Kinetico 60: Repair, Rebuild, or Replace?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Frugal-Mike, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    I have a Kinetico 60 water softener that was purchased by the previous home owner in September 1985. My home is on well water and I've owned the home since 1996. The system worked fairly well until the well pump impeller disintegrated in 2005 causing little plastic bits to show up occasionally in the Kinetico valve system. (There is no pre-filter) The initial symptom was the brine tank overflowing. Since then, we just occasionally get bad tasting water when the system regenerates. The local service folks fixed this the first two times. Since then, I've taken it apart a couple of times to clean it out myself.

    Lately, it just seems that every time it regenerates the water tastes bad for a while and we get iron deposits on the fixtures.

    So, this is a 25 year old system with almost all original parts and with the original resin. Also, the house is 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. The previous owner had two adults and three teenage children and the system was sized for his family. Now that my son is off at college, it's just the wife and me so the system is probably not set optimally.

    I see three options:
    1. Try Super Iron Out on regens for both tanks (this has not been done in at least the last 13 years), clean out the control valve, install a pre-filter, and empty out and flush the resin tanks to get any impeller pieces that might be in there. If the resin looks bad (pieces not round?), go to #2.
    2. Do the above and replace the resin in both tanks. According to specs, each tank holds 3/4 cu.ft.
    3. Buy a new water softener.
    OK, here are the key data:

    Hardness: 76 ppm (4.44 gpg?)
    Iron: 2.15 ppm
    Manganese 0.41 ppm

    According to Gary's web site, this gives a compensated hardness of: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (0.41 * 2) = 13.86

    The Kinetico currently has a #3 disk (old style orange type) which, according to this page, will regenerate every 1514 liters or 400 gallons. The brine drum adjuster tube is set to 'H' and the float cup height is "1". I believe these correspond to a salt load of 4 lbs per regen.

    So, here are my questions:
    1. Is there any reasonable chance the resin is still good after 25 years?
    2. Is it possible to buy 1 1/2 cu. ft. of resin rather than 2 cu. ft? This affects the cost of option #2.
    3. Is this system currently set up badly for 2 adults who are not wasteful with water?
    4. Do you consider this system worth rebuilding?
    Please keep in mind that I am frugal. I hesitate to spend money but try to get the best long term value when I do decide to spend it. If I buy a new water softener, I want it to last as long as this one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    With the Mn I round up... and come up with 21 comp hardness..

    What size are the media tanks?

    You could rebuild the unit, not sure if the Kinetico 60 one that you have still has the same parts as the newer one today.. some one might have a used valve laying around..
    You might be able to get the resin that you have back,,,, large dose of iron out and then a couple of large doses of salt... all of that taking time,, days to get done..

    if the tanks are like 10x47 in size then you might be able to take one of the tanks, put a new dist, or turbo in to it, new resin 1 to 1.5 cubic depending on what dist gets used and a new fleck or clack valve some replumbing regut the brine tank and call it good..

    A single unit would work for the 2 of you, if it has the computer control it could be set for gallons with a day defualt say 12 days..

    Just some ideas that came to mind.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes you could buy 2 .75 cuft bags of resin for under $200 delivered and I would if you get it working and think it will continue to work.
  4. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    PM me. I can give you the name of a guy that is a Kinetico Service guy and he can probably give you some good advice.
  5. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    I must have something wrong. If I round 0.41 up to 1.0, I get: 4.44 + (2.15 * 4) + (1 * 2) = 15.04

    Both tanks are 8x40.

    I saw one guy posted here saying he found a couple of "retired" Kinetico 60s cheap locally and used them to piece together a good one. I used "Search Tempest" to check Craigslist for 250 miles around here and found nothing. Nothing on "that auction site" right now either. If I get this thing working well, I guess I'll have to keep looking just in case.

    I bought some SIO today and will give it a try. Unless I misunderstand, it should only take a few hours since I can manually force regens. Pour in SIO (mixed with water), regen tank one, Pour in SIO, regen tank two, regen tank one to flush, regen tank two to flush. Regens take 45 minutes each: 3 hours total.

    I thought about reusing pieces to build a new one, but if I want to reuse the tanks, I expect I'll need a valve that will use them both to get adequate capacity. This would increase the price of the valve. I understand I'll also have to replace the brine float system since Kinetico's are different. I'm not sure I'll save anything over buying a complete new system.

    Thanks,

    Mike
  6. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    That's good to know. All I saw online were 1 cu. ft. bags.

    How difficult would you expect it to be to unscrew the tops off these 25 year old tanks. Will I new new gaskets/seals to put them back together?
  7. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    I my self treat Mn a little different than others.... it is a pain... so I add a little to the number as it starts staining at .05 ppm and iron will start at .3 ppm... I also multiply each by 4, now while most do not do this I have been doing it this way for 20 years and had no problems doing it this way.

    With both tanks at 8x40 normal loading would be just over .6 cubic per tank, with the turbolator it might be able to push .9 per tank.. and slowing the backwash to 1.5 gpm..

    If going to another system while using the tanks, one could change out the current brine float assembly with a 2310 assembly from fleck.. could be around 45.00

    On the iron out type stuff... mix with the water poor into the brine tank, send unit into cleaning cycle.. after it is done wait 2-3 hours for the next brine to get to 26% then add some more of the iron out like stuff... and send into another cleaning cycle.. this might have to be done a few times to get the resin back..

    One thing that you would save would be the land fill by re using as much of the current system as possible..
  8. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    Should not be to much of a challenge in getting the current tank heads off, even if they have been on for a number of years.. The "O" ring that is between the head and the tank for the most part does not go bad unless the the head has been removed a large number of times and over tightend , some times a little silicone lubricant does wonders in giving it new life..
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The difference between 21 and 16 is not enough to worry about.

    Standard 3/4 cuft is 8" x 44", so your tanks are on the small side already.

    IIRC (if I recall correctly Bob), you said your salt dose is 4 lbs. so you need to add water at 3 lbs/gallon to get 12 lbs to fully regenerate 3/4 cuft of resin. So you add that volume to the salt tank along with your SIO water and then wait 2 hrs for the salt to dissolve, then start the regeneration. When done, do it again for the second tank. That will take something like 7-8 hrs. and you shouldn't use much water during that time, if any.
  10. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    That sounds reasonable to me.

    Thanks, I'll read up on the turbolator.

    Sounds like it would be less expensive than replacing the entire brine tank.

    Thanks for the clarification. I hadn't really thought about the time to dissolve the salt.

    That's a very good point!

    Thanks,

    Mike
  11. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    No Problemo.... if there are other questions ask.

    This is an idea and question site..

    There are some of my customers that wish to have totaly new equipment and then others that want working equipment and if that means not 1st place in looks, but 1st place in working... and reuses tanks and valves that can still be repaired to working...both win in this.
  12. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    I've come to the conclusion that my Kinetico 60 can probably be made to work without major modifications. I probably have crud in the valve and I'll need to disassemble it to clean it out. I've done this before so I'm not worried about the process.

    Before I do this, I need to install a pre-filter. Aside from the fact that Kinetico recommends them, it just makes sense to have a simple screen to catch stuff like shreds of pump impellers. From a "frugal" standpoint, I like the idea of something like a Rusko spin-down filter with a 100 mesh (152 micron) stainless screen. In theory, it should last forever without the need to buy filter cartridges. If this is misguided, please let me know.

    While I have things torn apart, I'll add a water meter (with pulse output so I can track water usage on my computer) and a couple of shutoff valves so I don't have to drain the upstairs water lines to work on stuff.

    Once I have all this done, I'll flush the media tanks with iron out. It didn't make sense do do that until I cleaned out the valve to make sure it regens correctly.

    I'll admit that I also have a question out on another forum with a known Kinetico "expert" on whether it makes sense to swap some parts to set the softener to more accurately match our water test numbers. The current settings aree for a compensated hardness of 28.

    You guys (all you water softener experts on the web) have me pretty confused. Everybody seems to have a different equation for compensated hardness and you all have decades of experience showing your equation works:

    Kinetico's equation in this document is hardness + 3 * iron giving 10.85.
    Gary uses hardness + 4 * iron + 2 * manganese giving 13.82.
    Akpsdvan uses hardness + 4 * iron + 4 * manganese with all numbers rounded up before multiplications for a total of 21.

    A quick google search pretty much shows a different equation on each web site. (Right about now, I start searching the forum for the ability to add animated icons showing repeated running my head into a wall) I know that it's not that big a deal. I know I can leave it as is and just use a bit more salt (maybe 173% more depending on the numbers) than needed and have a little more sodium in the drinking water and be confident the system is taking all the other bad stuff out, but the retired engineer in me has a bit of a problem with that. :rolleyes:

    OK, enough of this rant. What do you guys think about Rusco spin-down filters?
  13. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    The Rusco unit will serve well.

    The differences in calculations are all close enough that it's not going to make a huge difference most of the time. However, since you have Kinetico equipment, I would use thier figures.
  14. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    Ruscos are good units, it is good to have a spare center for trade outs , a number of people here have 2 or 3 to trade out and clean, be it 6 months, 12 months or longer..

    As for the comp hardness.. we are using equation that have done well for us in the past. And some times the numbers are higher than what the people at Kinetico, Culligan, Eco, Hague, and the list goes on..
    More times than not we have changed not so much the equation but some of the numbers in it to better deal with the Fe, Mn, Hd that we deal with, also the water useage comes into play, high useage, low useage all have to be taken into account as to setting the system that is in use.

    This water treatment is not a cookie cutter deal... each well , family is different and all need to be taken into account.
  15. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll order the Rusco and include an extra filter screen.

    I have another question, this time about the pre-filter placement. Here's a picture of the current layout:

    [​IMG]

    I assume the normal position would be on the incoming line on the left before the tee that goes to the pressure tank and the softener. My wife is worried that there might be impeller shavings in the pressure tank and thinks it makes more sense to put it between the tee and the softener bypass but that means desoldering some tight connections and moving the softener to the right.

    Have you guys heard of well pressure tanks collecting debris?

    If I don't have to worry about the pressure tank, I'll bump out on the left even with the filter on the other side and put in the Rusco with valves on each side to make it easy to clean the screen. I'll put the water meter on the vertical spot above the filter on the right with a shutoff valve above it. The valve is necessary because I now need to drain the upstairs pipes to change the filter so the filter doesn't get changed very often.

    I'll put off changes to Kinetico settings until I have the water meter in so I know how much water we're using and how often it regens. This will be connected to a system that will generate graphs of water usage on a per gallon basis.

    Thanks,

    Mike
  16. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    On the pressure tank, most that I know turn off the well and drain down the pressure tank every few years to blow out any thing that might settle out in the pressure tank and check the air pressure in the tank at the same time.
    If you could re-work the lay out of the system it would help with pressure.
    2 words for that ... Sharkbite, Aqua Pex...
    Try to remove as many elbows as possible, replace an elbow with a sweeping turn when possible.
    Lay out for me would be well , pressure tank, spin down , brown filter(whole house) full flow ball valves before and after each of the filters, 3 could be used.. one on the out side of the 2 with one in the middle... makes things nice when changing or working on one of the filters.
    Re-work the 3 gate valve bypass for the kinetico to a three ball valve bypass..

    All the while working to remove elbows with sweeping turns when possible, and only using elbows when NEEDED....

    This is what I would try to do... for the brown filter you might put a 1X6 on the wall so that you could put a bracket on the filter head and wall for support of the total housing.
  17. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    Good Idea! We've never done that.

    I'd noticed Sharkbite in the stores, but didn't give it much thought. That and Pex would make a re-layout fairly simple.

    Does the Kinetico fit between the spin down and the brown filter? I assume the meter still goes after the brown filter.

    Sounds like the ball valves have less resistance in addition to ease of use.

    With Pex, it definitely will need support for the spin down, brown filter, and meter.

    Thank you very much. I'm really glad I added that picture. :D

    Mike
  18. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    That photo helps ....

    I only use the filters like the brown one after a softener for carbon block if needed..

    That brown filter could stay or be left out if the spin down does the job, you might leave the brown one in line, just no filter in the sump,(part that hangs down) and it is there if needed later in time.

    The ball valves are better when it comes time to stop the water,,, a move from with the line to 90 or across the line stops the flow of water, and if there is some thing like sand in the water the ball 99 out of 100 could care less about that, the gate will have challenges fulling closing after some time because of the build up in the spot where the gate goes into when closed.


    The meter could go in any where in the water flow... would not make a defference where...

    I use 60 gallons per day per person... there are some that use more, and some that use less..

    I know that if the toilet is only flushed when needed not just after a use... that will save water and cut down on the 60 gpdpp....

    There are 90 bends for the pex that have a spot for a screw to hold it to a wall or some thing..
  19. Frugal-Mike

    Frugal-Mike New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Oregon
    I fear this project is going at a glacial pace. I still haven't taken the Kinetico 60 apart yet but I've spent some time thinking about how I would layout things differently. Though sharkbites and pex might be easier, I've decided that, since everything else in the house is copper, I would continue to use copper. It fits with the rest of this 36 year old house. I've tried to limit elbows, but there's no way around using some of them. Is it worthwhile to go with long radius elbows to improve flow?

    I also noticed that Pentek has filter housings that have optional differential pressure gauges to tell you when a filter needs changing. I thought about putting individual pressure gauges at each end and between the filters and the softener to help me know when a filter needs to be cleaned/changed. Does this make any sense or is it a waste of money?

    Since I'm I software guy, I've created a diagram of what I have in mind. Let me know what you think?

    Attached Files:

  20. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,486
    Location:
    Alaska
    I like the lay out, but yes I would change a few things.. old filter after the rusco and before the softener.
    Ball valves while more than gates will give fewer problems down the road and close better than gates.
    Long reach elbows will be less of a pressure drop than the short elbows.
    The white line that goes up, where does it come back in with the new stuff that you are doing?
    Water will go the easiest way.. if it has a choice in going straight or going down the path of your treatment sysetm it will go straight.
    PSI gauges are good, but unless they are the oil filled will last a few years.

    On the meter, if the pipes to and from are 3/4 then the meter should be 5/8"

    If you are going to use copper and there is nothing wrong with using it, learn how to clean, flux and soder the fittings together... NO water and Clean fittings...
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