Autotrol 255/440i water low flow and brine tank backing up

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by mgoodale, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. mgoodale

    mgoodale New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Hi There,
    I'm trying to figure out what's going on with my water softener. I do not know the age of the system. The problem started with a drop in water pressure to the house, bypassing the softener fixed the problem. In addition to this, when I do run the softener the brine tank backs up. At the beginning of the slow rinse/brine cycle, brine is initially drawn into the air check valve and then slowly you can see the direction of the water reverse.

    I have taken apart the control unit and the following has been checked:

    -Injector/screen are clean
    -everything has been rinsed for a blockage
    -brine line should be clear as it initially draws brine and backs up water just fine.
    -drain line gets good flow.
    -flapper valves look ok. One of the larger ones was a little bit rougher, but not too bad.
    -The air check valve fills with water fine. there is a bubble in there throughout the cycle.

    Any thoughts, ideas? Could the resin be the issue?

    Cheers,
    Matt
  2. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Very likely the resin is fouled or has failed.

    If you have iron in your water iron fouling is very possible--particlarly becuase the regeneration is apparently not working. The fact that brine tank fills indicated that there is a problem internal to the control head--possible bad flappers. A rebuild is indicated.

    If you are on a chlorined municipal supply chlorine may have degraded the resin. Check by taking a sample of the resin and press between your fingers. If it is mushy it has degraded. If the resin beads are hard they are probably ok.
  3. mgoodale

    mgoodale New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks, I'll start with that.
  4. Servallwater

    Servallwater In the Trades

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Mark

    Most likely you have compacted resin in your mineral tank. Bypass immediately so you don't have resin break through. This is a fairly easy repair if you are somewhat mechanically inclined. If you need more assistance please let me know.

    Thanks
  5. mgoodale

    mgoodale New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Hello again, so flapper valves aren't the issue.

    Jim can you give me a few steps to see if the resin is compacted?

    Thanks.
  6. mgoodale

    mgoodale New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Ontario
    Just giving a bump here. Can anyone else give me an idea as to fixing the resin?

    Cheers,
    Matt
  7. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,496
    Location:
    Alaska
    Replacing the resin if needed is done by removing the valve control from the top of the media tank and then emptying the tank of the resin and putting new resin and gravel into the tank.
    Depending on the size of the tank will tell the amount of resin needed for the rebeding of the softener.
  8. Servallwater

    Servallwater In the Trades

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    If the resin is compacted you will lose water pressure. This can also lead to the distributor tube breaking which is a much worse problem. If the resin breaks through then your plumbing lines in the house will all become clogged. When you remove the valve and pull the distributor tube out of the mineral tank the resin will be mushy instead of grainy like sand. It may be hard for you to see this difference. If you really want to make sure the resin is compacted before replacing then you can empty all of it out of your mineral tank. Once you have all of the old resin out put the valve back on and reinstall. You should now have good pressure. I would also change the distributor tube or riser tube when you change out the resin. Let me know if you have any more questions.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Bad resin is not the only cause of a reduced water flow through a softener.

    The problem with too much brine in the salt tank means there is a possible flow problem in the control valve and/or the injector, an injector throat, injector screen or drain line flow control is blocked or partially blocked. Or.... a distributor tube top and/or bottom basket is blocked.

    Although reduced water flow may cause it, finding the cause of the too much brine water might find the cause of the reduced water flow through the softener. An partially blocked by pass valve is a potential cause also.
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,946
    Location:
    Ontario California
    If you have low pressure and you bypass the softener, this is 95% sure going to be a resin issue. Start by replacing your resin. Resin is a small round plastic bead (simple explanation) that can "break" over time. If enough beads break, they will restric water flow. It is one of the most common calls I take for softener trouble shooting. I would recommend replacing your resin with a 10% crosslink resin to extend the time between resin change-outs in the future.

    Testing the resin is very easy. Remove the control valve, take a piece of pvc pipe, insert it into the top of the resin bed approximately 5-10 inches. Put your thumb over the pvc pipe so you can exract a sample off the top of the resin. The majority of the bad resin will be at the top of the tank. Try to "squish" the resin between your thumb and finger. Good resin will not break or feel mushy or muddy. Bad resin will have a definite mush feel to it.

    If your house water cant flow through the system, the brine water is unlikely to be able to as well. The backpressure on the injection system will usually cause the system to not draw brine.

    Regardless, depending on the age of the valve, it may also be time to replace the flappers. They are cheap and simple to replace. Just be sure to use hand tools only on the #2 screws. Many Autotrol valves get broken due to the use of power tools.

    Good luck.
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