View Full Version : Culligan Mark 812 Water Conditioner - Time to replace?
07-28-2005, 07:53 AM
I just purchased a house with a Culligan Mark 812 Water Conditioner. The conditoner was put in about 13 years ago. It doesn't seem to be doing much to condition the water as soap doesn't lather good and there is a strong iron smell to the water. Also, spots on the glasses, etc.
I have it doing a recharge about 2x per week and there is only 2 of us in the house. I had recently sanitized the brine tank and the salt level is adequate. Any suggestions on troubleshooting this? Could it be the media has reached the end of its useful conditioning life and if so, is that replaceable? I hate to have to replace the system as it is not in the budget right now.
07-28-2005, 12:28 PM
I don't know their model numbers so I don't know what type control valve is on your softener but... if it unclamps or unscrews from the tank, you should be able to replace the resin fairy easily. If the control has two collars covering dovetail type tank connectors, then it is fairy difficult for a DIYer to replace the resin. But it may not be the resin.
Does it use salt? If not poke a stick down through the salt to see if there is a hollow spot under the salt keeping the salt up out of the water. That would be a salt bridge. Other causes of not usign salt are a blocked drain line or injector, injector throat or injector screen. Is there more water in the brine tank than is normally in it?
Post a picture of the tank to control valve area and the face without the cover on it.
If you get around to a new softener, I suggest one using the Clack WS-1 or Fleck 7000SE control valve. IMO they are the best choice for any DIYer.
Quality Water Associates
07-29-2005, 07:06 AM
Actually, I did a little more probing and might have found the fix. I unscrewed a metal cover on top of the control valve and removed what I believe was the injector and screen. They were dirty with sediment build up, so I cleaned them out. I initiated a manual recharge and the tube in the brine tanks inserts and picks up the water, so that seems good. I also put some iron out in the brine tank. Today it seemed better, so I will have to see how it goes over the next few days. The control valve is mounted with a dovetail type connector, so it may not be easy to remove it and change the media. I am guessing I would have to unsolder the in/out pipes to the valve if I need to go that route. Thanks for the help!
08-01-2005, 09:19 AM
Glad to hear you fixed it.
Usually you remove 4 screws fron the plate that holds the yoke or by-pass valve on to the back of the control valve to get the control off the pluming without unsoldering pipes.
Quality Water Associates
08-01-2005, 10:30 AM
I'll take a look for the screws as that sounds much easier. Thanks for your help!
08-03-2005, 11:04 AM
Looks like I am back to hard water and the iron smell. I think I will try replacing the water softener media. Any recommendations on the best media to use?
08-04-2005, 08:24 PM
The best.... based on what? I use a lot of Purolite C-100 but used Sybron C-249 for many years although it costs a bit more. Either is good and both are basically regular mesh. Fine mesh has higher salt efficiency BUT causes a larger pressure loss across the softener. SST-60 has the best salt efficiency. Salt efficiency being K grains/lb of salt used per regeneration but... if a softener is sized correctly, it will have excellent salt efficiency to begin with. If you have say over 3 ppm of iron, I use SST-60, it is best for high iron due to the bead construction which prevents iron fouling which is the downfall of the other two types.
I'm not sure you have your softener set up correctly. Or you wouldn't have soft water for X days after regeneration and then it go hard, if that's what is happening. if it is, go to my sizing chart page on my web site and then the calculator page. Use current water test data, even if you have to get a water test. You can find my web site by clicking on my name above.
Quality Water Associates
08-05-2005, 05:43 AM
First of all, thanks Gary for taking the time out to answer my questions. This is new territory for me so your responses have been very helpful. I think I will take your advice and get a water test done first and also check your sizing page. A few remaining questions I had if I need to replace the media:
1-It sounds like SST-60 would be the best for me since I have the iron issue. Where could I purchase that? A local store would be best but online would be fine too.
2-The Culligan 812 has 30lbs of underbedding media as well as the 1.4 cu ft of resin. Should I be replacing the underbedding as well and if so, any recommendations there?
08-05-2005, 07:41 AM
"underbedding" is gravel. There are no negatives to having a gravel underbed and a number of positives to having one. It comes in a couple different types and I like little stone type. Any local or internet dealer will sell you resin and gravel but you'll get a better price on the internet.
I'd tell you 1.5 cuft of resin and a bit less gravel. Before selecting a resin, you need the water tests. When you get the price for SST-60 resin and gravel, and then look at replacing them with the difficulty of your type tank, you may opt for a new softener.
Getting the resin out of your tank is very difficult and the only way I know how is to use water pressure to 'pump' it out the other 3/4" hole. You need an open ended distributor tube to do that unless you lay the tank down or hold it upside down and flush it out into buckets wit hasalt bags with little holes in to drain the water out of the resin so you can throw it in the garbage. You will do better by replacing the gravel rather than trying to separate it from the resin which rarley works for me.
Quality Water Associates
We also just purchased a home with a Culligan Mark 812.
I've never had a home with a filtration system before and know little about them. There's a pipe outside the garage where it's located that shoots water into the drive everyday.. :eek: What's that all about? We have a slight to moderate sulfur smell to our water. Rock salt is the only thing the previous owner has done with this system.. We just bought a small Brita to put on the faucet..Should we get a water quality test to make sure the system is operating properly? Thanks..Miki
07-15-2009, 09:44 PM
You don't say if you have city water or your own well. If you well, yes have the raw watr tested for hardness, pH, iron, and manganese would be nice. Coliform bacteria and nitrates if you didn't have them tested for when you bought the place.
If city water, use the highest highest figure on the water co's web site and their water quality report.
The water in the drive way is the water from a regeneration of the softener.
Also have a hardness (and iron if your own well) test done on the cold water from the kitchen sink.
Thanks..I have well water. I know so little about filtration systems...
Should the system flush once a day? There's only two living here. It takes a long time too. Seems like it goes on and on..
Do people have other ways to pipe the water away from the house? For instance running a pipe underground for a distance. What about into the septic system? Also..will a charcoal filter on the sink take care of the sulfur smell? Thanks...
07-16-2009, 11:57 AM
When the unit regenerates is based on its programming. And it takes about 90 minutes to finish.
Hot water only odor is caused by harmless bacteria that colonize trhe water heater. Turning the temp up to 140f kills them. Removing or replacing the rod with a different material/type will prevent teh odor IF you ca ngte to old rod out without dropping any of it back into the tank; which is usually impossible.
Carbon/charcoal is a great place to grow bacteria, so don't use it to get rid of this odor.
You can buy a test kit and test your before and after the softener water for hardness. That will tell you if the softener is working correctly as to removing all the hardness in your water.
You can run the discharge water into the septic or sewer system or a dry well but some of those choices are not allowed in most areas.
07-31-2009, 08:18 PM
Our softener is about 15 years old on well water. For the most part, it has worked fine. I found if I add one bag of Rust remover to 3 bags of salt there is very little rust buildup in the house and the wife doesn't complain about her hair turning orange.
Now, my problem. A couple months ago I had to replace our well tank. Since then, it seems the softener regenerates but am getting a lot of rust in the house and the slick feeling in the shower is long gone. When the water first came back on, we had some black water in the house for the first few minutes, so I figured the valve was plugged somewhere.
I took off the valve, rinsed it out in the bath tub, pulled everything apart I could find to take out, cleaned everything I could. I had a lot of black pieces in the but when I was done, but nothing big enough that it would seem to plug the entire unit. This seemed to help for about one shower, then back to the same thing.
The salt level does not seem to be dropping, even though I have manually regenerated it multiple times. I have not added salt since the well tank was replaced, I thought maybe the screen in the bottom of the brine tank was plugged so I took it to the car wash and sprayed it with high water pressure, still no better.
The softener is working to some degree because if I bypass the unit, you can see the water turn orange in the house. But it is not working as it should because the toilet, shower and sinks are getting very rusty and there is no slick feeling in the shower.
Should I try clearing the valve again? Is there something or some place I should pay special attention?
Thanks for your time.
07-31-2009, 10:01 PM
Hi Tom. Look to make sure the unit it not plumbed backwards.
Other than that, as long as it is using salt, I'd guess bad resin.
You cold replace it but on your model it may be difficult. And since it is a time clock model, you may want to replace it with a metered/demand regenerated new softener. If so I suggest one with a Clack WS-1 control valve.
08-01-2009, 06:45 AM
Thanks for lightening fast response!!! I can't imagine its plumbed backward, it worked fine for 15 years and things go back together only one way.
The unit is metered and the issue doesn't seem to get any better even after manual regenerations, nor does the salt level seem to be going down any.
I can't get past something plugging the valve ports somewhere. Everything was fine, till that burst of black water from replacing the tank.
If it is the resin, where do I get resin and how do I replace it?
08-01-2009, 12:52 PM
If it isn't sucking brine, then that is the cause of it not working. Tear it apart agsain and see if there is more black stuff up in the valve and then check the drain line isn't kinked or blocked, same for the injector, its throat and filter screen, that the brine line connections aren't allowing it to suck air, that a safety float isn't raised/shut off etc..
Most any local dealer and all online dealers can sell you resin.
08-01-2009, 01:43 PM
I will tear it apart again this evening. The brine line isn't kinked, I can taste salty water in it so the salt is getting that far at least.
I'm not sure what or where the injector is. As far as I can tell, its a sealed unit, lots of ports from the plumbing, drain line and brine line, that's about it. But I don't think anything I can take apart.
Someone recommended Super Iron Out. Have you heard of or used it or some other sort of cleaning agent? I was considering using Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner, that does a job on the rust stains, thought maybe running some of that through might clear up or break up some blockages. Of course with a massive rinsing afterward!!!
I haven't had the time to sit and watch the softener for its entire regeneration cycle, but what I have seen about 10 minutes into the cycle, through the drain tube is only a trickle. During other times would the water be rushing through it, or is it usually a slow trickle?
Thanks again for all your help!!!
08-01-2009, 02:46 PM
Check the DRAIN line is blocked or kinked, not the brine line.
You can;t run Iron Out etc. through it until you get it to suck brine... but when you do yes, about a 1/3 cup dry measure in a couple gallons of warm water poured into the water in the salt tank, not through teh salt, and do a manual regen.
Post a couple pictures of the face of the control valve or describe it as if I'm blind, in detail. Of course that would be minus any cover... lol
Got to page 9 in Adobe (page 8 printed lower left corner of teh page), fig 3, screws, eductor (injector).
Of course you shut off the water and open a faucet somewhere and close it to relieve pressure before you unscrew anything... Don't lose parts or gaskets or break gaskets. Or overtighten anything.
08-03-2009, 04:12 PM
Yes, I meant the drain line, but neither lines are kicked or blocked. I took everything apart again, took off the whole assembly, took off the control board/box soaked the entire valve unit in bucket of warm water and iron out plunged it in and out of water, agitated it in the bucket, blew in all the ports, some tasted salty (or maybe the iron out), but they blew free. I located the injector/eductor, pulled out the plastic cone shaped thingy carefully, cleaned it out, could see a pin hole in the middle so I assumed it was clear. When done, there was a lot of small black sludge in the bucket, looked like pepper instead of the rice size particles I got the first time.
I put it all back together, without any spare parts plugged it in and regenerated it. This time water was flowing high pressure through the drain line. In the recent past it has only been a trickle. I thought I was on to something.
After it was done, the level in the salt tank was the same and no effect on the water softness. I assume its not sucking brine. The water level is high (due to me not paying attention when I was putting water back in the tank after spray washing out the brine tank and put one bucket too much in the tank). I assume after a regeneration cycle, the water level in the brine tank should go down, especially since it was high to begin with. I understand the salt:water ratio isn't correct, but I would guess if it were sucking brine, there would be some noticeable improvement.
I also noticed the float does not freely go down. Should I try taking that apart? or is there any test to know if its working properly? Is there a test to isolate which end isn't working properly when it should be sucking brine? During my dis-assembly, I blew through the brine tube and blew bubbles into the brine tank, so I know its clear.
I assume the brine line flows both ways, pushing water into the brine tank when the water level is low, then sucking the brine back into the softener for the cleansing cycle.
08-03-2009, 06:15 PM
That pinhole in the injector may be a partial blockage. Did you find and clean the injector throat under the injector, how about the injector screen?
Put it in the bring cycle and take off the brine line for then take or control valve and put your thumb on the end of the tubing and see if you have good ssuction. If not you have to find the cause.
www.kenmorewater.com to see how a softener works.
08-03-2009, 07:22 PM
I could not figure out how to get the throat out. I didn't want to pry or pull too much, there was no obvious way for it to come out easily. I did not pierce the pinhole with anything, thinking now maybe I should but I figured if I could see light through it, it couldn't be that bad...
The injector screen: Well... er um, well, it was a casualty a long time ago, when this problem first started and I got the nerve up to start tearing into it. I pulled it out and it basically fell apart in my fingers, so in my vast experience during my maiden voyage into tearing the thing apart, I determined it wasn't needed afterall.
I don't know how to put it in a brine cycle. Its electronically controlled the only control button is Regenerate and the computer takes over. To the best of my knowledge, there is no idication of which cycle it might be in.
If I push Renerate and sit there and watch it, about how long/which cycle would the brine cycle be?
08-03-2009, 07:43 PM
Yeah the screen is needed.........
The link to the manual I posted for you should tell you how to step from one cycle position to another during regeneration.
Regeneration will take what it takes, if you learn how to step it, it takes maybe 10 minutes and you're done.
There should be screw driver notches/slots in the edge of the throat.
08-04-2009, 07:22 PM
I took out the injector, cleaned the pinhole with a tooth pick, didn't get much of anything out. I then stuck the tooth pick in the throat, got just enough resistance to notice there was resistance, then suddenly the tooth pick went freely. I worked it up and down a few times and started the regeneration cycle. After about 30 minutes, I checked the brine tube and there was suction, so I put it back together and checked the brine tank was empty of water, so apparently it appears to be sucking brine now.
I let it finish its regeneration and ran the water for a few mintutes at the kitchen tap. It feels softer when I wash my hands, but now it smells funky, almost a sulfur/rotten egg smell. I will regenerate it again and see what happens in the morning.
Thanks again for all your help, it looks like we are on the way to soft (but funky smelling) water!!! With any luck, the smell will clear up by morning.
08-04-2009, 07:39 PM
With no Iron Out etc. in the salt tank, mix a 1/3 cup of regular nonscented bleach in 2-3 gallons of water and pour in into the water in the salt tank, not through the salt, and do a manual regeneration. That will sanitize it and should get rid of the smell.
08-05-2009, 09:31 AM
Yep!! That took care of most of the smell.
I will do a regular regeneration, then an Iron Out regeneration, then a regular regeneration and maybe another bleach regeneration if it still seems funky. I'm sure the resin isn't fully cleaned after all that time. It has been a couple months since all this started, hopefully the resin isn't bad from it.
The shower seemed better, but not much of a slick feeling this morning. The water looks clearer in the toilets so I imagine it will just take a bit. I understand the water heater still has plenty of hard water but with a family of 5 that should be gone soon.
Thanks again for your time, patience and suggestions!!!
08-05-2009, 12:33 PM
If you do those regenerations, the resin should be fully regenerated and you should have 0 gpg soft COLD water. The hot water will have some hardness until any/all scale build up in the water heater has been dissolved.
08-05-2009, 01:30 PM
Any suggestions to speeding along the process in the water heater? Or will the soft water break it down in a reasonable amount of time? (My wife is REALLY concerned over the rust in her hair) Its only about 4 years old, I hate to think about replacing it already.
I've heard you're supposed to flush your water heater every 6 months if you have hard water, but I've never done it and most water heaters I've had experience with tend to last around 20 years.
08-05-2009, 10:00 PM
It will take as long as it takes but maybe just a few days. Tell'er I said she needs to find some 'patience', and to tell you how good a job we've done, before something causes it to take longer. lol
Nope, hard water scale can not be drained or flushed out of any type heater because it is stuck fast to the inside and it is as hard as rock. In electric heaters, it can break off the elements as little half circle pieces, but most can't be flushed out either.
08-06-2009, 05:37 PM
oh well, I guess I've hit a dead end... hopefully it will get better over time. I will tell my wife what you said ;)
Thanks again for all your help, it wasn't easy, but you saved me a couple thousand dollars, that's for sure!!!!!
Have a great weekend.
08-06-2009, 08:09 PM
At my prices you wouldn't spend thousands, usually a couple hundreds less than one thousand; including shipping.