Need HELP! - Rainsoft water softener discharging brine outside next to my foundation.

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Chris Stuart, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. Chris Stuart

    Chris Stuart New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Disclaimer: I know very little about water softeners, so I’m going to try to explain my problem as best I can with my limited knowledge. I figure too much detail is better than not enough - so this is a little long…….

    Problem:
    My Rainsoft water softener is discharging the brine through the overflow valve onto an area outside my house next to the foundation. I’m not sure how long this has been going on since it’s set to recycle nightly when I’m asleep. I first noticed a problem because all my plants died in this area and it was clearly water logged with no designed drainage system to handle the discharge. Also I’ve noticed that the mortar on my bricks in this area is disintegrating into a powdery like substance. I’m not sure, but think this is related to the salt water which has been discharging into the area.

    Background info:
    I bought my house in 2006 from a relocation company. This water softener was already installed. The relo co. couldn’t answer any questions about the house or water softener. They did have it checked by a plumber and told me it was working fine.

    I didn’t use the unit until late last year (2009) because having no experience with hardwater issues - I wasn’t sure I even needed one. Also I had no info or documentation to help me. (Not to mention I’ve been busy dealing with a multitude of other house related problems…. but that’s another story for another forum). Anyway I called the nearest Rainsoft dealer last winter and they told me what kind of salt (solar crystal) to put in and sent me a manual. Their records show it was purchased in 1997 and last serviced in 2004. There is no model# on the unit or manual - but the Rainsoft dealer said it was LQ10.

    I cleaned out the brine tank which was bridged with old salt and put in the correct salt (per the manual) using the settings that were written on the inside of the top of the unit as a setup guide and turned it on.

    It hadn’t been running all this previous time, but I had never unplugged it or turned it off. As near as I can tell the water had been running through the unit since I moved in. I never did anything to bypass it. Until reading this forum I didn’t even know about a bypass valve.

    The night I set it up, it immediately recycled and the next day I noticed a lot of brown water coming from all my faucets and toilets. (The manual said this was normal). After a couple hours it ran clear and I assumed everything was working correctly.

    The unit has prompted twice to add salt and altogether I’ve added about 8 (40lb) bags of salt in the last 7 months since I’ve started using it.

    Like I said, I’m not sure when it began discharging via the overflow drain. I’ve dug out the dead plants and the waterlogged soil down to the drain line and found a leak, which might explain why this area is so waterlogged. Although I’ve not dug it all out, I believe the drain leads out through a wall in my garage (where the unit is installed) across the front of my house (approx 50 ft), then around a corner and another 20 ft. into a sewer cleanout line near an outside bathroom wall.

    I’ve only recently learned that the brine from water softeners is not supposed to discharge into a septic system, although mine does. Not sure what my options are since I clearly don’t want it draining into my yard and killing my grass and plants.

    If I ever get this unit working again, or if I end up purchasing another unit, I’m thinking about using potassium chloride instead of salt. I’ve read it is much safer for septic systems and plants too. What are your thoughts on this?

    I called Rainsoft last week. They aren’t local, but offered to send someone out. It would cost over $100 just for a service call. I’m hoping that someone here can help troubleshoot this problem or tell me where to go for help. Any other forums, websites or books?

    Although I know very little about water softeners, I do have some past plumbing experience and am not afraid of hard work. Unfortunately, money is a determining factor right now….. I’ve pretty much depleted all my savings with the purchase and repair of this home. I’ve considered disconnecting the whole thing and just dealing with the hard water which is what I’ve done for the last 3 years. (Or so I thought). If I do, however, I’m left dealing with the residue on faucets, the staining in sinks and toilets, not to mention the problems I’ve experienced with my refrigerator.

    Let me know if you need me to post pictures of the unit. Any advice, suggestions, or help is very much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance - Chris Stuart
  2. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,496
    Location:
    Alaska
    Which model of Rainsoft unit are we talking about?

    Photo of the unit?

    Most likely reason for brine tank over flow is
    A) blockage in injector
    B) blockage in drain line
    C) brine piston not closing letting water to flow to brine tank outside of refill time frame.
  3. Chris Stuart

    Chris Stuart New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
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    There is no indication on the unit or in the manual of the model number. But the Rainsoft dealer told me it was a LQ10.

    It seemed to be working OK during the service phase. The level in the brine tank was approx 8-12 inches deep. It wasn’t until after all my plants died and I noticed a white salt residue on the very wet soil, that I decided to manually recycle and to my surprise found it discharging from the overflow valve right next to my foundation and running through my flower bed.

    I’m not sure what or where the injector is. Same goes for the brine piston. I can’t find anything in the manual pertaining to them. It only gives basic operating instructions.

    How can I check the injector or brine piston? Should I blow in the drainage line to check for an obstruction? I have found a leak in it about 15 foot out… maybe some dirt or silt has worked it’s way in there?

    Let me know if you need more pics or info, and thanks for taking the time to respond. Chris
  4. Akpsdvan

    Akpsdvan In the Trades

    Messages:
    1,496
    Location:
    Alaska
    Oh my that is .....

    I am working on remembering where the brine injector is at.. I know that on one side there is like an up side down glass that has a ball in it that is part of the brine draw and brine refill..
    Could be that the piston for this unit is also finally to a point of replacement.

    The valve its self dates back into the 80's while the front control is likely a early 90's.

    In short I am not sure if there are still parts for it or if it would be worth trying to fix the valve ...

    I think that I might have some old paper work from the valve before the digital control...

    I know that I have one like what you have in the photo setting in the parts box from when I took one out of a customers house 5 years ago and put a fleck in its place..
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