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Thread: Safety Valve Sticking in Closed or Up Position

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    Default Safety Valve Sticking in Closed or Up Position

    Hi Guys,

    Got what I'd call a standard water softener set up, cation ion exchange column, separate salt tank. Noticed water wasn't as soft as it should be and found that the safety valve in the column in the salt tank was stuck in the up (or closed?) position. I assume in this condtion I won't get brine to the unit. I freed it up by pushing with finger, did a regen and found it was stuck in the up position again. Any thoughts on what could cause this? Water level in salt tank might be too high which pushes the float up or maybe some other issue. Any thougts are appreciated.

    Mike

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    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Water level rising in the brine tank pushes the float up. It shouldn't stick in the up position so either there is interference, mineral buildup or a defective part causing it to stick in the up position. You should investigate to see if you can determine the reason for sticking.

    The float level might be misadjusted--it should be adjusted to cut off the water supply just before an overflow/spill would occur. If it is adjusted correctly you should confirm there isn't a build up of crud in the bottom of the brine tanke that is elevating the water level. If that doesn't solve the problem there is probably a problem with the softener valve that is allowing to much water into the brine tank. The quantity of water is controlled by a Brine Line Flow Control (BLFC) and the timer. If the BLFC is damaged or missing that could cause the problem. As timer that is not set correctly or not functioning correctly could cause the problem. There could also be a problem with the valve itself--could be the brine valve or could be the main valve. You didn't tell us the valve manufacture so it is difficult to be more specific about what /how to check out the softener valve.

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    Bob999,

    Thanks for quick thoughts. This is a Clack WS1 set up, will do some looking to see if there is build up or other problem, but the float has always seemed too high to me (always at/near top of "float range" in column in brine tanke if that makes sense). Anything on the Clack head that can mess me up? Thanks for your help.

    Mike

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    OK went down to look at unit. Safety valve float is at top of allowable travel as described. Water level pushes valve to top of travel, but is well below overflow/spill line. Removed float from column and checked for build up, all is good, perfectly clean. Can blow easily through saftey valve, which closes when at top of allowable movement. Brine, looking down column with trouble light looks clear, not murky, can see to bottom of brine tank, no obvious build up of crud. Pulled line at opposite end on top of Clack head, very simple, but it's clean and clear, can easily blow through it. Is it possible the water level in tank was just too high or should system adjust/keep at desired level. I guess I could simply take out some water until it's at desired level, which I assume would be the center of the allowable travel on the safety valve as a test. Also, got 10" from top of air check gizmo to the bottom of the float at the centerpoint of travel. Thanks again for any tips.

    Mike

    Mike

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    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Clack valves can be set up to do the brine refill at the end of the regeneration cycle (post fill) or a couple of hours before the regeneration cycle (pre fill). It is a choice in the Installer programming. If your set to prefill there should only be a couple of inches of water in the brine tank most of the time. If set for post fill the amount of brine in the tank between cycles should be the couple of inches plus the amount of brine fill. The brine fill amount programming process depends on the specific Clack electronics you have and the size of the BLFC.

    It sounds as if the valve is not drawing the brine during regeneration--or at least is not drawing as much as it should. You can check that by initiating a manual regeneration as seeing if the brine level is drawn down until the air check stops brine draw.

    If you aren't getting adequate brine draw it could be caused by an air leak--frequently from a loose fitting on the brine line-- or by dirt in the injector in the control head. Suction is created by water flowing through a venturi during brine draw and if the venturi is dirty you will not get brine draw. Also there is a screen in the supply line for the venturi and if that is plugged it will cause problems.

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    Bob999,

    Thanks for the feedback will take a look again and see what I can learn. Will report back when I know more.

    Mike

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    Sluge can cause water to stay in the brine well which will fill up and shut off the float assembly. Dig down into the salt to insure the water level is the same as in the brine well. If the unit is not drawing brine, the same thing will happen.

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    Skip,

    Just to be clear, you mean the water level in the brine tank should be the same as in the well (the ~4"cylindrical tube that contains safety valve) correct? Also, is that the water level with salt in the tank, I would think yes?

    Mike

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milanomike View Post
    Just to be clear, you mean the water level in the brine tank should be the same as in the well (the ~4"cylindrical tube that contains safety valve) correct? Also, is that the water level with salt in the tank, I would think yes?

    Mike
    Yes that's what is meant and yes the water depth is dependent on the amount of salt in the tank but... that's not what is wrong.

    Your float is not adjusted correctly.

    It is not used to adjust or set the salt dose water volume in the salt tank, it is a safety float used to shut off the water if the water rises too high due to overfilling of the salt tank because of a water leak into the tank or not sucking all the water out due to an air leak and then adding more water with each regeneration; which is fairly common.

    I say the float is not set right because you have said; ".... got 10" from top of air check gizmo to the bottom of the float at the centerpoint of travel.". And that the float is stuck up after each regeneration.

    Someone read a red tag on the float that said to set it at 10" and obviously your salt dose refill water level is coming up higher than the float setting, or you have a water leak into the tank; raising the water level which is closing the valve, stopping more water from entering the salt tank in the refill position. And that will have caused incomplete regeneration of your resin.

    So to solve your problem of the closed valve, adjust it up to just below the salt tank overflow elbow so the float shuts off the water before it overflows on to the floor but not before the brine refill water volume can.
    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 Milanomike's Avatar
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    OK, not sure why I didn't realize this earlier, if the safety valve is in the up position the unit can't draw brine, right. The brine tank and safety column water are at the same level, and the system is clean. So, I wasn't sure how much water triggers the float, so I set it so that the top of the float comes to just below the overflow valve in the shut off position (can adjust more if necessary). Obviously, this is way higher than it was so it is good enough for a test. I've initiated a manual re-gen, and can see the brine being sucked up the tube. Will see at the end where I assume it will put some water in the tank to keep enough in there to dissolve the necessary amount of salt. Thanks for the great help here. Will post back with final results.

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    DIY Junior Member Milanomike's Avatar
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    OK, learning lots about water softeners here, more to learn than I thought.

    So, it just completed a regen and it does the brine fill at the end of the cycle. And what it did was add water until the safety valve shut it off (at the new height I set), this clearly isn't correct. So, either it's not sucking enough brine out and then when it goes to refill there's too much, so the safety valve shuts it down, or it's trying to add to much water at the fill stage. I'm guessing it's not sucking enough brine out during the brine stage. I stated earlier that I could see the brine going up the tube, but this was not a solid stream, sort of like a slow draw of the brine, could see bubbles going up the tube to the head unit, is this correct. Thanks again. Mike

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    DIY Senior Member Bob999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milanomike View Post
    I'm guessing it's not sucking enough brine out during the brine stage. I stated earlier that I could see the brine going up the tube, but this was not a solid stream, sort of like a slow draw of the brine, could see bubbles going up the tube to the head unit, is this correct. Thanks again. Mike
    There should not be bubbles. The bubbles mean there is an air leak and it is reducing the amount of brine drawn.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milanomike View Post
    So, it just completed a regen and it does the brine fill at the end of the cycle. And what it did was add water until the safety valve shut it off (at the new height I set), this clearly isn't correct. So, either it's not sucking enough brine out and then when it goes to refill there's too much, so the safety valve shuts it down, or it's trying to add to much water at the fill stage. I'm guessing it's not sucking enough brine out during the brine stage. I stated earlier that I could see the brine going up the tube, but this was not a solid stream, sort of like a slow draw of the brine, could see bubbles going up the tube to the head unit, is this correct. Thanks again. Mike
    How many lbs of salt do you have the control valve set to use per regeneration?

    Sucking air means you have a compression nut loose in the salt tank. There is one where the brine line connects to the top of the 2310 valve and one on the bottom of the 2310 valve where the gray air check "gizmo" goes up into it. Either nut being loose will allow air suction instead of lifting heavy brine. That then leaves more brine in the tank than there should be and the next regen adds more until it gets up to the float.

    Again, what is your salt dose (in lbs)?
    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 Milanomike's Avatar
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    Thanks, can't look until tonight at the earliest, but i've concluded there is a leak. The unit is apparently calling (sucking) for brine during the regen cycle, and trying to suck the brine, but is getting a lot of air. I'm thinking the head unit (Clack) is working OK because of this. How could there not be a leak it's plastic tubing inserted into a plastic valve, but will check carefully and make sure everything is snug (and hopefully won't oversnug). I assume it's standard tubing and I can get new comp fittings if needed at the local home fixit store. I think my salt dose was 9lbs, but would have to check to be sure. Thanks again.

    Mike

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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    One thing that could be wrong or bad with the brine float assembly is that little rubber seal that is at the base of the float arm. There was some that had a red seal and over a few years would go bad, break , crack,, it would let water into the bring tank but would not pull brine.

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