Does a Water Softener Filter Sediment? [EXPLAINED]

A pre-filter on a water softener can get rid of sediment, rust, and other particles that don’t dissolve. Chemicals that change the way something tastes or smells, like chlorine, chloramines, or hydrogen sulfide.

You may know that the resin beads in your water softener attract hard minerals and take them out of your water, but did you know that your water softener may also have a pre-filter? And if it doesn’t already have one, should it get one? What, exactly, does a pre-filter for a water softener do? The answer (and that pre-filter) may help you get even better water.

Why is a Pre-Filter Needed?

Many things make us soften our water. Most people think of the damage that minerals like calcium and magnesium can do to our appliances, clothes, skin, and hair as the first reason. But softening doesn’t get rid of every chemical compound, which is why you need a pre-filter.

A pre-filter on a water softener can get rid of:

  • Physical impurities like sediment, rust, and other solids that don’t dissolve
  • Chemicals that change the way something tastes or smells, like chlorine, chloramines, or hydrogen sulfide
  • Iron and manganese are two examples of chemicals that stain.

These things can build up in your water softener and make it work less well or even cause it to break. Getting rid of these impurities protects your water softener’s performance and helps it last longer. It also makes your water look better.

Different Filters for Water

Most pre-filters come in two types: sediment and carbon. What you want to take out of your water will determine which pre-filter is best for your home.

Most of the time, sediment pre-filters are used on well water. They work like a sieve to get rid of things like iron, manganese, rust, and so on. If there are a lot of sediments or particles in the water, you could choose a multi-stage system with a series of filters that go from coarse to fine.

Most of the time, carbon pre-filters are used on city water. They get rid of contaminants or impurities by using chemical adsorption and activated charcoal. Carbon pre-filters are especially good at getting rid of or lessening the smell of chlorine in the water.

ALSO SEE: Do Water Softeners Remove Contaminants In Water?

When should the filter be cleaned?

Your water softener’s pre-filter will get dirty, just like the air filter in your HVAC system or the air and fuel filters in your car. How often you should clean or replace the filter depends on the type of pre-filter you have and how much water you use in your home as a whole. In general, experts say sediment filters should be changed or cleaned every three to six months.

Some filters can be used more than once, so when they get full (or dirty, as we say), you can take them out, clean them, and then put in a new one. But depending on the filter and the water it’s filtering, some can get very dirty very quickly, so we often suggest using disposable filters instead.

What do you need to find? If the color or taste of the coffee changes, it’s likely time to clean the filter. If the water pressure slowly goes down, that’s another good sign that you might need to change your filter… or at least check it. You can also look at your filter from time to time and, over time, figure out how often is best for your household.

Call us to talk to us.

Testing your water is the first step in figuring out what kind of pre-filter will work best with your water softener to get the best results overall. A test kit can be bought in a store or online.

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