Kinetico Model no. 30 Problems

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Mobster, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. Mobster

    Mobster New Member

    Great forums!

    I'm really not to sure how old this softener is but I can tell you by the looks of it it's old. In the three years we have lived here the water has always had a hard water feel and a sulfer like smell to it. We were using some kind of regular salt in and were advised to switch to Clearwater premium Rust Out. This seems to really help with the hardness of the water however, My wife bought two bags just recently that was not the Clearwater. I reluctantly ran those two bags of salt through the system and noticed the water had gone back to the "hard and rusty" as I mentioned earlier. I refilled this time around with the Rust out and the water is now worse than ever. It's alomost like there is no softener at all. I noticed in another post the turing the dial on top should make different sounds but unlike their softener, ours does not have a "service" or "recharge" area on the dial. This sucker must be old. I would like to troubleshoot first as any man does before just scrapping the old and in with the new. What are some key points I need to check in the "problem" area that I may do at home to fix this water peroblem.

    p.s. I have a 5 month old newborn and if it's not resolved soon I will replace the whole unit. I'm just trying to save the 1,500 bucks if I can fix it myself.

    Thank you in advance for any replies.

    I have included a few pictures.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2005
  2. Dangler

    Dangler New Member

    I'm not an expert, and I haven't even slept in a Holiday Inn recently, but testing the basic operation is pretty easy, and I see no reason to spend $1500 for a water softener period.

    Kinetico is on the web, with at least some information on the site, and perhaps some tech support like an owners manual. I didn't notice if the control valve, first picture I think, says that "it" is Kinetico anyway. If you can get a manual or tech support of course do what they say unless its call the local dealer and have them do it. You should be able to do whatever it is you do to set the time, and move time setting forward until the unit does a regeneration cycle.

    Salt water from the brine tank should flow out the drain line until the brine tank is empty of water, then shortly after that the drain water should have all the salt rinsed out of the resin. My drain line goes in the laundry thing, so I can just stick in a finger and taste the water. When the drain water stops flowing, the brine tank should refill and make reasonable contact with the salt.

    If all that is pretty much happening, the mechanics of the system regardless of age are still working. Could be even something dopey like regeneration time set wrong so that water use in the house is interrupting the cycle, and just setting the time correctly might fix it.

    If the old control valve is messing up, I would replace it. From what I have read Fleck and Klack make very good units for $200 to $300 on the net. The thing in the brine tank is just a "version" of a toilet float and valve, and my guess is that its not expensive either.

    Resin beds don't last forever, and some that go after stuff like iron I think are more fussy than the calcium units. If nothing shows up from the testing above, I would have samples of the before the softener and after the softener water tested. Then look into having the resin bed replaced, not the tank, just remove the resin beads inside and put in new ones.

    No reason I can really think of that everything should be replaced, unless you just like the local plumber and want to see him happy. Control valve, brine tank, and resin bed can be treated as modules and replacing one doesn't mean the others need it too.

    Finally just a bit on costs. I have been doing a little shopping, since I now have a culligan unit I have been paying $20/ month for the last 20 years on, and prices are all over the place, but unfortunately none quite low enough to tempt me. $500 installed would get me going, and for a quality unit I am seeing total costs installed of more like $600 to $800, with about $150 of that as labor. Of course its easy to pay twice that and get lower quality, some water guys should be flying pirate flags.

    This is REALLY the sort of thing you don't want to do on impulse, ie open the phonebook and hand the smiling man a check. If your wife is ready to shoot you, and you need to act fast, I would just call Culligan and get a free install and pay month to month until you can think of a final solution (but I would still do all the checks above including having the water tested to see whats really in it you want out and how well the system is doing now). Here I am 20 years later though.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    The Kinetico is non-electric, and you have a Kinetico. I say water power, centuries old technology! Because of that they have to have a number of small gears with very close tolerances. Their name brand softeners are twin tank immediate regenerated, as opposed to two tank delayed regenerated which is the norm whether the resin tank is in the brine tank, a cabinet model like Sears, GE, Whirlpool, and other big box store brands, or separated. BTW, the big box brands last about 2-6 years at most and IMO are not the best quality.

    Your Kinetico looks like it might be from 1989 because of the number on one of the tanks. It has the FRP type tanks, they are smooth plastic as opposed to the rippled surface of a polyglass tank which is much more common and the norm. There may be something wrong with the control valve since you cant find how to operate it manually but they aren't very user friendly to start with. But more likely is the resin being iron fouled or the use of Rust Out in the salt wouldn't make much difference. If it regenerates on its own, mix about a 1/2 cup of Iron Out or Super Iron Out in a gallon of warm water and pour it down into the water in the salt tank, then let it regenerate. That will clean ONE tank's resin and the control valve. Then repeat so the other tank is done too. If the water gets better, then yer home free of charge except for the Iron Out (any grocery store cleaning dept).

    If no improvement and the valve didn't go through a regeneration i na few days, then it's time to get a new one IMO. Because the control valve is not cheap to rebuild. You could put new resin in the tanks and a new twin tank control valve on like the Fleck Twin Flo100e, 9100 or 9000 but... it is not cost effective as compared to a whole new one bought over the internet and installed by YOU. And the tanks may be too small for your water quality and family size anyway; I think, I can't see the pictures now and can't remember since late last night when I first read you post, they are 8" x 44" which says 3/4 cuft.

    Otherwise I'd tell you a new two tank instead of the twin tank type which is always more... and I suggest looking at the Clack WS-1 and Fleck 7000SE control valves because IMO they are the best for the DIYer that would replace a part if needed. You ca nfind web sites tha tsell them by searching for the name inside "". The Clack WS-1 is the best choice in that regard. They are the easiest to repair and are not proprietary as national brand softeners are, so you can get parts from any local or internet dealer that will sell you the parts. No more being tied to only one local dealer.

    Quality Water Associates
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Actually the brining cycle runs much longer than what it takes for the brine to be pulled out of the brine tank. We want the brine out of the tank in the first 10-20 minutes of the cycle and the slow rinse water to continue for the remaining time; sometimes 40 minutes.

    And brine refill can be at the end of this regeneration for the next on or at the beginning of this one. His is pre brine with soft water.

    All softeners use sodium form resins and there are three types; regular and fine mesh and SST-60. All can use sodium chloride or potassium chloride but need more potassium in many instances than sodium chloride. Fine mesh and SST-60 are better than regular mesh resins if the water contains over say 2-3 ppm of iron.

    Talk about handing the smiley guy big bucks!! $20 a month for 20 years!! to RENT a softener because you can pay month to month... man'oday!! Culligan is really smiling and they ain't flying no flag! That's a.. 20*12= 240/year*20 = $4800.00! And you still need your own softener. My average delivered price for a correctly sized Clack WS-1 based softener is about 14% of that.. And that is a demand/meter regenerated softener that will save up to half the salt and water your timer control uses... It takes the average DIYer 2.5-3 hours and less than $30 of plumbing materials to assemble and install their own softener. And if the wife or SHMBO'ed is in critical mass, delivery is in a few days... :)

    Quality Water Associates
  5. Mobster

    Mobster New Member

    First off thankyou for the responce.

    The oddest thing just happened. As advised, I went to clearwater which is the closest water softener company around here. They ask my to bring a sample of the water to their store for a test and the test checked out fine! They said my water was perfectly soft. I don't get it. Just yesterday the water was red and the harest I think it's ever been and now everything checks out fine?

    Could this be the controller sticking? Will the Iron out fix this if in fact there is rust in the control and or lines?

  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You may have collected the sample shortly after a regeneration. There's a possibility that the water goes hard before the next regeneration OR that when you use water during peak demand the softener can't remove all the hardness and iron.

    So get a hardness and iron test kit from Lowe's etc. and test daily at roughly the same time starting the day after a regeneration until the next regeneration. That will tell you if either of those things are the problem. I suggest testing during peak water use times.

    Quality Water Associates
  7. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    hard water

    Also do a test to make sure your toilets don't waste water. They can be very
    tricky sometimes and can leak a lot of water.
  8. skicanoe

    skicanoe New Member

    I have a similar Model 30, maybe a bit newer, that came with the house I moved into two years ago. The biggest difference is it also has a 3 position valve with Bypass, Off, and Service positions over about 120 degrees of rotation.
    It has stopped consuming salt (potassium chloride). It has been over a Year since I dumped in the last bag and there still is a single chunk deep layer on the bottom with about 2 " of water topping that. I do hear it cycle occasionally but have never seen it drain the brine tank. Maybe I'm not catching it early enough in the Brine cycle, but I've watched it pretty carefully for a couple weeks now since I read this forum. I will try the Super Rust Out when I can find it, but now am wondering if there are any simple checks I should do with the brine tank, especially now with it nearly empty.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It can't be using salt. Put it in By Pass and disconnect the brine line and clean the salt tank all out and clean the brine pickup too and make sure you can suck air and blow through it. Reconnect the brine line, add 4-5 gallons of water to the salt tank and put it into Service and do a manual regeneration. Watch it for the first half hour to make sure it sucks water out of the salt tank. If not, you have something else wrong. If it works, add 40 or 50 lbs of solar crystal salt and do a manual regeneration and then add 4-5 gals of water to the salt tank and do another regeneration for the second tank.

    You can do the Iron Out thing later if this works.

    Get rid of the potassium chloride and use solar crystal, it totally dissolves and doesn't recrystalize or leave a mush to hard residue in the bottom of the tank like potassium. And it's like a 1/4 of the cost of potassium.
  10. skicanoe

    skicanoe New Member

    Thanks Gary for the excellent replies to Mobster and myself. You called it, Re-crystalization. The line was 100% blocked, the valve stuck and crystalized. I hauled it outside and took it apart and cleaned it all out. Under the false bottom like drain panel the whole area was stuffed with long needle-like crystals. I didn't know I could make it regenerate but figured that out (phillips screw driver to center of control).
    I wonder why the price on potassium chloride has gone up so high? Salt has gone up a bit too, but potassium is crazy high now. I was using it because I thought it was better for my health, the septic tank, and the environment in general.
    My raw well water really isn't that bad, no taste, just a bit of Cal/Mag and a trace of iron. Guess I'll try the Solar Salt and see if the resin recovers. Or should I try the Iron Out now while it's empty?
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Glad to help and thanks for the feed back.
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