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Thread: Kinetico 60: Repair, Rebuild, or Replace?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    Default Kinetico 60: Repair, Rebuild, or Replace?

    I have a Kinetico 60 water softener that was purchased by the previous home owner in September 1985. My home is on well water and I've owned the home since 1996. The system worked fairly well until the well pump impeller disintegrated in 2005 causing little plastic bits to show up occasionally in the Kinetico valve system. (There is no pre-filter) The initial symptom was the brine tank overflowing. Since then, we just occasionally get bad tasting water when the system regenerates. The local service folks fixed this the first two times. Since then, I've taken it apart a couple of times to clean it out myself.

    Lately, it just seems that every time it regenerates the water tastes bad for a while and we get iron deposits on the fixtures.

    So, this is a 25 year old system with almost all original parts and with the original resin. Also, the house is 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. The previous owner had two adults and three teenage children and the system was sized for his family. Now that my son is off at college, it's just the wife and me so the system is probably not set optimally.

    I see three options:
    1. Try Super Iron Out on regens for both tanks (this has not been done in at least the last 13 years), clean out the control valve, install a pre-filter, and empty out and flush the resin tanks to get any impeller pieces that might be in there. If the resin looks bad (pieces not round?), go to #2.
    2. Do the above and replace the resin in both tanks. According to specs, each tank holds 3/4 cu.ft.
    3. Buy a new water softener.

    OK, here are the key data:

    Hardness: 76 ppm (4.44 gpg?)
    Iron: 2.15 ppm
    Manganese 0.41 ppm

    According to Gary's web site, this gives a compensated hardness of: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (0.41 * 2) = 13.86

    The Kinetico currently has a #3 disk (old style orange type) which, according to this page, will regenerate every 1514 liters or 400 gallons. The brine drum adjuster tube is set to 'H' and the float cup height is "1". I believe these correspond to a salt load of 4 lbs per regen.

    So, here are my questions:
    1. Is there any reasonable chance the resin is still good after 25 years?
    2. Is it possible to buy 1 1/2 cu. ft. of resin rather than 2 cu. ft? This affects the cost of option #2.
    3. Is this system currently set up badly for 2 adults who are not wasteful with water?
    4. Do you consider this system worth rebuilding?

    Please keep in mind that I am frugal. I hesitate to spend money but try to get the best long term value when I do decide to spend it. If I buy a new water softener, I want it to last as long as this one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    With the Mn I round up... and come up with 21 comp hardness..

    What size are the media tanks?

    You could rebuild the unit, not sure if the Kinetico 60 one that you have still has the same parts as the newer one today.. some one might have a used valve laying around..
    You might be able to get the resin that you have back,,,, large dose of iron out and then a couple of large doses of salt... all of that taking time,, days to get done..

    if the tanks are like 10x47 in size then you might be able to take one of the tanks, put a new dist, or turbo in to it, new resin 1 to 1.5 cubic depending on what dist gets used and a new fleck or clack valve some replumbing regut the brine tank and call it good..

    A single unit would work for the 2 of you, if it has the computer control it could be set for gallons with a day defualt say 12 days..

    Just some ideas that came to mind.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yes you could buy 2 .75 cuft bags of resin for under $200 delivered and I would if you get it working and think it will continue to work.
    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.

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    PM me. I can give you the name of a guy that is a Kinetico Service guy and he can probably give you some good advice.

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    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    With the Mn I round up... and come up with 21 comp hardness..
    I must have something wrong. If I round 0.41 up to 1.0, I get: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (1 * 2) = 15.04

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    What size are the media tanks?
    Both tanks are 8x40.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    You could rebuild the unit, not sure if the Kinetico 60 one that you have still has the same parts as the newer one today.. some one might have a used valve laying around..
    I saw one guy posted here saying he found a couple of "retired" Kinetico 60s cheap locally and used them to piece together a good one. I used "Search Tempest" to check Craigslist for 250 miles around here and found nothing. Nothing on "that auction site" right now either. If I get this thing working well, I guess I'll have to keep looking just in case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    You might be able to get the resin that you have back,,,, large dose of iron out and then a couple of large doses of salt... all of that taking time,, days to get done..
    I bought some SIO today and will give it a try. Unless I misunderstand, it should only take a few hours since I can manually force regens. Pour in SIO (mixed with water), regen tank one, Pour in SIO, regen tank two, regen tank one to flush, regen tank two to flush. Regens take 45 minutes each: 3 hours total.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    if the tanks are like 10x47 in size then you might be able to take one of the tanks, put a new dist, or turbo in to it, new resin 1 to 1.5 cubic depending on what dist gets used and a new fleck or clack valve some replumbing regut the brine tank and call it good..

    A single unit would work for the 2 of you, if it has the computer control it could be set for gallons with a day defualt say 12 days..

    Just some ideas that came to mind.
    I thought about reusing pieces to build a new one, but if I want to reuse the tanks, I expect I'll need a valve that will use them both to get adequate capacity. This would increase the price of the valve. I understand I'll also have to replace the brine float system since Kinetico's are different. I'm not sure I'll save anything over buying a complete new system.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Yes you could buy 2 .75 cuft bags of resin for under $200 delivered and I would if you get it working and think it will continue to work.
    That's good to know. All I saw online were 1 cu. ft. bags.

    How difficult would you expect it to be to unscrew the tops off these 25 year old tanks. Will I new new gaskets/seals to put them back together?
    If it sounds like I know what I'm doing, I haven't written clearly enough.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frugal-Mike View Post
    I must have something wrong. If I round 0.41 up to 1.0, I get: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (1 * 2) = 15.04

    Both tanks are 8x40.

    I saw one guy posted here saying he found a couple of "retired" Kinetico 60s cheap locally and used them to piece together a good one. I used "Search Tempest" to check Craigslist for 250 miles around here and found nothing. Nothing on "that auction site" right now either. If I get this thing working well, I guess I'll have to keep looking just in case.


    I bought some SIO today and will give it a try. Unless I misunderstand, it should only take a few hours since I can manually force regens. Pour in SIO (mixed with water), regen tank one, Pour in SIO, regen tank two, regen tank one to flush, regen tank two to flush. Regens take 45 minutes each: 3 hours total.


    I thought about reusing pieces to build a new one, but if I want to reuse the tanks, I expect I'll need a valve that will use them both to get adequate capacity. This would increase the price of the valve. I understand I'll also have to replace the brine float system since Kinetico's are different. I'm not sure I'll save anything over buying a complete new system.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    I my self treat Mn a little different than others.... it is a pain... so I add a little to the number as it starts staining at .05 ppm and iron will start at .3 ppm... I also multiply each by 4, now while most do not do this I have been doing it this way for 20 years and had no problems doing it this way.

    With both tanks at 8x40 normal loading would be just over .6 cubic per tank, with the turbolator it might be able to push .9 per tank.. and slowing the backwash to 1.5 gpm..

    If going to another system while using the tanks, one could change out the current brine float assembly with a 2310 assembly from fleck.. could be around 45.00

    On the iron out type stuff... mix with the water poor into the brine tank, send unit into cleaning cycle.. after it is done wait 2-3 hours for the next brine to get to 26% then add some more of the iron out like stuff... and send into another cleaning cycle.. this might have to be done a few times to get the resin back..

    One thing that you would save would be the land fill by re using as much of the current system as possible..

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frugal-Mike View Post
    That's good to know. All I saw online were 1 cu. ft. bags.

    How difficult would you expect it to be to unscrew the tops off these 25 year old tanks. Will I new new gaskets/seals to put them back together?
    Should not be to much of a challenge in getting the current tank heads off, even if they have been on for a number of years.. The "O" ring that is between the head and the tank for the most part does not go bad unless the the head has been removed a large number of times and over tightend , some times a little silicone lubricant does wonders in giving it new life..

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frugal-Mike View Post
    I must have something wrong. If I round 0.41 up to 1.0, I get: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (1 * 2) = 15.04
    The difference between 21 and 16 is not enough to worry about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frugal-Mike View Post
    Both tanks are 8x40.
    Standard 3/4 cuft is 8" x 44", so your tanks are on the small side already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frugal-Mike View Post
    I bought some SIO today and will give it a try. Unless I misunderstand, it should only take a few hours since I can manually force regens. Pour in SIO (mixed with water), regen tank one, Pour in SIO, regen tank two, regen tank one to flush, regen tank two to flush. Regens take 45 minutes each: 3 hours total.
    IIRC (if I recall correctly Bob), you said your salt dose is 4 lbs. so you need to add water at 3 lbs/gallon to get 12 lbs to fully regenerate 3/4 cuft of resin. So you add that volume to the salt tank along with your SIO water and then wait 2 hrs for the salt to dissolve, then start the regeneration. When done, do it again for the second tank. That will take something like 7-8 hrs. and you shouldn't use much water during that time, if any.
    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.

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    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    I my self treat Mn a little different than others.... it is a pain... so I add a little to the number as it starts staining at .05 ppm and iron will start at .3 ppm... I also multiply each by 4, now while most do not do this I have been doing it this way for 20 years and had no problems doing it this way.
    That sounds reasonable to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    With both tanks at 8x40 normal loading would be just over .6 cubic per tank, with the turbolator it might be able to push .9 per tank.. and slowing the backwash to 1.5 gpm..
    Thanks, I'll read up on the turbolator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    If going to another system while using the tanks, one could change out the current brine float assembly with a 2310 assembly from fleck.. could be around 45.00
    Sounds like it would be less expensive than replacing the entire brine tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    On the iron out type stuff... mix with the water poor into the brine tank, send unit into cleaning cycle.. after it is done wait 2-3 hours for the next brine to get to 26% then add some more of the iron out like stuff... and send into another cleaning cycle.. this might have to be done a few times to get the resin back..
    Thanks for the clarification. I hadn't really thought about the time to dissolve the salt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    One thing that you would save would be the land fill by re using as much of the current system as possible..
    That's a very good point!

    Thanks,

    Mike
    If it sounds like I know what I'm doing, I haven't written clearly enough.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    No Problemo.... if there are other questions ask.

    This is an idea and question site..

    There are some of my customers that wish to have totaly new equipment and then others that want working equipment and if that means not 1st place in looks, but 1st place in working... and reuses tanks and valves that can still be repaired to working...both win in this.

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    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    I've come to the conclusion that my Kinetico 60 can probably be made to work without major modifications. I probably have crud in the valve and I'll need to disassemble it to clean it out. I've done this before so I'm not worried about the process.

    Before I do this, I need to install a pre-filter. Aside from the fact that Kinetico recommends them, it just makes sense to have a simple screen to catch stuff like shreds of pump impellers. From a "frugal" standpoint, I like the idea of something like a Rusko spin-down filter with a 100 mesh (152 micron) stainless screen. In theory, it should last forever without the need to buy filter cartridges. If this is misguided, please let me know.

    While I have things torn apart, I'll add a water meter (with pulse output so I can track water usage on my computer) and a couple of shutoff valves so I don't have to drain the upstairs water lines to work on stuff.

    Once I have all this done, I'll flush the media tanks with iron out. It didn't make sense do do that until I cleaned out the valve to make sure it regens correctly.

    I'll admit that I also have a question out on another forum with a known Kinetico "expert" on whether it makes sense to swap some parts to set the softener to more accurately match our water test numbers. The current settings aree for a compensated hardness of 28.

    You guys (all you water softener experts on the web) have me pretty confused. Everybody seems to have a different equation for compensated hardness and you all have decades of experience showing your equation works:

    Kinetico's equation in this document is hardness + 3 * iron giving 10.85.
    Gary uses hardness + 4 * iron + 2 * manganese giving 13.82.
    Akpsdvan uses hardness + 4 * iron + 4 * manganese with all numbers rounded up before multiplications for a total of 21.

    A quick google search pretty much shows a different equation on each web site. (Right about now, I start searching the forum for the ability to add animated icons showing repeated running my head into a wall) I know that it's not that big a deal. I know I can leave it as is and just use a bit more salt (maybe 173% more depending on the numbers) than needed and have a little more sodium in the drinking water and be confident the system is taking all the other bad stuff out, but the retired engineer in me has a bit of a problem with that.

    OK, enough of this rant. What do you guys think about Rusco spin-down filters?
    If it sounds like I know what I'm doing, I haven't written clearly enough.

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    The Rusco unit will serve well.

    The differences in calculations are all close enough that it's not going to make a huge difference most of the time. However, since you have Kinetico equipment, I would use thier figures.

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Ruscos are good units, it is good to have a spare center for trade outs , a number of people here have 2 or 3 to trade out and clean, be it 6 months, 12 months or longer..

    As for the comp hardness.. we are using equation that have done well for us in the past. And some times the numbers are higher than what the people at Kinetico, Culligan, Eco, Hague, and the list goes on..
    More times than not we have changed not so much the equation but some of the numbers in it to better deal with the Fe, Mn, Hd that we deal with, also the water useage comes into play, high useage, low useage all have to be taken into account as to setting the system that is in use.

    This water treatment is not a cookie cutter deal... each well , family is different and all need to be taken into account.

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    DIY Junior Member Frugal-Mike's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. I'll order the Rusco and include an extra filter screen.

    I have another question, this time about the pre-filter placement. Here's a picture of the current layout:



    I assume the normal position would be on the incoming line on the left before the tee that goes to the pressure tank and the softener. My wife is worried that there might be impeller shavings in the pressure tank and thinks it makes more sense to put it between the tee and the softener bypass but that means desoldering some tight connections and moving the softener to the right.

    Have you guys heard of well pressure tanks collecting debris?

    If I don't have to worry about the pressure tank, I'll bump out on the left even with the filter on the other side and put in the Rusco with valves on each side to make it easy to clean the screen. I'll put the water meter on the vertical spot above the filter on the right with a shutoff valve above it. The valve is necessary because I now need to drain the upstairs pipes to change the filter so the filter doesn't get changed very often.

    I'll put off changes to Kinetico settings until I have the water meter in so I know how much water we're using and how often it regens. This will be connected to a system that will generate graphs of water usage on a per gallon basis.

    Thanks,

    Mike
    If it sounds like I know what I'm doing, I haven't written clearly enough.

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