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Thread: Brand new Softener was working great not it's not. Any ideas

  1. #16
    DIY Member jasper7821's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You need to reread what I posted and compare it to the specs of your softener that you posted about the capacity at whatever salt dose.

    Then stop using softened water for irrigation. BTW, too much chloride kills vegetation.
    Thanks, I used potassium because the plumbing company that gave me a quote when I wanted to install a water softener wanted an extra $400 to plumb the back yard separately so softened water with salt wouldn't be used on the hose bib. They said to just use potassium and it's actually better for the plants to have softened water with potassium rather then raw water.
    I wish I would have been more educated about softeners when I fist wanted to get one.

  2. #17
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    How much chloride does a softener add to the water?

    The backyard should have been bypassed, and still should be. Potassium is extremely expensive compared to NACL, and it has several other problems that have been discussed at length here in this forum. Do a quick search, you will find several of my posts that go into detail about the problems with potassium chloride.

  3. #18
    DIY Member jasper7821's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    How much chloride does a softener add to the water?

    The backyard should have been bypassed, and still should be. Potassium is extremely expensive compared to NACL, and it has several other problems that have been discussed at length here in this forum. Do a quick search, you will find several of my posts that go into detail about the problems with potassium chloride.
    Thank you very much for the reply. First off I finally got a hold of the water department about Iron and it's not listed on the test results because there's no Iron in Tucson's water so I'll set the softener back to 12gpg.

    My home was built in 2003 and there was no loop installed when built so I had to have the home plumbed for the softener and didn't want to pay the extra expense of bypassing the backyard hose bib so I just used potassium on the plumbers suggestion.

    I'm so new to softeners that I just did what the plumber said i should do. I know the potassium is 4 times the price of sodium and when the potassium runs out in a few months (per the meter on the softener) then I will probably have the backyard hose bib re-plummed for raw water.
    Is an easy and less expensive way to do that is to just put a T on the front hose bib and run a line along the front/side/back outside walls of the house and tap into the backyard hose bid ?
    If that'll work I could just do that myself but it will have that unpfrofessional look unless I trench and run a line underground along side the walls.

  4. #19
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Depending on the bypass that is with the softener it might be easier to put the softener into bypass do the yard and then 5 minutes before you are done with the yard put the softener back into service.... no other line needed.
    All that is needed would be a check list of things to do when doing the yard.

  5. #20
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I would not recommend using the bypass on the unit he has. It is not considered the most durable one available. It is certainly not a Fleck or Clack bypass to say the least. The few times I serviced them, the bypass had to be rebuilt.

    I would recommend budgeting to do it right sometime in the near future. Running your own pipe above ground as you stated would not be a good idea. Definetly a job for a qualified plumber.

  6. #21
    DIY Member jasper7821's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akpsdvan View Post
    Depending on the bypass that is with the softener it might be easier to put the softener into bypass do the yard and then 5 minutes before you are done with the yard put the softener back into service.... no other line needed.
    All that is needed would be a check list of things to do when doing the yard.
    WOW, I can't believe I didn't think of that. That's an awesome idea. Simple and easy and no extra work installing and paying for stuff.
    Thank you very much.

  7. #22
    DIY Member jasper7821's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I would not recommend using the bypass on the unit he has. It is not considered the most durable one available. It is certainly not a Fleck or Clack bypass to say the least. The few times I serviced them, the bypass had to be rebuilt.

    I would recommend budgeting to do it right sometime in the near future. Running your own pipe above ground as you stated would not be a good idea. Definetly a job for a qualified plumber.
    AWW CRAP,

    Just as I got happy I had to get brought down.
    I have to admit, the bypass valve fells kinda flimsy and I'm scared to be opening and closing it a several times a week. I don't think it was designed to be used that much.

    I can't afford the plumber but maybe in a few months when the potassium runs out I'll be in a better position to afford bypassing the backyard.

    Thanks again everyone for the assistance.
    Waiting for my Hach 5-B to show up to see if the softener is really working or not.

  8. #23
    DIY Member jasper7821's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    If your softener has been using less than 15 lbs of softener salt per cuft of resin per regeneration, you get the maximum K of capacity of 30K per regeneration. It is a very rare softener that is programmed that way.

    Most are programmed to use much less salt than 15 lbs/cuft of resin so.. you don't get the maximum K of capacity meaning not all the resin is regenerated, just the amount of capacity you use based on the hardness and number of people using water on a daily basis. IF you have used more capacity than the softener has been programmed for, yuo get hard water through the softener.

    Example... you have a 1 cuft (32K as they are called although you don't get more than 30K/cuft) and it is programmed for 6 lbs of salt per cuft which regenerates 20K, leaving 10K of the original K of capacity still in the resin/softener.

    So some day you use more than 20K of capacity by say 3K. Only 20K is regenerated the next regen, leaving 7K.

    Now do that overuse a number of times (like your drip irrigation) and you use up the 'extra' K of new resin capacity and then your 6 lbs can't regenerate the 20K the softener uses between regenerations based on metered gallons, and you get hard water through the softener and start looking for why that is.... and find nothing wrong with the softener's operation.

    To cure that situation you need to change the salt dose to 15lbs and do 2 manual regenerations one right after the other with no water use during or between the two so you regenerate all the resin back to 30K/cuft. Then change the salt dose back to the 6lbs or whatever is was originally and don't run irrigation water through the softener anymore.

    You use potassium chloride and should increase the salt dose by 12-30% to equal the capacity that that much less sodium chloride would require for the same K of capacity. Or, my suggestion is to switch to salt and save some money over buying expensive potassium chloride.
    OK, I'm still trying to figure this out.
    I read the manual again and the only salt adjustable setting is the salt efficiency setting and it's either on or off. Default is on which says "at least 4k grains of hardness are removed per pound of salt.
    My softener is a 39k grain system so wouldn't each regeneration regenerate the whole 39k grains of hardness and use about 10 pounds of salt ?

    I understand your math about using 6 pounds of salt to regenerate and using more water than usual and the water gets hard.
    Besides the salt efficiency setting on or off I don't see any way to adjust how much salt is used to regenerate.

    My raw water hardness is 12gpg so I set the hardness to 12 (no iron in the water) then add 30% for potassium so I set hardness to 15.5.
    Then set the salt level to whatever the level is in the tank from 1-8. Current level 5 so I set the salt lever to 5.

    And you said not all the resin is regenerated, just the amount of capacity used based on hardness and daily usage.
    I thought a regeneration fully cleans all the resin and makes all of them new again ready to make the water soft.

    You said to fix it change the salt dosage to 15lbs and do two regenerations then reset to 6 lbs.
    Since I have no salt usage adjustment (only salt efficiency on/off) then wouldn't a regeneration take about 10lbs of salt no matter what ?

    Then by how many gallons run through the softener the computer knows when to regenerate and clean the entire 1 cubic foot of resin that's in the tank then the process starts all over again ?
    I'm sorry if I still am not understanding how a softener works.
    Last edited by jasper7821; 10-18-2012 at 03:03 PM.

  9. #24
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You said:

    Rated capacity 15,300 gains with 3lbs of salt, 32,800 grains with 9.6lbs of salt, and 39,100 grains with 16.1lbs of salt Rated efficiency 5,100 grains/lb @ 3lbs of salt.

    Amount of high capacity resin 52.5/1.01
    I have no idea what that means.

    That means liters or cuft of resin.

    For the type of resin in your softener, your max salt dose is 16.1 lbs.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
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