What does softener resin look like?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by SteveW, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    My Kenmore softener hasn't been working well (no soft water) for a few weeks. I have cleaned the venturi and that helped a while but again not softening well and appears due to a "salt rock" which I want to dissolve.

    I was trying to get some hot water from the water heater drain, to put into the softener as Sears recommends to dissolve the salt rock, and noticed several cups of "stuff" coming out with the water. I am assuming it's hard water deposits but want your opinons to make sure it's not failed softener resin.

    The "stuff" is mostly white, with a few black spots, mostly kind of a powder with some larger granules, and very irregular. I am trying to dissolve it in LimeAway to confirm that it is calcium/magnesium.

    I am assuming that water softener resin:
    1. is yellow? (not sure why I think that)
    2. is pretty regular in size, and round, like small BBs
    3. wouldn't be found on the BOTTOM of a WH tank? (i.e. would float?)

    Pls let me know if I'm on the right track.

    Thanks
    Steve
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,003
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    You can google images. It can be from yellow to amber to brown. No, it doesn't float. Sizes vary.
    [​IMG]
  3. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Thanks!
    Good thought - hadn't considered a quick search.

    Those look like clear beads, so what I am draining off is very different and must be hard water deposits. Amazing to me how much of that stuff accumulates, esp with a softener which had been working until recently.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,686
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IT looks and feels like small "golden" beads, and when you rub it between your fingers it feels slippery.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    4,003
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It reminds me of fish roe. I've heard though that deteriorated resin is more like mud. I doubt you would find it on the bottom of a HWT and not notice it clogging up the aerators via the cold water lines.

    Is your water treated with chlorine to suspect deteriorated resin? Does it have a high iron content? I would suspect iron fouling as the culprit if the softener is under performing.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,686
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If it is NOT drawing from the brine tank, whether because of a bad venturi or rock salt "bridge", the softener WILL not function properly. I might consider a new softener rather than spend money making repairs.
  7. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    HJ, you're a mindreader!

    I just bought a new one and just got done installing it. I figure 15 years on my old $300 Kenmore was pretty good return on investment.

    I know Kenmore/GE softeners don't have a good reputation on this board, but I understand them and know how to clean the venturi, replace the rotor and seals when needed, etc. so I still buy 'em.
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