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Thread: sparkling water??

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Praxxl Cogsworth's Avatar
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    Default sparkling water??

    I have a Kenmore softener, about 1-1/2 years old. I have had no problems with it prior to now.
    Several mornings ago, I was surprised when I opened the kitchen faucet and the water was super foamy. It would foam up like crazy in a glass, like it was carbonated water. The foam in the glass would quickly die down and the water was fine.
    I called the water company and they came immediately but said the water at the street was fine and not foamy at all.
    I checked the water softener and noticed it had about 18 inches of brine in the tank where it usually has none or very little.
    I cleaned the orifice and manually regenerated. It drew the brine down as it should. I noticed nothing unusual with the regeneration.
    The next morning the "sparkling" water was back.
    I can only assume air is somehow getting into the system and being absorbed by the water under pressure and then the air comes out when it is at low pressure at the faucet.
    Has anyone seen such a problem before?
    Is it likely to be seals in the brining circuit?
    Should I dismantle the whole thing and replace all seals?
    Is there another reason for the foam?
    I hope someone has seen this before.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Have you checked to see if the water is salty? I have seen saty water foam up the way you describe.

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    DIY Junior Member Praxxl Cogsworth's Avatar
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    Nope, not salty. The water is perfectly fine once the foam dies down.

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Do you mean foamy like dish detergent etc. or just a lot of small bubbles? If small bubbles, remove the faucet tip aerator when this happens and see if the bubbles don't stop. Don't lose parts of the aerator, lay a dish towel etc. in the sink so none can get gone if you drop any.

    If after removing the aerator clears the water, then the city water pressure may be higher than normal and faucet tip aerators are supposed to add air so that would be your problem. A water pressure gauge with a recording finger installed on a utility sink or outside faucet overnight would tell you how high the pressure is and if you need a pressure regulator valve or if you have one, if it is bad.

    If the water wasn't clear after removing the aerator, then you may have a water leak past the softener, causing water to flow while in a regeneration but foamy water from the softener should taste salty.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    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.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Praxxl Cogsworth's Avatar
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    The bubbles in the water are super tiny so it is foam more like the head on a glass of beer. Initially, when I fill a glass of water, there is a "head" on the water, but after about 5 seconds, most of the foam is gone.
    I see no foam at the outside faucets so I agree it has something to do with the aerator.
    I have been using the softener for a year and a half and this phenomenon just started for the first time on Sunday morning, 2/5.
    By tonight, I expect the foam will be gone and I won't see it until the next regen, or at least that is the pattern so far. It regenerated Saturday night (2/4) and I regenerated it manually last night (2/9). It seems there is a connection to the regeneration somehow but the water is not salty that I can tell.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Garys suggestion on the aerator is excellent and often overlooked. High pressure and aerators = problems. If the water pressure is over 80 PSI (UPC CODE), then as Gary said, a regulator must be installed or repaired.

    Another item to check is the air check in the brine tank. This device is designed to prevent the water softener from sucking air in when the brine tank when the brine water is depleted. A string from a salt bag, a piece of wood from the pallet, or just about any other piece of debris can cause your aircheck to leak by. You should remove the aircheck, clean it well, and then do a quick suction test. This is not overly sanitary, but it is effective. Suck on the tube like a straw after it has been carefully cleaned (you may want to sanitize it and rinse it very well before performing this test). It should not allow any air to enter. If it does, repair or replace it. Systems without a second backwash are particularly susceptible to this problem.

    Let us know what you find.

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    DIY Member rjh2o's Avatar
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    There is an "air check" (little ball) in the bottom of the float assembly that seats after all the brine is drawn from the brine tank during the brining cycle. If this air check does not seat properly air will be drawn in through the float assembly after all the brine is drawn out and will introduce air into the water softener causing the problem described. Take the float assembly apart and clean it thoroughly checking the float seat and air check to make sure there they are free of any oxidized iron or debris that will prevent it from seating properly.
    RJ

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Is not the last stage a fast rinse and pack, and would that not purge out any and all air that could have entered during the brining stage? I can't help but think this has more to do with water chemistry than air inside the softener.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Is not the last stage a fast rinse and pack, and would that not purge out any and all air that could have entered during the brining stage? I can't help but think this has more to do with water chemistry than air inside the softener.
    Not all units will get rid of all the air drawn during the brining cycle. Remember the fast rinse is a downward flow so air can be trapped in the valve.

  10. #10
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    That's correct.

    The only way any air can get out of a softener is if the resin tank all but fills with air. The usual resin tank is at least 4' tall.

    Air is lighter than water so it stays in the top of the tank with water in the bottom of the tank. If there is enough air in the tank, and the water flow is high enough in the house to be able to cause air to be pushed down to the bottom of the tank to then go up the distributor tube you get air out the faucets/fixtures.

    In my opinion, that would be very rare. So the next backwash of the next regeneration is the only way to get all the air out of the tank. It goes out the drain line because the water fills the tank from the bottom forcing the air out the drain line. Then unless an air leak has been fixed, as soon as the regeneration goes into the brine draw/slow rinse position, air is introduced again.

    The best way to find out if there is air in the tank is to watch the drain line for air content as a backwash is started.

    The air check is not the only place air can get into a brine system, another and common cause is lose brine line connections which usually will not leak water but allow air to be sucked into a fitting due to suction on the line. A symptom of that problem is more water in the salt tank than normal, because all of what was supposed to be sucked out wasn't.

    The only way air in the resin tank that can't get out into the plumbing could cause a noticeable problem is probably due to an increase in the dissolved oxygen content of the water and the faucet tip aerator bringing the dissolved oxygen out of the water in the form of bubbles as the water is drawn. The air in the top of the resin tank would cause the water to splash as it went though the air and hits the surface of the water in the tank. That will add dissolved oxygen to the water the same as happens when water splashes over rocks in a creek etc..
    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
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Yep a very high dissolved oxygen content will definetly cause micro bubbles any time the pressure is suddenly lowered, and an aerator will "enhance" this issue even more. It is similar to the air bubbles caused by a new carbon filter.

    Another possible cause is the city doing work on a main line or pumping system. This will cause excessive air to enter the plumbing system and thus the softener tank and create an air bubble. This is very rare, but we did see it in areas of heavy construction when they were tying in new buildings locally. Clean the brine valve inside the brine tank carefully, since it is relatively new, the seals should be fine. Run the system through a manual regeneration and see if the problem goes away in a few days.

  12. #12
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    My system uses a micronizer to entrain air for iron removal and I do get micro bubbles but I've never had a head of foam on a glass of water like one might see on beer.

    My neighbor replaced his precipitation tank on his system with a regular bladder tank so the air entrained by the micronizer would collect in the top of the water softener. When the air would finally displace all the water in the resin tank and knock a glass out of his hand at the sink, he would manually regen it to purge the air. Never did his water draw a head of foam.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member Marco_Guy's Avatar
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    Default Water is Salty.

    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    Have you checked to see if the water is salty? I have seen saty water foam up the way you describe.
    I have a 12-yr old Hague 23 BAQ.

    My water comes out foamy AND salty a few times per month. After purging, by leaving the taps open for 10 mins or so, the foam/salt goes away but the water has a disgusting "metallic" odor for a few more minutes.

    Any idea what causes this, and what the resolution is?

    Thanks,

    Marco

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Improper rinsing of the resin during a regen. Check the drain flow control and the drain line for a restriction. Do you have iron in the water? If so, it may clog ports preventing proper rinsing. Also, if the brine tank is slowly filling with water between regens, the unit will remove all the water during a regen. If this happens, you may get salty water after a regen.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Marco_Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response mialynette2003

    Check the drain flow control and the drain line for a restriction.
    There are no restrictions in the line. I don't know how to check the drain flow control.

    Do you have iron in the water?
    I don't know, is there a way I can test for iron?

    if the brine tank is slowly filling with water between regens
    Currently the control says 620 gals till regen and the tank is approx 3/4 full of water & salt -- the water is a few inches above the salt. I have noticed the tank being full of water when adding salt, causing the excess water to overflow the tank.

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