We had a ws1 clack installed in 2004 here in southern Georgia.
We lived in the house for a year, but had renters in the intervening years. We're now back in the house and suspect our renters weren't putting enough (any) salt in the system because there is an amazing heavy build up of limescale (i think) in the dishwasher and on the plumbing fixtures throughout the home.
My husband is also convince the water is not "soft" even though we replenished the salt and the system appears to run.
He thought the water levels were a bit high so we called a Culligan guy to come look at it. After a cursory glance at the system he determined the piston isn't working correctly and said it would $150 for the part which is fine, but I've priced the piston on line and it appears to be less than $10. Could that be right? Is there an entire assembly that is necessary to replace? My husband would operate on himself if I let him and is itching to do the work himself.
I wasn't sure the Culligan guy knew what he was talking about so had the guy who installed the system come take a look. He pulled things apart and messed with the hose in the salt reservoir and determined the entire valve assembly (with digital components) needs to be replaced. He said the cost would be $475 and that actually looks accurate, but the system only cost 800 7 years ago so is replacing that entire assembly really worth it or should we start over?
Thanks for your help!
If you can get the piston and seals online and your husband is a handy guy there is absolutely no reason why he can not swap the parts out. Even if you have to buy the parts locally because Clack is no longer allowing it's stuff to be sold online, it will still cost way way less than $150.00 Changing or "rebuilding" the WS-1 is pretty easy with no special tools needed. After rebuilding the valve a water test needs to be done to determine if the resin bad is badly fouled. If there is no, or very little iron in your water, back to back regenerations should bring everything back to normal. If there is iron you will want to add super iron out to the brine tank and do back to back regen's and hope for the best. Sometimes with iron the resin can get so fouled that it will have to be replaced or removed and cleaned.
there is also a pretty good chance that the parts are OK and just need to be cleaned off and re-installed but the seals should be replaced at the same time anyway.
I dont really see a reason to replace the entire head assembly unless the internals, and the main board are bad, then the cost of parts would exceed the replacement cost. Run the system through the regeneration cycles, it should be fairly obvious if the board is functioning correclty, it will go through each cycle and stop, then start counting down, and it will go to the next cycle etc... if the board is bad, you will get an error, or it will not cycle at all. The meter is another item to check, be sure the meter is functioning correctly.
If the guy who put it in can replace the valve for $475, that is a fair price. Be sure he guarantees that the system will work correctly after that and not come back and say the resin needs to be replaced a few weeks later.
Keep us updated.
lol, Tom beat me to it by a minute.
BTW, I totally agree with Toms assessment on this as well.
The water levels were too high... what water levels, the water in the salt tank? If it sucks the water down to about 2" off the bottom, it is working correctly. If not the cause will usually be a blocked injector, injector throat, loose brine line fittings, a blocked/kinked drain line etc..
Originally Posted by Toninole
If water is going through the brine line into the salt tank when the softener is in the Service position, it has an internal leak in the control valve and the cause is the brine piston and/or its seals. To fix it you buy a new complete piston (both main and brine pistons) and a new seals/spacers stack. Don't buy just one part like a piston or stack. And IMO any piston for a Clack is going to be more than $10 but far less than $150.
And what is this "if I let him"!! Are you saying your hubby is one of them feminized American males? ummmm...
You don't need a new control valve. He is ripping you off and I suggest not dealing with him now or in the future. Especially if he can't troubleshoot and then correctly repair a Clack WS-1 by replacing the correct part.
Originally Posted by Toninole
To find out if there is water going into the salt tank when it shouldn't be, run water and watch for the gallons to count down and then if they do, shut off the water and remove the brine line from the side of the control valve and watch for water flow out the fitting. That means not just what drips out when you remove the brine line but a steady flow if only a drip every few seconds. If you have that you need the new complete piston and a new stack.
The water in the salt tank remains near the top of the tank which is why we thought it wasn't draining correctly. You confirmed my suspicions that he might be trying to rip us off. He's subsequently called twice to see if we want him to just replace the entire system and repeatedly and completely unprovoked (4 times now) says "I'm not lying to you..."
I found a great youtube video on replacing the piston and seal kit so we'll probably go that route and then run the regenerator as you suggest and see where we're at.
I previously monitored the digital display while running a cleaner through the system a few weeks ago and never got an error so I'm assuming it is good to go.
Thanks for all the help! I really appreciate you taking the time to decipher my note and now I'm handing it over to the hubs. He understands these things far better than I.
only problem now is finding a wrench that will work on this softener. Can't seem to locate one anywhere :/
You can use a screwdriver to remove the piston drive assembly. If you notice at the top of the backplate, Clack molded in some plastic nptches just for this reason. It takes a minute to remove, a little easier with their special tool. Hope this helps.
Originally Posted by Toninole