Help diagnose low water pressure from Fleck 9100 SXT

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jaysen

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Backstory: I purchased a "UPS store" Fleck 9100SXT Twin 48K grain system for my home from qualitywaterforless 8 1/2 years ago and had someone locally (from Terrlove) come install. I am more than confident the person who came out and installed it knew precisely what he was doing and programmed the system accordingly. I filled my brine tank with 7 (40 lb) bags of salt at what felt like every 6-8 months. The system ran flawlessly with no noticeable issues on my end, that is, until a few months ago. It should also be noted sometime after installing the softener - approx 2 years - I replaced the water main (house) valve because I experienced low pressure that would not resolve. Replacing the valve fixed the issue.

Issue: About two months ago, I noticed we were experiencing some low water pressure out of the shower head when I was showering. I didn't think much about it; I just figured someone else was likely showering, and my wife put a load to wash, not realizing. Fast forward a couple of months, and it happened a few more times to other family members. The issue of low pressure would resolve within a few minutes and pressure would return to a normal state. I suspected a failing valve however the intermittent nature of its occurrence got me thinking it may be the softener.

So last night it happened again and as we were experiencing low pressure I went out to the garage and could hear a regen cycle on the softner. I opened the brine tank and saw it was completely empty which was a little unusual as I had filled it about 4 months prior. The brine tank was half full of dirty water.

Thoughts on potential issues? is there a possible workaround to bypass the softener altogether? looking for advice before I call a plumber...

Also, I am in SoCal-Inland Empire if anyone recommends or knows someone out this way!
 
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Reach4

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Most softener installations have a bypass valve. This can be hooked to the softener (and sold with the softener), or it can be an external 3-valve thing.

What do the connections at the back of the softener look like? Maybe consider a photo from above.

Also, look at your invoice. Any mention of a bypass?


City water? Resin might only last 7 years with city water.
 

jaysen

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Thanks for the quick reply... I am out of the house at the moment but will work on getting a picture from the side and top. I did see something near the inlet and outlet that says 'bypass' but when I attempted to turn by hand it would not budge but I suspect its because of the water pressure.

Yes it is City water... at the time of install City measured at 174-ish ppm, most recent study showed 194 ppm FWIW.

Therse are the order details, straight from my invoice:

Fleck 9100SXT Twin Alternating Water Softener - 48,000 Grain Capacity Per Tank
[Tank Color Option:Black]
[Tank Jacket:NO Tank Jacket]
[Brine Tank Size:18x33 Round Brine Tank 10]
[Res-Care Feeder:NO Res-Care Feeder]
[Resin Media Option:Hi-Capacity Resin - 8% Crosslink]
[Turbulator Option:NO Turbulator 10x54 Tank]
[Plumbing Connection:BYPASS, Stainless 1" Female NPT - 60041SS]
[Drain Tubing:NO Drain Tubing]
[Tannin Resin Option:NO Tannin Resin Option]
 

Reach4

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There it is. I have a similar 3/4 inch bypass. It takes considerable force on the lever, largely because you have not worked it for 7 years. A piece of pipe over the lever can help.
PENTEKE00138_WB_6_PP_007.jpg
I think you turn CCW to bypass.

When you get the resin replaced, make sure you get 10% crosslinked resin. Your original resin is 8%, and city water degrades resin. Replacing resin is probably harder than you think.
 
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Bannerman

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This may not be your issue but, a common symptom of chlorine damaged resin is a substantial reduction in flow through the softener, particularly while water is being consumed from multiple fixtures at the same time. The flow rate will typically improve temporarily following each regeneration, but ultimately, the resin will require replacement. Simply bypassing the softener while the reduction is occuring, will fully restore the flow rate, thereby proving the softener is the source of the flow reduction.

Because a twin tank softener will be typically programmed to regenerate the depleted tank immediately once the alternate tank becomes active, that will often result in a recognizable loss of pressure to faucets and appliances while regeneration is taking place since the tank undergoing regeneration, will be acting similar to a faucet that is open. The flow rate to drain for a 10" diameter tank during the Backwash and Rapid Rinse cycles, will be usually 2.4 GPM, so this will be similar to a running shower. The other regeneration cycles will utilize a much lower flow rate and so, will not usually cause much concern.

I anticipate there will be no issue for each of your 1.5 ft3 resin tanks to deliver at least 24 hrs capacity without requiring regeneration. If so, one method to prevent regeneration from occuring during the day, will be to change the softener's settings so that regeneration will not be immediate, but will be delayed until typically 2 am when most family members will be sleeping.

The photo below, shows the Fleck 60049 bypass valve which is now quite common. It is equipped with 2 handles that require turning to achieve full bypass. The photo shows it in the fully bypassed position.

Fleckbypassplastic_750x.jpg
 
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jaysen

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Bannerman, thank you for the explanation! As for the photo, this is EXACTLY what mine looks like! So, assuming I reencounter the issue, will setting to bypass on both levers allow me to have full pressure again? Does anything on the controller need to be set?
 

Bannerman

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assuming I reencounter the issue, will setting to bypass on both levers allow me to have full pressure again?
If damaged resin is the cause for the flow reduction, then bypassing the softener until the resin is replaced will make the most sense. While bypassed, since no water will be flowing through the damaged resin, then full flow of hard water will be available to home fixtures.

You previously said the flow reduction (lower pressure) was only occuring for a few minutes, which seemed to correspond to the period of time one of the twin tanks was undergoing regeneration. As the pressure loss will be due to water flowing to drain while the unit is performing a regular Backwash or Rapid Rinse, you could either not make any settings changes and continue to accept lower pressure temporarily until those cycles have completed, or you could program the SXT controller to delay regeneration until water will not be usually needed and so the resulting pressure loss would not be noticable.

For delayed regeneration, the SXT Master Programming CT (Control Type) setting would be changed from FI (Meter {Flow} Immediate) to Fd (Meter {Flow} Delayed).
To program the unit to commence the delayed regeneration at 2am the following morning, the RT (Regen Time) setting will be 2:00.
 
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jaysen

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Currently bypassing the system to get water flowing again! it seems like while I was gone (shortly after posting and just now returning today) the flow reduction persisted - according to my daughter. I wasn't going to wait until I heard nagging from the wife, so as soon as I got home I bypassed it.

With that being said, do you recommend having the system serviced professionally or is this fairly DIY? I am generally handy and not afraid of tackling a job, but I definitely know my limits so I am trying to gauge the level of difficulty.
 

Reach4

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In between difficulty.

I would mark the original tank positions, and orientations.
How would you get the old resin out? Remove valve, carry each tank outside, and dump? Or suck it out with a wet-dry vac.


If you move full tanks, a hand truck and strap would help.

To fill, you would need a funnel and a helper.

Are you implying that bypassing restored flow?
 
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