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Thread: Culligan Water Softener system - virtually zero water flow

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    DIY Junior Member Qckslvr's Avatar
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    Default Culligan Water Softener system - virtually zero water flow

    Hello. New member here. First post.

    I own a vacation home in Florida, and it came equipped with a Culligan Outdoor Medalist Series water softener system (Model 01014815). It has been installed for about six years now. Since I purchased the home three years ago, it has been used on and off about three months at a time. When it is not in use, the water has been shut off and the power to the water softener system has been unplugged. Lately, I have been experiencing a problem of very low water flow when the system has been placed in "soft water" mode. When I have bypassed the system, the water flow is normal.

    Yesterday, I dismantled the system, removing the control head and adapter plate. I found a strainer in the inlet side of the head that was completely clogged with some sort of gritty residue. Upon removing the center tube from the resin tank, I found a strainer at the bottoom end of that tube to be clogged just as badly. I was able to clean out and flush both strainers, reassembled the unit, and ran the system through a manual regeneration. Everything seemed happy for a short while, and then the water flow in the house dwindled down to a trickle. Once again placing the system in bypass mode, the water flow returned to its normal rate.

    Am I overlooking something here? There does not seem to be any other component that can be blocking the water flow. I've had a similar unit installed at my home in Pennsylvania for the past twenty years, and have never experienced the slightest reduction in flow. Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    If you haven't regenerated it on a timely basis the resin could be going bad. Or if there is a high level of chlorine in the water, that will cause resin to go bad.

    If you put it into a regeneration, in the backwash position, is there a strong flow to drain over some time (7-8 minutes), or does the flow slow down or stop in that length of time? If it slows then I suggest the resin is bad,
    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 Qckslvr's Avatar
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    Thanks for your quick reply, Gary.

    When I placed the unit into regeneration mode, the backwash flow seemed fairly light. Not only that, but once it got to the backwash segment, the discharge continued throughout the balance of the regen. It seemed to suck about 5 gallons of brine out of the tank, and after the regen ended, it hadn't refilled the brine tank at all, although I don't know if it should have. Incidentally, the Cullex media I was able to feel seemed to be the consistency of gritty sand. I was expecting it to be more beady in texture.

    Thanks again.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Look at it under a magnifying glass. It should be little round beads, sort of brownish gold in color and firm. If you can mash it between thumb and finger then it's gone bad. You can probably disassemble the set-up. flush the tank and valve head out and re-bed the tank but, depending on it's age it may be more economical to just replace the whole system. If so, stay away from big box brands and go with either a Fleck valve head or Clack.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    There is definetly something wrong internally in the control valve or the backwash water would have stopped at the end of the cycle. Although each position of a regeneration causes various gpm flow to drain; except for the brine refill but there are (old) valves that will still have a flow to drain during refill (refill is part of the settle rinse). Bad resin can cause low flow backwash. And 5 gals of brine is 15 lbs of salt.

    Softening resin can be any color from white to black.
    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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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Yes it can but 9 out of 10 times it's gonna be brownish gold.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member Qckslvr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I can vouch for the color of the media as being brownish gold, but I can't say for certain that the particles are little round beads. I'll have to yank it apart again to snag some of it to inspect closely. I'll also go through the settings to make sure the regen is operating within reasonable specs. It didn't seem right that it continued to discharge until the end of the regen cycle.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Yes it can but 9 out of 10 times it's gonna be brownish gold.
    That would be in your experience as a plumber Steve.
    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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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    No, that would be my almost 40 years of selling, servicing and installing water treatment equipment. That I am a licensed plumber and a licensed pump and filter installer also is only icing on the cake.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yeah and every time you tell your story you get bigger'n better...
    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.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    (Quote) Yeah and every time you tell your story you get bigger'n better..
    That would be in your experience as a plumber Steve.

    You're a moderator, aren't you supposed to be above such petty comments?

    No not "bigger'n better", just older and wiser and a better judge of character. LOL This is fun though and as in many times in the past, a total departure from the topic at hand at the OP's expense. Shall we conduct a poll though and see just how often white and black media are actually found ( note that the OP found brownish gold media ) or should we just let that one lie because we both know the answer already?
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 11-07-2011 at 12:54 PM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  12. #12
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You said: " It should be little round beads, sort of brownish gold in color and firm."

    I said it can be any color between white and black. Your statement is incorrect.
    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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