New GE water softener not softening, the GPH meter is going full cycle in seconds

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by jasper7821, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    I just found this site and I'm at my wits end with my Brand New water softener.
    It's a GE GXSF39E01 ser# DD100787A

    SHORT VERSION,
    I got into the service mode to see the GPH and see if its connected the right way by the meter going as the sink was on and the meter was going way too fast. it cycled through 1,000 gallons in about 10 seconds. the numbers are increasing until 999 gallons then starts over so I'm hoping at least the in and out lines are connected the right way.

    I'm just looking for a solution why it's not giving soft water and why the meter is cycling like that.
    From reading the manual my next step to try is cleaning the screen, nozzle, and venturi.
    After that, remove the bypass valve and see if anything is wrong with the turbine on the outlet valve.

    Any suggestions ?

    LONG VERSION,
    The water softener was a few years old but brand new in the box.
    I think my biggest mistake was hiring a guy from Craigslist to install it.

    I had a local name brand plumbing company come out and give me an estimate and they wanted $1,250 it install since my 2003 home I just bought didn't have a loop.
    I found a Craigslist guy that said he'd do it for $350.

    after installation and a horrible looking plumbing job and way too many holes in my ceiling the unit didn't work.
    I followed the instructions to a T. I had them come back and they cut a hole in the ceiling and noticed they used T's instead of 90's and the softener was just running in line with the main line.
    So they cut out the Shark Bites with and box cutter and replaced the T's with 90's.
    I know nothing about plumbing and never heard of shark bites. after studying up on them I now know they they disconnect in seconds with the removal tool. I cant believe a so called plumber didn't know that.
    So now with the 90's installed the softener still didn't work. they never showed up again.

    I cut back into the ceiling and removed the shark bites and reversed the two lines in hopes that they got the lines backwards.
    when I turned the water back on I saw a tiny bit of grit in the sink. I'm thinking they had it right and when I reversed the lines it sucked a little bit of media into the plumbing.
    I put the lines back how they were and regenerated again hoping it would magically fix itself which it didn't.

    PLEASE HELP
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    When you got into the gallon count portion of the electronics that is not in gallons. There is no way to get 1,000 gallons of water in 10 sec from home water lines. It is simply a count to tell the unit when to regen. Most likely it is 1 gallon per 999 count. Anyway, get the electronics to the gallon count mode. Have someone turn on each faucet one at a time and turn back off. If there is a count on each faucet, then the water is running through the unit. Put the unit into a backwash cycle. Bring the gallon count back up and if it shows water flow, (with no inside water running) then the unit is hooked up backwards. Post your results and if needed, additional info will posted.
  3. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks, I will try the backwash thing tonight and post results tomorrow. I hope it's connected correctly and something else is just not working.

    BUT, I am partially correct on the gallon meter. It doesn't read to 1,000 gallons, it goes up to 199. I had my fiance reading the meter and I thought she said hundreds.
    Anyways she saw it cycle from 000 then when water turned on it went very fast all the way to 199 then back again all within 10 seconds or so. You stated that that count was to tell the unit when to regenerate. But that part is in the main screen and not the diagnostics mode. It says how many days until regeneration.
    The manual says to push MODE for 3 seconds until LOW SALT ALARM screen shows, then press mode for 2 times which she did and got into the diagnostics mode. She saw the water meter cycling when she turned the water on and it stopped when she turned the water off so I'm pretty sure it was reading gallons used by giving inaccurate readings.
    The manual says get into that mode and whatever number it shows (0-199) and shows water is flowing. Display repeats for each gallon of water passing through the meter.
    So it's basically a 199 gallon water flow counter. I don't know why it only goes to 199 gallons the starts at zero again.

    I read that is the drain hose is too high then it might cause back pressure and the brine draw be reduced. I was also going to try and disconnect the drain hose since it goes through the ceiling and into the laundry room washer drain and connect another hose out to the front yard and regenerate to see if that is the issue.

    It says if the numbers stay the same with the faucet on then check the sensor by pulling it out and pass a magnet in front of it and it should cycle one number for each pass.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  4. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,858
    Location:
    Ontario California
    A strange thing about most electronic controls. If they are plumben in backwards, they will usually still work. During regeneration the inlet and outlet are together (hard water bypass) so the system will regenerate normally. The water flow is determined internally and there is no internal check valve to force the water a specific direction. The old electromechanical 5600 metered systems would not work since the meter would go backwards and would never trigger the regeneration. Electronic meters dont care about flow direction either. The problem with plumbing the unit in backwards is the flow will lift the bed during service and a top screen failure can occur which would allow the resin to go into the house. You need to determine the correct flow, do not guess. Remove the system and turn the water on. Water will come out of one of the 2 pipes, that is your inlet. Other than that, I dont deal with that softener often enough to comment on the electronics.
  5. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thank you very much, so by doing a backwash and if the meter shows flow that won't be an exact indicator of being plumbed backwards ?
    The softener is so heavy now and the lines don't have much flex at all. I'm scared that if I shut off the water, take the bypass valve out I won't be able to get the bypass valve back on.
    I guess I can ask a neighbor to help out by moving the softener onto the exact position so I can get the valve back on and clips installed.

    Is the correct way to take the valve out and depressurize the system is to turn off main water, open the faucets and when it gets to a slow drip then pop the clips off the bypass valve while it's in the service position ?
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  6. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Yes it will be an exact indicator. If the unit is hooked up backwards, the water used for a regen must flow through the port with the meter. This will be indicated by the electronics (the meter is turning). If it is hooked up correctly, no water will past the meter unless a faucet is turned on inside. The numbers (1-199) are to show flow and give the electroicsi a count. It is not GPM. A 1" pipe can only flow 20-30 GPM. You are indicating that it is flowing 199 GPM in 10 sec.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  7. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    Ok, still no soft water. I figured how the meter works. The units go from 000 to 199 and that means one gallon has gone through when it gets to 199 and it beeps and starts over at 000 again.
    I did a back flush and the meter did not move so its connected correctly.
    I monitored it through the entire regeneration process and every step is working correctly.
    I even have a spigot plumbed in just after the outlet to help with my CR Spotless water system resin last longer by not running hard water through it.
    I have a TDS meter that matches exactly with the TDS meter on the CR Spotless system so I know my meter gauge is working correctly.

    The water after the softener measures about 475ppm and at the main water line it reads about 375.
    How can my water be harder after running through the system by 100ppm.

    Since I'm running the soft water in from the garage and into every outlet except for the front yard at the main line I am using potassium chloride so it won't harm watering in the back yard.

    I hope that since using potassium chloride, it would still give soft water.

    Please help if anyone has any other solutions.
    I held the flashlight to the media tank and its more than 3/4 full so there's plenty of media in it.
    And again, it's brand new never used so the media should be new.
    It was sitting outside in the box for a few years and the box was deteriorated but the softener still looked new and I could tell it had never been installed before.
    Could sitting outside that long have damaged the media?
    I'm lost and don't know what else to try.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    TDS is not hardness, you use a hardness test to test for hardness.

    The additional TDS is very probably caused by the added potassium. I can't recall how much is added per grain per gallon of ion exchange but sodium is 7.85 mg/l per gpg. Potassium is higher.
  9. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    738
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Put the system on bypass, relieve the pressure and remove the valve from the media tank. In the center of the upper basket is the distributor tube and o ring. Check to make sure the o ring is on the distributor tube. If it's sitting in the uppper baskket replace the distributor tube.
  10. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    On the back of my TDS meter there's a graph of what the water is. It says something like 0-100 is soft water, 100-200 is ok, 200-300 is hard water, 300-400 is very hard.
    So if my TDS meter is reading in the 400's then per the graph I have hard water right ?

    Everything is working correctly and since the unit was brand new the media should put out soft water from the get-go.
    I watched the brine process and per the manual it did everything as it should.

    I ran water over a sparkling clean wine glass and let it drip dry and it was full of spots so something is not working correctly.
  11. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    OK, I will attempt this. after putting the valve in bypass, how do I relieve the pressure in the tank to remove the media tank valve ?
    Also, on the diagram in the manual, I see around the valve 2 retainers and 2 retainer clips. Do I just remove those and the valve lifts straight out?

    I tried uploading a page from the manual but it wont work.
    The manual diagram shows a distributor top as a filter looking thing and distributor bottom as a tube and 3 o-rings. A large one on top of the distributor top, a small one on the top distributor top that looks like it is for an inner tube, and another large one on the bottom part of the distributor top.
    I don't see a basket looking thing.
    :(
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  12. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,858
    Location:
    Ontario California
    A tds meter is not used for softness testing. It is used to test the total dissolved solids. This can include almost anything. Sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfates and many other elements can be present in water in large numbers and will be read by a tds meter. You need to get an actual hardness test kit. I recommend the Hach 5B. it is available online for approx. $25 and will give acurate test results.
  13. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    OK, thank you very much, I have some water hardness test strips somewhere that if I can find I'll use. And if not I'll buy a hardness tester.
    But if my system has brand new media and rinsing a wine glass and it dried full of spots doesn't that mean it's not softening the water.
    I even poured water on the chrome sink fixture and left it and it was full of spots when it dried.
    I remember at my old home after showering and rinsing the glass shower door with the shower wand it would dry without any spots.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  14. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,858
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Water spots are from TDS, hardness is part of tds, as is sodium that is used to replace the calcium and magnesium. Water softeners do not eliminate spots. It lessens scale buildup. When the water dries, whatever is in the water remains. Hard water spots are difficult to remove. You will often see a lot of scale build up on an aerator where the water drips from a faucet. Soft water replaces the hardness with sodium. Sodium or potassium is readily dissolved in water and thus wipes off with ease.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  15. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    OK, starting to make some sense now. I'm using potassium instead of salt since it runs through the whole house and backyard.
    So maybe my water softener is working perfectly fine. I just thought that with the high TDS and spots on the wine glass that it was not working.
    We haven't moved into the house yet so I haven't taken a shower there yet to see if I get that slimy feeling on my skin.
    I'll do a hardness test in the next few days and I guess that will tell for sure.

    The TDS meter on graph said that 200-300ppm was hard water and with it reading was above that in the 400's I assumed that I still have very hard water.
    Also found this statement below saying that high TDS also means hard water.

    "High TDS may indicate hard water, which causes scale buildup in pipes and valves, inhibiting performance. Since TDS is related to water hardness, using a TDS meter can be your first step in determining the degree of hardness of the water. Generally speaking, the higher the level of TDS (ppm), the higher the degree of hardness."
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  16. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,858
    Location:
    Ontario California
    My guess is....

    Your softener is fine.

    The shower test is fairly accurate. Give it a shot. Let us know what you find. Congrats!
  17. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks, will do.
    I still don't get why my TDS tester says a reading of 200-300ppm is hard water and since I'm getting a reading in the 400's wouldn't my water be extremely hard?
    this is the meter I'm using.
    http://www.amazon.com/HM-Digital-TD...UTF8&qid=1348598365&sr=8-1&keywords=tds meter

    And this is what literature I found for the TDS readings.
    0-50 = Ideal drinking water
    50-100 = Carbon filtered water
    100-200 = Hard water
    200-300 = Marginally acceptable
    200-400 = Average tap water
    400+ Very high TDS contaminant level
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    TDS is all of the total dissolved solids in the water, you can not measure hardness (calcium and magnesium) with a TDS meter, regardless of what is on the label on the back of the meter. Even testing RO water with a TDS meter won't get down to 0.

    Water spots are caused by TDS, sulfates, chlorides, silica, potassium, sodium, and a number of other things, including hardness.

    You need a hardness test to see if the softened water is soft or hard based on 0-1 gpg. Anything over 1 gpg says the softener isn't working as it should. That is regardless of what the TDS is. TDS will increase in softened water because of the ion exchange of sodium or potassium for the iron, hardness, manganese etc. in the raw water.

    And now you have the softener all torn apart and haven't found anything wrong with it...You could take some cold softened water in a bowl and add one drop of liquid detergent and shake it up good and if you get a lot of suds, you can assume the water is soft some but, then test the same amount of raw cold water and the same amount of detergent and see if there is a large suds volume difference and if there is, you know the softener is doing some softening. Then buy a hardness test kit and see if the hardness is 0-1 gpg.
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That is BS marketing by someone that doesn't know what they are talking about or is outright lying. You use TDS meters to test ROs mostly, not softeners or filters.
  20. jasper7821

    jasper7821 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    Arizona
    Perfect, thank you very much Gary. I'm leaning more and more to the conclusion that my softener is working just fine. I'll try the soap drop thing and try my hardness strips. Then buy a hardness test kit if I'm still concerned.

    Since the TDS will be higher coming out of the system and I had a spigot installed just past the bypass valve outlet should I not connect my CR spotless car washing system to it because I'm trying keep it at zero ppm TDS and it's 100ppm higher after the softener?
    I had the spigot installed thinking it would make the resin in the CR Spotless last longer and not have to be replaced as often, but if the TDS level is higher after the softener maybe it would be worse to use it after the softener.
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