Resin in Backwash? Is this normal?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by boerdoc, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. boerdoc

    boerdoc New Member

    I have had a softener for about a month. It backwashes into a dry well. Out of curiosity I drained it into a 5 gal bucket on top of the dry well to see what it looks like. I noticed that on the bottom of the bucket there was maybe 1/8-1/4 inch resin. Normal or not? The color of the backwash was orangish as expected since we have some iron. I also was replacing a faucet earlier in the day so I shut off the water and drained the house water. This morning when the water was first used there was a dose of orange water that lasted 5 seconds. Was this coincidence from stirring up sediment in the pipes or ?.
    Thank you for the expert opinions.
  2. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Riverview, Fl.
    I would think the orange at start up was a shot of iron off the pipes. The resin in the bucket may be from backwashing without a top screen. If the pressure is high enough, the resin can be backwashed to drain.

  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Although resin to drain can happen the first time the unit regenerates, unless you have a top basket, or the first time the water temp gets colder after installation of the softener (without a top basket).

    Or if the DLFC (drain line flow control) is incorrect for the size softener or type of resin in the softener.

    What brand or who did you buy it from?
  4. boerdoc

    boerdoc New Member

    Hi Gary,
    I got it from you actually. Clack ws-1 valve. How do I troubleshoot this? What is the correction?
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Hi Kent. So far we don't know that there is a problem.

    The orange water is from rust in your pluming drying out while you had the water drained and then being flushed out after you turned the water on at that fixture.

    As per my instructions, the resin going to drain is normal but should not continue, any 'excess' resin or pieces of beads (fines) will be backwashed out once the coldest water is used to regenerate with.

    If you got a top basket, did you snap it into the groove in the bottom of the control valve and hear it click?

    This is the best I can do in a post (or email) so call me if you have questions.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If you are losing resin every time it backwashes, regardless of the amount, eventually you will not have any left. And even before that point, the less resin in the unit the smaller its capacity, and eventually you will reach the point where you will run out of soft water before the softener reaches its calculated regeneration point, and from that time on you will ALWAYS run out of soft water unless the softener is reprogrammed for a smaller capacity.
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    HJ, that is not true. You can not backwash all the resin, or any other mineral, out of a tank. That assumes the correct freeboard for the volume of resin/mineral.

    You do backwash some resin/mineral out until the water temp is as cold as it gets, then you can not backwash more out. Cold water is 'thicker' than warmer water. That assumes no top basket as Speedbump mentioned.

    With a top basket you can only get 'fines' (broken and very small beads) out through a top basket. That assumes you have the right top basket for the type of resin in the tank, or we could say, the right resin for the top basket. I.E., fine mesh resin goes right through a regular mesh resin top basket but, regular mesh resin will block up a fine mesh resin top basket and many fines will not be able to be backwashed out as they are supposed to be for all resins/minerals. Then you have a higher than normal pressure loss across the softener/filter

    Also, as to losing capacity, no softener should ever be sized, or set up, to use the highest salt dose for the volume of resin to get the highest K of capacity. If it is, you get terrible salt efficiency. Doing so is like letting your vehicle run out of fuel before you refuel, or running an engine at full throttle constantly. I size and set up for very high salt efficiency which means we leave many K of capacity in the tank when it regenerates. It's like leaving a 1/4 tank of gas in your vehicle when you refuel. You buy less fuel but didn't waste the "left over" fuel in the tank.

    The softeners I sell have a gravel underbed, which means the level of resin is a bit higher in the tank than the same softener without a gravel underbed. That reduces the freeboard slightly. So it is normal to have some resin, maybe up to a quart go to drain initially. Any softener with a gravel underbed will, the vast majority of people will never see it, including the guy installing the softener. And Kent is in ID with very cold well water at this time of year. A quart of regular mesh resin, at the maximum of 15 lbs/cuft, might have 100 grains of capacity. It's like a little bit of steak being trimmed off with the fat, you never miss it and getting rid of all the fat is very good for your health; this is good for the softener's health.
  8. boerdoc

    boerdoc New Member

    I followed the directions well but I cannot remember snapping the top basket into place. Would it be better to do a manual regeneration and check again for the volume of resin, if any, in the backwash. Or would it be better to inspect the top basket assembly by removing the valve. Is there any chance that I would pull up the distributor tube and pop off the bottom basket? Thanks for the replies.
  9. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If the top basket is loose, only a bit of resin will come out and then it will quit. You don't need it so don't worry about it.

    BTW, the only reason I include a top basket is to stop calls/emails/posts asking "is it OK for some resin to be going out the drain line?". And this is why my instructions say to make sure the top basket snaps in and locks.

    Actually is some cases a top basket can cause problems, like with iron, rust can build up in the slits and cause a pressure loss for the house but more important, that can cause improper backwash which leads to resin failure.

    No, the bottom basket can not come off the distributor tube but... do not remove the valve because doing so will raise the distributor tube, and the bottom basket, and you'll get gravel under it and when you screw the valve back on, the bottom basket will break dumping gravel and resin into your plumbing. That you do not want. If you take the valve off, you'll be dumping the tank to get the DT back in correctly, but that's OK if you want to do it.

    This resin will stop, and had you not put the water in the bucket, you wouldn't ever know some went out the drain line. I bet you did that because of my instructions stating if you didn't get a top basket you don't need one, and me saying some resin to drain is normal. Otherwise you'd have no reason to remove the drain line after putting the unit in a regeneration, or the backwash position, to check it out. And now you know. :D
  10. boerdoc

    boerdoc New Member

    Just a final follow-up for all interested in learning. Gary was correct in that the resin in the drain line would stop. It did stop after a half of a dozen regenerations. Just about the time the weather started to warm up. Everything is working normally and the water is soft as in the beginning. BTW Gary, The only reason that I put it in a bucket was that the bucket was by the sump and I needed something to tie the drainline to so it did not fly around when it backwashed. This was before I plumbed the drain to a drywell. I could not reach the septic without pumping upstairs a good distance and the drywell was just sitting there so I used it instead. Now we all know.:)
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    That's what I like to hear. All's well that ends well. So enjoy. You can post pics on my Customer Comments forum if you want to.
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