New to the forum and thanks for your help in advance.
I have a clack WS1 system that I bought(used) and installed. I am having issues with the suction/draw from the brine tank. I have dismantled, cleaned and reassembled every part that will come off of this thing, yet it will still not draw. I did disconnect the line at the tank, and put the end into a container of water. It will draw down the water if the container is raised above the control valve, but fill back up if lower than the valve. All of the o-rings/seals "looked" okay when I cleaned it up, but I assume you can't always tell by just looking. Any ideas of what it may be, and what else I can try to troubleshoot?
Injector firstas mialynette2003 said, especially since it is a cheap fix if it works.
You mention that it draws from a bucket as long as it is above the system. This may indicate a pressure balance issue with the injector and the backpressure caused by the drain. A venturi injector works off of differential pressure causing a vacuum. If you have low water pressure and/or a high drain line, this may be a cause. You can draw water from a brine tank up a floor or two if you have sufficient water pressure. Same goes for drain height, you can go up 20-feet or more assuming you have adequate pressure to keep a high enough differential across the injector. Check your water pressure, it should be no less than 30 PSI, preferably 60-70 PSI. If you have low pressure, the drain line height must be limited according to the pressure. I am working on a chart from feild notes from the past 20 years. I have the math equations, but they never seem to match perfectly to the feild notes for this problem.
An easy way to check your drain line is to cut it close to the softener and send it to a bucket. if you get great brine draw, you can assume you have a drain line restriction/height issue.
Good luck and let us know what you find.
A blocked drain line or injector or injector throat won't allow water flow into the salt tank when it shouldn't be going that way; as you say yours is.
The max height rise of the drain line for the vast majority of residential softeners is 8-10'+/- above the drain line fitting on the control valve.
If residential softeners needed 60-70 psi of water pressure, very few people with their own well would be able to get a softener to work. Millions of softeners have worked properly on 40 psi and less water pressure for decades.
Water going into the salt tank with a Clack WS-1 means you need a new stack (seals and spacers) and complete piston meaning both parts, the brine piston and main piston.
Last edited by Gary Slusser; 02-19-2012 at 08:15 AM. Reason: duplicate
You also state that if the drain is plugged, water wont flow out of the brine line??? Have you ever plugged a drain line intentionally. The water will fow out of the brine line. With excessive backpressure on the drain line, either too much height, or plugged, you will cause the water to go into the injector, and out brine line. Maybe I am misunderstanding wha you are trying to say. Please explain how according to the water flow charts, that water wont flow to the brine line? I know this is a 5600 chart, but the same flow design applies to the Clack valves. I am in Chicago this week so I dont have my Clack flow charts, but they are nealy identical.
Gary, you are absolutely correct that a problem in the brine line is the most common cause of poor or no brine draw. The Jaco or compression style fittings not properly sealing will cause problems. They are extremely easy to diagnose, just put the system into brine refill and activate the brine float. This will cause the brine system to become pressurized and any leaks will become immediatly apparent. The only problem with this is that it does not show a problem on the fittings after the safety float. The air check tube/safety float fitting should be checked if there are no leaks on the brine system.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the responses. I originally had the drain line rising +/- 4' overhead, but changed that around last week, and it now drains to a floor drain and is hard piped, so there are no pinches, Based on the amount of water it blasts out in the rinse and backwash positions, I am guessing that the drain isn't clogged. I am on a well, but the pressure is set up at 50-70psi. The injector, as far as i can tell is clear and clean, as is the screen. Not sure if the injectors deteriorate over time?? I removed the line from the air check tube assembly, so i could rule out issues in the brine tank. Put into fill position, pinched off end of line under pressure, and there were no leaks any where that would indicate poor seals on the brine line.
Looking at prices for the parts, I think I will go ahead and get the stack and seals and pistons, and throw in a new injector also. This system sat in a guys garage for three years prior to me picking it up, but was only used for two years. It may be possible that the O rings/seals have dried out?? Worth a few more dollars yet to see if I can get it working. Besides, there are only so many parts...right?
Another question, for when i get this all back together with the new parts. What amount of water is expelled during the up flow/brining stage? I assume that it would be a steady flow, but considerably less volume than during the rinse? I will let you know the outcome if you are interested.
Last edited by BobGimley; 02-19-2012 at 07:01 PM.
A seal and spacer kit are relatively inexpensive and could definetly be the problem The WS1 kit is more resistant to chloramine damage than other valves, but also more prone to wear caused by sediment. Regardless, you should get 3-15 years from a seal/spacer/piston kit. The injectors dont usually wear out but... it is the cheapest thing to check if you have determined that the draw problem is not caused by a vacuum leak or drain back pressure. As you can see by the flow chart, even the slightest damage to a seal can cause the water inside the valve to allow pressure to the backside of the injector which will cause the problem you are experiencing. Put a new seal and spacer kit once you have checked the brine system for leaks as Gary stated earlier, and your propblem should be solved. The valve is quite simple and those are the primary parts. Dont forget to order the brine piston as well.
You mentioned it is upflow brining, be sure to order the correct injector. It will usually be 2 sizes smaller than a downflow injector. Let us know the results.
The flow to the drain during brine /rinse cycle is the amount of water that can go through the injector plus the water it is drawing. I dont have my Clack charts, but in a standard size system from other manufacturers the flow rate is will range from .1 - .35 GPM depending on water pressure.
Last edited by ditttohead; 02-19-2012 at 07:11 PM.
In the salt tank you will have 2 compression fittings if you have a safety brine system (with a float) that shuts off water flow into the tank if the water level gets high enough to raise the float. One connection is where the brine pickup connects to the bottom of the valve the float hangs on and then on top that valve where the brine line connects. You have a 3rd one where the brine line connects to the control valve. Any or all can allow air suction and not leak water.
Proper tightening is finger tight plus a full turn with pliers etc. and stop. Over tightening is a primary cause of air leaks due to a depression of the tubing inside the fitting under the ferrule. If your tubing is deformed, cut about a 1/2" off of it. Careful of the direction and order of the parts in the fittings. They may come out with the tubing or not.
totally agree with the tightening issue. The JACO style fittings are designed to be done by hand and not tools. The Compression fitting common on other valves are designed for tools and do require some additional tightnening, but not much. The Clack valve brine fittings should be hand tight only, no tool required to get a good seal. assuming the fittings in your brine tank are all plastic and not brass, just tighten them with you hand and you will be fine.
I've found that finger tight between one DIYer working on or assembling their new softener and another DIYer's finger tight varies widely and tightening with a pair of pliers is a good thing and causes no problems.
If you haven't figered it out yet, I disagree.
That's based on my selling over a thousand softeners to DIYers over the years starting in 1992 and installing and/or servicing thousands of others starting in 1989.