Issues with upflow uranium/water softener system

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WMG

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Hi,

I have the following system:

Uranium Reduction Lower Chamber .5 CF/Softener Upper Chamber 1.25 CF Meter VortechMid 1054Black/Counter Current Upflow CK10EE-1.5 GPM DLFC
18x40 Brine Tank

Periodically I have been noticing very salty water after a regeneration, and sometimes a full brine tank (up to the safety float). I have checked both the brine draw venturi and the drain line flow control. Venturi has been fine, and I can see the brine draw during regeneration. Occasionally, I have found some mineral deposits in DLFC. The drain line is probably 20' in length and goes up from the water softener 4-5' to exist the house.

To resolve the issues, I recently took apart the valve body and cleaned the seal pack to remove the build up of mineral deposits (pictures attached). However, even after the recent cleaning I am still getting salty water and a very full brine tank. In the most recent regeneration, I noticed that the brine tank was full prior to the backwash, rinse, and fill stages of the regeneration (which occur at the end of the cycle). However, I am quite certain that the brine tank was less full in the prior day (before regeneration) -- leading me to believe that the brine tank is being filled during one of the other regeneration stages.

Any advice on what I should check for next? My current plan is to open up the valve again and check the seal pack / valve body for more mineral build up.


Thanks in advance!

-Wes
 

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Bannerman

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Thee excessive quantity of brine will be the reason for salty soft water directly following regeneration as there will be insufficient slow rinse time after the brine is transferred to the media so as to thoroughly rinse the resin.

Depending on which injector is installed, the Brine Draw setting for a 1.5 ft3 residential softener will be usually 60-90 minutes. When there is the appropriate quantity of brine, virtually all of the brine should be transferred to the media tank within the first 25% of the BD setting, thereby leaving 75% of the remaining BD time for Slow Rinse to continue to push the brine through the remaining resin bed, and to rinse the resin. With an excess quantity of brine, transfer will require much longer than 25% of the time setting, resulting in insufficient time remaining for the resin to be rinsed thoroughly.

You didn't state how old the softener is? Since it seems the brine tank continues to fill during all stages of regeneration, I suspect the seals are likely worn and so the seal pack will require replacement.

The crusty deposits on the seal pack appears to be salt, most likely resulting from the excessive brine quantity and insufficient rinse time.
 

Reach4

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Does the tank continue to fill after regen -- taking maybe a day or week? If so, I would suspect the brine valve would need replacing.
 

WMG

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Hi,

Thanks for the responses. The combined softener/uranium treatment system is about three years old. First time I pulled the valve apart (pictures in first post above) was 1-2 months ago. I pulled the valve apart again today -- seal pack looks ok to me, no obvious o-ring failures. @Bannerman anything look "off" to you in the photo?

There was very little build up on the seal pack or pistons at this point. However, there were a few flakes of calcium carbonate-like material (I don't think it is NaCl, since it does not readily dissolve in water). Drain line area around the DLFC was also clear from blockage, but there were similar flakes of calcium carbonate that came out of the drain line.

I do notice that the internal passages of the valve have similar calcium carbonate build up. I am not sure how/if this can be easily cleaned.

@Bannerman Brine draw is set to 100 minutes currently.

@Reach4 I do not see any indication that the tank is filling over time between cycles.


Next on my list is to confirm drain line flow -- how much outflow should I see during the brining stage (DLFC has 1.5 GPM button)?

Thanks!

-Wes
 

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Reach4

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Next on my list is to confirm drain line flow -- how much outflow should I see during the brining stage (DLFC has 1.5 GPM button)?
1. DLFC controls the flow during backwash and fast rinse. The injector controls the flow during brining. BLFC controls the rate of fill during the BF cycle.

2. a 1.5 GPM DLFC is for an 8-inch diameter softener media tank. If your media is not softener resin, you may need a higher rate. If you do not have an 8-inch softener, you have a problem. Here is the amount of resin normally in an 8-inch tank:
8" x 35" 0.64 cu. ft.
8" x 44" 0.75 cu. ft.

Looking back at your #1 post, there is an anomaly I think.

3. an 8-inch softener should have a #000 BROWN injector. See the graphs in the service manual. If your injector, that you just saw, is not brown, there may be a problem.

4. The service manual has graphs of what flows during brine draw, and the flow during the rest of the BD cycle.
 
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WMG

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@Reach4
It is a combined uranium treatment / water softener. Tank is 10x54 with 1.25 cu. ft. for softening, and 0.5 cu. ft. for uranium. (I believe it is very similar to the third row in the attached table).

I vaguely recall the BLFC injector being red, but I will check.

-Wes
 

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Reach4

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It is a combined uranium treatment / water softener. Tank is 10x54 with 1.25 cu. ft. for softening, and 0.5 cu. ft. for uranium. (I believe it is very similar to the third row in the attached table).

I vaguely recall the BLFC being red, but I will check.
A 10 inch softener would normally get a 2.4 gpm DLFC.

#0 Red is a pretty normal injector for a 10 inch tank, but for upflow especially I might opt for a #00 Injector - Violet

It also seems to me that a little longer BD than you would use with a regular softener since your resin sits higher.

I would either check the molded number on the DLFC, or play the water into a bucket during backwash to measure the actual backwash rate.

I don't know how the special resin affects things, but it is unusual to have media that takes less backwash than softener resin.

I guess you have to take the U media working on faith. U tests are rare outside of a lab test.
 

Bannerman

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Water softener resin, when installed in a 10" diameter tank, usually requires a Backwash rate of 2.4-2.5 GPM.

You haven't stated which media is utilized for Uranium reduction. As that media may require a significantly higher backwash rate than softener resin, the DLFC flow rate should be increased accordingly.

Because an Enpress Vortech tank is being utilized, the drain flow rate (backwash rate) will be typically reduced by 15-20% due to lower flow restriction through the Vortech screen(s) compared to gravel under bedding utilized in a conventional media tank.
 

Bannerman

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The Black injector is intended for a 6" diameter down flow, or 8" diameter up flow softener. The recommended injector for a 10" up flow softener is Violet, Clack part #V3010-1C.

I suspect the salty soft water, inconsistent brine levels and solids residue are caused by the current injector that is too small.

With a 90-minute Brine Draw setting, the brine will normally be transferred from the brine tank to the media tank within ~25% of that time, equalling ~23 minutes. Because the Black injector flow rate will be extremely low, the brine transfer is probably taking significantly longer than 23-minutes, so combined with the Black injector's low slow rinse rate, the resin will not receive sufficient rinse time nor a high enough flow rate to thoroughly rinse away calcium, magnesium, chloride or excess sodium from the resin .

Depending on the current brine setting, it's possible that not all of the prepared brine is being drawn from the brine tank, so during Brine Fill, additional water will be added to any remaining brine, thereby further increasing the problem by increasing the quantity of brine to be transferred.
 

WMG

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@Bannerman Yup, the injector is violet, looks exactly like the part number you reference.

Written on the outside of the drain line elbow is what looks like 2.7, also not too different from what your reference above. Inside the black disk is marked 027 (facing toward the softener).

Would a ~20 foot 5/8" ID (black flexible pvc) drain line (with say 5 feet of rise) lead to too much restriction, thereby limiting brine draw and slow rinse enough to cause these types of problems?
 
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ditttohead

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Sorry all, it has been the busiest year of my life and finding time to post regularly here is difficult to say the least. I know many of the regulars here know me well, but this has been kept very quiet for over 2 years while we finalize it...
https://www.aosmith.com/News/2024-News/2024-03-06-Impact-Water-Products/
On top of that, I was PWQA President last year... WQA award recipient... and showing at over 10 trade shows a year...
https://convention.wqa.org/2024-awa...&utm_medium=AwardsStory&utm_campaign=03062024


As to the question.... cation/anion = precipitation... regular maintenance is needed. Chemically cleaning the parts every 3-12 moths is normal. Or replace the seal/space stack, piston assembly... these components are very reasonably priced and easy to replace. Many people add citric acid to the brine tank regularly to mitigate this issue and that is great but the cost of chemical needs to be considered. Tear down the valve, clean with an acid (Citric is my go to, safe) and replace the seal/spacer and piston assembly every couple of years and most people are good to go. If it were me... I would spend a little extra and just add some acid to the brine tank regularly. The real problem is that 70% of the time all works well with little maintenance. 30%... you get that precipitation that you see in the pictures you posted. Try these suggestions and please let me know how it works out. With my new role I am hoping to be able to spend a little more time on this forum.
 

WMG

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@ditttohead Congrats on the acquisition! In terms of valve teardown, do you mean complete teardown -- i.e. removing valve from tank and soaking/cleaning the entire unit?

Where can I get citric acid and how much/how often should it be added to the tank?

Thanks for the suggestions!

-Wes
 
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