Kenmore Brine Tank Delaminating

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by dave in WI, May 2, 2010.

  1. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    I've been suffering with a Kenmore softener for 10 or so years. It has only worked for about half the thime I've had it.

    Currently I've let the salt run out so I can clean the Morton pellet residue from the bottom of the salt tank, it has been plugging up the brine valve.

    I just noticed that the outside of the resin tank is delaminating, it looks like the yellowish fiberglass (or whatever it is made of) is cracked.

    Does this affect the operation at all? I don't know how these tanks are constructed.

    If it needs to be replaced, it's time to ditch the whole thing. I need to replace the rotor and seals already, about $100 in parts, if this tank needs to be relpaced too I think it's time for a new softener.

    [​IMG]
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes it has to be replaced before it fails totally and the city or your well pump fills the place with water.

    Put it in by pass, that stops water from going through it. It's a wonder it hasn't burst already.
  3. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    There is NO repair for this.. It is time for another system.. thou if you are the first and only owner you might be able to get a tank replacement under warranty.. it is an idea to look into.
  4. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Thank you both for the quick replies.

    I just put it in bypass. I will check with Sears to see if they will do anything, I am the original owner but it's been over 10 years since it was purchased, worth a try. I'm glad I didn't put any new parts in yet.
  5. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I would describe the damage as a rupture and it is most likely caused by overpressure --perhaps your water supply pressure has increased--or freezing.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    IIRC the warranty on all big box store brand softener media tanks is 3 years. Their electronics used to be 90 days.

    Real softeners have nonprorated 5 years on the tanks and electronics.
  7. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    Ocala, Fl
    Are you trying to say the Sears unit is a FAKE softener? They do a real good job at faking it. I don't think the OP needs a sales pitch here.
    I would put the unit on bypass for sure. Aye captain, she about to blow.
  8. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

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    20
    I've decided not to get another Sears unit, I've had my share of trouble with this one.

    I'm thinking of an Addie unit, it's a local company. I'm wondering if anyone can tell me what valve unit they use from looking at it? Their information does not say but I'm guessing they use a Fleck valve. Any feedback would be appreciated.
    Here is a link to a pdf of their residential units:
    http://www.addiewatersystems.com/residentialwater.pdf

    I'm looking for a reliable, durable system and I'm leaning toward installing it myself. I figure if I could install our old unit, and we didn't have problems with the installation (the softener itself is another story) I can do it again.

    Another question, are there any good reliable cabinet type units out there? It would be nice to stay with the all in one unit, space is an issue where the softener is installed. I can install the two tank type but the brine well would be in front of the resin tank, not to the side. It's a narrow space.
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  9. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Sure looks like a Fleck head.

    Fleck is good reliable equipment.

    Cabinet models suck. I would rather trade space than settle for a cabinet unit.
  10. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    Ocala, Fl
    That is a Fleck 5600 (FMP Series not FMPE). It is a very reliable valve and you will get year of good service. This unit comes in a cabinet model as well. I can see from Wally's comments, he does not care for a cabinet unit (I think) LOL. I have not seen anything wrong with the Fleck 5600 in a cabinet model.
  11. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Skip. The reason I don't like em is because gererally they are harder to service.
  12. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Thanks for the input guys. I do appreciate it.

    SInce the softener has been in bypass for a couple of days, I'm realizing just how hard our water is. Even when I thought the Kenmore wasn't working correctly, it was doing something.

    I'm picking up the Addie either tonight or tomorrow night. then I just need to find the time to put it in when the family can do without water for a while. :)
  13. Skip Wolverton

    Skip Wolverton In the Trades

    Messages:
    167
    Location:
    Ocala, Fl
    Yea the bending over to tear them apart gets to my back so I know where you are coming from.
  14. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Well, I FINALLY got the new softener installed yesterday, after an aborted attempt last weekend. We now have soft water again, soap and shampoo make suds again. Nice.

    I did run into one slight problem though. Oddly enough my sweat joints were fine, not pretty but they don't leak. The problem I'm having is with a threaded connection at a union. I've tightened it as much as I can with the tools I have (10" pipe wrench with a 18" cheater bar, backed up by a 10" crescent wrench). I also used True Value PTFE paste on the threads. I'm still getting a bit of seepage at this connection, enough to form a drop over several hours. Not much, but still.

    So my question, should I get some bigger wrenches and keep tightening the connection? Is there any danger of stripping the threads here? Should I drain down and re-dope the threads with something better?

    [​IMG]
  15. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    More force is not the answer in this situation. The threads on a union are not a sealing surface. The sealing surface is the face of the joint--the threads only provide a mechanism to bring the sealing surfaces together. So you either have defective unions or you have an alignment problem or have damaged the mating surfaces--did you get some solder on one of the surfaces that is preventing a brass to brass seal?

    Visually and by feel inspect the mating surfaces for imperfection. Check that they mate straight and well aligned with the nuts pulled back. If the union doesn't meet any of these criteria corrective action is required.
  16. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Yes, the mating faces are either damaged or the unions are mis-aligned. Take the joints apart and have a look.
  17. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    The trick is not to use the True Value PTFE paste on the threads but rather on either the male or female part of the union.. when one undoes the union nut there are two parts, the part that has the threads that the nut screws on to and the other part that the nut stays with. With both parts clean , put a small amount of paste on either one, does not matter which, but doing so will put a seal between the two metal parts and has worked 99 out of 100 for me.. a trick that I learned years ago from an old time plumber that told me about that trick after telling him about the challenge of getting a union to stop leaking...even with 2 of the largest pipe wrenches and lots of pressure they would not seal... now with just a little paste on one of the two parts ,, 2 normal size and light pressure and life is great..
  18. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Great advice everyone, thank you. Come to think of it, I did drop one of the fittings on the cement floor, it could have damaged the sealing surface, I did not look that closely.

    Fixing it will have to wait for another day, the family is on their way back and it's getting late in the day. If the sealing surface and alignment look good, I'll try the paste on the surface. If one of them are damaged, I kept the old ones I cut out. I should have reused them, they are expensive buggers. But I wanted to get the job done. How does that saying go, there is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over again. But I thought I was doing it right...

    Thanks again.
  19. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    Why put off til another day.. ?
    That slow leak is going to make the pump work more, and put water on the floor or fill up a bucket that you might have under the leak.
  20. dave in WI

    dave in WI New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Just came across this old thread, what I thought was a leak a the union was in fact condensation. It hasn't leaked a drop in about a year and a half.

    Thanks again everyone for the help.
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