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Thread: Draining a Water Softener

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member batman71's Avatar
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    Default Draining a Water Softener

    I need to move a softener to another house and want it as light as possible. Is it OK to drain the water by merely laying the softener on it's side? I assume that the resin would just settle back to where it needs to be after I set it upright again??

    If above is not OK, what is the simplest wayt to drain the water from the resin tank?

    Thanks,
    Batman

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Not all softeners have a top basket so resin could get up into the head if you try that. I would leave it upright and apply air pressure to the inlet. Assuming it is not one of the reverse flowing type, that should push the water down through the bottom basket and up the tube. You could also put a wet/dry vac on the outlet.

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    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    If you can do as advised by LLigetfa, spin the valve off the tank. Slowly tilt the tank toward to ground. With the water flowing slowly out of the tank, resin will stay settled and you will not lose any.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    If you remove the valve, you will see a tube in the middle. Put a small tube down it to the bottom and siphon the water out.

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Not all softeners have a top basket so resin could get up into the head if you try that. I would leave it upright and apply air pressure to the inlet. Assuming it is not one of the reverse flowing type, that should push the water down through the bottom basket and up the tube. You could also put a wet/dry vac on the outlet.
    Suction on the outlet probably wouldn't get much water out.

    I used to leave the valve and the by pass valve in the service position. I leaned the tank over very slowly to pour water out the outlet until I had the top of the tank about 2' off the floor and I'd stand the tank up and shake it so the resin would fall back down in the tank if it had moved at all, then I'd slowly pour until the top of the tank was like 6" off the floor and quit by standing it up and shaking it again. That leaves some water in the tank so the resin can't dry out (which ruins resin) and yet makes the tank much lighter. Then I never laid a tank down flat on its side and loaded the tank on about a 45 deg angle or sideways in the vehicle so accelerating or stopping couldn't cause sloshing and get resin up in the valve. And I put the by pass valve in by pass so water wouldn't evaporate (or spill accidentally) in case the unit wasn't installed for months.

    Removing the control valve usually raises the distributor tube and unless you don't have a gravel underbed, you can't get it back in correctly with out laying the tank down and getting the resin to lay flat in the tank to expose the dimple in the bottom of the tank so you can get the pointy end of the bottom basket in it and hold it there while standing the tank up again and shaking it so the resin falls down to hold the distributor tube in place. If you don't do that you tun a high risk of breaking the DT or having it break later because it would be under stress if not placed properly.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 11-01-2013 at 08:53 AM.
    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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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Suppose the tank was in the service position. Then gentle compressed air would be applied to the water input port. Water comes out the output port. When a selected amount has come out, pressure is removed. Tank stays upright. tube stays in place.

    Alternate idea: remove the water with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner sucking on the output port. http://www.shopvac.com/specifications/quiet_series.asp says they can suck up over 50 inches. "Sealed Pressure(in inches)" spec is about 55 inches at stall.

    Idea 3: Adapt sturdy flex tubing to a fitting screwed into the output port. Use a wet vacuum cleaner to get the tube filled with water, and set the opening of the tube at the level you want the water to drop to. Hold with tape, clamp, whatever. When you are down to the right level, the siphon stops. Lung power might even be sufficient to start the siphon.
    Last edited by Reach4; 11-01-2013 at 09:35 AM.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Be careful using a vacuum on a tank. See picture for explanation of why.

    Name:  vacuum effect.jpg
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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I would leave it upright and apply air pressure to the inlet.
    ...
    You could also put a wet/dry vac on the outlet.
    You guys sure do like to take things out of context... Maybe you missed the word also. A constant air pressure applied and a wet/dry vac to suck up what comes out would not collapse a tank.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    You guys sure do like to take things out of context... Maybe you missed the word also. A constant air pressure applied and a wet/dry vac to suck up what comes out would not collapse a tank.
    I somehow missed your post. I am prone to that. Sorry.
    Last edited by Reach4; 11-01-2013 at 03:51 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member batman71's Avatar
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    I thank you guys for the pointers!

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    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    You guys sure do like to take things out of context... Maybe you missed the word also. A constant air pressure applied and a wet/dry vac to suck up what comes out would not collapse a tank.
    Here is all of what you said. "Not all softeners have a top basket so resin could get up into the head if you try that. I would leave it upright and apply air pressure to the inlet. Assuming it is not one of the reverse flowing type, that should push the water down through the bottom basket and up the tube. You could also put a wet/dry vac on the outlet.".

    I read that as either or, not as in addition to the suction.
    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
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Here is all of what you said. "Not all softeners have a top basket so resin could get up into the head if you try that. I would leave it upright and apply air pressure to the inlet. Assuming it is not one of the reverse flowing type, that should push the water down through the bottom basket and up the tube. You could also put a wet/dry vac on the outlet.".

    I read that as either or, not as in addition to the suction.
    we winterize a bunch of them and we use a compressor and just enough air on the inlet to blow the water out.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Then tell him how you do it.
    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.

  14. #14
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I read it wrong too. Tanks and negative pressure is not a good idea. Your idea of a little air pressure on the inlet is great and will evacuate a tank of water quickly. I was also looking for an excuse to post that picture. here is another picture of what negative pressure does to a tank.

    Name:  DSC_1051.jpg
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  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I read it wrong too. Tanks and negative pressure is not a good idea. Your idea of a little air pressure on the inlet is great and will evacuate a tank of water quickly. I was also looking for an excuse to post that picture. here is another picture of what negative pressure does to a tank.

    Name:  DSC_1051.jpg
Views: 105
Size:  46.2 KB
    It's amazing how those tanks can hold pressure up to 125 psi but collaspe with as little as 5 psi vacuum.

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