Release of filter bed media into household plumbing possibilty

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by Uellee, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I have read a few different places where people have had failures (or possibly incorrect installations, not sure which) that have allowed their softening media to escape into their household plumbing.

    Is there any reasonable chance of this happening with correct installation that would suggest it a good idea to use any sort of a mesh or screen filter either after the GAC filter or the softener or both in order to prevent a catastrophic uncontrolled release of filter media in the case of an equipment failure?
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    There is really only 2 ways the media can enter the home; Improper installation or if the distributor breaks. I have seen distributors break on water softeners only after years of service on chlorinated water. You are removing the chlorine so I would not worry about the softener dist breaking. When you replace the carbon, replace the dist tube as well.
  3. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    Broken distributors are very common in junk equipment. Another item on my to do list, we are scheduled to do a video of the difference between good bottom screens and junk bottom screens. Another common cause of failed bottom screens is hot water backup into the system. This is common in commercial systems, not residential. I have a few great pictures of what happens that will be part of the video.

    In general, if you buy the system and know which bottom screen is installed, it should last the life of the system. If you are buying one of the really cheap low end import systems, or from a few of the really low priced online resellers, the quality of the bottom screen is a hidden item that most people would not understand, and the cost difference is singnificant. A good quality bottom screen costs 20X more than a junk one.

    Lots of videos to come starting next month!
  4. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I appreciate your good information but as a solution I doubt I can automatically assume good quality automatically comes with a higher price in all cases. Maybe I need to look into each component that makes up the system (not regularly published) prior to purchase.

    By default I don't place much trust at all in people's expertise down here in Louisiana, I'm sure there are some legitimate experts but I have witnessed an overwhelming majority of incompetence first hand. That plays a large part in my desire to do it all myself rather than blindly trust someone else otherwise I suppose I could probably talk to a local dealer in order to get quality components but for now I am stuck wandering the internet.

    So all in all it sounds like you are saying ensure I am buying quality equipment or I will be bound to a future of problems that can't just be avoided by the addition of a simple mesh screen.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    LOL, unfortunately, too many companies have been beating the crap out of eachother trying to be the lowest price, while still pretending to sell quality equipment. There are several items in a softener or filtration system that can be replaced with true junk, and most of the time, no one would ever know the difference. Bottom screen is a perfect example. A cheap knock off import bottom screen costs less than 25 cents, a real quality bottom screen can cost as much as $5-$15 dollars. The high quality screens are virtually indestructable. The problem is, how do you know whats in your system? I am sure whoever is selling the system will tell you it is the best bottom screen, when in reality, most online resellers have no clue whats inside since they only have equipment drop shipped, they dont build it themselves, and they will buy from whoever will sell the units to them for the lowest cost. Quality of resin is another issue. Unless you are inventorying, stocking, and assembling your own equipment, the online sellers can only hope their suppliers are putting in quality resin and other components. The valve may be a Fleck, but the tank, resin, manifold, screens, etc are all from??? Even if a company claims they use ... resin, how would you know? This is one of the reasons I recommend buying from a company that assembles their own equipment, has a real inventory, and some highly qualified people who have been working in the field that understand the need for higher quality components, not from a company that has a house as their address, or a UPS store and that have spent some time on a website, and do nothing other than have equipment drop shipped, and the lowest bidder wins.

    Below is a picture from a recent customer that purchased a Clack system, and the assembly company (who will not be mentioned, but it is one of the majors) used a Fleck knockoff screen. This screen looks like Flecks budget screen, but it is a cheap Chinese knock off and it is manufactured very poorly. This screen was only 3 months old, and the system was assembled without gravel. Gravel would have given it some minor chance of lasting, but... this has become a huge issue recently, and it has happened in the past many times before as companies keep trying to shave $4 here, and $6 there... really sad to see. The plumbing bill was in excess of $800. All because of a $5 savings.
    cheap screen.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    My online dealer experience was quite different. I was required to order every bit and piece of all the softeners/filters I sold. That was because I didn't order supplier brand name softeners/filters. That included the bottom basket etc.. IOWs if suppliers are selling packaged equipment including poor quality parts to online dealers and drop shipping them to their dealers' customers, it seems (again) that it is the supplier that causes the problem rather than the dealer.
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    You did it the right way. Unfortunately most of the big distribution houses have been put under a lot of pressure to reduce costs, regardless of quality. Fortunately, where I work, we typically turn down the online resellers due to this problem. They complain about a nickel and continually try to get the cost down, even sending us their current sources prices in an effort to get us to beat the competition bya few dollars. It is not worth it. A few of the reputable companies have followed suit and no longer show an interest in these online resellers due to the constant attempt to race to the bottom. I know who your suppliers were, they did not play the "I can be the cheapest" game, that is why the equipment you sold has held up over the years.

    It is both the suppliers and the dealers. Some suppliers are desperate for sales, so they start looking to China for cheaper components, and as you can see, the end result is often not to pretty. The dealers who keep trying to be the lowest price equipment... a bit of a loop to say the least.

    The drop ship companies also must have a very good relationship and trust with their suppliers, sneaking in junk resin, cheap manifolds, screens, brine tank components, mineral tanks etc is all too easy if the seller never touches it. your suppliers were some of the good companies, unfortunately, there arent many companies that follow the principals that your suppliers did.
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I had 3-4 suppliers and doubt you know who they are although I know you know of one.

    How about an idea or two about how the basket got damaged as severely as it is. It looks to me as if it was crushed from the side and I can't come up with any idea as to how water flow did that unless there was extremely high water pressure. And IMO that has nothing to do with that style/type bottom basket or its quality.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I had 3-4 suppliers and doubt you know who they are although I know you know of one.

    How about an idea or two about how the basket got damaged as severely as it is. It looks to me as if it was crushed from the side and I can't come up with any idea as to how water flow did that unless there was extremely high water pressure. And IMO that has nothing to do with that style/type bottom basket or its quality.
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    LOL, you will troll even after a compliment.

    The best I could determine is the majority of the damage occurred during shipping, tank on its side etc. no way to determine the exact cause, I can only speculate. I do know it was probably not hot water, too far away from the water heater.... I purchased some of these screens for testing and will post a video shortly on them. You will then understand that it was the quality of the screen that is at fault. You can break it with a mild squeeze. This company in China obviously got a Fleck budget bottom screen, copied it, and made it as cheap as possible and did no R&D, testing, etc, and they still sell this same bottom screen and from what I understand, they have no intentions of changing it anytime soon since "they only fail sometimes".. lol. Unfortunately this is a common trend. Liquatec is a perfect example, someone thought that making filter housings was easy, and now their are hundreds of thousands of bad RO system filter sumps out on the field that continue to fail.. and the company that distributed them... close doors, change name, and repeat...

    Anyway, we are building our video studio in the next few weeks for doing more professional videos, keep an eye out, I will post links. I will try to make the bottom screen quality video one of the first.
  11. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    repost, oops
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  12. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    So again it is the distributors buying the cheap knockoff junk, and probably not telling their online dealers.
  13. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Ontario California
    If a "dealer" is drop shipping equipment, no inventory, no assembly, just working from their garage...
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    More likely than not he is much more into helping people solve their water quality or equipment problems than the guy with the store front selling basically the same equipment for $1500+ more while refusing to repair anything they didn't sell; although his advertizing claims "excellent service".
  15. Uellee

    Uellee New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Thank you both for your help but I think this thread is a bit off track at this point.

    Both of you sound very knowledgeable but I don't think these off-subject back and forth comments are really too helpful for those of us who are seeking good solid information on here. This thread topic is related to "Release of filter bed media into household plumbing".

    Up to this point I think it has been established that if someone wants to take a gamble on cheap or otherwise questionable parts then they may have to worry about the potentially strong possibility of media release. It also sounds like buying quality parts from a known source along with good maintenance would almost completely eliminate this chance of failure.

    Can we agree on this?
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Where's that "Like" button when we need it?
  17. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Yes we can agree. EcoWater makes a screen with a rubber washer attached to it. A customer had the same concern so I devised a way to attach the screen inline after the softener. Another way is to simply install a filter housing with a 20 mic filter on the outbound side. If the media every escapes from the media tank, it will be trapped by the filter housing.
  18. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I can't or don't. The guy that brought up broken baskets and claims low quality is responsible says his best guess is that the damaged one he posted the pic of, was caused by the tank being laid down. Now about the only people that would believe that are those without experience with resin tanks being shipped with distributor tubes in them. If the tank was loaded the basket is surrounded by resin or gravel if any and there is no way the bottom basket is going to be crushed as shown in the picture. Same goes for an empty tank with the DT in it. So IMO we are seeing the result of gossip and unsubstantiated guesses as to the cause. And here you are all concerned about something that doesn't happen unless the basket is broken while the control valve is screwed on the tank while the DT is too long due to it having been pulled up off the bottom somehow and the basket is crushed. That usually will have the 'stays' between the slits forced out from the middle, not into the middle on just one side. Question, how do you suppose you are going to guarantee your purchase has the highest quality materials/parts?
  19. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
    Ontario California
    Troll, see post 15. :)
  20. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Quite a lot of these threads turn into a train wreck but it is entertaining.

    I think we can sum this up with "you get what you pay for" unfortunately, a lot of folks don't know the difference. I don't buy pre-assembled for just that reason. I have no idea what is actually in that tank and I have no idea how it held up to travel. Assembling eht equipment is not a difficult task and if a DIY person wants to do their own equipment I believe they should buy it un-assembled and learn the process. Putting it together will also give you a clearer idea as to what everything does and why.
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