Questions on Older Kenmore Softener

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Jsmallberries

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Trying to help out a neighbor, her ex used to take care, I mean ignore this softener, now she's trying to get it working again. Kenmore model 625.383500. Model code 350

For starters, the by pass valve leaks when attempting to bypass the softener. The brine tank has salt, but is completely dried out. So my first question

1) May be months or years that this has not been operational, with the potable water passing through the resin tank. Besides the possible reduction in pressure, are there health risks?

2) Can these by pass valves be repaired with maybe gaskets/o-ring replacement ?

She's not sure of the age, see data plate. but would it be worth trying to repair this, or is it a waste of money on a marginal system? Muni water 14 GPG
 

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WorthFlorida

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It's not clear, is potable water passing through the softener since it's been neglected? Ground water in Florida is fairly soft and a softener may not be needed. I lived in Palm Beach County for 26 years and the last few years in Orange County. There really is no hard water problems.

Sears model numbers used the first three digits as to identify the manufacturer. 625 was Ecodyne. http://vintagemachinery.org/Craftsman/manufacturers.aspx.

The last patent number was awarded in July 2005, therefore, this unit is probably at least 10-15 years old. Sears Parts Direct still list most parts available. The bypass valve can easily be fixed with new o rings. A very simple device. I can't tell you anything about the condition of the resin bed. It is possible to replace the resin yourself. If you want to try it out first use Iron Out, an iron and resin bed cleaner. First remove all old salt if any and flush out the brine tank with water. May need a shop vac to suck out the water. Mix the iron out with water and then dump it in the brine tank. Directions should give the mix ratio. After a regen cycle run the cold water to flush the resin tank. when the water is clear, then add salt, allow it to dissolve then run a regen cycle. It may take two regen's of iron out to clean it.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Iron-Ou...psNkSxAE2vHn8icBWRhoCJ7kQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.searspartsdirect.com/model/3wmrbi9xr8-000582/kenmore-625383500-water-softener-parts

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=5,363,087.PN.&OS=PN/5,363,087&RS=PN/5,363,087

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,297,264.PN.&OS=PN/7,297,264&RS=PN/7,297,264
 
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WorthFlorida

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If there was something nasty in the softener the homeowner would notice it in the water. Be sure you have a new bypass or O-rings for it before trying to tackle it. It's jammed probably from mineral deposits or the last time it was moved an O-ring rolled or dislodged from its groove causing it to leak. Maybe a tear. When you get new O-rings stop at a pool supply store and get a small tube of lubricant. It's used all the time for O-rings on pool filters. It's like a very thick petroleum jelly that does not attack the neoprene and use very very little of it. After getting the bypass plunger out, hit the inside of the bypass with some vinegar to remove any mineral buildup.

Just three weeks ago I removed the bypass plumbing from my house I bought in 2011. There was a non functional water softener only five years old but I did not want to deal with it and it was exposed sitting near the front of the home. Of course I get a letter from the HOA, not a welcome letter, right after we took possession of the home. I took it to the county dump for hazardous waste. If your neighbor has had no hard water issues, removing it is an option. Water softeners is a maintenance item and for some lifting 25 lbs bags of salt is a chore. There are water treatment companies that may offer a salt and maintenance contracts.
 

Jsmallberries

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Thanks for the reply.

Leaking from here, see pic,, not were it slips into control head. You can see the distended gasket. How to access this seal to replace.

I will have her buy a new bypass I suppose, in case things go south, so she not left w/0 water
 

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Bannerman

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The Kenmore softeners typically will add water to the brine tank at the start of each regeneration, thereby keeping the salt dry between regeneration cycles.

Most softeners sold in big box stores including Kenmore, are typically considered low quality, and disposable once they begin to experience issues. While you may choose to volunteer your time to attempt repairs, depending on the issues, it would probably not worthwhile hiring out repairs vs replacing the unit with a new, higher quality softener.
 

DIYMissus

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Has the house water been tested recently? It should be at least for hardness ( Hach 5B ) before making any decisions.
 

Jsmallberries

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Did a manual regen yesterday,will wait a few days and HachB test it.

1) The discharge pressure was low, discharges into laundry tub only 5 feet away, 1/2 " Cpvc drain used. Is this low volume discharge normal for this unit?

2) To sanitize , manual says to add 3 ounces of bleach into the brine well. which houses the float, and do a manual regeneration. Sound right?

3) Is this bleach method recommended for all water softeners? Mine came with one Sani-System packet.
 

Reach4

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1) The discharge pressure was low, discharges into laundry tub only 5 feet away, 1/2 " Cpvc drain used. Is this low volume discharge normal for this unit?
1. I don't know this unit, but backwash is probably 2 gpm or less.
2. Yes, although that might be for 5.25% bleach, and you are using 8%.
3. That is a heavier dose than some recommend. Fleck says
5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite
These solutions are available under trade names such as
Clorox*. If stronger solutions are used, such as those sold for
commercial laundries, adjust the dosage accordingly.
1. Dosage
A. Polystyrene resin; 1.2 fluid ounce (35.5 ml) per cubic
foot.
2. Salt tank softeners
A. Backwash the softener and add the required amount
of hypochlorite solution to the well of the salt tank. The
salt tank should have water in it to permit the solution
to be carried into the softener.
B. Proceed with the normal recharge.​
Your softener might only have 1 cubic ft of resin.
 

Bannerman

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Because municipal water which will be chlorinated, is flowing through the softener, unless there is a carbon filter system removing chlorine before the softener, sanitizing the resin is probably not necessary. When a system is newly installed, since the various internal components will likely have been touched by many people, sanitizing the entire system initially is recommended.

Salt placed in the brine tank is not 100% pure so it is recommended to periodically (3-4 years) allow the salt to decline to a small amount, to dump out and perform a thorough tank cleaning which may include sanitizing the brine tank with a chlorine solution.
 
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