Low water pressure after finally refilling with salt

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Verge

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Hi everybody! Need some help.

I've been out of town for a few months and forgot to instruct the wife to refill the water softener with salt. I finally got around to it yesterday and filled it.

This morning, I went to give the kids a shower and noticed the pressure start dropping. Within a minute, it dropped so low that it barely was coming out at all. I checked the faucets all around the house and same issue: super low pressure, barely anything but a skinny stream.

I went to the water softener and hit the bypass and boom: water pressure restored! What is causing this? And how can I fix the problem?

Any info is greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time.
 

Bannerman

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Is your water source chlorinated?

What is the age of the softener?

The presence of chlorine has an accumulative effect in accelerating resin damage, eventually making the resin mushy so that it restricts water flow through the softener. While the cause could be related to other issues, replacement of the resin is likely necessary.
 

Verge

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Is your water source chlorinated?

What is the age of the softener?

The presence of chlorine has an accumulative effect in accelerating resin damage, eventually making the resin mushy so that it restricts water flow through the softener. While the cause could be related to other issues, replacement of the resin is likely necessary.

Thx for the reply Bannerman...

I'm not quite sure if it's chlorinated, all I know is it's city water.

Unit is about 7 years old.

How can I diagnose if it's the resin or not?
 

ditttohead

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Agreed, resin has a finite life expectancy. Resin is made up of round beads, as they age they fracture into irregular shapes which will impede water flow over time. You can remove the valve and take some resin off the top and feel it. It should feel like tiny marbles when you try to "squish" it between your thumb and finger. If it feels mushy at all, it is time to rebed the resin.
 

Verge

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Agreed, resin has a finite life expectancy. Resin is made up of round beads, as they age they fracture into irregular shapes which will impede water flow over time. You can remove the valve and take some resin off the top and feel it. It should feel like tiny marbles when you try to "squish" it between your thumb and finger. If it feels mushy at all, it is time to rebed the resin.
Thanks ditttohead

I also noticed my water now has a super salty taste. Could that be an indication of a different issue?
 

Bannerman

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If the mushy resin is causing flow problems to the house, there will also be difficulties rinsing all of the brine out of the resin during the rinse stage of the regeneration cycle.
 

Reach4

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Could be.

You want to describe just what your softener consists of, including controller model number, or post a picture that shows your system including controller. If your controller has a cover that covers the buttons/controls, remove/open that before the photo.
 

Verge

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Could be.

You want to describe just what your softener consists of, including controller model number, or post a picture that shows your system including controller. If your controller has a cover that covers the buttons/controls, remove/open that before the photo.
Hey Reach4... the model is a Whirlpool WHES30
20160310_170212.jpg
 

Verge

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Could be.

You want to describe just what your softener consists of, including controller model number, or post a picture that shows your system including controller. If your controller has a cover that covers the buttons/controls, remove/open that before the photo.
Under the cover
20160310_170720-1.jpg
 

Verge

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I've also read online that it may be a valve issue instead. Can someone suggest a way to pinpoint that type of issue?
 

Old

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Resin can also expand and cause flow issues. Turn off the lights in the room then put a bright flashlight on the mineral tank. Normally you will be able to see the resin level in the mineral tank (usually about 3/4 full on one of those units) if you can not see through the tank then the resin has probably expanded.

Either way your resin is probably bad and will either need to be replaced or you could choose to purchase a new softener.
 

Mialynette2003

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I've seen the upper basket get clogged and cause a pressure loss. The valve will need to be removed in order to get to the upper basket. Being on city water, the likelihood of this being the cause is slim. I'm leaning toward the resin being bad.
 

ENIGMA-2

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It's fairly easy to remive the valve and open the resin tank. If your not certain as to how to do this, I can try to explain it.

First put the softener in bypass.
Press and hold the select button to manually start a regeneration. (This is to relieve the pressure in the softener).

After this, press the regen button three or four times to bring the valve back to the "service" mode.

Now the hard part. Pull the clips out where the water lines connect to the plastic bypass. With the clips out, you can now scoot the softener away from the supply piping. (This is to disconnect the softener piping from the house piping.)

On the left side of the valve (when your facing the front of the unit) there is the venturi assembly. There is a clip holding the venturi on, pull up on this clip and then pull off the venturi assembly. May have to wiggle it a little.

Around the base of the valve, where it joins the resin tank, there is a safety clamp. Simply unhook one of the clamp buckles, and remove the clamp.

Now the valve can be removed by simply pulling up and off. The top distributor should be attached to the valve and come off with it, if not, pull it off the distributor pipe.

You can now look into the resin tank and see what the resin looks like. This whole process takes about 5 minutes or so.

Most of the professionals here regard the Ecowater systems (this is who made your Whirlpool system) to be cheap and throw away. But if the only thing wrong with the unit is failed resin, it can be replaced and for a $150 and you could get another 7-15 years out of it. (Chlorine also degrages the O-rings in the valve, but they can be replaced for around $40 in about 15 mimutes time.)

You can use a shop vac and vacuum out the old resin. Then pour in the proper amount of new resin (the type and amount is listed on the information label). (No gravel is used in this small tanks.) After this fill the tank with water and push the distributor back into the tank (the water will allow the beads to move around and the distributor will push in easily). Then just put the valve back on, fasten the clamp, reattach the venturi, wiggle the unit back into the supply piping, slip in the clamps, plug the transformer back in and put the bypass back into service.

A cubic food of high capacity resin runs somewhere around $125, maybe a little more, and that's a lot cheaper than buying a new system. They also make better resin that able to resist city water better. (There are experts here that can advise what would be best).

City water has chlorine in it, which destroys resin. I've read that resin should last 20 years (degrades around 5% per year), and half that when exposed to chlorine. Your softener was continuously exposed to chlorine without being regenerated and this probably accelerated its degeration.

If your resin has failed and you don't want to replace, you have the option of replacing with a better unit or simular unit. A better unit will run around $600 if you buy online, (you will have do your own installation), twice that if you buy local. If money is a concern, you could replace with a simular unit (plumbing should fit exactly) with a unit I seen at Sam's Club for $370. I would imagine Cosco has a simular unit and price. Sears units are also a good buy when they are on sale - which is all the time.

Chlorine is still going to be a factor with any softener you buy and a pre-filter that takes out the chlorine before it gets into the softener should be considered. (There are several professionals here that can advise you on this.)

If you decide to purchase local, they will provide everything for your water conditions. It will be the most expensive route to follow, but no worries. I would avoid Culligan or Sears and go with a professional service, look in your yellow pages and ask around. Rough guess, prices would start around $1000 and run to $2000 depending on what they sell and your needs.
 

Mialynette2003

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I would like to add, once you have relieved the pressure and are ready to remove the clips holding the bypass, push the bypass toward the valve. If not, you may break to clips because they are tight.
 

NGuinn

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STOPPP, before you do any of that, check the faucet heads. Remove the shower head and see if it is clogged, if so, that is your answer! Take all of the heads off the faucets and run cold water for about 2-3 minutes. Should clear up your issue.
 

ditttohead

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???
The last post on this thread was from March 15th, 2016... not sure what this adds. I doubt the OP is waiting for another response.
I also highly doubt that every screen in the house clogged up simultaneously, unless the lower screen failed in that cast the unit should definitely be junked.
 
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