Water Conditioning, Softening, and Purification: All the Same or Different?

20 September 2019
 Categories: , Blog


Different plumbers and water professionals use different words and phrases to describe processes that make water more potable. All of these phrases can be confusing, considering that they all seem as though they are the same thing or that they do the same thing. In truth, they are related, but they are different. The following information should help you sort out any confusion you have while helping you select the process you want to make your water better tasting, cleaner, and clearer. 

Water Conditioning Equipment Services

Water conditioning is the general heading under which all other phrases fall. Any and all attempts, and all of the equipment used to change the taste, color, clarity, purity, etc., of your water fall under water conditioning. If you were to write this information on a chalkboard or whiteboard, "water conditioning" would be at the very top, with everything else listed underneath. 

Water Purification

Purifying water is a separate process from water softening. When you want to purify your water, it generally means that you are already aware of the fact that your water has a lot of impurities, and possibly even some toxic things in it that you want to remove. Water purification is ideal for homes that have well water because well water is coming straight out of the ground. It may be tainted by run-off from farms or industrial plants, or it may have naturally occurring but harmful levels of lead, chromium, etc., that you want to remove. Water purification also removes bad tastes and smells, such as sulfur or musty odors. 

Water Softening

Water softening is reducing the levels of calcium, lye, and rust in your water so that it does not taste awful and it washes cleaner. Most cities, through the process of treating sewage, cause water to be a little harder than it would otherwise be. There are also chemicals added to kill bacteria, such as chlorine, and ammonia from urine is not filtered out entirely. Hence, softening your water helps remove a lot of these chemicals and minerals, and makes the water more palatable and clean. You also use less water for bathing, washing, and cleaning because you are not scrubbing soap and detergent residues from yourself and your home. The equipment used for water softening is very different from the equipment used for purification. If you want both softened and purified water, ask the plumber to show you which systems can do both for your home.