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Thread: Water softner flowing backwards.

  1. #31
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    My guess (and it's only a guess) is that while the geo is running the pump pressure is fluctuating up and down causing water to move back and forth across the meter. For it to do that, there has to be some room for expansion on the soft side, perhaps an expansion tank for the hot water or lots of PEX lines.

    Monitor the pressure while the geo is running to see if it is fluctuating.

    If you put in a checkvalve then you need to have an expansion tank after it.
    That's my guess now as well. Have you actually watched the pressure gauge at the pressure tank while this is going on? Is there a solenoid valve in the geo lines anywhere to isolate all the geo plumbing from the rest of the world when the geo is off? I wonder if you need a check valve in the geo dump line pointing to the well.

  2. #32
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    While geo is running, the cycle time of my water pump is about 30 seconds. about 13 seconds to discharge and about 17 seconds to charge while geo is running.
    That can't be good for the pump.

  3. #33
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    The Heat pump generally has it's own pump which may be pulling through the softener when it runs and because it pulls a fairly high volume and water always follows the path of least resistance that path may be through the softner outlet.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  4. #34
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    Water line comes in and goes to the pressure tank. There are 3 3/4 water lines that come off the pressure tank line.

    One is a spigot, 1 goes to the water softener and the 3rd one goes to the geothermal unit. Besides on/off valves, and the taco valve that is right before the inlet of the geo thermal, there isn't anything else.
    Is that the actual order from the pressure tank? Your description sounds like there is no pr. tank tee, just regular tubing. A pic of that would be nice.

    What is a Taco valve?

    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    There is no thermal expansion tank.

    Most of my plumbing is PVC, but the new stuff that the plumbers put in is PEX.
    If the Geo is off, the meter on the clack does not register any gallons of soft water use. The only time it does is when the Geo is on, or, If i open a valve at the storage tank and dump water into the sump pump pit. This will also cause usage to show up on the clack.
    What storage tank, and why do you have one, what is it used for?

    Is it a pressurized tank or non pressurized?

    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    If I turn the inlet to the water softner on bypass, or turn the valve off to the softener, while the geo is on, no water usuage is measured on the clack.
    Do you mean you have a stop valve or 3 valve manual by pass AND a Clack by pass valve too? A pic would be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    While geo is running, the cycle time of my water pump is about 30 seconds. about 13 seconds to discharge and about 17 seconds to charge while geo is running.
    When you say discharge do you mean from the time the pump turns off until it comes on again? And the charge is from the time the pump comes on until it shuts off?

    If so that is way too little time for the pump to be off between starts and that is going to kill your pump fairly soon and it runs up your electric bill.

    That is called short cycling and all pump manufacturers want the pump off at least 60 seconds for up to 2hp pumps. For 2hp and larger the time is longer.

    That length of time is controlled by the size of the pressure tank and that and the psi range of the pump pressure switch controls the number of gallons the tank delivers between pump runs; those gallons are called draw down gallons.

    Quote Originally Posted by chachie View Post
    I went from 992 gallons left to recharge, down to 770 gallons, from 5am to 12 pm. The temp was high 30's to low 40's. I have a 3 ton and approximately 2700 sq ft(including the unfinished basement) home. The unit is not running constantly, but it does run a lot.
    992-770=222. 222gals/7hrs=31.714 gals per hr., or .5 gpm for all of 7 hrs. Since the geo doesn't run constantly the flow through the softener has to be higher than .5 gpm.

    I can not believe or see how others here can believe that that much flow is due to expansion of PEX tubing a few seconds once every 30 seconds. Plus it would mean that the pump is not coming on before the pressure tank empties since there is no restriction to backflow meaning the pressure is always the same in the PEX as it is in the pressure tank. So to me there has to be another cause.

    Plus there is the storage tank being dumped into the sump pump hole causing the same flow through the softener. Which makes me wonder why a storage tank dumping into a sump pump and where the drain line from the softener is going.
    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.

  5. #35
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Are you thinking that there is perhaps a siphon going on? I'd like to see pictures of the set up but that's a distinct possiblity. If the drain line is in the same hole as the geo, and the sump fills over the softener drain line it could possibly pull through that drain line when the geo is running. raising the drain line so there's an air gap will give him a quick answer.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #36
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Where is the geo system getting its source water from? Another well, I presume? In any event, why would it dump into the domestic well's pump output line? I could understand using the domestic well as the dump (or the source, for that matter), but I'd rather see a separate dump line to the well, and not pressurize the line the well pump has to pump into.

    Note -- I have no expertise in the area of open-loop geo systems. Maybe it shows.

  7. #37
    DIY Junior Member chachie's Avatar
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    Sorry been away from the computer.

    Again, thanks for all the replies and help.

    Problem is fixed, continue reading if you want to know.....

    So, I decided to try and fix the short cycling of my pump. I turned my pump off and emptied my water lines, put in a new pressure gauge, and pressurized my pressure tank to the correct value. This solved 2 problems. My cycling went from about 48 seconds, to 2 minutes and 50 seconds. AND, my water softener quit flowing backwards!

    My best guess is since my pressure tank wasn't working correctly, it was causing my water lines to charge and discharge to fast, causing the meter in my water softener to move.

    Cheers!

  8. #38
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Thanks for the follow up and I'm glad you found the cause and fixed it with more than a misapplied band aid like a check valve.
    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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