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Thread: Kenmore water softener

  1. #31
    DIY Junior Member jgill's Avatar
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    Smile Kenmore water softener 'Achille's Heal'

    Well, I know I'm a little late on the responce, but, I have been diagnosing and repairing Kenmore water softeners for friends, neighbors, parents and aunts and uncles for a few years now. The water in Ventura is extremely hard. It is municiply treated well water that tests at 45 grains of hardness, Yikes! I had a few cases where the softener is only softening the water half as much as it should. I knew this because I have a water hardness test kit and the water would test at 24 grains of hardness no matter how many times you ran the softener through a regeneration cycle.
    The common problem I've found on these units after about 5 to 7 years is the distribution tube O-ring either splits apart or the distribution tube slips down and then the O-ring falls off. My parents had unregulated water pressure(about 100 psi) and their distribution tube pushed down into the lower distribution screen assembly. I pulled out the tube and lower distibutor assembly and pulled the tube up until it snapped back into its correct position. Then I reinstalled the assembly and installed 2 new O-rings instead of 1 on the tube above the upper distribution screen below the valve head assembly. Yes, the Kenmore parts diagram calls for 1 O-ring, but there is enough room for 2. This splits the load of each O-ring and gives twice the sealing surface area. After this repair, I installed a new water pressure regulator on my parent's house and the softener has been working trouble free for 5 years now.
    I had another Kenmore softener that the same O-ring split and fell into the upper distribution screen assembly. I also installed 2 of these O-rings to fix the problem.(Kenmore part #7170254) or obtained locally; O-ring size: 13/16" x 1-1/16". This particular softener had regulated water pressure at about 65 psi, so the distribution tube was still intact. These proceedures require separation of the valve head from the resin tank.
    I hope this will help those die-hard Kenmore water softener customers. I personally like the simplicity, service and value the Kenmore softeners provide. Good Luck.

  2. #32
    DIY Junior Member unionfno's Avatar
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    Default Water softener problem - bitter taste after regeneration...

    I have installed a softener (40,000 grains) at tha mains of a nightclub. Although the water softens without problem (I use a HANNA KIT with drops and the hardness falls from 300 ppm to 40 ppm) my client gets a bitter taste at his drinking water. This did not happen for the first month after installation. Taste became bitter after this month of function.
    Please note that I have set as follows my softener: 20 mins backwash, 30 mins brine, 20 mins refill). My device is Water Softener (CSIII H 1035) from Shanghai Canature Environmental Products Co.,Ltd. (http://www.ecvv.com/product/1793575.html). Unfortunately I do not get any answers from them... I have also installed a sediment big blue 20" filter before water enters the softener and a CTO big blue 20" filter after the softening of the water.

    PLEASE ADVICE AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH IN ADVANCE.

    Yours,

    Elias Papapostolou

  3. #33
    DIY Junior Member LarryO's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jgill View Post
    Well, I know I'm a little late on the responce, but, I have been diagnosing and repairing Kenmore water softeners for friends, neighbors, parents and aunts and uncles for a few years now. The water in Ventura is extremely hard. It is municiply treated well water that tests at 45 grains of hardness, Yikes! I had a few cases where the softener is only softening the water half as much as it should. I knew this because I have a water hardness test kit and the water would test at 24 grains of hardness no matter how many times you ran the softener through a regeneration cycle.
    The common problem I've found on these units after about 5 to 7 years is the distribution tube O-ring either splits apart or the distribution tube slips down and then the O-ring falls off. My parents had unregulated water pressure(about 100 psi) and their distribution tube pushed down into the lower distribution screen assembly. I pulled out the tube and lower distibutor assembly and pulled the tube up until it snapped back into its correct position. Then I reinstalled the assembly and installed 2 new O-rings instead of 1 on the tube above the upper distribution screen below the valve head assembly. Yes, the Kenmore parts diagram calls for 1 O-ring, but there is enough room for 2. This splits the load of each O-ring and gives twice the sealing surface area. After this repair, I installed a new water pressure regulator on my parent's house and the softener has been working trouble free for 5 years now.
    I had another Kenmore softener that the same O-ring split and fell into the upper distribution screen assembly. I also installed 2 of these O-rings to fix the problem.(Kenmore part #7170254) or obtained locally; O-ring size: 13/16" x 1-1/16". This particular softener had regulated water pressure at about 65 psi, so the distribution tube was still intact. These proceedures require separation of the valve head from the resin tank.
    I hope this will help those die-hard Kenmore water softener customers. I personally like the simplicity, service and value the Kenmore softeners provide. Good Luck.
    Thank you for this tip. My Kenmore softener is over 18 years old. About 5 years ago, I noticed the water did not feel the same on my skin when taking a shower and the house faucets/shower heads showed hardness accumulation. I then bought an inexpensive hardness test kit and found the softener was only partially softening the water (90 mg/l in, 60 out). I looked at the system in detail (checked valve cycle, regeneration flow rates, brine level/feed, disassembled valve, checked o-rings, rotor wear, etc.) but nothing jumped out at me. Based on its age, I decided to replace the media which did not improve the situation. Until now, I just lived with the problem since our hardness is not severe. Based on your suggestion, I bought the upper distributor o-rings and added one on the lower distributor tube atop the existing o-ring. Tested this morning after an overnight regeneration with hardness now less than 6 mg/l!! We're back.
    I only added one o-ring because it did not fit in the same place (on the upper distributor) as the existing o-ring. Actually, the existing ring is 15/16" ID by 1 3/16" OD not 13/16" ID by 1 1/16" OD as specified in the parts list. However, it fits perfectly on the upper center section of the upper distributor and fits snugly in the valve body. It is the original ring that came with the unit and obviously has been effective for years. I installed the new o-ring on the lower distributor riser tube which stacks both o-rings one on top of the other.
    As an aside, I see many people on the net downgrade the Kenmore softeners. I contend, given that you are a reasonably capable do-it-yourselfer, this is a very cost effective unit. It's low initial cost makes repair by a contractor impractical. On the other hand, the unit can be completely disassembled with nothing more than a screwdriver and component replacement is easy. In 18 years, I have replaced the valve motor and venturi o-rings/diaphragm. The valve rotor has light grooves in it so I plan to replace this and install a seal kit (approx. $80 total) shortly. Still a bargain, considering the softener is still going strong.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-16-2014 at 04:35 PM.

  4. #34
    DIY Junior Member Noyzee1's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by LarryO View Post
    As an aside, I see many people on the net downgrade the Kenmore softeners. I contend, given that you are a reasonably capable do-it-yourselfer, this is a very cost effective unit. It's low initial cost makes repair by a contractor impractical. On the other hand, the unit can be completely disassembled with nothing more than a screwdriver and component replacement is easy. In 18 years, I have replaced the valve motor and venturi o-rings/diaphragm. The valve rotor has light grooves in it so I plan to replace this and install a seal kit (approx. $80 total) shortly. Still a bargain, considering the softener is still going strong.
    I whole heartedly agree with this concept. If I were a contractor, I wouldn't want to deal with these softeners, but for the DIY community, of which I'm firmly planted, I think they're great if you're willing to tinker with them. Alll the documentation, parts, etc. are readily available, and even spare used units are out there for cheap. I got a whole other unit used for $50 including 100 pounds of salt from someone that just wanted me to haul it away. I took it apart, cleaned off everything, de-fouled the resin with Super Iron Out, took a couple of parts from the other Sears unit I had, and put her into service. She's up an running now more than 1 1/2 years later. I DID have some issues, though, that needed attention: 1) the cheap plastic bypass kept leaking, so I swapped it out with the other unit 2) the water sensor turbine circuit died, so I had to replace the Hall-Effect sensor.
    I recently replaced the pressure regulator on my house because it was allowing the system to creep up to nearly 100 psi. This could have contributed to issue #1, but the bypass on the softener is still cheap and crappy anyway. Issue #2 was an electronic component failure that could have happened to any unit, IMO.
    I actually am glad that people hate these softeners because it keeps the used ones' prices down!
    Cheers,
    JIM

  5. #35
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Good for you Jim. There's a lot of money to be made in fixing water treatment equipment. And done right, it leads to sales of new equipment without spending a pile of bucks to advertise.
    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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