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Thread: water softener disaster...

  1. #1

    Default water softener disaster...

    Hi,

    We have an older Rayne water softener. It is located outside our house. This summer I was out of town for several weekends and the brine tank ran out of salt. I would not expect that to be so bad but, the system regenerated last week and the next morning all our water in the house smelled like a swap!

    I switched the bypass valve, and tured on all the taps in the house to flush the pipes. I also flushed the hot water heater. I think the pipes are clean, the water smeels like chlorine now...

    What should I do about this softener? I'm sure really dirty, funky water was used during the last regen, the brine tank smells like something died in it. Is it worth the effort to replace the resin and maybe buy a new brine tank? Seems like a new softener is ~500$ and I'd like to avoid that cost. How hard is it to rebuild one of these things?

    Advise? Where can I get parts?

    Thanks,

    S.

  2. #2
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Why not just clean out the brine tank?

  3. #3

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    Hi,

    I can. I would want to disinfect it too. Can I use bleach?

    What about the resin? After getting backwashed with dirty water, do I need to replace it or is there some cleaner I can use for that too?

    Thanks,

    S.

  4. #4
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Sure (use bleach).

    As for the resin, I just bought a couple of bottles of resin cleaner from speedbump last weekend to get out iron, but they may clean out crud as well. Speedbump might comment on their suitability for your situation. At worst, just backwash a couple of times with your nice fresh brine, and it'd probably be OK. I don't think I'd put bleach in the resin, but chlorinated water is softened routinely, so a mild bleach solution might not harm it.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking DONT use BLEACH

    Bleach will ruin your resin


    clean out your salt tank

    just run the system through a few cycles and you

    should be ok

  6. #6
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    My 45K GE water softener says that you can put 3/4 cup bleach in the brine well and recharge to disinfect. I guess a low level of chlorine works, but not too much. Might be time to replace the resin... How long does resin last, anyway??
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

  7. #7
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking life of resin

    in my experience and advice I have
    received from WS people in this city
    the resin is usually worn out after about 12 years or so
    its all depending on how much clorine is in your
    city water......








  8. #8
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Unless you have a twin tank, immediate regenerated type, a softener uses raw hard water for every regeneration, so the problem wasn't caused by regenerating without salt... It was from sitting around with no water use while you were gone and bacteria growth in the resin bed. That 3/4 cup is a bit much IMO but sanitizing the softener is what you need to do. Chlorine damages resins.

    As to resin cleaners, they damage resins too but, Iron Out and Super IO are the best if you use them properly; mixed in a certain amount of water poured into the brine well and do a manual regeneration once in ahwile.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 08-30-2006 at 07:07 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.

  9. #9
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    I agree with Gary, it's probably bacteria and a little bleach would more than likely take care of the smell.

    If you get the odor from your water heater that is bacteria also.

    bob...

  10. #10
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    do a manual regeneration once in ahwile.
    Why can't I pour the stuff in and let it regenerate on its normal schedule?

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Bleach should be regular non-scented. Iron Out and bleach solution weaken sitting in the brine tank, and the resin is in the mineral tank... until the two meet, there isn't much sanitizing or cleaning of the resin goin' on.

    Spiffy, resin has an indefinate life but usually lasts 10-20 years. You should have a sample of your resin inspected rather than simply replacing it due to age.
    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
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    ...until the two meet, there isn't much sanitizing or cleaning of the resin goin' on.
    Duh. I suspected that. Just didn't want to waste the water for an additional (manual) regeneration, if it was going to go off at 2am anyway.

    Can I use the same chemicals to scrub the carbon filter? There's probably more iron in it than in the resin.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I've never heard of anyone using Iron Out etc. in carbon, and I don't suggest it. Carbon is backwashed, never regenerated, so you'd have a hard time getting the product into the mineral. Put the carbon filter in the backwash position and unplug it for say 15 minutes, plug it back in and let it finish on it's own. That should get id of any build up in the bed.

    I don't consider any of that water for a manual regeneration or backwash as wasted any more than taking a shower would be wasting water... Especially when the resin/mineral is going to benefit from the manual and normal regeneration/backwash being back to back. Afterall, the softener needing a resin cleaner isn't working, so the other choice is resin replacement; which will take more water than a manual regeneration.... ya just can't win!
    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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