Fleck 5600sxt plumbing reversed - help?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Larryn Pearl, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Here's the short version of a long story. Purchased Fleck 5600SXT 40,000 grain softener from a well reviewed on-line retailer. In speaking with my neighbors all who have installed their own I decided to hire a handy man to install as I'm not that mechanical. Guy did a beautiful job installing, love how he positioned it etc. Long story short, the plumbed the hard water in to the soft water out inlet and viceversa with the other side; in other words he reversed the plumbing, ugh!

    After unclogging all the sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, draining the water heater and the wife cleaning resin beads from every counter floor, bathroom wall (around toilets) etc. Plumbing has been corrected and I'm sitting with a softener on bypass because I don't dare turn it to service. I've been calling and emailing the reseller for two days trying to get someone on the phone but cannot reach anyone and my emails and voice mails go UN-answered, unreal!

    Hoping someone here can help me with my questions since the MFG won't. 1) is my Fleck 5600SXT Meter/values ruined? 2) if it's not ruined do I run any risk of putting more resin in my plumbing if I move it to service? 3) I have no idea how much resin we lost. I gathered about 3 cups from when I was unclogging the outlet filters, however I have no idea how much was in the water heater or was flushed or ran down the drain prior to these plugging-up.

    Anyone have any ideas? I really don't want to purchase a new meter but I a am leaning towards buying a new tank and resin just so I know I have 40,000 grains in there. It will drive me nuts using it knowing that it's not calibrated correctly.

    So bummed out about this. Thanks in advance for any assistance anyone can provide.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Location:
    IL
    I presume you have the pipes put the right way now. However I think you will want to hear from the guys who have rebuilt that controller.

    Some brands use the opposite sides for input and output.

    Regarding how much resin you lost, you can unscrew the top and check. As I understand it, the resin normally occupies about 2/3 of the tank. I would think a gentle hand and an appropriate piece of wood could let you feel around the tube. Don't pull the tube out, or you will have to empty the tank and re-fill. Don't let resin dry out. You could dump it out and re-fill if you needed to, as long as the resin stays wet.

    Regarding what cleaning you should do of filters etc in the controller, I don't know. I cannot believe the controller is ruined.

    If you ran the softener with 20 percent resin than normal, you would have reduced capacity. You could order the resin and bring it up to the right level later.

    Not a pro.
  3. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Ontario California
    A couple of things, the system being installed backwards amazingly often times goes un-noticed. A properly installed top screen will usually prevent what happened to you. I can guess that the company you purchased it from is so desperate to be $2 cheaper than the next company that they do not include the top screen, (sad) or the top screen is damaged or not installed correctly.

    And a correction, they are not the manufacturer, just a drop ship online reseller with little to no knowledge of what they are selling. (am I being to harsh?)

    You should remove the valve and inspect the top screen.

    Measure the resin level, and report back to us including system dimensions.

    The 5600SXT should be fine, you may want to clean it out with water when you have it removed from the tank. Resin is fairly fluid like and will rarely damage the valve. You may want to remove the injector cover and rinse it out. You will know when you go to regenerate the system, the sytem will draw brine and produce soft water and use salt if it is ok.

    I doubt you lost any significant amount of resin, a little makes a huge mess in the plumbing. Open the bottom of the water heater tank to see how mush is in there.

    FYI, I flew out to a relatives house in Alaska a few years ago, their 5600SXT was installed backwards for over 5 years, no one knew, and the system worked fine. The regeneration is the same, backwash, brine and rinse etc are all identical, just the service is backwards, the system becomes an uplflow in service softener. Not real good but... LOL The old 5600 Electromechanical system does not work at all backwards, the meter jams.

    PM me who the "well reviewed" online retailer is. Most of these companies are nothing more than drop ship companies with minimal knowledge and no inventory. They have impressive websites and lots of information that they have copied from other companies, but few of them have any certified, qualified, or licensed people working for them.
  4. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the replies guys, I'll go out into the garage and look at it and see if what you recommend is something I can do. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid by hiring someone to install for me so I didn't mess it up. I'm so not mechanical and also just don't like messing with this stuff, just wanted to have it installed and turn it on. Now it's turned into a project for ME!
  5. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Just keeps getting better, a worker who is at my home doing yard work just pointed out that when the guy closed the top drain on my water heater he didn't close it all the way so my water heater has been draining slowly (I figure at least 5 gallons an hour) for the last 50 hours. Nice . . .
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,302
    Location:
    IL
    That "top drain" is probably the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. Did the worker tell you in a note? Maybe T&P looked like TOP. :)

    Anyway, that valve should be self-closing, and it may be time that you get that replaced.[​IMG]
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I say if you are not wanting to be a DIYer, buy from a local dealer that will install and service it and ask nothing more from you than a phone call and a timely large check most times.

    I don't see how the seller is responsible for anything but not communicating with you and you should post their name here to help others but, other than telling you to call the installer, what do you want from them? I can imagine your voice mail and email comments but the vast majority of softeners do not have a top basket.

    Most softeners are not plumbed backwards, so what does the installer say as to when and how he is going to make things right with you?

    That includes all appliances and fixtures that will probably at some time have problems with the resin plugging them up or stopping them from working correctly, like toilet fill valves, washing machine solenoid valves, etc.. He also needs to get all the resin out of the water heater. And replace all of it or at least add what was lost. And clean out the control valve etc..

    BTW, installing it backwards is a mistake that many will make until they learn to pay close attention to details and double check things before turning on the water. Autotrol is different than most if not all other valve manufacturers, it comes in on the back left and the others come in on the back right. Your guy may not know that or simply got turned around when planning the plumbing.

    Also, the softener needs 10' of plumbing between it and the cold water inlet fitting on the water heater, regardless what it looks like.

    As to the leaking T/P safety water valve on the water heater, how do you know he opened it and that it didn't fail on its own days/weeks ago as they do fairly frequently, which is much better than not opening (leaking) due to excessive pressure or temperature and causing an explosion.
  8. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Embedded my responses in BLUE below

    In the end handy man acknowledged the additional aggravation, cost and time his "rookie mistake" caused me and he did not charge me for the install. I paid him for the parts he purchased and for the kitchen sink he also installed (perfectly). He seems like a good guy, just should have checked this one thing, he does seem like a good man and sounds like he's a great father.
  9. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    I assume you're talking about the worker who told me it was leaking? No, he knocked on my door and pointed it out to me. The drain is near our front door which we never use, we use the garage and a side door. Thank god he came today or it could have run for weeks that way.
  10. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I'll bet the water main line coming into the house was oriented so that the softener loop presented the incoming water on the left side. If so, it would be natural for the handyperson to plumb it backwards. If you had bought a softener with an Autotrol valve, everything would have worked fine! Interesting -- I have limited experience in all this, but every softener installation I've seen had the main-line water flow from right to left. Where is the National Bureau of Standards when ou need them?
  11. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Actually opposite; facing the loop and water softener the "in" side of the loop is on the right and the "in" side (clearly marked on softener) of the softener is on the right in other words aligned. He crossed them. The only thing I can think of is the mainline where the shutoff is the on the left side of the garage or to the left of the loop so I could see how someone could think it would be logical that the sequence would flow left to right . . .
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Wrong again; story of my life...

    That makes sense; normally the shutoff is as close to the entry point of the main as possible.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Hopefully all the plumbing is resin free and there will be no more problems except to replace the lost resin.

    It is amazing that the seller would want someone to stand around with the softener in by pass waiting to talk to them on the phone after getting water in both tanks. There is no logic to that because they should be able to include printed instructions of what they want the installer to do.
  14. Larryn Pearl

    Larryn Pearl New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Arizona
    Reseller contacted me this a.m., as I thought there was a good reason for their offices to be closed last week. They'd posted a message on their voice mail system of the closure however it looks like there was a technical issue with the voice mail system and the message wasn't being delivered. They got back to me first thing this a.m., we're good.
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Maybe it's just me but I thought you promised to give us their name after they got back to you....
  16. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Ontario California
    PM sent for a local guy that can help you for a very low service call cost.
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Would that be someone that you can vouch for from personal experience with or just a referral to some WQA member?
  18. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Ontario California
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I see a WQA member you probably have never heard of before.
  20. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Ontario California
    See post 18
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