Brine draw and refill

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Piaband, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    I just purchased and installed a fleck 5600sxt water softener unit. 48000 grain, 1.5 cu. ft. resin.

    The instructions said to set the brine refill to 14 minutes. It also had me start with 5 gallons of water in the brine tank. I watched it run through the entire regeneration routine and, during the brine draw, I noticed the 5 gallons was almost exactly finished emptying but it was still draining water (maybe about 1 or 2 inches still left in bottom....hard to say exactly). However, the problem came when I watched it refill. Remember, the instructions had me set the refill at 14 minutes. At 8 minutes I had clearly exceeded the 5 gallons that were in there before. So I stopped the brine refill automatically.

    The next time, I didn't watch it do the regeneration, but I went downstairs and checked the next day and it filled all the way to the float valve cut off. I'm assuming this is not right.

    1. How to I determine how long the refill should last? Are the instructions correct at 14 minutes? I would think it would depend on many factors, like the size of the brine tank, pressure of the water in my house, etc?

    2. Is it possible that the brine line has a leak and is drawing air during the brine draw? It kind of sounds like air might be sucking, but it's hard to say. It might just be the water rushing through the fleck valve. Is there a way to test?

    3. I read somewhere that the water level in the brine tank should not be above the salt. Is that true?


    Anything else I should know? This is my first experience ever using a water softener. I did calculate the proper size of the softener before purchasing. I read that this is important.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    What kind of salt setting or number of lbs of salt you are trying to use per regen?
    What is the brine flow per minute? .5gpm or .25gpm? there is a sticker on the drain/brine housing on the side of the 5600? What color is that sticker?
  3. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have no idea how much salt my unit is suppose to use per regen. I have a "48,000-grain" system (according to the seller), 1.5 cu. ft. of resin. My water hardness is 17.5 GPG, with no iron. Can I calculate it from those numbers?

    The brine flow is stamped on there and says 0.5 GPM. I'm not at home at the moment. I will try to get the color of the sticker when I go home.
  4. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Using a .5 GPM flow @ 14 min will put 7 gallons of water into the brine tank which will use 21 lbs of salt. You only want to use 9 lbs of salt. Each min of fill will use 1.5 lbs of salt so the correct time should be 6 min.
  5. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thank you for the help! How do you know I only need 9 LBS of salt per regen?
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,386
    Location:
    IL
    1. Do you have a link to those instructions? With such a value, it would seem smart to have somebody look over the rest of the settings. Also, with the 6 lb per cubic foot mialynette2003 suggests, you should probably adjust to regen a little more often. 6 lb per cubic foot gives good salt economy.

    2. Since you are drawing brine down to a couple inches, it would seem you have no problem with a leak.

    3. It is OK for the salt level to be a just little below the water, but normally it would be above the water after you refill.

    See http://www.qualitywaterassociates.com/softeners/sizingchart.htm near the bottom to see why 6 lbs per cubic foot is better.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  7. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    http://imgur.com/a/piGci


    That is the WORD doc that I was sent when I purchased the unit. It has all of the programming instructions starting on page 9

    The only thing I can think, is maybe the seller was selling units with a 0.25 GPM brine flow when he made the instructions...and didnt realize he sold a 0.5 GPM unit.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,386
    Location:
    IL
    I downloaded 5600SXT_installguide_rev3.1.12ABC.docx but it does not render readably for me.
  9. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    I set up an imgur album with the programming instructions from the word doc.

    http://imgur.com/a/piGci
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,386
    Location:
    IL
    With your 1.5 ft[sup]3[/sup] resin and BLFC=0.5 GPM, using Gary S's table, you should replace the Capacity (C) and Brine Fill (BF) minutes with one of these pairs. Note the salt efficiency is much better for the first entry, and gets worse progressively. So to get the advertized capacity, you need to use a lot more salt than if you let the softener regenerate more frequently.

    C=30000 BF=6
    C=36000 BF=8
    C=40500 BF=10
    C=45000 BF=15

    You can see the 14 minutes was not unreasonable, but it is not efficient with salt. Note that the numbers don't correlate exactly. The seller may have been using a different setting for hardness bleed through, or may have thought their resin to be different than typical.
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The reasoning behind adding 5 gals of water at installation is so the salt brine is created for the first regeneration. If not done, there would be no brine to regenerate the resin with because usually, refill is the last cycle position of THIS regeneration (called post refill).

    The mistake was not allowing the refill to finish, which means there is not the volume of brine (in lbs of salt) to regenerate as much K of capacity as the programing is based on (48K), which is not possible in the real world to start with and uses much more salt than the softener should.

    Instead of using the chart on my Sizing page, follow the text instructions and do the math and use 3333 grains/lb of salt to establish the K of capacity needed for however many full time residents in the house to allow a once per week regeneration with 24 hrs of reserve capacity.
  12. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    Is this correct?

    Hardness = 18 GPG
    2 people in house = 120 gallons per day

    120 gallons * 7 days = 840 gallons per week
    840 gallons * 18 grains = 15,120 grains per week
    15,120 grains / 3333 grains per LB of salt = 4.54 LBS of salt needed per regen.
    4.54 LBS salt needed / 3 LBS salt per gallon of brine water = 1.5 gallons brine water per regen.

    So since my Brine Draw is rated at 0.5 gallons, my Brine refill should be 3 minutes?

    Here are all my settings:

    Hardness = 18 GPG
    C = 15,120 (or 15,000)
    BF = 3 minutes
    Reserve = 15%

    Does that all look correct?
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  13. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    When you use less than 6 lbs of salt per cubic foot of resin, you run a higher risk of having hardness bleed through. Good luck.
  14. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    Thanks. I was actually planning on just doubling those numbers anyways. Since I have the capacity for it, it would just cut down on wasted water.

    Hardness = 18 GPG
    C=30,000
    BF= 6 min
    Reserve = 10%

    That would give me 9 LBS of salt per regen...6 lbs per cubic foot.
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,386
    Location:
    IL
    Did you test for iron? What was the number, and did you take that into account for your Hardness = 18 GPG?
  16. Piaband

    Piaband New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Indiana
    Ya, iron was 0.25ppm. Hardness was 17.5 so I just called it 18 with the iron.
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