Total newbie question - who do I call for help?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by thehobster, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Guys - I've really tried reading this stuff, but it's way over my head. I'm going to call a professional since I don't know s*it from shinola, but I could use your help in knowing who to call.

    I have city water and a Hague softener. It was installed seven years ago. Short of a couple of service calls I made when it went out once or twice (some part had to be replaced) and filling the brine tank with salt, I've never done any maintenance.

    I've noticed that the water often cloudy - not in the way that when you draw it from the sink it has oxygen bubbles, but I mean literally cloudy. I can let it sit for days and it never clears.

    I use a Brita water filter for drinking water (the kind with a reservoir on top where the water flows down through the filter). The reservoir is stark white. After I fill the reservoir and it filters into the pitcher, there if a dark yellow, almost sludge-like, material left behind in the drops. To think I'm cooking in that and letting my dogs drink it is just gross.

    In your experience, does this sound like I should have the Softener guys come out, the water supply folks, or what? I guess I should try filling the reservoir with water from an external hose bib to eliminate the softener loop, right?

    One other thing - I've noticed a couple of times that when I draw water from the refrigerator (which is also filtered and replaced regularly) it tastes salty. I've assumed it was the ice maker filling overnight when the softener was rinsing. Not that I'm trying to solve this problem, but I thought it might help provide a little context.

    Who should I call to come out, and should I fill the reservoir with non-softened water before you recommend? Is it possible I just need to thoroughly clean the brine tank (which, in all honestly, looks like it could use a cleaning)?

    Thanks
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Sears Service Center.


    Good Luck.
  3. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I'll assume for the moment that you're being serious and not making fun of the idiot (me), so why Sears as opposed to the original softener installer, a plumber, an electrician, a milkman, etc...?

    BTW - I shouldn't say city water - it is strictly speaking a MUD (if that makes any difference).
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX


    Why would you call the milkman ?

    If your softener is covered by the company then call them.

    Sears just knows what needs to be done, But they do not work for free.

    Call Terry Love, He be the Man.


    Good Luck.
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    As far as I know Sears won't service a Hague; they are not the same and Hague is proprietary so only a Hague dealer will have parts. Sears may service Whir;pool, GE and NorthStar because they use a lot of the same internal parts in their control valves.

    If you aren't into fixing it yourself, then I suggest calling the Hague guy if he is still around or someone else to replace the whole softener.
  6. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Wow, so based on my description, you think it's that bad? Lovely...
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    You asked for help in who to call and Hague is the only one that will have parts. And if you don't have them fix it, what are you willing to do to fix it yourself and if you aren't/don't, what are you going to do then but find someone to replace it or live without a softener?
  8. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Sorry - didn't mean to sound ungrateful for the advice by any means. I don't know the first thing about fixing and don't have the desire to learn this late in life. I don't touch anything that resembles plumbing.

    What I meant to say was, based on my description I will need to call the Hague guy, but does it sound like the whole unit needs to be replaced? I'm cool with paying a service fee for diagnostics and whatever I have to for repair, but I thinking maybe a couple of hundred, not 1500 for a new unit.

    So - still appreciative of any advice.

    Thanks
  9. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    I'm gonna assume that since the unitis only sevn years old there must be a Hague specialist in your area. I'm also gonna assume that the unit requires maintenance, not replacement.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    hobster, get yourself a hard water test kit at most any hardware or big box store, even the dip strip type will work, and test your water after the softener for hardness. If the softener is not producing soft water (0 gpg [grains per gallon]) call Hague out. If it is soft...

    Taste the water to see if it is 'salty'. If salty, call Hague out.

    A Hague is usually a cabinet model meaning that the resin tank is inside the salt tank and that type softener is hard to work on and a bear to get the salt out of to clean the sediment out of it but... if yours is visibility dirty, cleaning should be done. Although cleaning a salt tank can cause problems that didn't exist before, like brine line fittings sucking air instead of very heavy brine water.

    Posting a picture of your softener here would be helpful. Including a more or less closeup of the face of the control valve would be best.
  11. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Thanks. I'll post a picture a little later. Mine is 2 units: the resin tank is about chest high and has the valve while the salt water is tank lower than waist high. The water tank does look kinda nasty, so I reckon I'll clean that. I assume a little elbow grease and a sponge is about the extent of my cleaning supplies required. I'll have to figure out if there's a drain or need to pump (will research this).

    The Hague guy who installed asked me to bypass the unit and see if the yellow goes away. If it does, call him back. If it doesn't it's not the softener. Seems like a reasonable approach to start. He talked me through the bypass. So I'll check every couple of days and see what happens.

    Thanks for your time and advice here gents. Much appreciated.
  12. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    Re-read your 1st post. The yellow sludge left in your water pitcher. Does it smell? Is it gritty or slimy?

    Your softener doesn't take turbidity out of the water. You are on city water. Was there any work being done to the city mains? It's not too often that municipal water sends out muddy water so, it might be something at the city supply side or even the line to your house.

    Your dogs drink out of the toilet, lick their privates and roll in dead things and you're worried about them drinking cloudy water LOL
  13. thehobster

    thehobster New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    No - just slimy. No discernible odor and not gritty. I did notice that the bottom of the pitcher (not the filter reservoir but the actual pitcher for the filtered water) looked cloudy. When I took a paper towel to it, there was a black film I was able to wipe off. Not sure if that's related or just an artefact of the charcoal filter in the Brita. We'll see what happens over time.

    And I understand the point on turbidity. It's worth nothing that now that I've bypassed the softener the turbidity is gone as is the sludge. And the sludge was something that was ongoing for months.

    Honestly, I'm not that worried about the dogs drinking cloudy water. The kids on the other hand ... well they probably need the extra minerals as they enter puberty :)

    For now I'm going to run without the softener and make sure this is consistent. Then I'll re-engage and see what happens.

    In the mean time, I'm going to look up the proper way to clean the brine tank.

    I do see my Hague guy coming for a visit (or someone from Home Depot to install a new one altogether).
  14. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,172
    Location:
    Maine
    Good God, don't buy any of the crap units from home depot, lowes or sears. The only nice thing about them is that their cheap.
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    They sell appliances at Walmart here.

    Maybe they have a nice cheap unit.

    Sears is not all that bad, just get the warranty.


    Good Luck.
  16. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,836
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I have to agree with Tom on this one, do not buy the junk from the big box stores. Their only concern when sourcing systems is who can supply them with the lowest price. In my nearly 30 years of field service, I still will not even touch or attempt a repair on the cheap units. It makes about as much sense as repairing a huffy bike. When you build something that cheap, what do you think you are getting?

    BTW, I ride a Cannondale Prophet. :)
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I agree with Tom also.

    The thing about Sears is that they have to provide service after the sale. At least 10 years out,unless the law has changed. They have many makes in the Houston stores.

    You may be lucky to get 5 years. No mater where you buy it, Most all is Plastic Crap.

    But it is nice to know you CAN get parts and DIY, 10 or 20 years down the road.


    Have fun.
Similar Threads: Total newbie
Forum Title Date
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Newbie needs water softener advice Apr 3, 2014
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Another Newbie in search of a Water Softener Apr 3, 2014
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Please Recommend Water Treatment for newbie! Apr 2, 2014
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Newbie: Selecting between the Fleck models Mar 9, 2014
Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r Newbie...Culligan Mk 89 Neutralizer Replacement Advice Please May 28, 2013

Share This Page