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Thread: Kenmore no brine draw

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member Cruisinfanatic's Avatar
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    I ended up taking the unit out, turning on side and hosed all the salt out. Much of it was caked dust at the bottom. Unfortunately as you know nothing turns out to be easy. All the o rings on the bypass were bad and it wouldn't completely shut off. I've got a kit, but of course, the ones I needed were not in it. Also broke the clips getting the bypass parts apart. Hope I can find those somewhere cheap. (any ideas?).
    3 hours later, all cleaned and bypass temporarily wired back together.
    New salt added and manual regeneration started. Goes on brine and what's that sound?
    Almost nothing because there is such little resistance compared to before.
    We'll give it a couple weeks and see, but I think with everyone's help, it's fixed.
    Thanks, Mike

  2. #17
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    To remove the clips to remove the by pass valve, you have to shut off the water and open a faucet to relieve the pressure, and then pull the clips out straight.

    Solar crystal doesn't cause that salt tank problem; block and pellets do. And solar is less expensive.

    Thanks for the followup.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  3. #18
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Default good suction for 5-10 mins and then the suction level is gradually reduced

    First of all, thank you so much for posting a lot of very useful information in this thread. It really helped me and shortened my troubleshooting steps quite a bit!

    I have a similar problem with my Kenmore UltraSoft 275 water softener. After 6 years I've experienced no brine draw into the resin tank and the symptoms were extremely similar to what's been described in this thread: good suction for 5-10 mins and then the suction level is gradually reduced. I've removed all of the old salt from softener but since it sounded like replacing the o-rings didn't help in the case described in this thread I've decided against disconnecting the softener from the water line. I've cleaned it up using a wet vacum cleaner instead. Also, to test it out I've put the brine valve assembly into a separate bucket with the brand new salt and water in it. I then started the regeneration manually and then left the softener in the brine cycle by disconnecting the power supply. Unfortunately the result was similar: the suction level would gradually reduce in 10-15 mins. So just cleaning the softener did not help in my case.

    Here is an interesting twist though - I had to leave home for a few hours so I've decided to leave the softener in the brine cycle but put the manual bypass on to stop the suction. To my big surprise when I switched the manual bypass off later I've noticed that the level of suction would be the highest again!? It would then gradually decrease and would almost stop in about 30 minutes. But if I push the bypass manually on and off right away the suction level will start at the highest level again and will decrease in the next 20-30 mins.

    Any idea as to what might be going on?

    Thanks in advance,
    Paul

  4. #19
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    If you have gone through the venturi , gray dome on the left side that has the black 3/8 going down into the salt tank and there was no change, then I would be looking at some parts inside the valve.
    There was another valve that I have worked on that would do great in pulling brine if the system had been put in bypass.. the hole behind the injector throat and nozzle was loaded up with iron. I cleared that and it worked great. There is a spring and plunger and a seal that could be bad inside the valve, check the owners manual back in the parts part for the numbers , they are in the valve body and on the same side as the venturi.

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    I think you have a blockage in the drain line or the drain flow control. Remove the drain line and put it in the bucket. Put the unit into a draw cycle and see if it stops drawing brine. If it does not, your problem is in the drain. If it does stop again, check the drain flow control.

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Interesting idea about "the hole behind the injector throat and nozzle" - I'll check it out, if I can find it ;-).

    Here is my dilemma. Our local Sears in Minnesota does not seem to have any o-rings in stock so I have to wait for the shipment to come. For that reason I hesitated to remove the main valve assembly so far. I've done it before once so I know how to do it however is there any chance I can remove it w/out changing any o-rings? Or in order to look inside I have to have all kinds of o-rings prepared just to put in back together w/out any new leaks?

    in re: second reply:
    In terms of the drain, isn't the same drain line used by all of the cycles? I can see water flowing through very well in the wash and rinse cycles. The brine line is certainly a suspect but if it was blocked then turning bypass on and off wouldn't change the suction, would it? It does in my case.

  7. #22
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    With a restricted drain, the backwash and fast rinse will pass because of the force behind the flow. With the brine draw, there is very little force so the water may cause back pressure and stop drawing. IMO, if the unit draws for awhile and then stops, there is nothing wrong with the valve or the venturi. The only time I have seen a unit draw then stop is when the drain is restricted. When you put it in bypass the drain relieves the pressure so when you put it back in service it starts to draw. Is the drain line run over head? If so, it will cause the same thing sometimes.

  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    I see - great point! I was just under impression that the backwash and fast rinse will flush anything from there. I have another line I can use so it will be a simple test to do. My drain line goes straight down from the valve and is attached to another drain pipe that runs to the drain at an angle. I'll definitely post my findings here. Thanks again!

  9. #24
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Default Checked the drain line: still no suction after a period of time

    Checked the drain line by connecting the clear line to the drain hose adapter and confirming the steady flow to the drain. Still the same issue - good suction after bypass is activated and then deactivated right away, then gradual decrease with no suction in 30 mins or so.

    Should I check the drain flow control now? If so how do I do that and what should I be looking for?

    Also, question for Akpsdvan: where is the " hole behind the injector throat and nozzle that was loaded up with iron" located exactly? Does it apply to Kenmore?

    Thanks again,
    Paul

  10. #25
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Here is the diagram of the valve assembly: http://www.searspartsdirect.com/part...&prst=&shdMod=

    Should I try disconnecting Nozzle and Venturi housing and clean the two lines inside? What else can looked at? I assume I would have to remove 5 screws to separate the valve cover from the valve body and then look inside. Correct?

    Thanks
    Paul

  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olgt View Post
    Should I check the drain flow control now? If so how do I do that and what should I be looking for?
    Paul
    The drain flow control is housed in the elbow that the drain line connects to. Pull the clip holding the elbow. It's in there.

  12. #27
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    I've disconnected the hose adapter from the valve cover and it all looked alright to me. Should I try cleaning inside of the valve cover somehow?

  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    When you say it stops drawing after 30 min, do you have the brine line disconnected? In 22+ years, I have never heard or seen a unit stop drawing like you say unless the brine water is gone. Once it does stop do you get water dribbling out on the venturi?

  14. #29
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Thanks again for looking into this issue!

    I have my brine line in a separate bucket with the salt so I can check the suction by hand. After I activate and deactivate the bypass in the brine mode I can feel a good suction at the end of the brine line. It then gradually decreases until no suction can be felt after about 30 mins. When the suction stops I can activate and deactivate the bypass again and have brine sucked in for another half an hour or so.

    The brine line end is under the water and no water is dripping from the venture or the valve assembly. Also the water flow to the drain is about the same after suction stops. I assume it's the clean water from the house water pipe that enters the softener and venturi to create suction.

    The only thing that I can think of is that some hole that the brine is supposed to be sucked through under pressure created by the incoming water is plugged and that causes hard water from the water pipe (instead of the brine) to go through the softener instead.

    Other possibility is the brine line that is connected to the venturi. When suction at the end of the brine line stopped I've disconnected the brine line from the venturi and I felt some suction there. Whether it was enough suction to pull the brine up I'm not sure. But how would the bypass trick change things if the brine line was plugged? And why would it take 30 mins?

    I appreciate your advice!

    Thanks again,
    Paul

    P.S. I've found this link that has some info most of which was already covered in this thread but not all: http://www.softenerparts.com/kb_results.asp?ID=36
    Last edited by olgt; 03-22-2012 at 08:31 PM.

  15. #30
    DIY Junior Member olgt's Avatar
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    Question Suction restored after venturi gasket is replaced

    I'd like to post an update on my adventure. I've decided to order the seal kit and the venturi gasket from http://www.softenerparts.com/kb_results.asp?ID=36. I then compared the new venturi gasket with the old one - here are the pictures of the old one : https://picasaweb.google.com/1157372...K3AqO_d39b9gAE. I did not really see any major differences aside from the inprint of the venturi on the old gasket. Other than that it was not worn, cracked, or "dried out". However when I replaced the gasket that made a huge difference - the brine suction increased dramatically and the suction level stayed the same through out the whole brine cycle. I guess I have underestimated the wear of the gasket and how it should look. I did not use the seal kit yet.

    I have another question. I've removed the flow plug from the venturi (.15 gpm) as was suggested in this and a number of other posts. My kenmore 275 softener stays in the brine mode for 133 minutes. If the brine is sucked out faster than in 133 minutes then the brine float will go down and the float seal will stop the brine suction ensuring that the 3 inches of water remains in the brine tank. What is the ideal scenario? Does it matter if the brine is sucked through the resin faster or slower? Could it affect the quality of the resin cleanup in the brine cycle? In other words, should I try putting the venturi flow plug back or not?

    Thanks again,
    Paul

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