So, here's the short and straight of it (after I spent 1/2 hour typing out a detailed description here only to have it disappear on me - LOL)
I have a God-knows-how-old Mark 915 Cul-Cleer unit - previous owners bought it 10 years ago as a REFURB - in the 3 years I've owned the house I have had to have 3 seal packs replaced, one of them just 2 weeks ago. Have spent about $1000 on repairs (chemical injector pump, seal packs, service calls, etc.) We have very hard water with lots of iron and when I do tank blowouts (especially the really major ones where I clean the whole tank and backwash it out) I get tons of brown sludge out. The Culligan people tell me I'm lucky to get two years out of a seal pack. I have a large retention tank with flowswitch (which I've had to replace once), carbon backwash tank, and of course the resin bead tank.
So, I'm out of town and get a frantic call from the wife - said there was all this water flowing up and over/out of the carbon tank. She shut off the main water supply (she didn't know about the bypass valve - my fault for not educating her), she waited a few hours, then turned the water back on - suddenly a pipe up at the flow switch near the top of the retention tank popped out. So she shut the water off again, I instructed her how to bypass the carbon tank, repair the PVC, and she did a great job and got water back to the house (had her shut off the rest of the unit including the chlorine injector). So when I get home and look things over, imagine my shock at seeing this (see pics):
The inner part of the carbon tank PUSHED UP out of the plastic lining, bending the attached PVC pipes (I'm suprised none of them broke), punched up through my pumphouse soffit, and was only stopped by the wood underneath the roof! My wife didn't know that this wasn't normal (can't blame her - she has never worked on any of this stuff) - it appears that perhaps during the backwash cycle the night before something got stuck in the draining process, the pressure got too much, and it literally pushed the unit up until it was stopped by my pumphouse roof. It has a small crack in the bottom of the tank now which drains water out, and I cannot push the unit back down - I think the carbon flowed out of the metal inner lining and is now blocking being able to push it back down.
So, called Culligan's emergency number - no answer, and the voicemail message says "This user has not yet set up voicemail" - nice, huh? So, I'm pretty damn pissed at Culligan, especially since I've already spent over $1000 with them in less than 3 years, and the last time I had to go a WEEK before service on my softener (no soft water for a week sucks when you have such hard water).
I'm pretty sure you all will tell me to get a new system - I can't see continously repairing a system that was already refurbed 10 years ago, especially when it seems to be breaking down continuously.
We are on well water on a lake/pond in central florida near the coast (New Port Richey) in a neighborhood where everyone has a well. When our system is running good the water is nice, but the moment something goes wrong you can tell why we have a well water system - light tea colored water, smelly (hard rused iron smell), etc.
It is just me, the wife, and two dogs. No irrigation or sprinklers, we have a above ground pool that rarely gets any water added to it, so I don't necessarily know if we need a huge, high capacity system since we just don't use that much water - I think our usage back in our other house was about 4000-5000 gallons a month.
So, repair or replace? And if replace, what would you recommend? I want reliable, efficient, cost-effective (I don't mind paying more for quality), something that will handle our water as good if not better than the Culligan, but with fewer constant problems and repairs. I honestly don't have the time, energy, or patience to do it myself, and am getting quotes today from some local dealers (NOT CULLIGAN).