Kenmore water softner overlflows out hole at top of tank

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by KBHOMEOWNER, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. KBHOMEOWNER

    KBHOMEOWNER New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    OK, Internet savy, can following instructions...but don't know my plumbing and water softener terminology, so I'm dumbing it down for myself.

    I have a Kenmore 625.393560 (350 Series), come into the garage two mornings ago - there's water on garage floor, not a tremendous amount but something has leaked (less than a gallon). Open lid on water softener, the water level is right up to level 7. Is the there a puncture in the tank? No. Oh, I see - water level in the tank rose up and simply came out of that approximately 3/4 inch diameter hole in the backside of the tank (at about level 7). Holy crap notice as well, I haven't added salt in a while, it was pretty much empty - there's basically a little salt and brown muck at the bottom of the tank. So I clean the garage floor with towels and start my on-line research.

    Read the www.kenmorewater.com site. Read solution, read other posts that indicate - all indicate you need to clean the Venturi system and do the regeneration immediately button. Find nice Youtube video. Clean it exactly as shown (letter up on the floats, clean everything with warm soapy water). I also want to drain the water from the tank because I don't like the brown muck on the bottom. How the frick do you drain this thing, there's no drain valve at the bottom - but more importantly how do I uncouple this thing so I can tip it over in my yard (where there are no plants). So I bail it out with a orange juice container that I cut. Crap is it hard to get your arm to the bottom. Jury rig a stick with a 1 cup measure on the end and eventually I get almost all but a 1/2 inch of water. Wife starts bitching at me about taking the 1 cup measure. My arm is about to fall off as well. There are salt pellets around those other two tubes inside the tank (a black one with the salt level lines and a much fatter container/tube looks like made of fiberglass or something). Go to Home Depot - buy 5 bags of salt pellets. So basically what I've done...

    • Cleaned the tank as best I could (although there was still some pellets and brown watter at the bottom - simply couldn't get at it)
    • Cleaned the Venturi system and put it all back (properly to the best of my knowledge)
    • Poured salt pellets in, up to level 7 and reset the salt level
    • Hit the Regen button and hold for immediate

    Regen seems to take a few hours but appears to complete.

    Next morning - water all over my garage floor again, this time a little more. HELP !!!
  2. KBHOMEOWNER

    KBHOMEOWNER New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    ...and I forgot to mention, the water inside the tank is again right at the level of that hole in the back - about level 7, about six inches above the salt itself, which is at level 6. At this point I pushed the by-pass valve over and unplugged it (electrically). Any help appreciated.
  3. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    Time to replace the unit as most likely the inside the valve seals and the like are bad.

    Siphon the water out of pump head on a drill works to remove the water from tank where the salt goes.

    Never did like the way sears did their systems nor do I like the CHEAP use and throw away systems like the sears or kenmore of GE or polar star...
  4. KBHOMEOWNER

    KBHOMEOWNER New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Soquel, CA
    Thanks for the reply...purchase date was 2/21/06 - so you're thinking it fried after 7.5 years? Just pathetic if so.

    All the plumbing leading up to the tank looks just fine and professional (very accessible as well). So I take it I can't pull this thing out on my own at this point? It appears I would have to shut off the intake water valve (I see that) but the bypass is later in the flow, looks attached to water softener itself. Am I missing something in that I should be able to pull the water softener and leave that bypass intact - thus I don't have to shut off water intake (and our house gets water)?
  5. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Alaska
    Not pathetic, about 1 year over the normal life span of a Kenmore .. built cheap to replace rather than rebuilt.

    City water of well water?
    Iron in the water?
  6. Noyzee1

    Noyzee1 New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    SoAz
    Howdy KB.
    I'm in Tucson and have a couple of these Sears/EcoWater softeners. I respect all the professionals on this site and agree they're cheap and somewhat not reliable in the long run, but I think they can be a good value IF and only IF you are willing to work on them yourself.

    For example:
    I have a 1998 Kenmore (timer only) softener that came with my house, disconnected, and I wanted to get soft water on the cheap, so I bought another Kenmore (better, 2006 model) demand unit off Craig's List for $50 and interchanged parts to make 1 good unit. After a couple of months, the Hall Effect water sensor (part of the demand system's turbine) shorted out for no apparent reason and caused the controller board's LCD display to blank out and stop working. I ordered the $5 part (I'm an electronics guy:cool:) and that's been working for almost a year now. Part of my weekly "ritual" is to go to the garage in the morning before work and shine a light in there to see if 1) the softener is consuming salt on a regular monthly basis 2) there are any leaks or other abnormalities. These Kenmore (EcoWater) units may not be as reliable as the higher priced ones, but for me it's working OK, and I really admire the ingenuity that goes into them, along with the "cheapness factor"- hey, I'm a cheapskate and admit it!


    ALL the info you need to fix your softener is on the interwebs and most problems can be remedied by ordering the seal kits for the venturi and the valve body from http://www.softenerparts.com/North_Star_Sears_GE_Smartwater_Whirlpool_s/1.htm or someone else. I hope it's OK with the moderators if I post this link! They seem to be one of the most knowledgeable internet vendors for this unit. If you can, get a used unit to cannibalize parts from- Sears units are VERY interchangeable.

    Anyway, this is my first post and I love all you guys! I have read and absorbed so much information over the last year that I know what to do if I need a new system. More importantly is that I've learned how ion exchange works (on a basic level), and how to troubleshoot any softener.
    KB, my advice to you (humble as it is) is the following:

    1) Download the appropriate manual for your Kenmore unit off the internet. Search Google for the model number. READ THOROUGHLY!
    2) Put the softener in the "service" position by pressing the appropriate controller keypad buttons. All Kenmore units have this capability!
    3) Cycle through every stage of the softener's cam wheel (take the plastic cover off your unit, and look at the cam wheel's index marks) and see if water is going IN and OUT of the brine tank. This indicates the valve and venturi is pushing and pulling water properly. Check for the cam motor and wheel's rotation. Check the exhaust (drain) line while in brine rinse (the longest cycle) to see if the water is salty. Don't be afraid to taste the exhaust water for salt during this rinse stage. If, after 10 minutes of brine recharge the water does not taste salty, then the brine is NOT being pulled into the valve from the salt tank. Fix this problem!
    If your salt tank keeps filling up with water, then there's probably a seal problem and the unit is leaking water into the tank during the "SERVICE" position, as indicated on the cam wheel.

    I'll stop there so you can let us know how that went. I'm willing to bet there's a problem already.
    Cheers,
    JIM
  7. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    California
    Good troubleshooting post Noyzee. Almost anything can be fixed, it usually comes down to a calculus of what is your time worth, how much tolerance for fiddling with something less-than-ideal do you have, etc. It appears you have brought the benefits of softened water to your house for a very low cost, at least in cash if not time spent.

    We'll see what route the OP chooses.
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