What is the difference between softening water and filtering water?
You don't have to be a hydrologist to understand the basic principles behind water filtration and water softening. Here's an abridged version of what happens when you filter or soften water.
Filtering water involves separating mineral particles, like particulates, iron, hydrogen sulfide or other organic matter, from H2O. By passing water through a "filter bed," or "media bed," these granular particles are trapped - and clean water passes through the bed.
Softening water involves something called "ion exchange" to remove dissolved minerals - like calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese - that can't be trapped in a filter bed. Softeners use fresh resin beads with sodium attached to the resin. As water enters the tank, dissolved calcium and magnesium are attracted to the resin. The resin passes up the sodium in exchange for the dissolved chemicals and the water is then rid of these impurities