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Undersink Filter, Whole-house Filtration or Water Softening: Which System Do You Need?


If the bad news is that something isn’t right with your water, the good news is that there is most likely a solution you can install to address your problem. A water filtration system or water softener—or a combination of the two—could do the trick. This guide will help you match your water-related pain points with effective pain relievers.

For cleaner, safer, great-tasting drinking water, consider an under the sink water filter.

Perhaps your focus is on safeguarding your family from potential contaminants in your drinking water or addressing aesthetic issues like taste, odor or appearance.* Your water may be discolored, cloudy, salty or bitter, or even have a metallic taste. Maybe it just doesn’t smell right – or perhaps you’ve heard reports of potential safety issues with your local water supply.

In these cases, installing an undersink water filtration system, and specifically, a reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system (RO), is an excellent solution. RO systems are one of the best ways to treat water for a wide variety of issues and concerns. They work by using multiple stages of filtration to reduce impurities and make water taste crisp and fresh. What’s more, their filtration capabilities are more advanced than those of standard pitcher filters, tap filters or refrigerator filters.

For example, Culligan’s Aquasential® reverse osmosis systems are certified to reduce up to 60 contaminants – including those you can see and taste as well as those you can’t, such as bacteria, lead, mercury, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Culligan RO systems also can remove up to 95% of dissolved salts, metals and minerals in your water (known as total dissolved solids, or TDS). That’s why undersink filters like these are the preferred option for cleaner, safer, great-tasting drinking water.

For water issues that cause problems when cleaning, bathing and washing in addition to drinking, consider a whole-house filtration system.

A whole-house filtration system treats water from the point where it enters the home, so it provides better-quality water from every faucet and shower. These systems are most often needed to address problem water that impacts you throughout your home – and they’re a common solution for well water issues.

You can purchase water filtration systems designed to reduce the rotten-egg smell produced by sulfur, for example, or to reduce floating, sand-like particles in your water. Other home water filters can target high levels of chlorine that may leave water smelling like bleach, or the excess amounts of iron that cause red or brown staining in sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets or leave rust-colored stains on laundry.

You can also use whole-home options to reduce other contaminants that are specific to your geographic area or water supply, including arsenic. You can’t see, taste or smell these impurities, but a water test can reveal if they’re in your water.

For hard-water problems affecting your skin, dishes, appliances and fixtures, consider a water softener.

If you’re seeing limescale buildup on shower heads, faucets and shower doors, you likely have what’s known as hard water. This hardness comes from high concentrations of minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium. Problems typically arise throughout your home – and with your hair and skin as well – when these minerals build up over time.

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Hardness may also be to blame, for example, if soaps are leaving a filmy residue on your skin and hair, if your clothes are scratchy after you wash them, or if you see spots on just-cleaned dishes. Hard water even impairs the efficacy of water-using appliances like coffee makers and water heaters, and it can shorten their lifespan over time. It also causes increased spending on soaps and detergents – in fact, detergent use in washing machines and dishwashers can be reduced by 50% using softened water.

Hard water is a common problem for those who get their water from private wells, but it can also be a burden for customers of municipal water supplies. Fortunately, water softeners can remove the minerals that cause hardness. They’re installed at your water source, so you can have soft water throughout your home.

To solve multiple water quality issues, consider a combination of solutions.

Sometimes a single product doesn’t solve all the water woes of a household. Purchasing both a water softener and whole-house filtration system is useful if your water is hard and also smells like rotten eggs, for instance (a common combination for well water).

If your water is high in chlorine but you also have concerns about potential contaminants in your drinking water, you can combine a whole-house filtration system with an RO undersink water filtration system. Or, if your water has high levels of hardness but your drinking water also has an unpleasant taste or odor, you may choose to use a water softener as well as an RO system.

Rest assured that a local water treatment expert can help you discover the source of your home’s specific water issues and tailor a solution to treat them most effectively. With so many high-performance systems available today that are designed to provide high-quality water throughout your home, it doesn’t have to be complicated – or costly – to get water you can trust.


*Contaminants may not be in your water


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