Hard water and not enough water installed in brine tank after regen

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Roadrunner255

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Hello all,

I live in Central Texas and have really hard water (105 GPG) and about 2 Iron.

The softener company installed a 36" diameter brine tank, a tank that handles the iron (charcoal media I believe regen every 5 days) and a 16" by 65" softener tank I believe its a 4 cuft tank with 3.5 cuft of chargen c-800 media. Both tanks use the WS1 control valve.

I have noticed when water dries on a surface white powdery spots, that doesn't taste like salt.

The other issue is the brine tank is not filling enough after a regen. During the last regen I measured the water level before the regen, then added about 12 gallons or so to get it about where it was before.

Reason I added water is because company recommended it due to a previous regen cycle that did not soften the water. BTW the softener softens the water to 1-2 GPG after a regen.

The Clack WS1 is currently set as follows: Hardness = 105; Regen Day = 11; BW 1 = 8 min, 2 Dn Brine 60 min, 3 BW = 8 min, 4 rinse = 8 min, 5 fill = 9.5 lbs, cap - 90,000, regen = auto, regen = normal

Is it possible to configure the valve to regen the number of days has reached or number of softened water remaining (with configured percentage remaining)?

Cheers
 

ditttohead

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For starters, the hardness should be set to a compensated hardness, not the actual. With 100+ grians, spotting will occur as the water softener does not really get rid of spots, rather it removes the scale (calcium and magnesium primarily) and replaces it with sodium. Sodium is highly soluble in water thus greatly reducing the difficulty in clean-up.
A carbon tank is not typically used for iron reduction unless it is ferric iron. Are you doing any sort of chlorine injection? Any regnerant on the carbon bed?

A 3.5-4 cf softener (16x65) should be set for approximately 8 pounds of salt per cf, or 32 pounds. This would mean you would need approximately 11 gallons of water in the brine tank. The brine tank refills automatically and you should not need to manually add water.

Post some pictures of the valve. The Clack valves have many different circuit boards as well as some proprietary ones.

A twin alternating softener would have been preferred for that high of hardness.
 

Roadrunner255

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For starters, the hardness should be set to a compensated hardness, not the actual. With 100+ grians, spotting will occur as the water softener does not really get rid of spots, rather it removes the scale (calcium and magnesium primarily) and replaces it with sodium. Sodium is highly soluble in water thus greatly reducing the difficulty in clean-up.
A carbon tank is not typically used for iron reduction unless it is ferric iron. Are you doing any sort of chlorine injection? Any regnerant on the carbon bed?

A 3.5-4 cf softener (16x65) should be set for approximately 8 pounds of salt per cf, or 32 pounds. This would mean you would need approximately 11 gallons of water in the brine tank. The brine tank refills automatically and you should not need to manually add water.

Post some pictures of the valve. The Clack valves have many different circuit boards as well as some proprietary ones.

A twin alternating softener would have been preferred for that high of hardness.
Water hardness coming out of the well is 120 GPG, the softener company wouldn't tell me what media is in the "iron buster" tank. They did install a res-up drip device in the brine tank to assist with the iron cleaning of the media.
No chlorine injection (that helps with the iron correct).
There is a filtering and softening option on the valve, the above is for the softening options; filtering options are 1 BW = 8 min, 2 drain brine= 60 min, 3 BW 8 min, 4 rinse 8 min, 6 fill =.095 gal, regen off, relay=off. see attached pictures of the valve.

How would I tell how much salt is being used?
The softener guy said that he was cheating the system and telling the unit it was a 90K unit when its a 120K unit.

If I set the regen to 12 days it wont regen until the 12 day and doesn't take into consideration how many gallons are left to be softened.

Thanks!
 

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Reach4

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I don't know the WS1. Looking at the manual, I suggest you add a top-view photo of your softener controller that includes what I snipped from the manual.

While activated carbon without chlorine is not useful for ferrous iron, there is a type of carbon that is. My sulfur+iron filter that uses Centaur Carbon media does well for me for ferrous iron. It is much more expensive than GAC.
 

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ditttohead

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That is a WS125 valve, notice the grey plug? That is the high flowing big brother to the WS1.

The board appears to be the old standard 5 button board, fairly easy to adjust. I would adjust the hardness up considerably if you want consistent soft water. The system should be set for 84,000K if it has 3.5 CF of resin. This would be 8 pounds per CF salt setting. I will try to check the programming numbers tomorrow for the salt setting for that timer.
 

Bannerman

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I'm confused:
  • Is your hardness amount 105 or 120 gpg?
  • Did you purchase a 3.5 cuft softener or a 4 cuft softener?
  • If the 'iron buster' unit is before the softener, what is the purpose of adding a drip feeder to the brine tank to assist the softener with iron removal? If the iron buster is effective, the softener should not be dealing with any iron.

I measured the water level before the regen, then added about 12 gallons or so to get it about where it was before.
So, had the water level been higher and now it is suddenly lower for some unknown reason? If so, that seems to indicate a function issue. If there is an issue, I would have expected the 'company' (assumed to be the company who had installed the system) to have wanted to attend to service the unit as opposed to only telling you to manually add more water.

Since you indicate that the softener is programmed for only 9.5 lbs of salt, that signifies only 3.2 gals of water is programmed to enter the brine tank. Was that setting changed which resulted in the lower water level now observed?
 
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Roadrunner255

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I'm confused:
  • Is your hardness amount 105 or 120 gpg?
  • Did you purchase a 3.5 cuft softener or a 4 cuft softener?
  • If the 'iron buster' unit is before the softener, what is the purpose of adding a drip feeder to the brine tank to assist the softener with iron removal? If the iron buster is effective, the softener should not be dealing with any iron.


So, had the water level been higher and now it is suddenly lower for some unknown reason? If so, that seems to indicate a function issue. If there is an issue, I would have expected the 'company' (assumed to be the company who had installed the system) to have wanted to attend to service the unit as opposed to only telling you to manually add more water.

Since you indicate that the softener is programmed for only 9.5 lbs of salt, that signifies only 3.2 gals of water is programmed to enter the brine tank. Was that setting changed which resulted in the lower water level now observed?
-----

Hardness is 120, I believe a year ago when it was tested it was 105 gpg, so they set the unit for 105.
Softener is a 4 cuft unit (16" x 65") with about 3.5 cuft of media.
Ironbuster is before the softener, I was told that the drip feeder adds and additional step that helps clean the media should the iron buster not get all the iron.

They recently installed this larger unit, and it softened water the first 2 regen cycles. On the third it did not soften and they noticed there was not enough brine solution in the tank and had me change the fill setting on the controller to 9.5. lbs and add about 15 gallons of water to get the brine tank up to where it was supposed to be.

After 2 cycles again still not enough water in the brine tank. I added enough water just over the salt and ran a regen cycle. I added water to match the previous water level to get an approximate amount of water that the regen cycle and added about 12 gallons. So the fill cycle is not adding enough water.

I want to get familiar with how the system works so I can speak logically about the system with the installer.

Water level had never been higher, since new larger system and I have very hard water with iron the installer said to get the system dialed in may take a few regen cycles.

I think it was set to 8 lbs of salt and he had me change it to 9.5 lbs.

Is there a formula to calculate how much water per lbs of salt?

I believe the softener is rated at 120K grains but is programmed for 96K maybe thats why hardness is set to 105? It does soften the water to about 1 gpg with lots of water spots.

Thanks for you help, I wasen't getting auto replies.
 

Bannerman

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Once you understand and setup your softener, there should be little further need to speak with the installer.

Normally, when a softener is purchased, the tank size will correspond to the quantity of media contained. As space is required for bed expansion during backwash, the amount of resin and the gravel underbed, will fill roughly 2/3 of the tank height. The amount of media will always be less than the tank capacity.

Each gallon of water entering the brine tank will dissolve 3 lbs of salt. The salt setting is a calculation of the controller's Fill time in minutes, multiplied by the BLFC number (often indicated on a label near the valve's brine port) to give gallons. That number times 3 equals the salt setting in pounds but with your Clack controller, the amount of pounds is set directly in the controller so you don't need to do the math.

With 3.5 cuft of resin, that likely would have been advertised as a 112,000 grain system (32K per cuft) but in actual practice, the usual highest regenerated capacity would be 30K/cuft or 105K grains for your system. To regenerate that capacity would require 15 lbs salt per cuft or for your system, 52.5 lbs per regeneration. That is an inefficient salt setting as at best, it equates to 2K grains per pound.

Assuming no iron reaching the softener, the salt efficiency may be substantially increased by using less salt to regenerate a lower useable capacity setting. For example, 8 lbs salt/cuft will regenerate 24K grains per cuft. With your system, 28 lbs will normally regenerate 84K grains so your controller would need to be programmed with a usable capacity of 84K at a salt setting of 28lbs. I said 'normally' as with hardness levels as high as yours, there may need to be a further adjustment required to compensate for inefficencies due to the extreme hardness. With no further compensation, the efficiency is then 3K grains per pound of salt.

The hardness programmed, should be adjusted to the actual hardness tested (ie: 120 gpg) assuming the iron buster is removing all of the iron prior to the softener. Any iron reaching the softener will require increasing the hardness setting by a further 4 grains per ppm of iron.

As you can see, 9.5 lbs of salt in not enough to regenerate the capacity you are attempting to utilize between regen cycles.

As the resin's total capacity had been previously exhausted, it should be initially restored by regenerating with 52.5 lbs of salt. A simple method would be after adjusting the programming, perform 2 - 28 lb regenerations, one after the other with 2-3 hours between (to allow the proper amount of salt to dissolve).
 
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Bannerman

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In re-reading post #3, as you indicate the softener has 120K grains capacity, I expect it does actually contain 4 cuft of resin. Some installers will specify 30K/cuft capacity while others state the capacity of the resin when first manufactured (ie: 32K/cuft before 1st use).

The salt setting specified should have been 8 lbs (or 9.5 lbs) per cubic foot of resin, not total pounds.

It is not 'cheating the system' by setting a lower capacity as the desired salt efficiency determines the salt setting which corresponds to the useable capacity which will be restored.

As the additional 0.5 cuft of resin will increase capacity, then the settings would be adjusted as follows:
Capacity = 96K
Salt = 32 pounds

Perform 2 - 32 lb regens back to back to initially restore the full 120K capacity.

The control valve should be set as a softener. The controller can be set as a filter when utilized with filter media. A softener is not a filter.

As the regen cycle is meter initiated, the Regeneration Day setting is an override if the programmed capacity has not been utilized within that time frame. That setting normally comes into play only if you have been away for some time and less water has been utilized, thereby forcing a regeneration without waiting too long for the next meter initiated cycle to occur.

I don't recall you stating the number of persons in your household but if two people, I expect your regeneration frequency will be approx every 6 days assuming an average water consumption of 60 gal/day/person at 120 gpg (14,400 grains/day) with 96K capacity. As such, an 11 day override should be OK but you could increase it to 15 days incase your consumption is less than average. If no iron is reaching the softener, the override could be as long as 30 days.

If you wish to obtain additional capacity between regen cycles, this will come at the expense of some salt efficiency. A 10 lb/cuft salt setting (40 lbs) will restore 27K/cuft (108K) of useable capacity, yielding a salt efficiency of 2.7K/lb. The expected regen frequency would then be 7 days using the same assumptions as above.
 
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Roadrunner255

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Thanks for your help, so I would change the following setting according to your post to run the 2 regen'?

Yes just 2 people in the household.

How would I make sure that the proper amount of water is filling the brine tank? That was my original issue, after 2 regens on the old settings the water was not getting softened because it use up all the brine solution. Will changing the hardness to 120 and the cap to 96 make the controller add more water to the brine tank? Salt was already 9.5 lbs (9.5lbs x 3.5 cuft media = 33.25 lbs of salt).

The Clack WS1 is currently set as follows: Hardness = 120 Regen Day = 11; BW 1 = 8 min, 2 Dn Brine 60 min, 3 BW = 8 min, 4 rinse = 8 min, 5 fill = 9 lbs (32lbs/3.5 cuft media), cap - 96,000, regen = auto, regen = normal
 

Bannerman

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According to the softener setup in the Clack Programming Manual, Step 4S specifies the salt setting is pounds per Regeneration, not pounds per cuft. I see no setting where the quantity of media is inputted into the control. Step 3S programs the amount of capacity based on the calculations specified in my last 2 posts.

Raising the hardness setting or lowering the capacity setting will cause the unit to regenerate sooner and will influence the 'Capacity Remaining' being calculated and displayed. The quantity of brine produced is controlled by the salt setting and the RFC button installed. The RFC button is a flow restrictor controlling the gpm filling the brine tank. There are various RFC buttons available, depending on the amount of brine required (ie: capacity of the softener).

To verify the amount of water currently filling the brine tank, remove the brine line fitting at the top of the brine tank so the line can be directed into a 5 gallon bucket. Best to have a few buckets available. Advance the controller to 'Fill' and measure the total amount of water flowing into the bucket. With a 9 lb salt setting, based on that stated in the manual, I expect 3 gallons will enter the bucket if the correct RFC button was installed.

As you expect 31.5 lbs of salt is to be dissolved with a 9 lb setting, then you should anticipate 10.5 gallons will flow into the bucket(s).
 
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