suddenly bad taste - fleck 5600sxt

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by kevincw01, May 10, 2014.

  1. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    Hi, I put in a 30k water softener a couple months ago and all was good until recently when the water started tasting "swampy". My wife and I did a taste test and the unsoftened hose water doesn't seem to have the swamp smell.

    I checked the brine tank thinking it was out of salt and there was plenty. I did notice that the water was a slightly above the salt and the float valve was triggered. Also there is what looks like dirt around the rim and sitting on the top of the water. The lid of the brine tank is always closed and its located in the garage.

    I guess I have a lot of questions now.
    Where is the dirt from?
    Is the dirty brine water causing the "swampy" taste?
    Is the brine tank water too high?

    Regarding the high water, i performed some troubleshooting steps i read on this forum. I did a manual regen and noticed the water level goes down during rapid rinse and back up during brine fill. I can lift the float during brine fill and there are no leaks. Brine fill time is 10m so maybe I just need to reduce the time?
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Good idea on the test. I expect you mean that the water level goes down during the Brine/Slow Rinse cycle. Rapid rinse follows that. How far down does the water go?

    How high from the bottom of the tank is the brine level?

    Is your tank unpainted and does it get sunlight? I wonder if algae is growing in there. Blocking light with a drape or paint could help.

    "Where is the dirt from?" Does anybody, including children, have access to your tank? That could explain the dirt, but so could dirt in the salt that you buy. I am thinking algae for the odor. I wonder if a bleach treatment is in order. http://inspectapedia.com/septic/Water_Softener_Cleaning.htm describes a process.

    I am not a pro, and I have no experience with your problem.
  3. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    The brine level goes down to halfway during rinse and up to 3/4 (due to float cutting it off) during refill.

    Not sure which tank you're referring too but both the brine and the softener tank are opaque and not in not in sunlight. There is a window next too it but it has blinds. It does get hot in the garage.

    No kids or anyone accept me have access to the brine tank.

    Should I wash the salt before I put it in? Never heard of anyone doing that. I'm using Mortons from home depot.

    So I guess I need to try the bleach option?
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    I expect that you would not have the debris with Morton salt pellets. So maybe the debris will be a symptom somebody with experience might recognize.

    Not drawing brine down to the level of the checkvalve at the bottom of the injection pipe (typically a couple inches off of the bottom) is unusual, I think.

    Not speaking from experience, but I would search more on the bleach option and prepare to proceed. But also stay tuned for one of the experienced folks who may have more useful advice as to where to go from here.
  5. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    I just did another regen. I was mistaken, the level of the brine tank during rinse is almost to the bottom. I can't tell how much because I'm looking down the brine valve tube since the tank is half full of salt.
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Maybe your brine level flow controller disintegrated, and you are seeing the pieces? Wild speculation. If you have a 0.5 GPM BLFC, it should only fill 5 gallons during the 10 minute fill stage. It sounds like you are getting a lot more.

    I have no theory as to why that could contribute to a smell.

    15 pound of salt is a lot. For efficiency, you should review your settings. But that is not your current problem.
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  7. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    I take it that you have well water? With either city or well water your brine water will be dirty so don't be concerned about that. The fact that your water smells should be of concern. Start by pouring a 1/2 cup household bleach (plain, no flowery or lemon fresh type) into the brine well and start a regen. You also may want to reduce the amount of water going into the brine tank. It sounds to me as if you are using 15 lbs of salt per regen which is a waste. You can set it to use only 6 lbs and be more efficient.
  8. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    We are on city water. There was no smell until recently. I will do a bleach brine tank clean. How long do I need to flush the system before I can use the water?

    Which setting changed the amount of salt used?
  9. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    What valve do you have? Just 1 regen cycle with the bleach should do it. If the smell comes back, I suggest you call the company you bought it from. I have heard of some resin giving off a bad taste or odor. Don't remember the details.
  10. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    i have the fleck 5600sxt. i assume i need to remkve all the salt before adding bleach to brine tank, correct?
  11. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    No you do not have to remove the salt. Just pour the bleach into the brine well followed by about a gallon of water to wash the bleach off the float assembly. You should set the capacity to 20 and the refill to 4 min assuming it has a .5 BLFC.
  12. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    Bleach is done. Should I be concerned that the brine tank still smells of bleach?
  13. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    No. It will evaporate over time. Besides, your city water have chlorine in it so whenever the unit goes into a regen, it fills the tank with chlorinated water. Let me know if the smell comes back.
  14. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    There's something i just realized might be a factor. My waste drain line is about 25ft. This is the limit of the spec for the valve and I've upsized the drain pipe to 3/4 as the manual suggested. The water drains out and into sewer (via air gap) just fine but when it's done draining, there's 25 ft of 3/4" water sitting in the pipe that didn't make it to the air gap. The drain is at the same level as the valve so maybe it's seeping back into the valve? I could add check valve to prevent that back pressure.
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Novel idea. I doubt it, but that does not mean much. Your softener drain port is still way higher than the drain, so it would take more than gravity to get that water up to the controller. Yet the 5600 manual says
    I wonder what they mean by "back flow".

    However even with a checkvalve, you would have standing water that could stink locally. It would seem better to me if you could slope your drain line 1/8 inch or better per foot. Normal slope is 1/4 inch per foot, but I think that has margin built in. Since most people are using flex lines, I don't know that many people pay any attention to avoiding dead water in the line.
  16. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    Actually my p-trap is slightly higher than the drain port on the valve. I could go above the ptrap height immediately and then slope down as you say.
  17. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
  18. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
  19. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Location:
    IL
    Wow! there ya go. That is funny.

    Looking up trying to filter out geosmin, I don't get clear info. It looks as GAC might be useful.
  20. kevincw01

    kevincw01 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    san diego, ca
    yes, the fridge;s carbon filter was definitely filtering it out
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