Water Softener Trouble Shooting,

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by mikekay, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    Can someone help with with why my tank is filling with too much water, when it started with no water, every regen it creeps up

    AUTOTROL 255
    1-Cuft Tank
    Pictures: http://db.tt/92iWzKsH


    Problem(s): No soft water coming from softener(fixed?), Then brine level rising

    Looked at:
    • Valve and Valve body, flappers looked a little deteriorated
    • Full Regen Cycle - Looks OK - Brine Tank drains, Brine Tank fills, Goes to Resin Tank,
      6" water out 6" water in, Now fills way more, and doesn't draw​
    • Bypass is not on -- just for the people thinking this is a duh question.
    • Appliances have a chalky substance on them, Drains/Grout becoming browned.
    • Hardness of water is 24-26, Softener set at 8, Regen 2x a week.
    • Apartment - just me and the fiancee, Laundry ensuite 1-3x/wk use, dishwasher 1x/wk use

    Took it all apart

    • Broken basket near top of valve head,,, looks like it was glued (was NOT filled with resin when lifted out initially)
    • The resin was at half of the tank, just barely over, and there was black bits in it
    • The tank is orange around the parts where the water 'used' to once sit -- Bleach? Procedure? Cleaning Needed?
    • Bypass assembly put back on just to acquire water flow in the house while softener is out of commission. No leak in the bypass.
    • Cleaned out the vavle body and made sure all O-rings were okay, all good.
    • Washed out screen as mentioned before. Injector not grimy or dirty,
    • One last thing checked -- proper hook up into the system is incorrect,


    Fixed
    • Plumbing I know its not perfect ie, shutoff valve to water heater. Has been fixed since picture.
    • Replaced the media inside the resin tank and rebuilt, made sure tube didnt move etc.
    • Tefloned and siliconed everything for a nice and tight fit
    • Getting softwater now (because of charged resin(new) or because of working softener -- time will tell)

    Solutions

    The only two things I haven't replaced are Brine Draw Assy, and Flappers. Which one is more probable for the cause?

    Can anyone help -- please? I have bad eczema, and need this working on a budget. or I would have replaced the whole thing.
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    IL
  3. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    Read all three posts before post. :)

    It draws fine for a bit then drops, before tanks empty. But nothing is clogged in the Brine assy. But after a regen the assy will lift (partially) float. I pop the top cap open and it sinks again. Sounds like air somewhere just not sure where if its on the flapper side or Brine Assy side. Any testing I could do to help direct where the problem is starting.
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    IL
    It drops? A bit? Is that about 40 seconds? Do you mean the ball? What tanks empty? Do you mean the tanks holding resin? That does not make sense. The brine tanks? You only have one, right? Plus, if that emptied of brine, that would be good.
    Is the assy the ball? The ball is a single piece.
    The transparent cylinder that contains the ball has a top cap?
    You hear hissing during the brine draw cycle? Sometimes listening through a piece of tubing can isolate a sound.
    In the transparent cylinder there is a water level, and there is a ball. On my older unit, the cylinder's top is part of the transparent plastic casting, and the bottom of the cylinder connects to the valve body. Initially the cylinder is full of water, and the ball floats high. The water level drops a bit, and the ball hovers mid way for maybe 10 minutes or so during the brine draw. Then the water level drops when the brine tube sucks air, and the ball in the cylinder seals against the bottom.

    So anyway, if you have a leak in the line from the controller to the brine tank or at the connection into the tank, then you could be hearing air hiss in. Sucking air, the draw ends prematurely. You could replace the tubing with a different tube to the bottom of the tank for troubleshooting. If all of the brine gets sucked out, then you know where the problem is.

    You could also try sucking or blowing on the tube (disconnected from the controller) while there is brine in the tank. Blowing hard enough would produce bubbles in the tank, but blowing gentlly would let you maintain a pressure without adding more air. Sucking gently should let you maintain a vacuum without having to suck continually.
  5. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    722
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    With the unit in a service cycle, hold open the first flapper valve behind the timer assembly. You should notice water running into the brine tank. Hold for about1 min. Turn the cam to the brine cycle and watch the check ball. If it drops within a couple minutes, you have an air leak some where. If it continues to draw, you had air in the brine line.
  6. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    Not an airleak, just refills way too much water, and brine-ing stage is fine draws for entire time of the timer. just adds too much water before brine slow rinse about 4 inches, and then during fast refill usually will max it out (float will trigger inside brine tank) or on second regen that happens. I have the dial set to 3, which is the minimum.

    I dont understand why the heck this wont work and its getting to me, I want to understand why its happening. I'm past just buy a new one, it's now a matter of WHY wont it work, I rebuilt the entire valve head. everything is working fine. I live in an apartment on the 9th floor.

    Please help
  7. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    722
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    There is a check ball behind the salt adjustment assemble. Pull it out and make sure it is clean.
  8. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    If you look at the link it will confirm its clean. I took all check balls, out and cleaned except aircheck. The ball in the aircheck never comes down and rinses fine. Everything works fine. The brine refill is just too fast -- I dont know why it fills the water so fast. Now if I forgot to put it in which would be very stupid but now I am at the point of second guessing everything I will check it out.
  9. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    ***Sorry, air check does come down at the end of the tank stage when it leaves about 2" of water in the tank.
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Location:
    IL
    Turn salt control clockwise to 3.
  11. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    Already is on lowest setting, doesn't appear to change the water fast rinse/ rapid rinse situation...
  12. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

    Messages:
    722
    Location:
    Ocala, Florida
    Just reread you 1st post. Didn't notice you said you have not replaced the flappers. That is the first thing I would have recommended. I've seen it years ago where the salt tank fills too much. Replaced the flappers and it corrected the problem.
  13. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    But I help the flappers and still the same issue is there -- I will replace them from a newer autotrol I have kicking around. Flip them as well,,,

    This is crazy. :(
  14. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    In your pics I only see one ball other than the one in the brine sight glass.

    I'm not up on Autotrol that much but... the salt dose control looks like is might not be all there, all I see is two little protrusions and I'm not sure that is right. The other control thingy with the concave part on it is the drain line flow control.

    How about the ball in the drain line flow control? Sometimes it falls out when you take the control off the valve and it bounces across the room and ya don't know it and it won't work well without it. Also, that control is based on the diameter of the resin tank, make sure it is the right one. A #9 is for a 9" tank, 10 for a 10" tank. It looks like you have a 9" tank if I'm reading the label correctly.
  15. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    Gary to the rescue!

    I did check the ball in the drain line flow that is there because I found a ball on the ground. Now I had 2 other autorol's open at the time so I figured it was out of one of them. And that was the reason for checking the drain ball. The salt dial my memory is somewhat fading me at the moment. I am not home but will check it out at this point I would love a "thats what it was this whole time!?!?" shaking my head while I pop a beer to victory.

    You are correct its a 9" x 42" tank correct with 1 cuft of resin.

    Can you explain more about the salt dose control and why you are thinking it might be the part to blame?

    *** Edit salt control valve is not in any of the pictures, that first part picture is the injector cap.
  16. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    what are the repercussions of just setting the damn float lower and being done with it, ie at 8"-9" of water.

    Because at 50 dollars roughly shipping wait times etc, I could get a 460i timer thats metered and would bring my overall cost on the system to about 300 which isn't THAT bad. All things considered the system would and should be able to run for another 10 - 15 years. That should fix it unless the culprit was the flappers from the start. I dont have any definite answers.

    How do I pin point this?

    What you think?
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Yes check for the ball in the drain line flow control, if it isn't there, or the control is for a larger diameter tank, either will cause your fast flow problem, and the salt dose control too. The larger goes in the drain line control. I forgot about the injector thingy.

    Never heard of a 42" high tank.... 40, 48 and 52 are common and 9 x 48 is for a 1.0 cuft. Some use a 10" x 40" for a 1.0 cuft but it's fairly rare IMO unless it is a cabinet model.

    The flow rate into and out of the salt tank is critical so setting the float isn't going to control the timed flow, just the volume of water, and not a good thing to do.

    You really need new flapper valves, turning them around doesn't get you new 'rubber' material, just smoother material and it looks like something has eaten the old ones. BTW, with all softeners, but especially Autotrol, you should have at least 10' of plumbing between the outlet of the control valve and the inlet to any water heater. A loop in the line works well and stops any back flow of hot water out of the heater into the softener. Your flappers may have gotten hot in the if there is a possibly of hot water back flow. The plastic parts of the valve, distributor tube and resin tank do not get along well if they get hot. That can dump resin into the plumbing and into all your fixtures, valves, appliances and can be a very expensive problem to fix.
  18. mikekay

    mikekay New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    TORONTO
    I cannot put 10 ft of plumbing in between that room isn't even 3 ft big. Im not too too worried about the warm water, my water doesn't get that hot. But might put a temperature regulator inbetween for the future, Im guessing that was the cause of the deterioration in the first place. But I will replace them with 'newer' ones. But believe that wont solve the problem.

    Drain line flow control ball is there for sure, I will check the control but I remember seeing its the 33 -- I didn't swap any of the caps or balls, only thing I took from the other autotrol was the the screen.

    Injector thingy goes thin side in, its a blue one that I have, I pay attention when I take things apart heard of people jamming them backwards. Not I, I siliconed all O-rings and checked for leaks...

    IM STUMPED!

    It's a 9 x 42 you are correct.

    Edit -- Backflow preventor not a temperature regulator but I image that would work as well.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  19. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A.... the only assumption I will make is that there is something wrong with the valve, an o-ring missing, leaking flapper valve(s), wrong injector (they are color coded), missing or wrong drain line flow control ball, etc..

    All the plastic of the softener has a max temp of 100f if I recall correctly and I've never seen a water heater only put out "warm" water. The plastic, and again IIRC, has a max 125 psi pressure rating. I've done a bunch of plumbing and would have no trouble adding 6-8' of pipe in that room, down to the floor some and back up does it; and I bet IF you wanted to, you'd git'er done too. A check valve is not good without an expansion tank between it and the water heater.

    Anyway, what is "33"?
  20. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Sure you can. Assuming an 8-foot ceiling, just plumb up, down, and repeat until you've built a 10-foot run. Will only take a couple of inches of horizontal space.
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