks of Storing Tap Water in Plastic or Metal Containers

While plastic and metal containers may be readily available and convenient, they may not be the best options for storing your tap water.

  • Plastic containers can transfer chemicals like BPA into the water over time, especially when exposed to heat. This not only affects the taste and smell of the water but may also pose potential health risks.
  • Metal containers can also alter the taste of your water, giving it a metallic hint. Moreover, specific metal containers may rust over time, releasing substances into the water that could affect the safety and taste.

All in all, to enjoy the best taste of your tap water, opt for glass containers for storage, and always prioritize cleanliness and the right storage conditions.

4 Ways to Make Your Tap Water Taste Better — Conclusion

Tap water offers more than meets the eye. Not only is it an essential hydration source, but it can lead to healthier lifestyle choices when taken and treated correctly.

Filtrate it or add natural flavoring, there are numerous strategies available to you for improving the taste and quality of tap water.

Be sure to store it properly, ideally in glass containers, to maintain freshness and taste. By following these tips and strategies, ordinary tap water can become a delicious beverage that supports overall well-being.

Reasons Your Water Doesn’t Taste Right

There’s nothing better after a long day doing yard work than a nice cup of ice cold water.

There’s also nothing worse than being met with water that tastes a bit . . . funky.

Although, in many cases, there’s not too much to worry about healthwise, this is still an annoying inconvenience!

What are some things causing the weird taste? Continue reading as we’ll explain a few common scenarios and what usually causes them.

We are Full Speed Plumbing, one of the top plumbing companies in the Anacortes area! We also serve Skagit Island, Mount Vernon, and San Juan Counties. We love offering helpful plumbing information and tips to our customers and whoever else might stumble upon our blog.

Older Pipes

If your water has a more “metallic” taste to it, this is usually a sign that your pipes are older or even rusty.

Galvanized pipes were the go-to option in the early 1900s, but unfortunately they have a very short lifespan (see our recent blog post, where we dive into plumbing problems in older homes.)

This isn’t usually a major health issue if it’s just very small amounts of metal. In fact, some of these minerals, such as iron and zinc, are actually needed for a healthy diet! Large quantities of these are obviously not healthy though. You may also be running the risk of ingesting toxins like lead!

So, more often than not, it’s best to contact your local plumber. They will help you install a water filtration system, or, depending on the severity of your situation, replace your pipes!

Mold Growth

You may notice that your water smells a bit musty. This is usually caused by an algae bloom, a type of mold that tends to thrive in water pipes.

Sometimes, this water can be very dangerous to ingest if the bacteria and harmful matter are still present.

At other times, it can be completely harmless if the water is filtered properly (despite the funny taste and smell).

Just like metallic tasting water, it’s still best to contact your plumber to assess the situation!

Chloride Contamination

If your water tastes salty, this is a sign that there is chloride in your water supply.

Small amounts of chloride are naturally found in groundwater. This overabundance can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons would be run-off from road salts (during the colder, snowier months of the year) and seawater infiltration.

As with the other problems, we highly recommend contacting your plumber! When our customers have this problem we usually recommend installing a reverse osmosis water filtration system (which we can help install, of course ).

Where Can I Get Help With These Issues?

As one of the top plumbing businesses in the Anacortes area, we would love to help you identify the source of your funny tasting water and effectively fix everything for you!

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