Fleck 5600sxt low(very) output pressure

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Eddie80

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A cracked distributor tube filter allowed resin beads to get into the output of my 3-year old Fleck 5600sxt. After flushing my soft water lines, and replacing the distributor tube, the water pressure out of the 5600 is very low. Is there a filter in the softener mechanism that would have gotten clogged, and needs cleaning, or somewhere else in the control head that might have gotten clogged? Input water pressure is good, 70-80 psi.
 

Bannerman

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Reduced flow rate (will result in low pressure) is almost always a symptom of damaged resin, usually a result of damage caused by constant chlorine exposure. I suspect your water source is municipal which will be chlorinated.

Was your softener sourced online? Online selling is very competitive, so most online dealers compete heavily based on lowest price. Since the control valve brand and model is most recognized, many dealers will advertise their system is equipped with an identical quality Fleck 5600 SXT control valve, but to achieve a lower price than the competition, cheap imported components such as tanks, lower screen, and resin will be utilized, and online systems will typucally not include gravel underbedding.

Many low quality bottom baskets can be easily crushed and broken, and with no gravel underbedding, there will be no additional barrier to prevent resin from escaping through a broken bottom basket and entering the home's plumbing lines. Reduced water flow through damaged resin, likely resulted in the bottom screen becoming crushed due to greater downward pressure placed on the resin from the water entering from above because the water could not easily flow through the resin.

Unfortunately, low quality resin will usually fail within a short period of time, sometimes in as little as a few months.

One method sometimes utilized to confirm resin damage is to remove the control valve to obtain a small sample of resin from near the top of the tank. Healthy resin when squeezed between two fingers should feel firm and granular whereas chlorine damaged resin will typically feel somewhat mushy.
 

Jb1975

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Reduced flow rate (will result in low pressure) is almost always a symptom of damaged resin, usually a result of damage caused by constant chlorine exposure. I suspect your water source is municipal which will be chlorinated.

Was your softener sourced online? Online selling is very competitive, so most online dealers compete heavily based on lowest price. Since the control valve brand and model is most recognized, many dealers will advertise their system is equipped with an identical quality Fleck 5600 SXT control valve, but to achieve a lower price than the competition, cheap imported components such as tanks, lower screen, and resin will be utilized, and online systems will typucally not include gravel underbedding.

Many low quality bottom baskets can be easily crushed and broken, and with no gravel underbedding, there will be no additional barrier to prevent resin from escaping through a broken bottom basket and entering the home's plumbing lines. Reduced water flow through damaged resin, likely resulted in the bottom screen becoming crushed due to greater downward pressure placed on the resin from the water entering from above because the water could not easily flow through the resin.

Unfortunately, low quality resin will usually fail within a short period of time, sometimes in as little as a few months.

One method sometimes utilized to confirm resin damage is to remove the control valve to obtain a small sample of resin from near the top of the tank. Healthy resin when squeezed between two fingers should feel firm and granular whereas chlorine damaged resin will typically feel somewhat mushy.
 

Jb1975

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So... I have a question. Suddenly resin is in the house. Live outside Tampa if that makes any difference. Water softener is 7 years old. I installed it. It is plumbed correctly... not backwards. It is a Fleck 5600 sxt unit but the rest is probably as you described. I pulled the unit, checked the upper and lower basket... honestly they look pretty good. Not brittle and no cracks. The valve and piston part in the unit look great. Obviously no gravel bed as the pipe with lower basket settled back in easily.
I think the problem is that my resin is broken down too much and passing thru. When this happen can alot of resin pass thru? Enough to lower pressure to zero and then suddenly gush with resin? The resin doesn't look like it will fit thru the basket but you can press it thru. If that makes since. No idea what good resin looks like. What do you think? I've been reading several posts if you can't tell.
 

Reach4

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With city water, the resin breaks down more quickly. Maybe 10 years with city water, but could be quicker. With city water, it is important to use 10% crosslinked resin.

I presume the resin caught in the aerators upstairs are just pieces, and not whole beads.

You already did a lot of work, if you actually checked your bottom basket.
 

ditttohead

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Many companies (especially the online ones) sell junk resin. Typical high quality resin has an 8% crosslinking. Commercial grade is typically 10%. Online grade can be below 6% which is considered good for single use applications like a disposable filter. Many of the low cost companies will use this resin in their systems in order to be a few dollars cheaper than the next online company. Since you cant tell the difference many companies will claim 8 or 10% but actually ship junk.

Resin can last from a few days to decades, it has to do with the % of crosslinking and oxidant exposure. Higher crosslinking tends to greatly increase the oxidant resistance.

Resin in the house can only come from the lower screen, or from the top of the valve due to the system being plumbed in backwards.

Bad resin will feel muddy when you squish it between your finger and thumb. You can take resin from the bottom of the tank and you will notice that it is usually solid, the resin at the top is bad. If the top is bad, all of the resin should be replaced. As to the bottom screen, many companies use cheap import screens that cost 25 cents... a real screen will cost closer to 10 dollars. Here are a couple of failed screens compared to a high quality one.

1669832159002.png
1669832170972.png
1669832186143.png
 

Asker123

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Hi dittohead,

I think that online has different meaning in this sense.

For example, I noticed that you can also supply softener so to someone in the same city/town you will be local but if someone else want a softener from you, you become online for them because perhaps you can send that the equipment via mail but probably will not install it for them and they will need to install by themselves or by someone else.

Here in Canada, our marketplace is much smaller than you guys down south so there are some business like https://www.aquatell.ca/ they specify all the good things you mention here - 10% cross linked resin , doing proper sizing rather than just marketing at certain thousands of grains capacity that uses max salt. I am not in the same town as them so to be they are online. I bought from them and installed myself.

However, on the gravelbed, they have the following observation. I am not sure how important to have the gravel. They are saying that in residential setting gravelbed have been discontinued. PLease give it a read

 

ditttohead

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Precisely... gravel is very important for proper diffusion and to protect the bottom screen. They do this because shipping gravel is expensive... it is a lame way to save a few dollars. Gravel also allows for more of the resin to be used since it is above the gravel, not below the screen. Unless you are using the Vortech tanks, gravel should be used in most applications. The main exception is when using DI resin, gravel imparts trace amounts of impurities.
 
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