Low Water Pressure

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by imy, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. imy

    imy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    I am experiencing low water pressure from time to time. The ware pressure drops but recovers after few minutes (usually within 15mins) . I have noticed it on all faucets both hot and cold side(even the water from the fridge dispenser). I started noticing this about a month ago but I suspect the water pressure in the house in general is slightly down from 2 years ago when I moved in but since change is minimal I have not really noticed it until now.
    This is a large house with 4 bathrooms. I have Fleck 5600xt, 64000 water softener installed a few months after moving into the house(new construction). It has been 2 years now without any water pressure issue until last month.

    When I do have low pressure (where water pressure is lower than 50% of normal pressure) I checked outside in the garden but pressure was good city pressure most likely not the issue.
    Water softener is working fine for last 2 years, day overide set to 15 days and it typically regens every 13-15 days (our consumption is about 800 gal/wk). Even though I have 64000 capacity it is set to 40000 for max salt efficiency. Only thing I have done other than filling it up with salt regularly is to use ResCare RK41N (All-Purpose Water Softener Cleaner, Maintain Your Water Filtration System) a few times in the last 1 year. Not sure if it may have done any damage or block anything but I want to mention just in case. Water hardness from the city is between 19-22 and I have it set Fleck to 23.

    I am looking for suggestions where I can troubleshoot this issue. Thank you.
     
  2. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    When you are experiencing low pressure, suggest immediately bypassing the softener to determine if there is an improvement.

    Constant exposure to chlorine will damage softening resin over time, commonly resulting in flow restriction through the softener. When this occurs, the resin will require replacement. How rapidly resin will become damaged will vary depending on the amount of chlorine, water temperature, pH and the type of resin etc.

    Softener resin is manufactured in various configurations. Resin with 10% crosslinking will better tolerate chlorine compared to standard 8% CL resin, but resins with less than 8% CL are often supplied in many softeners, particularly those obtained from online dealers where price competition is usually the driving force. If your softener requires rebedding, suggest obtaining 10% CL resin or alternately, install 8% CL resin along with a back washing carbon filtration system to remove chlorine prior to the softener.

    Since your water is chlorinated, your softener will not be removing ferrous iron so the Days Override setting may be increased so the softener will regenerate using the water consumption meter instead of the DO setting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  4. DIYMissus

    DIYMissus Member

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    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Do you have a sediment filter? I noticed the the water stopping during regens. The sediment filters was very hard to turn to bypass and back . Something was wrong with it. We replaced the housing and no problem since. See if turning the sediment filter to bypass during a low pressure episode "fixes" the problem .
     
  5. imy

    imy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    Thanks for the reply.
    I am not seeing constant low pressure my hunch is over all pressure is slightly reduced by say 10-20% range but again no way to know. Only time I notice it drops close to 50% and easily noticeable where again it lasts for short time.
    I did get my softener online from a reputable company and did choose this one: ResinTech CG10 10% Resin 64k
    DO is set 15 days but the softener still regen based on water usage which is about 1600 gallons based on my settings and takes close to 2 weeks since usage is ~800 gal/wk.
    Chloramines reported in city water report were 3.1 ppm average.
    Chorate 347 ppb from a few years ago report.

    The water softener is in service for barely over 2 years so I am questioning if it is really the water softener or resin but I guess it can get damaged in short time too.
    Should I be seeing intermittent pressure drop?
    Why do I also see it on hot water side as well I thought the hot water tank should have enough water supply for short periods.
    Is there a way to check if my resin is good other than just replace it?
    I will manually bypass on the water softener control module next time the pressure drops to see if that makes sense.
    Is using the ResCare safe? Can it cause damage?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  6. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    No I do not have a filter before the water softener. I typically regen at night so water is not in use.
    It is possible my water softener bypass will be hard to turn since it is directly exposed to city water. I was told to use the plastic fleck main housing as it is lees prone to sediment than metal one.
     
  7. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    A potential cause of pressure fluctuation is a PRV if installed. When municipal system pressure exceeds 80 psi, then a pressure regulator valve will usually be installed on the main incoming feed line. If one is installed, it will sometimes be buried when there is little potential for freezing. A PRV requiring service will often result in inconsistent pressure.

    Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. Those chemicals will negatively impact the longevity of softener resin.

    A sample of resin obtained from the top of the softener should feel firm when squeezed between two fingers, similar to granules of sand. Chemically damaged resin will typically feel mushy.

    Chloramine is more difficult to remove compared to plain chlorine. A larger quantity of Catalytic Carbon is typically utilized, installed within a back-washing filter system.
     
  8. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX

    I was thinking of the PRV as well because of the intermittent pressure change. I do have PRV installed on the front yard near the main. In the neighborhood some people had posted (on local group forum) about low pressure but I am not aware what was their resolution. They did talk about PRV and I believe one of them even got PRV changed while another saw improvement with bypassing their water softener. Most people in this area have water softeners due to hard water.
    PRV could be another possibility, although when I did have low pressure and checked the pressure in the lawn it was not low and actually pretty good.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  9. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I suspect when you experienced low pressure inside your home, you may have shut-off flow and went outside to check the pressure, likely observing a pressure gauge? What is 'pretty good' pressure vs the pressure you should normally expect

    When no water is flowing, the pressure indicated will be 'static' pressure which will normally be the pressure the PRV is set to deliver. That static pressure will usually remain fairly consistent over time as the PRV should be fully closed and not allowing further flow from the higher pressure municipal supply until the downstream pressure becomes less than the PRV setting pressure.

    If the PRV is for some reason not fully closing, then the static pressure can continue to rise over time to eventually equal the higher pressure in the municipal water main.

    There are other reasons for excessive static pressure but that is not your issue so no need to now discuss.

    When water is flowing, that is dynamic pressure. Depending on the flow rate, the pressure should remain fairly close to the setting pressure as the PRV will continually automatically vary the valve opening so as to maintain the desired pressure downstream.

    If the amount of flow should exceed the flow capacity of the PRV or if the flow rate exceeds the capacity of the supply line feeding the PRV, then the downstream pressure can become less than the PRV set pressure, but that flow rate will usually need to be considerable.

    If the PRV is sticking or slow to react, the dynamic downstream pressure can vary significantly from the set pressure even as the static pressure may show correctly.

    Suggest when experiencing low pressure, allow the faucet to continue flowing when checking the exterior pressure gauge as you may then find the pressure to be lower. Even if there is an issue with the PRV, if the issue is slow reaction time, the time taken to arrive to the pressure gauge may have been sufficient to allow the pressure to increase so as to read normally regardless.
     
  10. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    I would start with simply removing the softener valve head, use a 30" ish long piece of 1/2" PVC pipe, push it about 6 inches into the resin. put your thumb over the pipe, then extract a sample of the top of the resin. We want a sample from the top. If the resin is mushy, if you can break it into a mush when you squish it between your finger and thumb, the resin is bad and will need to be replaced.
     
  11. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    I do not want to mess too much with the softener. I have water hardness strips which I use every other month just to make sure water softener is working properly. The worst I have seen it read is 3 grains after 14 day and about 1500 gallons though it. When ever I have checked just after the regen strip was pretty much shows no change in color. Can it work like this if the resin is damaged? If it is possible then I can try to check.
     
  12. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    When I checked pressure outside in the yard it was just an observation based on experience, so not instruments or pressure gauge involved. Same is in inside but the pressure gets to less than 50% that it is very easy to see. Even my 7 year old noted and came to tell me water is not coming the faucet. But again it last for minutes and then somehow recovers by itself.

    Yes it is possible that PRV is sticking to a state where it is set to lower the very high pressure from the city but when it drops it takes some time to open up and that is the time I notice lower pressure. I will make sure to check outside pressure with the inside faucet running next time I see pressure drop.
     
  13. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Yes! Not all resin will necessarily be fully damaged which is the reason for obtaining the resin sample near the top of the tank where the most damaged resin will typically collect. The problem can become worse as additional resin becomes further damaged.

    It was earlier suggested to bypass the softener while the flow restriction is occurring so as to determine if the condition immediately improves.
     
  14. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Broken resin can actually work even better, sort of like fine mesh resin. As stated above, bypass the softener, see if that corrects the problem. Remove the head, get a core sample. Low pressure is an extremely common problem and is 95% of the time caused b bad resin.
     
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Would this often be related to insufficient bed expansion during backwashing?
     
  16. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    ok, thanks I was not aware of this. So the damaged resin typically cause intermittently low pressure after a few mins? I have decent pressure most of the time except once or twice a week notice low pressure i.e. less than half of normal which then recovers within 15mins.
     
  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Occupation:
    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Remove the valve, get a sample of the top of the resin, see if it squishes. If it muddy feeling, it is bad and needs to be replaced. This will typically take about 10 minutes to do.
     
  18. imy

    imy New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    Ok so the process is to bypass the valve and disconnect from main body of the control unit.
    Unplug the power to the main unit and unscrew from the top of the resin tank. Using a pvc pipe get a sample of resin from the top of the tank.
    See if resin is mushy or holds its shape.

    Any other steps precautions to take? Is the tank pressurized or is it only when regen, brine wash?
     
  19. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    After bypassing the unit, advance the controller to Backwash to relieve the internal pressure before removing the head.
     
  20. imy

    imy New Member

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    Aug 2, 2020
    Location:
    TX
    Should so manually advance to back wash and then stop after a short backwash ?

    I got low pressure (drop of greater than 50%) today, bypassed the softener and pressure came back. After 10mins I put the softener online and it was working fine with good pressure.

    Seems resin is shot or some of it is which causes low pressure from time to time. I will see if I can check the condition of the resin over the weekend.
    Can I try something to help the resin in the meantime? like longer backwash, manual backwash only or ResCare in the meantime?

    Dreading have to change the resin as I have 64k unit with 2cuft resin.
     
  21. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    With the softener bypassed, no water will be further flowing through the resin tank. Advancing the controller to the Backwash position will only then allow the trapped pressure within the resin tank to be released to drain. When the head is then removed from the tank, there will be no remaining pressure to be released although the tank will remain filled to the top with water.

    Once the resin becomes damaged, there is no rejuvenation procedure, and the condition will only further worsen over time. To resolve the issue will require replacing the resin.

    Replacing the resin is not a difficult procedure. In addition to 2 ft3 of resin, approx 20 lbs of NSF bedding gravel will be needed for your 12" diameter resin tank.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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