Fleck 7000 / Clack Resin Tank Leak - Plumber Installation Problem or Defect

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by kmack, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    Hello,

    I bought a Fleck 7000SXT with a Clack resin tank 3 month ago (size is 64K) from affordablewater.us. Even though the house was pre-plumbed for the softener, I still hired a local plumber with experience installing softeners. After three months of use, a pretty bad leak developed where the control valve meets the resin tank. When the plumber installed the unit, the inlet and outlet pipes coming into the by-pass valve were not perfectly aligned (they were a bit too low). He had to force the bypass valve into the copper piping he created from the loop. This tilted the bypass valve up slightly, and the control valve down slightly. I called the plumber back and he said that he thinks it a manufacturer's defect and basically doesn't want to fix it.

    A couple questions. Is he right? I assumed it was an installation problem given how he had to force the bypass valve and tank into place. (In fact, he snapped the o-ring that goes in between the brass connector and the bypass valve and then had to but a new one).

    Second, is this an easy fix? Do I just need to buy the "O-ring - Tank Adapter Fleck 7000 Valve PN 18303-01" and replace the current one. Or do I need a completely new tank?

    Unit is in by-pass mode for now while I figure this out.

    Pictures attached.

    IMG_20140605_142645.jpg IMG_20140605_142649.jpg IMG_20140605_142710.jpg IMG_20140605_142713.jpg
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    There should never be any stress on the by pass or control valve due to the plumbing. I can see where he has the copper on the right, the inlet, too low/long. He should redo it and the outlet so there is no stress on either line and the by pass valve is in the middle of its up/down movement arc. If you understand what I mean; without the plumbing connected, the by pass valve will be able to be moved up and down like 3/4" +/-. When does the plumbing he wants the by pass valve to be in the middle of that 3/4" arc, and no weight from the plumbing being supported by the by pass valve.

    There is no way to know if his shoddy plumbing has caused the o-ring on the control valve base to leak but it is a possibility. Another possibility is a resin tank leak at the neck (the white part with the threads inside it) and the polyglass wrap. That tank looks more like a Structural Fibers tank than a Clack tank. Now shoddy plumbing could have caused a leak there or it could be a bad tank. A bad tank will usually have hairline cracks in the flat part of the neck that will show up on the vertical part.

    If the plumber or someone else installed the control valve on the resin tank and overtightened it, that can cause cracking of the tank neck leading to a leak like your pictures show. If the control valve is too tight and then there is stress from the plumbing as is plain to see, cracking of the neck is much more likely than a defective tank from the manufacturer.

    If this plumber refuses to make things right (by redoing his plumbing properly and to replace the tank If the neck has any cracks in it or just a new o-ring (if that is all that is needed; he needs to remove the control valve from the plumbing to determine cracking unless you can see cracks on the vertical part of the tank neck) and then a properly tightened control valve, small claims court is your best means of solving the leak and bad attitude plumber problem. Removing the control valve is simple but getting the distributor tube in right so it is not broken or stressed as the control valve is screwed into the tank is a bit more involved and if not done right can cause very expensive problems with resin getting out of the tank and into all the appliances, valves, water heater etc..

    Looking at the pics really close... I think I see the control valve tilted in the tank neck and, there looks to be a crack in the tank neck, or a black line for some reason. The tilt is up in the front and down in the back (toward the plumbing). If the plumber has seen the pics and is denying a problem he caused, sue him instead of arguing with him. Do not use the softener until corrections are done; keep it by passed because a cracked tank neck can cause a sudden blow out causing serious flooding. That is especially so on city water (without having a pressure regulator valve) due to serious pressure increases overnight.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Definitely find a new plumber. It's a simple job raising the plumbing to the proper height, and he should be happy to do it. I think Gary's on target blaming the combination of overtightening and misalignment stress. For some reason, plumbers seem not to understand how O-rings work, and like to crank the fittings down as if the threads were the seal. Document the problem and the fix (which will probably require a new tank) for your day in court. Small-claims court works great.
  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    Maine
    Yep, homeowners and unlicensed hacks have far mor experience with O rings.
  5. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    Thanks. There actually are two smalls gaps in the white neck collar. I assumed they were supposed to be there since they appear to be exactly across from each other and perfectly straight. Is the white collar supposed to be one solid piece? If so, mine definitely is not and is cracked.

    As for over tightening the control valve onto the tank, I was there when this was done and it was hand-tightened plus an 1/4 to 1/2 additional turn as indicated in the directions. Also, it is a clack tank. See picture below.

    Finally, if I do get a new tank, how do a go about removing the resin from the existing tank to the new one? Or do I need to get new resin as well?

    resintank.jpg
  6. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Yep. Some do, anyway.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes and most of them, unlike many licensed plumbers are scared to death to break something so they are normally very careful not to over tighten things. Some even read instructions, unlike some licensed plumbers that I had personal experience with.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    This would seem to be a good place to use flexible connections if it is permitted locally.
  9. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,840
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Remove the valve and see if the o-ring is even there. I have seen several water softer tank neck O-rings fall out during system assembly and you can tighten the valve up enough to not have a leak, this is what usually causes the valves to break at the neck. Also look closely at the neck for cracks. That is not a Structural fiber tank, it is a clack/wave cyber tank.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

  11. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    Okay, I removed the Fleck 7000 and not I'm not sure if its the tank or the control valve. O ring is on the valve and intact. White collar on tank does have two indentation but the top of the collar appears smooth and intact. Again, unit worked fine for three months. During original install hand tightened control valve plus 1/2 turn. After leak, supplier told me he thought it wasn't tightened enough, so I was able to turn tanks another 3/4 turn (counterclockwise since valve goes on clockwise). Worked fine for manual regen but then next morning same leak at seam. 5 pictures of tank and valve below and ill post the rest in a separate post (5 is max). Thanks in advance. I really need to know if its the valve or tank so I can get a replacement.


    IMG_20140608_001041.jpg IMG_20140608_001052.jpg IMG_20140608_001104.jpg IMG_20140608_001136.jpg IMG_20140608_001146.jpg
  12. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    more pics. thanks again. IMG_20140608_001432.jpg IMG_20140608_001439.jpg IMG_20140608_001448.jpg IMG_20140608_001455.jpg IMG_20140608_001514.jpg
  13. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Can you tell if any lubricant was used on the O-ring when it was assembled? Might be some residue visible -- usually a silicone-like grease. Dow Corning 7 lubricant is often recommended.
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    You appear to be missing your riser tube. That is a big deal.
  15. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    When I unscrewed the lifted up the control valve the risers tube can up with it, so I slide it out before taking the pictures. It definitely is there and completely intact. When assembling, we assured the tube was seated in center of tank. O-ring does appear to have been lubricated; still feels a bit slimy. Again, I couldn't see any visible cracks on either control valve or resin tank collar. There does appear to be a slight chip in the inside top of the white collar (you can see it on the third picture, but I'm not sure this would cause a leak.
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Right. Hard to believe it would have ever worked at all. I'll bet (hope?) he pulled the riser and bottom basket when he removed the valve. Makes putting it back together more difficult, but a good learning experience.
  17. kmack

    kmack New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California
    okay. think i found the problem. On the inside of the white neck collar there is a hairline crack running horizontally about two inches long. Crack does not make it to the top surface of the ring but when I shine light on the outside of the ring it becomes more visible. This is the same side of the tank where the leak occurred, so this crack must have made its way all the way through the collar (although I cant really see a crack on the outside.

    Thanks for everyone's help. Now I assume I need to buy a shop vac, remove the water and resin in the tank, and when I get my new tank, insert riser, use funnel and put the water and resin back in.

    Not sure why this really happened. The control valve slide out from the bypass quite easily, so the plumbing may not have been the issue. Again, I don't think we over tightened the valve onto the tank during install.

    I do know the supplier sent me a 12 x 48 tank for a 2 cu feet (64K) application when I thought it called for a 12 x 52. I cant imagine this under-sizing would be an issue since it seem that a lot of people are apparently using a 12 x 48 tank for 64k.

    Lets hope the new tank fixes everything...Thanks again!
  18. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    If the math works out to a 12x 52, what better time to upgrade? Probably under $20 difference. And since you really need to raise the plumbing, another 4" won't be any more trouble. Other things to consider -- if the bottom basket is an el cheapo, replace it with the Fleck 40922; and, was your system configured with gravel underbedding? If not, you might consider adding that, but I vaguely recall that it's not as strongly recommended for the larger tanks. I'm sure the pros here can advise. If it's already got gravel, suck it out along with the resin, and pour it back in with the resin. It will fall to the bottom where it belongs in the first regen cycle.
  19. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    Maine
    Oh my, what a shame. Looks like it wasn't the plumber over tightening it LOL. Kinda makes me wonder if a plumber had anything to do with it at all. Amazing how many things get blamed on professionals that wer actually done by homeowners but hey, it's the internet is it must be true LOL
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    Location:
    IL
    You are supposed to keep the resin wet once it gets wet.

    You can use a shop vac, and if you wanted a reason to buy one, do it. You want one with a plastic tub to prevent rust. Maybe that is all they offer now.

    If you don't want the shop vac, you could dump the resin, with help, into two or more king sized pillow cases. Then store them in water. Shop vacs are useful for many things.
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