Culligan HE Water Conditioner & Water Filter ?s - salt black flecks + ongoing problems

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Stacy Smith, Oct 9, 2019.


Can a salt tank or Culligan water softener develop mold?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Yes this is how

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Stacy Smith

    Stacy Smith ThatGirl

    Oct 9, 2019
    Windermere, FL
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    Hi Terry Love! Thank you so much for you devotion to helping others learn. Your page is my go-to for all things water. I’ve been having increasing problems with my Culligan HE Platinum Series Automatic conditioner (softener) with water filter. It seems like the water always tastes or smells bad and Culligan never wants to do the maintenance per manual as indicated. So I try to do the most myself and just noticed the salt was of very different consistency throughout the salt tank- some was crushed and mushy with occasional black flecks throughout and some were nice solid salt rocks. Seems like the bags of salt are always different. I just happened to come across one very dirty looking piece that could of been dirt or mold?? It was isolated to the one piece pictured above. I removed it and will likely get it tested just for curiosity. As I continued to inspect the salt, I found scoop after scoop with black flecks throughout. I couldn’t find one cup full that was clean except the pure rocks of salt. Seems like the mushed salt was more impure. Is this normal and if so, should I just keep adding salt to the tank? If not, what do you recommend I do to clean and start anew with hopeful clean salt? How would I sanitize the softener and filter?

    I am very curious about the cleanliness of the water and our health as of late. The laundry smells bad, all showers are stale, and dirt rings under shampoo bottles. There was even a black ring in the toilet yesterday from me dumping the inspected salt before flushing. I had just cleaned that toilet earlier the morning so I am confident in the cleanliness of the bowl and tank. It came from the salt 100%.

    There are other issues, like the backwash drain not being properly routed outside and other issues but Culligan is not very helpful in my area. So any help you can provide to assist for our DIY maintenance is MUCH appreciated!!
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Oct 28, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    How old is the softener? The resin does not last forever? Have you performed a iron removal flush? What type of salt do you use? Does the cold water have the odor? Are you on city water or a well? If it is a well, how deep is it? Did this just start or always had this issue?

    Over the years sediments within the salt settle on the bottom of the tank. If the salt tank is a separate unit, remove it, hose it down it down and wash it with a little bleach, rinse well.

    Since you’re not getting any help from the Culligan franchise, you might want to search for another company.
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    How much time and/or salt use has there been since the brine tank was cleaned out?

    What kind of salt do you use? Pellets, rock salt, or what?

    Is there a cartridge filter before the softener?

    Is this well water? I would sanitize your well and plumbing including the softener if you are able. Even with city water, I think you might sanitize the brine tank with bleach. Is your brine tank outside?

    Do you have a flex hose feeding the water to your softener? The "braided" lines are braid covering rubber, which can deteriorate.

    Have you cleaned the injector screen on your softener?
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  5. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    Is the salt you have been using, regular softener salt (Sodium Chloride) or premium-priced Potassium Chloride?

    Does this continue if the softener is bypassed and after the house plumbing has been flushed?

    Here's a thread that may be of interest.
  6. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Ontario, Canada
    You said the softener also contains a filter. I have so far not found information to indicate which if any filter media may have been installed in that unit. Is the filter separate from the softener or together within a single tank?

    The most common filter media used with a softener is carbon such as GAC (granular activated carbon). GAC granules can become fractured from repeated backwashing and will also break-down over time and so will require replacement, typically every 3-5 years even as softening resin may not require replacement for 10 years or longer.

    Perhaps if there is carbon media within the softener tank, it is now too old and no longer effective in reducing contaminants but may instead be souring the water. Smaller pieces will usually be flushed to drain during backwash but some might possibly be entering the brine tank during Brine Refill.
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