(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 40

Thread: Autotrol 460i problem

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default Autotrol 460i problem

    I have an approximately eight year old 64000 grain softener that has started acting up. We are on a private well and I periodically clean the injector and screen as a preventative measure. Starting last week my wife complained that the water was "kind of hard". I suspected that as in the past the injector and or screen was probably partiallly obstructed. I cleaned both parts and manually regenerated the unit. The water was still only partially soft. I checked both parts again and added some iron out to the brine tank. I regenerated the unit again and observed its operation. It did draw the water from the brine tank and refill but the water remained unchanged, what I would consider as only semi soft. ( i have been unable to find test strips, so sorry for this description) This unit was initially installed on our old well which failed after about five years ago. We had a new deeper well drilled and the unit performed quite well. I have been told that the problem could be fouled resin, or hard water leakage past the valve discs. Is there any way to troubel shoot this problem or should I just change both out and hope for the best? Thanks, Jim
    Last edited by rudyjr; 06-03-2012 at 10:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    http://www.amazon.com/Hach-5B-Hardne...m/B0051V5580/2
    Before we start, it is almost impossible to properly help you without accurate information. Buy this test kit, it is the industry standard. It will accurately tell you how hard the water is. Do you have iron or manganese in the water? If so, you need to get an accurate test for that as well.

    Your resin may be bad and fouled with iron or other contaminants, resin does have a limited life expectancy and the exchange sites can become permanently fouled so capacity will be lower than expected. Cleaning can help, but that has a very limited affectivness.

    Hard water leakage past the discs is common, but usually in chlrinated water supplies after 8+ years, on a well, the discs usually last significatntly longer, but they can definetly wear out.

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    2,940

    Default

    So I think what he is saying is that he had a new well drilled and the old softener is connected to it. There is a pretty good chance that the water conditions of the drilled well are substantially different than the old dug well. In any case a water test is required at this point and I'm a bit concerned that cleaning the resin with iron out and manual regen's didn't seem to work which is a red flag. either the resin is really badly fouled or the new water conditions are past the current systems settings parameters or sizing. Anyhooooooooo toddle on down to Lowes and get you some test strips and test for iron too.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    So I think what he is saying is that he had a new well drilled and the old softener is connected to it. There is a pretty good chance that the water conditions of the drilled well are substantially different than the old dug well. In any case a water test is required at this point and I'm a bit concerned that cleaning the resin with iron out and manual regen's didn't seem to work which is a red flag. either the resin is really badly fouled or the new water conditions are past the current systems settings parameters or sizing. Anyhooooooooo toddle on down to Lowes and get you some test strips and test for iron too.
    My Lowes has nothing in the way of test strips and neither does Home Depot. My old well was very high iron content and I think that it was what was hard on my softener . The new well is by far better water although I do not remember what the exact number is. I think I am going to have a couple of water conditioning companies take a look and give me a free water analysis to get a starting point.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,790

    Default

    Before you do that, mix a 1/2 cup of Iron Out or Super IO to 2-3 gallons of water and pour that into the salt tank brine well if you have one, or down along the side of the salt if not. Wait two hours and do another manual regeneration.

    Don't over fill the salt tank that salt water overflows on the floor.

    When the backwash starts and gets a full flow to drain (it takes maybe a minute), unplug the control valve and let it run for 15-20 minutes and then plug it back in. When that is finished it will go into slow rinse/brine draw (sucks salt brine out of the salt tank), time 10-12 minutes and unplug the control valve for 20 minutes and then plug it in and let the regeneration finish on its own. Then see how the water feels.
    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
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Before you do that, mix a 1/2 cup of Iron Out or Super IO to 2-3 gallons of water and pour that into the salt tank brine well if you have one, or down along the side of the salt if not. Wait two hours and do another manual regeneration.

    Don't over fill the salt tank that salt water overflows on the floor.

    When the backwash starts and gets a full flow to drain (it takes maybe a minute), unplug the control valve and let it run for 15-20 minutes and then plug it back in. When that is finished it will go into slow rinse/brine draw (sucks salt brine out of the salt tank), time 10-12 minutes and unplug the control valve for 20 minutes and then plug it in and let the regeneration finish on its own. Then see how the water feels.
    Thanks Gary that is a heck of an idea as it should give the IO time to work. I will give this a try when I get some time later this week. Thanks, Jim

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Well I couldn't wait until later in the week so late last night I tried what Gary suggested with the iron out and unplugging the control valve. The water was softer today than it has been in a week, but I would say it is still somewhat hard. The lady from Culligan came by and tested my water the results are 25gpg at the outside tap and 2 gpg at the kitchen sink. The iron is 2.5 ppm at the outside and 1ppm at the sink, ph is normal. Culligan lady looked at my equipment and tried to sell the wife a package of stuff to clean the resin for $10.00 or said they would install a new system. I still am inclined to think that I would be able to change out the resin and resolve this issue. Found an internet dealer that has the 2 cu ft of hi cap nelson resin, the valve discs, a new injector and screen cap assy for around $240 delivered, seems like a worthy gamble to try to make it right. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by rudyjr; 06-04-2012 at 04:39 PM.

  8. #8
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    2,940

    Default

    Boy, this is a tough call because essentially, after trying Gary's trick, which BTW is a good one at that it leaves a few possibilities. The resin may be toast, the resin may still be mucked up, the softener settings may be wrong or the softener is mal-functioning. I hate to see you buy all new equipment if what you have can be sorted out. So lets start off with making sure the softener is properly sized for the load. It would take a whole lot of typing to lead you through the progression of testing that you really need to do to determine what's going on. I'm going to suggest that you find someone local to check your equipment out. Even if your resin is pooched, if the valve is in good shape you can always change resin.

    Hang on, I just reread your OP and you have a 64,000K unit. How many people in the house? You know what, try Gary's trick again and see what you get. Let the iron out sit in there a little longer this time, say another hour and then back to back it.
    Last edited by Tom Sawyer; 06-04-2012 at 05:28 PM.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Boy, this is a tough call because essentially, after trying Gary's trick, which BTW is a good one at that it leaves a few possibilities. The resin may be toast, the resin may still be mucked up, the softener settings may be wrong or the softener is mal-functioning. I hate to see you buy all new equipment if what you have can be sorted out. So lets start off with making sure the softener is properly sized for the load. It would take a whole lot of typing to lead you through the progression of testing that you really need to do to determine what's going on. I'm going to suggest that you find someone local to check your equipment out. Even if your resin is pooched, if the valve is in good shape you can always change resin.

    Hang on, I just reread your OP and you have a 64,000K unit. How many people in the house? You know what, try Gary's trick again and see what you get. Let the iron out sit in there a little longer this time, say another hour and then back to back it.
    Presently there are four people but there was five members in the household. This unit has performed flawlessly for the last eight years so I don't believe there is anything with the settings that need looked at. I have watched this thing go through all five steps repeatedly and don't believe it is an issue with the control. I am inclined to think that I am going to just take the gamble and order the parts to go through this unit and see what happens.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    2,940

    Default

    I guess I'm not inclined to talk you out of it but I would try cleaning the resin one more time 1st. What have you got to loose?
    If your resin is toast, 8 years is a pretty short time unless iron fouled the crap out of it. Have you ever done the Iron Out thing before? I'm guessing probably not and 2.5ppm is high enough to foul the bed so try cleaning it again and see what you get.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,790

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rudyjr View Post
    Presently there are four people but there was five members in the household. This unit has performed flawlessly for the last eight years so I don't believe there is anything with the settings that need looked at. I have watched this thing go through all five steps repeatedly and don't believe it is an issue with the control. I am inclined to think that I am going to just take the gamble and order the parts to go through this unit and see what happens.
    I doubt your resin is bad, especially if you have never used a resin cleaner before.

    Without knowing your salt dose setting, and having not known the volume of resin, the 2-3 gallons of added water to the salt tank... I don't know how much water you added, so repeat my "trick", adding 3 gallons and make sure no one uses water while doing my "trick".
    Last edited by Terry; 11-11-2012 at 05:12 PM.
    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.

  12. #12
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Tom, why would anyone want to know the hardness level of a soft water system or the raw incoming water, what help would that be?

  13. #13
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The collection of notable quotes grows.

    Anyone wanting to DIY water treatment needs to own some basic tools, and the most important tool is a simple, inexpensive test kit. Just like a guy wanting to know if his RO is working, I cant answer any questions if they will not invest in a $10 TDS tester. For softeners, a softness test kit needs to be purchased and used. I dont understand the contreversy here. The "it doesnt feel as soft as it should" test kit tends to be a little inaccurate. And since water conditions can change, these changes are easily discovered with a test kit. Considering the comment that "wells dont need to be tested" was said in a serious way, I guess this should not surprise me.

    How about a sticky for this forum, "How to use a softener test kit and why..." Or is that anti DIY?

    And, you just stated that they dont need a test kit nor do they need to test, but then stated the test results showed... huh??? Why are you so opposed to a homeowner owning the right tools to do the job, especially if they want to be a DIY'r?
    Last edited by ditttohead; 06-05-2012 at 08:51 AM.

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,790

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    The "it doesnt feel as soft as it should" test kit tends to be a little inaccurate. And since water conditions can change, these changes are easily discovered with a test kit. Considering the comment that "wells dont need to be tested" was said in a serious way, I guess this should not surprise me.

    How about a sticky for this forum, "How to use a softener test kit and why..." Or is that anti DIY?
    To the homeowner that has had a softener for many years, as in this case and on two different wells, that "feel" is accurate in their opinion, no matter what you think, desire or moan about.

    As to "wells don't need to be tested"... is that in context to a softener? I don't think so, so show us what it is in relation to.
    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.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member rudyjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    central ohio
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Gary, Thanks for all of your help I think you understood what I was asking for from the start. I came here looking for some direction to take with troubleshooting this and everything you said has made sense. I have a fairly good mechanical background and have wrenched and built things my whole life. I saw where this was going with the with the water hardness questions from some early on but I had never had a the hardness of the new well tested five years ago so I figured why not know what it is. (Again, after thirty + years on a well you can tell the difference between hard and semi soft water) You are spot on in the statement about how few things can cause the iron and hardness leakage that I have. My old well was on its last legs and extremely hard and filled with iron when it gave up. I could probably work with cleaning up the resin but I figure what you had me do shows me pretty decisively what is wrong. Thanks again, Jim
    Last edited by rudyjr; 06-05-2012 at 12:19 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. 255 valve / 460i control
    By Tom Bond in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-26-2011, 06:59 AM
  2. Iron still in water after troubleshooting GE/autotrol 255
    By rustywater in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-13-2010, 06:10 PM
  3. Autotrol 255valve/460I valve
    By moisheh in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-01-2010, 06:10 PM
  4. GE 460i advice
    By mnemonic76 in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-14-2010, 08:49 AM
  5. Autotrol 255 Problem
    By jslear in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-27-2006, 07:28 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •