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Does a Water Softener Remove Chlorine?


When it comes to water treatment, there are two basic options: filtration and softening. While both result in better water for your home, they’re separate processes — which means that depending on your water, you may need two different systems to get maximum results. However, there are some cases where a water softener can also include filtration capabilities for problems like chlorine.

Here’s what to know about water softening and filtration (and where they sometimes overlap).

Finding a Softener + Filter Combo System

Municipal drinking water is generally chlorinated. Cities use this disinfectant to protect the water supply and address certain contaminants long before you turn on your tap.* While this amount of chlorine doesn’t pose any significant health concerns, it can cause an unpleasant odor, almost like a swimming pool. For this reason, many people wonder about home chlorine removal.

If you want a softened water supply that also smells better in your drinking glass, you need a water softening system that works a little harder. That’s because hard water problems are treated one way, while water quality problems such as unpleasant tastes, odors and colors are addressed with different methods. That means the respective treatment systems don’t have much crossover; for example, the process of removing potentially harmful contaminants like lead wouldn’t do much to hard water and vice versa.

The good news is that certain softeners can also be your chlorine filtration system. You just have to choose the right softener and the right features.

For example, the Aquasential® Smart High-Efficiency Municipal Water Softener softens your water and reduces chlorine odors at the same time. It does this with a combination of resin beads and activated carbon media that address hardness and chlorine respectively. Plus, it offers smart features like access to the Culligan® Connect App, which gives you an inside look at both treatment processes. The HE Municipal Water Conditioner offers similar softening and filtration capabilities with different features.

The key is to carefully research each water softener system before making your decision. Not all systems can address chlorinated water — so be sure to read the fine print.

Softener vs. Filter Solutions

When it comes to softening vs. filtration, the biggest difference is in the processes. Although there are exceptions, most water treatment systems do one or the other — so it’s important to know which water problems fall into which category.

Water Softening

If you have spotty dishes, stiff laundry, mineral buildup and dry skin and hair, water hardness is likely the culprit. This is due to “hardness minerals,” mainly calcium and magnesium, that can change the feel of your water and cause problems throughout your home. You’ll likely even end up spending more on cleaning supplies because your dishes don’t come out clean or your bath soap won’t lather.

A water softener works by targeting those hardness minerals. It uses what’s called a resin tank, which is full of tiny beads. Each resin bead attracts and traps the mineral content, letting soft water flow out to your home. When the beads are “full,” the softener uses a salt solution to rinse the resin beads and keep itself working efficiently.

Water Filtration

Hard water is always caused by the same thing: hardness minerals. However, other water quality problems can have a huge variety of causes, from heavy metals and “forever chemicals” to fluoride and chlorine. You can’t always see, smell or taste these contaminants or the issues they cause, but that doesn’t mean they should stay in your tap water.

Fortunately, you can find a water filtration system for just about any need. Different designs, like a carbon filter or a reverse osmosis membrane, treat your water differently and address various contaminants. While some water softeners may handle chlorine, they don’t do everything a comprehensive filtration solution does — which is why many people prefer to have both.

Choosing Your Water Treatment Systems

You can’t see hard water, though you may notice its side effects. You also can’t detect certain water quality problems you likely don’t want in your drinking glass. But if these issues have no taste, odor or color, how can you identify them?

The first step in water treatment should always be to have a professional water test. These tests tell you all about your water quality, pH levels, hardness and more — and, better yet, they come with personalized recommendations to help you choose the right treatment systems. That’s an important detail because if you choose a softener or filtration system (or both) without knowing your home’s unique needs, you might miss out on significant benefits.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind when choosing treatment systems:

Your Water Supply

Where does your water come from? Municipal water supplies are filtered and treated at specialized plants, but may still have issues at your tap — often including a chlorine odor. Well water, meanwhile, isn’t treated by the city and has a different set of common issues, particularly high hardness and iron levels.

Your Home’s Water Hardness Level

If you’re focused on a water softener, you’ll need to know your water’s hardness level before you choose a system. That’s because softeners are rated to handle certain hardness ranges for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

You’ll also want to think about how much water you use throughout your home. If you have more square footage or a lot of people in your household, you may need a bigger softener.

Your Needs

Different treatment systems have different options, which means there’s always plenty to think about. You may want to consider smart features on your softener or filtration system. These features help put you in control of your water treatment, making it easy to schedule maintenance, track water usage, set conservation goals and even bypass softening in areas that don’t need it (like your lawn).

Better Water Without the Hassle

Although softening and filtration are two different things, they can sometimes overlap — if you have the right water softener system, that is.

Many people still want an additional filtration solution to address contaminants and issues that may not be treated by a softener. However, until you have a professional water test, you won’t know which combination of systems is best for your home.

Get started today. Schedule your free, in-home water test and consultation.

*Contaminants may not be present in your water

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