Softener died, need help w/pics

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by TacomaTy, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. TacomaTy

    TacomaTy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Utah
    Hi, below is a picture of my current softener that has recently started regenerating randomly and making strange noises. The water has also not been soft recently. Rather than fix my current valve head, I would rather replace it since our household of 2 (wife and I) use a very low amount of water. I would prefer to get a digital valve head instead to hopefully reduce wasted water and salt. The resin was replaced last year after the basket broke sending resin through my whole house.

    Head - http://s8.postimg.org/63cwddro5/oldwatersoftener.jpg
    Tank - http://s12.postimg.org/f7dai28jx/oldwatersoftener2.jpg

    Main water line below measures 1-1/8" OD but it has a reducer measuring 7/8" OD.

    Water main - http://s1.postimg.org/k49tipj7j/waterline.jpg

    I have not tested my water, but our city states a hardness of 17.5 grains per gallon. I've been looking at the Fleck 5600sxt and was hoping to get some opinions. Based on the info above, would this suit our needs and work fine given the tank and water line size? Do you think the 5600sxt will be sufficient once we have 1-2 kids? Is there any reason to upgrade to the 7000sxt?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,911
    Location:
    Ontario California
    The 5600SXT is a direct replacement for the 5600 you currently have. The 7000 is great, but the 5600SXT will be fine, and much simpler for you to replace your old valve with.
  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,450
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It probably has a bad timer motor.

    They get noisy, Then real quite.
  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    TacomaTy, you have a very good control valve now and it is very easy to fix (they can last for decades), assuming something is wrong with it but... more likely is that there is nothing wrong with it since you say it is regenerating.

    A new valve is not going to use more or less salt and water unless you program it differently than what you have now, that size tank is usually used for a 1.25 cuft softener and a new valve should be programed for the same K of capacity and that requires the same salt dose you should be using now. You can click the Click Here link in my signature to learn more about that. And you must use the maximum hardness in your water company's system, not what it tests for at your house today. You can find that hardness on the company's web site or in the annual report they should be sending you.

    I suggest you look for a water leak somewhere. That would cause the odd regenerations. Especially look at toilet tank fill levels and for flapper valve leaks allowing water into the bowl. Check all outside faucets for freeze damage. You can watch the gallons on the meter on your control valve when no water is being used for like an hour and see if the gallons go down. A steady leak will use more capacity than normal and in a short amount of time, that will cause a regeneration and a leak will run during regenerations and if you use water during a regeneration you get hard water. Make sure the time of day is set correctly including AM and PM.

    Describe the noise and when you hear it.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,911
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Agreed but... depending on the age of the valve and the level of repairs needed. The mechanical meter on the 5600 is an amazing item that last for many years. If the valve needs rebuilding and the meter needs to be rebuilt, and you need a new motor... It might be a good time to upgrade the valve to a more modern electronic controller. The main advantage of the electronics is some nice diagnostics capabilities, programmable cycles, a variable reserve and it looks great. Hard to justify the cost if all you need is a motor. The electronic can potentially save you a few pounds of salt per year due to the variable reserve, not enough to justify completely replacing it. If you simply want to upgrade the valve, the 5600SXT is the easiest since it is a direct replacement. The new valve will also come with a new meter. The turbine meter is the most common and is shorter so your system may sit back a few inches.
  6. TacomaTy

    TacomaTy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Utah
    Thanks everyone, I'm definitely a newbie when it comes to water softeners. I honestly don't remember the exact behavior of it, only that it regenerated once during the day. I decided to plug it back in since it's been about a year since I bypassed it. I tried to perform a manual regen but the main dial is very hard to turn (clockwise). It feels like it's bound up inside. It's partially showing 'regen' but that's where it gets stiff. How long before it should start the regeneration process once turned to this point?

    I must have a poor understanding of how these work. I was under the impression that mine would regenerate at a given time regardless of how much water was used, whereas the new ones would regen only when needed. Is this not true?
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,450
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    The newer ones meter the water usage.

    The one like you have takes a bit to manually operate the valve.

    Many times the Timer motor will start making noise because of worn bushings.

    Then the motor my stop between regen cycles. It does not spin up to speed like it should.

    When you plug the head in, can you hear the Timer motor running ? Is it noisy ?


    Good Luck.
  8. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,911
    Location:
    Ontario California
    The 5600, and most piston/seal spacer designed valves eventually start to wear. The seals get worn causing the tightness you feel. This would be a good indicator the valve needs to be rebuilt. I recommend the seals/spacer kit, piston assembly, brine valve, and a few O-rings. Yours is the 5600 Econominder metered valve. It will only regenerate as often as needed, and if you go on vacation for 3 months, it will not regenerate in that time if no water is used. Some electronic valves have a day over ride so that if the valve does not regenerate in a certain amount of time, they will automatically regenerate after a pre-determined number of days. The motor on that unit is a known problem, but it is mostly caused by excessive age, and the valve not being rebuilt before it gets worn like yours is. The 24 volt motors are particularly known for short lifes, the 110V motors are fairly strong and last much longer.
  9. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    six of one, half a dozen of the other, yadda, yadda. Tough call. If you feel like you have the ability to replace the motor and replace seals than by all means, have at it. It won't cost as much as replacing the unit but once done you should get quite a few more years out of it. Pretty much your call. Either decision will work out for you. In the end its all about the money.
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