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Thread: Water Softener problem

  1. #1

    Default Water Softener problem

    Okay, I have an Ecowater Systems water softener, and the tank in which I put the salt (I cant think of the name for that thing) is full of water. Not just a little bit, but completely full. That water has erroded what should be about a three month supply of salt to practically nothing in a week. When I manually drain the tank, if fills back up when the system recharges. Any advise? Is this a problem I could fix myself, or do I need professionals?

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    I don't know if this will help or not, but here goes. I have a Kenmore water softener, and every 2-3 years need to open up the valve assembly and replace the "rotor and disc." This year I also replaced the venturi and gasket.

    I had a similar problem to you, although the water level never filled the tank -- would come up to the 10" float height, no higher, but then would never drain out since the unit wasn't able to draw brine.

    I don't know if Ecowater systems are similar to the valves used in Kenmore units, but you could check out www.kenmorewater.com and run their troubleshooting animation. I found it EXTREMELY useful in diagnosing and fixing mine.

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Actually Ecowater makes the Sears Kenmore, GE, Whirlpool, Morton and 1-2 other low priced big box store brands. Most share the same internal parts and the control valve. Many fail in 2-6 years.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    Gary's right. In as many years as I've been dealing with water softeners, I still dread having to service an Ecowater system. They are very service-unfriendly. However, you may as well take a look at a couple of things that may be simple to get some extra time out of the thing before you replace it with a system that is a bit more, well, hardy.

    Try replacing the tube that runs from the salt tank to the softener, making sure that it is absolutely airtight. When the system regenerates, if the drain line is restricted in any way, it could cause a similar problem, so make sure that it's clear. The easiest, best, but not the least expensive way to completely remedy the problem is to replace it.
    Measure Twice, Cut Once
    Wally

  5. #5
    DIY Member ally68's Avatar
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    check and clean the venturi valve if it will not draw brine during the rinse portion I have had that happen alot.

    Off topic any on hear of flex or flek water softners?

    Thanks

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I think you mean Fleck control valves. They are very high quality but one that is better IMO is the Clack WS-1. Second best is the Fleck 7000SE. They both can be repaired without any special tools unlike the other residential Fleck models. The Clack WS-1 and Fleck 7000SE have soft water brine refill and variable reserve and the 7000SE has variable brining like the Fleck 6700. The Clack WS-1 is the easiest and fastest to repair and the replacement parts are the least expensive of any manufacturers' parts.

    And I suggest that you buy over the internet and install your own softener. Anyone that has the desire can do it.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates

  7. #7
    DIY Member ally68's Avatar
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    My new brother in law rents and sells fleck, not sure what brand but I have a sears one now and when it goes I think I will have him install one of those flecks for me.

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    DIY Senior Member captwally's Avatar
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    Could not have answered better than Gary. Fleck is a high quality valve, as is Clack. I grew up repairing Fleck 5600s and 9000s. Take a look at Autotrol as well, they have made some amazing new valves in the past few years. It is also a quality product.
    Measure Twice, Cut Once
    Wally

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nrwilli
    Okay, I have an Ecowater Systems water softener, and the tank in which I put the salt (I cant think of the name for that thing) is full of water. Not just a little bit, but completely full. That water has erroded what should be about a three month supply of salt to practically nothing in a week. When I manually drain the tank, if fills back up when the system recharges. Any advise? Is this a problem I could fix myself, or do I need professionals?
    If you haven't gotten this fixed yet...
    I had the same problem with my Ecowater 2000 model. The problem is the seal between the main housing and the rotary housing. During recharge the seal will sometimes twist causing a "non-sealed" condition when the unit is not charging. What bugs me is the replacement seal cost $20.00, it looks
    as though it should cost about $1.00.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking what is it all worth??

    The part cost about 20 bucks and it sounds like
    you know how to fix that piece of junk...

    Now, how difficult is it to make repairs to it??

    what is your time worth,,,
    how much would you charge someone for a normal
    service situatioin??


    and how long will this repair last before troubles start again???
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I just tell people to pitch it out the door and
    get a Autotrol or fleck type water conditioner
    and live hapily ever after....

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    The majority of my customers treat water softeners the same as water heaters; run them to the ground till they stop working and buy another one. The majority do not want to "know" how to fix a water softener unless it is an O-ring or leaking connection into the softener itself. Age of the unit also is a convincing factor of whether they want the unit to nickel and dime them or not.

    Most customers don't want to know softener 101, they just want soft water. I just pulled out 2 water softeners recently, one 7 years old, one 11. Both were Kenmores, both customers did not have any problems up to the point they broke. The specialized water softener guys want a flat rate $150 just to show up, and their speak is to sell, not repair the failing unit.

    That is why Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's keep moving their product without the critics slowing them down. That is why the majority of homeowners go for the "cheap" fix because it limits the X amount of money spent, they have soft water and move on.

    I'm there for those installs/replacements and the customers mainly worry about the final cost. You start talking about internal parts and the actual functioning of the unit and how it works, you might as well be talking chinese. It's going right over their head. For those who know their product before buying, spend spend spend. There is someone out there to fill your need locally or otherwise.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpayne
    If you haven't gotten this fixed yet...
    I had the same problem with my Ecowater 2000 model. The problem is the seal between the main housing and the rotary housing. During recharge the seal will sometimes twist causing a "non-sealed" condition when the unit is not charging. What bugs me is the replacement seal cost $20.00, it looks
    as though it should cost about $1.00.

    Are you sure you're not quoting the price for the seal kit? I've never seen a main seal sold ala carte, at least for my softener.

    The seal kit, on the other hand, probably costs about $1.50 to produce...


    In any event, about every 3 years, I do a seal kit and rotor replacement on mine when it stops sucking brine. Takes me about 20 minutes. For now, I'll keep nickel-and-diming it until the resin breaks down or the timer motor quits, then go for a Clack or Fleck unit.

  13. #13

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    We have had good luck with our Ecowater 3000 to this point (about 4 years) without a repair. I have checked the venturi and filter a couple of times and found nothing in it. Hopefully, that will continue.

    When we were shopping for a softener, I got parts lists/explosions from Ecowater for their brand and Sears, and the Ecowater unit used a completely different assembly for the mechanics, as well as a different computer. We went with the Ecowater because it had the electronics that monitors useage and adjusts the capacity to match, which works very well for our low useage/hi iron problems.

    When I talked to one of the techs in the test lab at Ecowater, he basically said what most here are saying, maintenance after 3-4 years, but only for the Sears style control. He claimed more like 10 years on the Ecowater branded style (maybe biased?). Does the model 2000 use the smaller, Sears style, mechanism?

  14. #14
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    From what I've been told and I see on the Kenmore site, the disc, o-rings and gasket kit is like $60.
    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

    Default Kenmore

    Gary,
    I've been repairing my Kenmore for 9 years ( 1 under warrenty). In all that time I've only had to replace one rotor seal. Most of the time it's just the venturi needing cleaned ( you know, high water in the tank, no soft water). I've got quite adept at repairing and it's no big deal to me, but recently the water wasn't as soft as it should have been. I watched it go through a regeneration and every thing is working as it should. I didn't think it was me so I had the water tested. I have 7 grains coming in the house and 4 grains coming out of the softener. My question is, do the resin beads wear out or is there something I'm overlooking? If they do wear out, does 10 years seem about right with 7 grains of hardness and 4 people in the household?

    Thanks, Dan

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