Low flow from Clack WS1 water softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by caldezrat, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    I'm having problems with my 4 year old Clack WS1 water softener. My outside garden faucets work fine but going through my softener, the flow tapers off and has very little flow. It almost stops. When I by-pass the system, my flow is fine. Also, I noticed when the system is brining, it doesn't evacuate all the brine out of the brining tank like it used to. It seems to have a restriction somewhere. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    It sounds as if you're right and there is an internal blockage. No one here can tell you what is blocked up so now you get to tear the valve apart to find and fix the blockage or call a local dealer in to do it.

    The possibilities of the blockage are; the top (if you have one) and/or bottom baskets, the spacers between the piston seals or the resin.

    As to the brine draw, when you fix the main flow blockage that will probably go back to normal but, you can check the injector when you have the valve apart or before you take it apart but if the injector is blocked, that won't fix the reduced flow thru the softener problem.
  3. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    Thank you Gary, I think I bought this system from you. This is the first time I've had to even look at my water softener since I installed it in 2004 other than putting salt in it. I'll see if I can find my Clack wrench.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,066
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    That would make it 8 years old, not 4. Is it on chlorinated well or town water?
  5. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    Woops! It is 8 years old because I wrote the installation date on the side of the softener 8-14-2004. I am on city water. I just pulled the stack, injector cap, and my drain line. Everything is clear. I am currently recycling to see if it draws up the brine.
  6. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    I just made an observation: it started to brine and I could feel the suction in the brine line. I hooked it back up. About 20 minutes into the brine cycle, I noticed the level looked like it was coming back up in salt tank. I pulled the brine line and instead of suction, I have pressure with water going into the salt tank. It's not the fill cycle yet, still brining. What's up? I can barely hold my finger against the pressure.
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,864
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I am giving you a 90% odds on bad resin. This is very easy to test. Remove the valve, put a piece of pvc pipe into the tank and penetrate the resin about 10", put you thumb over the pipe and remove the pvc, dump the sample into a cup. Drain off the water and feel the resin. Squish it between your fingers. If the resin breaks easily and turns to mush, you have bad resin. Good resin should be very hard, round, and almost impossible to break by squeezing it between your fingers.

    Resin on a chlorinated supply mat only be good for a few years. Higher crosslinking will extend the length of service between re-beds. 10% crosslink resin should be installed or dechlorinate the water with a carbon tank prior to the softener.

    Hope this helps,
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If you bought it from me you should have a top basket and you need to look at it to make sure it isn't blocked with something.
  9. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    I'm in the process of ordering resin today. When I get it apart I'll report what I see. Thanks!
  10. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,233
    Location:
    Maine
    Knowing that you were on city chlorinated water you should have got the unit with 10% crosslinked resin and had a carbon filter installed before the softener right from the start. Chlorinated water will destroy resin in a short period of time. I suspect your top basket is plugged with broken resin.
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,864
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Broken resin will not backwash out of a system when it has a top screen, the top screen will keep it in and cause a layer of tightly packed broken resin beads to form a restricting layer on the top of the resin. I know many field technicians that have removed the top screen, and then increased the backwash rate to remove the broken resin beads from the system. BTW, this works, but is only temporary and should not be done. Resin is cheap and simple to replace. Be sure to inspect the top screen, clean it, and be sure to remove all of the old resin. It does not take much bad resin to cause the symptoms you are describing. Tom is absolutely correct, you should have been sold 10% crosslink resin which will last considerably longer than 8% in a chlorinated supply, I would highly recommend a carbon tank be installed ahead of your equipment. If the chlorine is bad enough to damage resin, how damaging is it to you when you are breathing it into your lungs in a hot, steamy shower?
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,066
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    My water guy tells me that top screens are more trouble than they are worth and that they scale up with iron and mineral. At one time he used to run a razor knife through the slits to clean them out. Then he started doing dentistry, removing every second slit. Now he just tosses them away.
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,864
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Lol, I like the dentistry idea! top screens can be important in a few instances.

    #1 Shipping and deliveries, softeners should not be laid on their sides, a top screen eliminates the problems associated with poor delivery techniques. Resin or other medias inside the head can wreak havoc.
    #2 Better distribution, in smaller tanks this is not a major issue. Modifying the screen as your friend did is an excellent solution. Look at the commercial valves, they do not have top screens, they have a diffuser of some type to prevent channelling. something to break up the waters natural flow pattern.
    #3 extreme variances in water temperature, or hot water applications. Hot water systems require much higher backwash rates to properly lift the resin, should the heating system go out, or even the cold water in the pipe leading up to the softener, the backwash rate will blow resin right out the top. Areas that have seasonally cold water also can blow out considerable resin due to the waters higher density.

    Removing the top screen in 90+% of applications is acceptable and will not cause any problems.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  14. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    I'm not sure I'm comfortable with eliminating the chlorine out of my home. I live in the lower Colorado River irrigation area in southeastern CA. It's been told to me that our drinking water has been through six sewage treatment plants as the water is used and reused along the Colorado before it gets to us. That's an ugly thought!
  15. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,233
    Location:
    Maine
    Yep but.....the chlorine has killed all those bugs before the water gets to your house so you can safely eliminate it.
  16. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    Tom Sawyer, what would you recommend for a carbon filter?
  17. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,233
    Location:
    Maine
    I would go with GAC. There are several models available online.
  18. caldezrat

    caldezrat New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Extreme southern california
    I had a good day. I replaced my resin with 10% cross linked resin and installed a new Clack piston and stack. My water is flowing full blast again like I remember and the brining issue has gone away. Success!! I didn't have time to install a GAC filter but I'll be doing that soon. I am impressed I could unscrew the by-pass valve while on by-pass and pull the softener away for the switch out while my house still had running water. Not a drop leaked by. I learned not to refill the resin in the driveway with the wind :p
  19. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,864
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Congrats on the repair. Low or no flow is caused by bad resin 90% of the time. I sent you a PM re: the GAC filter.
  20. bilalb268

    bilalb268 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    lahore, Pakistan
    I'm having problems with my 4 year old Clack WS1 water softener. My outside garden faucets work fine but going through my softener
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