Softener Media Tank Disaster

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Mike Swearingen, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Well, I've been DIY plumbing for more than 50 years and had never heard of what happened to me this past internal rupture of a water softener media tank that flushed tens of thousands of teeny tiny plastic beads into my home water supply system, plugging up virtually everything that was on when it hit, and thereafter when I was trying to "flush" it out.
    The hot water heater was spared (no hot water on) and thus the hot water side was O.K.
    However, plugged with various-sized teeny orange, black and white plastic media beads were the: cold side shut-off valves, every sink and tub faucet body, every aerator, both toilet tank water inlet valves, the washing machine tub water mixer, etc., etc. (I haven't checked the new $150 ice maker yet.)
    Long story short...I bought my water softener in 1986 and the owner told me that it should last 40-45 years with proper maintenance. He is a friend of mine who owns the water softener company and he replaced the original media tank (leaking) for me Friday (free of charge) with a used one from a doctor's office.
    Unbeknownst to him or me, the internal parts of the media tank apparently had been allowed to freeze and burst. As soon as I hooked it up Sat a.m and manually ran a regeneration, it flushed all of that plastic bead media into my cold side water lines.
    Yet another interesting plumbing experience in my life that I didn't need. LOL
    May you never.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2007
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Welcome to the world of the broken softeners. If this is your first one, consider yourself lucky.
  3. Why didn't he give you a brand new one since he promised the first one he sold you would last 45 years....not a used one.

    And if he owns a softener company, a new one would of been the "proper" remedy to the first one failing.

    I sold and installed a used plumbing part in 1991 and that was the last time too; a toilet once, a faucet once, that was enough. Both malfunctioned and they were in good shape before they were installed. Plumber's promise to never do so again.
  4. As I said, this happened Sat a.m. He and his number one guy are going to be here first thing tomorrow (Tues a.m. 10/23), their first opportunity. We shall see.
    He is a friend, and I took and installed the free-of-charge media tank myself. He was trying to "help" me with a free used tank that he thought was just fine. It was an honest mistake. If he were trying to rip me off, he would be talking to my attorney.
    I just spent three years (2003-2006) and more than $111,000 (yep, I said more than one hundred and eleven thou..that wasn't a typo) in unreimbursed legal fees out of my pocket kicking someone's @ that tried to take a major chunk of my property with some slime-ball lawyer legal technical stuff. (I expect that he spent about the same.) He didn't win. I still have all my property. I don't mind tearing someone up that's trying to rip me off.
    He didn't and isn't, and I expect that we'll get it all straightened out. I had just never heard of this happening to anyone and thought that it would be beneficial to post here for everyone else to be aware of.
    It has been a DIY plumbing mess. Have to laugh to keep from crying. LOL
  5. nothing new to me

    we get calls like that all the time on older
    water conditoiners that have a bad cam in them

    it is jsut a matter of blowing out all the lines...

    take the lines off the at the toilets and blow it out.
    into a 5 gallon bucket full blast .....

    do the same at most of the faucets....

    its wise to blast out the laundry lines

    and its wise to flush out the bottom of the heater...

    the ballcocks on the toilets should be flushed out
    a couple of times,,, blasted out......

    you dont want one of those stikcing on and flooding out
    the home some day down the road...

    if you have fluid master ballcocks, I suggest that you change them out or cleam them at the diaphram inside
    them or

    you could see mucho mucho greif
    when one sticks on due to the resin.

    also, its my guess that your buddy is going to bring a new resin tank out for you......right????
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Man that's something no one should ever experience.

    It's not the tank that caused the problem. The distributor tube or bottom basket broke below the level of resin in the tank.

    It didn't have to freeze to cause the break. If there was gravel under bed in the tank, it could have gotten under the bottom basket and when the control valve was screwed into the tank, it broke the basket.

    If the control valve is plumbed backwards, inlet to the outlet side etc., that will cause this too.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    They also break spontaneously also. I had one like that last week. But regardless of how long he said "it should last" the only thing that counts is his one year warranty, an/or whatever the manufacturer gives. After that is it your problem and save the lawyer's fees.
  8. ankle deep in the tub

    I had a lady once that claimed she was taking a shower
    and she was covered in red softener resin...

    she said it got about ankle deep in the bathtub before she
    realized what was going on....

    she had to go to a neighbors to get the resin out
    of her hair....

    I did not believe her till I actually saw it about 3 inches deep in the tub.....

    that was a fun one...
  9. Update: Finally, after dismantling and cleaning out all clogged sink and tub faucets, stop valves, Fluidmaster 400As, and replacing one bath sink faucet, the washing machine water mixing valve, one Fluidmaster 400A, one sink supply line, and an aerator or two, and flushing out all lines, all is back to "normal".
    My old water softener is in the shop being "rebuilt and tested". I probably just should have bought a new one, but my friend is saving me money again. The old one is almost 22 years old, and if it lasts another 22 years without this kind of disaster, it won't be my problem. It has been interesting. LOL
  10. Sounds like you save some big bucks here.....

    he is rebuilding a 22 year old unit for ya .... huh???

    and you think he is doing you a favor???

    is he German , Dutch, or a Finn???

    I would suggest that you put that old dog down..

    .and get a CLACK..
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2007
  11. Mark,
    You're absolutely right. His man was suggesting/going to do that, but I called my friend.
    In lieu of the employee "rebuild" suggestion, I've chosen to just install a brand new top-of-the-line whole-house water conditioning system, which includes a water softener, a charcoal filter for chlorine, etc., etc.....
    It's about $2,200, but I want it to outlast my 65-year-old B..., which it should have no trouble doing. LOL
    The old one certainly didn't owe my anything.
    It has been an interesting four days, but I will have no more of it, I think. I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions.
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