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Thread: Brine Level keeps rising in Master NS-10T

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    Default Brine Level keeps rising in Master NS-10T

    As a result, the brine tank overflowed. After 20+ years of flawless service, this is the first problem. I've been getting the dog and pony show from Culligan and Kinetico, thinking that this might be the life expectancy of the neutralizer / softener combo. Culligan service tech said the head looked like an Autotrol head.

    I looked in my owners manual and discovered that I had never cleaned the two screens / filters that screw out near the front of the valve. They were supposed to be cleaned annually, so I did that. The long one with the narrow slits on the left side was covered in rusty silt and is now clean. Having cleaned that and cycled it, the treated water now feels a little more slippery, so it must have gotten some brine back in the back flush. I did another manual flush this evening. I can't tell yet if the water is any softer, but the brine level rose about an inch or so in the tank. Keep this up and it will eventually overflow again.

    The instructions for disassembling the head don't look too difficult. Attached are pictures of the head. If someone is familiar with this unit, where am I likely to find the problem? I blew through the tube in the brine tank and got some bubbles, and can suck water back up. Anything else I should do to trouble shoot this? Is it time to consider a new unit?
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    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Sounds like it is time for an Autotorl 155 rebuild kit.
    Clean the clear plastic part on the side, it has the brine line to the salt tank, make sure that the ball floats, if the ball does not float, then upgrade that assembly with the new one.
    Most likely with that you should be able to get many more years out of it.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The rebuild kit of an a-155 is cheap, but in the mean time, you can flip the flappers temporaily to get the valve to stop overfilling the brine tank. A new flapper kit would be the minimum repair. Considering the age of this excellent unit, a new one could be justified. Modern systems will use much less salt and water. This particular system is not even legal for sale in California for residential applications due to its inefficient design. Be sure that if you decide to flip the flappers, do not use an electric driver, use only a standard #2 screwdriver to remove the screws across the top. Good luck!

    BTW, your system is 25 years old. It was manufactured in December of 1987.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 03-08-2012 at 12:08 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    Thanks to both of you for the information. You're right about this being a salt / water hog. It was originally set up by the plumber to recycle 2x per week. The resin has a 10,000 grain capacity, and I calculate that we could probably go 10 days until we need to cycle the unit. As I've begun to look at solutions to my treatment needs, the Culligan sales rep who came out to do a flow rate test said that a new acid neutralizer and the softener could each be set to flush only about once a month. Beyond that, he felt that the beds would solidify and stop doing their jobs.

    Over the weekend I plan to open the head and clean it. Reversing the faces of the flapper valves sounds like a good idea. It would buy me time to think about what to do next.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWL View Post
    As a result, the brine tank overflowed. After 20+ years of flawless service, this is the first problem. I've been getting the dog and pony show from Culligan and Kinetico, thinking that this might be the life expectancy of the neutralizer / softener combo. Culligan service tech said the head looked like an Autotrol head.

    I looked in my owners manual and discovered that I had never cleaned the two screens / filters that screw out near the front of the valve. They were supposed to be cleaned annually, so I did that. The long one with the narrow slits on the left side was covered in rusty silt and is now clean. Having cleaned that and cycled it, the treated water now feels a little more slippery, so it must have gotten some brine back in the back flush. I did another manual flush this evening. I can't tell yet if the water is any softer, but the brine level rose about an inch or so in the tank. Keep this up and it will eventually overflow again.

    The instructions for disassembling the head don't look too difficult. Attached are pictures of the head. If someone is familiar with this unit, where am I likely to find the problem? I blew through the tube in the brine tank and got some bubbles, and can suck water back up. Anything else I should do to trouble shoot this? Is it time to consider a new unit?
    Before tearing it apart, I would remove the brine line from the sight glass on the control valve and see if water flows out of the sight glass fitting. If so I'd push on the (IIRC) last two flapper valves (brining) to close them and hold them long enough to see if that water flow stopped. You can also push them open and water should flow out of the sight glass possibly flushing any dirt out that may be preventing a good seal.

    If water flows while holding the flappers closed, then new flappers, if not, then take the brine line off the brine salt tank pick up tube and trim about a 1/2" or so to get straight tubing into the fitting on each end of the brine line and reconnect by tightening finger tight and about a half turn with a pair of pliers etc..

    Then see if you still have the problem of too much water in the salt tank.
    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.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    The age of the system would say rebuild the valve, the rebuild kit could cost as low as 50.00
    Even the best of units need parts replaced from time to time, and if yours has never had it done, then it is time.

    The only thing that Culligan and Kinetico wish to do is sell new units.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, you existing head is worth rebuilding if for no other reason than the low cost but, changing to a metered demand head will not only give you excellent equipment (fleck or Clack) but it will also save you money and reduce wasted water as well.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  8. #8
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    That is a point about the valve.
    One might even be able to find the Autotrol valve 255 metered set up replace the current valve for under 400...
    While that is more than the rebuild at this time the salt savings most likely will pay for its self with in 1-2 years..

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    IMO rebuilding including a new control valve should include new resin. That adds to the cost and IMO makes a new system more appropriate when compared to a 25+ yr old combination unit. Unless the purchase price of about $1000-$1250 for an AN filter and separate softener online is not possible.
    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.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that you can replace the resin on this one. The top and bottom tanks are held together by a black collar, and apparently a tube runs through the acid neutralizer top tank to get to the bottom softening tank. Getting the black collar to slide up or down might be problematic. If that collar could be moved without destroying it, the tank theoretically might be able to be refilled. Not sure I'd need to do that at this point. The resin seems to still be working. The softener is getting some brine back into it, but the level keeps climbing in the brine tank.

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Master is in Reading and Orchard Pump in Winfield has sold their equipment for at least 30 years. OP would know how the tanks come apart; I'm fairly sure they unscrew.

    After 20-25 years the volume of resin is much less than originally, that's due to wear on the beads and broken beads with the pieces being backwashed out of the tank.
    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 RWL's Avatar
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    Pretty close Gary. The lable on the head says Pottstown, not too far from Reading, but they could have relocated. I didn't check to see if they moved. Orchard pump is about 4 miles from my house and I pass it on my way to work daily. I bought one part (the arm on the clock that trips the back flush) from them a long time ago. I hadn't though about asking them how to take the unit apart. Would they also be a source if I decide to get new equipment? In my other thread, I recently mentioned that it might make economic sense to keep using the combination unit for its acid neutralizer and put a new conditioner downstream from that if I could save salt and water.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Yes it's Pottstown not Reading but close.

    I would get rid of the combo unit unless you took the resin out. But then you'd need to cap the brine system etc.. IMO it's not a good idea.

    I think OP's price would be much higher than buying online and paying the freight but you could check. Although I wouldn't suggest Autotrol valves and that's all they used to sell but it's been 6.5 yrs since I've been around there.
    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.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member RWL's Avatar
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    Follow up. The quick take is that it seems to be working since I took it apart yesterday. I cleaned off the faces of the flapper valves and redid the ends of the brine tubing. The water level dropped to something more reasonable after it was cycled, and I watched brine being drawn up during the cycle. Although reversing the flappers was a good thought, three or four of them had a "point" sticking out of the base to keep them oriented only one way in the valve seat. Although the points could have been nipped off, the valves all had a lean / angle with regard to their bases, so it probably would not have worked to reverse them. I did reverse the # 6 & 7 valves, but their seat did not seal, so when I reassembled things, it leaked like crazy. Reassembling it with the valves in the correct orientation fixed that. Just cleaning the valve faces may have helped. The valves were coated with a slimy white substance. I don't know if that was 25 year old silicone grease with mineral encrusted, or something else, but it's off and I greased the valve flappers with silicone grease.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well, that's a good sign that if you don't want to pour a lot of money into the thing a 50 dollar rebuild kit should hold it for quite a few more years.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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