Softener check-up

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dstutz

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I'm double-checking some stuff as well as answering a few questions from a family member and was reading through a whole bunch of softener posts and started seeing recommendations for injector sizes. I think I might have the wrong one in mine. There's a sticker that says #1. I have a 1.5 cu/ft system with a 10"x54" resin tank. According the manual the injector is 2 sizes too big and I should have a #00 violet? I pulled the plate off the side and it is indeed white.

image.jpg


18272-00 .....................Injector Assy, 1610, #00, VIOLET (9" & 10" Tank)
18272-1 .......................Injector Assy, 1610, #1, WHITE (14" & 16" Tank)
 

Reach4

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#1 Injector - White is pretty standard for 1.5 cuft.

If you went to a #00 Injector - Violet you would need to increase the brine draw beyond the common 60 minutes.

If you want to discuss the finer points, what BF and DLFC numbers are you using?
 

dstutz

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If you want to discuss the finer points, what BF and DLFC numbers are you using?
I have a .250 BLFC (part #16) and am now very confused on the DLFC (part #17). There's a 2.4 embossed on the plastic piece #17. You can juuuust make it out in the picture. I guess that corresponds to the 2.4 on the sticker with the injector. But 2.4 looks more in line with the washer part #18?

PXL_20231101_213807259.MP-COLLAGE.jpg


Looking at the parts diagram and also remembering some other people's posts from earlier. Am I missing the plug in the lower hole opposite the injector (from the picture in my first post)? Based on the first part of your response saying the #1 is standard...I'm probably asking questions I don't really need to, but I also don't mind confirming things are the way they are supposed to be.

I initially went down this road because it *seems* the softener is running out of capacity a little sooner than normal and I started looking into things more. The softener has been installed for about 5.5 years now and has been trouble free. I just got a bottle of res-care and ran the first regen today with that and plan on using that for the next several at least to see if that helps. I sort of realized I have done NO maintenance on the system and started looking in to things. I plan on trying to run the salt down and cleaning the brine tank but it's probably going to be a while as I'm fairly full. I'm curious what the bottom looks like. I have a couple sediment filters that go down to 1 micron in front of the softener. Back in 2018 I tested at 15 gpg with hach 5b and I configured the softener for 17. I tested again the other day after a regen and it turned blue with first drop on treated water and for the untreated, I got 12 hardness (oh yeah, we're on well, not municipal) but I left it at 17 for now on the timer.

I have an XTR2 timer and we're set up for 36000 grains and 8lb salt dose.
 

Reach4

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First, I really wanted the BLFC number and made an error asking about the DLFC

I don't know if the 5800xxx has a plug or not. 5810xxx does.

The problem with a 1 micron filter is if you can backwash at 2.4 gpm, but you probably can just fine. A carbon filter, and other media would have higher backwash rates..

I expect your softener to empty the brine at about 13.2 minutes. If you use the 4x factor, your BD time could be 32.8 minutes. With a #0 injector, using a 3.5 factor, that time could be 39.6. Here is a table:

BD min(*3) BD typ (*4x) Draw GPM
#00 Injector - Violet 81.5 108.7 0.17
#0 Injector - Red 55.4 73.9 0.25
#1 Injector - White 39.6 52.8 0.35

So classically, you would use the 4x column, but the average of the (4x and 3x columns=3.5 x) should be sufficient.

I am aware of the XTR2 controller. It is more to complex to providing programming info for. For all I know, the brine draw is fixed.

My suggestion is to be content with your #1 injector. If you were using a lighter salt dose, then the smaller injector could be a bit helpful.

The testing of softened water would be more telling if you were in the reserve (will regen tonight)
 

dstutz

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First, I really wanted the BLFC number and made an error asking about the DLFC

I don't know if the 5800xxx has a plug or not. 5810xxx does.

The problem with a 1 micron filter is if you can backwash at 2.4 gpm, but you probably can just fine. A carbon filter, and other media would have higher backwash rates..

I expect your softener to empty the brine at about 13.2 minutes. If you use the 4x factor, your BD time could be 32.8 minutes. With a #0 injector, using a 3.5 factor, that time could be 39.6. Here is a table:

BD min(*3) BD typ (*4x) Draw GPM
#00 Injector - Violet 81.5 108.7 0.17
#0 Injector - Red 55.4 73.9 0.25
#1 Injector - White 39.6 52.8 0.35

So classically, you would use the 4x column, but the average of the (4x and 3x columns=3.5 x) should be sufficient.

So the big takeaway seems like...don't worry about anything. Really appreciate the double check on things.

The filter is a 4.5x10 "big blue"...I've seen 8.something GPM in the "peak flow" on the timer, so I think we're OK there. I have pressure gauges before and after the filters/softener and there isn't any noticeable pressure drop/restriction.

The regen times in the timer are:
backwash 10m
draw 60m
rapid rinse 10m
tank refill 17m
All of those are editable individually.

The refill time seems right on? .25GPM x 17m = 4.25 gallons of water dissolving ~12.75lbs salt (8lb/ft3 salt dose) to restore 36k grains.

I plan on paying a little more attention to things and running a test right at the end of the period to see how the hardness is doing. I hadn't thought to pull out the test kit a couple months ago when I first noticed things going down hill a little and just did a regen (I think it was less than 300 gallons left at the time). And like I said, hopefully using the res-care will help a little bit.

I know iron can foul a softener...any ideas on the slime from iron bacteria? The filters grab most of it and our toilet tanks are clean as opposed to when we first moved in and it was a crime scene in the original ones but there is a slight orange tinge in the pex after the filters.
 
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Bannerman

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The ion exchange process during which calcium and magnesium ions are released and are exchanged with sodium ions during the regeneration cycle, is not immediate but requires sufficient time to occur.

The usual goal is for the brine to be fully transferred from the brine tank to the resin tank in approximately 15-minutes, so the remaining ~45-minutes of a 60-minute Brine Draw cycle, will be appropriate to slowly push the brine through the resin bed and to rinse the calcium, magnesium, chloride and excess sodium to drain.

When the injector is too large, brine will flow through the resin bed too quickly, so there will be less opportunity for ion exchange to fully occur.

Because the time needed to transfer from your brine tank has been calculated to be ~13 minutes, that is close enough to 15-minutes for the 60-minute BD setting to be appropriate without the need to replace the injector with a lower flow rate version.

As it seems your water is not remaining as soft as you have come to expect, suggest performing a 2nd manual regeneration approx 1-hr after the 1st regeneration has finished. The 1-hr delay is to permit sufficient salt to be dissolved prior to starting the 2nd regeneration.

1.5 ft3 resin has a total hardness reduction capacity of 48K grains.
All of the 1.5 ft3 resin is utilized to remove hardness, but regeneration is programmed to occur when no more than 36K grains of capacity has been depleted. If any of that additional 12K capacity beyond 36K had been depleted such as would occur if there was ever insufficient salt available prior to a regular regeneration, then hardness leakage will be greater, particularly when regeneration is soon to occur. The 2nd regeneration is intended to regenerate additional capacity beyond the 36K that is regularly regenerated each cycle, thereafter, minimizing the amount of hardness leakage through the resin bed.
 
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dstutz

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1.5 ft3 resin has a total hardness reduction capacity of 48K grains.
All of the 1.5 ft3 resin is utilized to remove hardness, but regeneration is programmed to occur when no more than 36K grains of capacity has been depleted. If any of that additional 12K capacity beyond 36K had been depleted such as would occur if there was ever insufficient salt available prior to a regular regeneration, then hardness leakage will be greater, particularly when regeneration is soon to occur. The 2nd regeneration is intended to regenerate additional capacity beyond the 36K that is regularly regenerated each cycle, thereby thereafter, minimizing the amount of hardness leakage through the resin bed.
Sounds like you're saying something like I could have had a hiccup (or few) in the past and a single extra regen would get all 48K grains back to being regenerated...and then I'll be back to having a 12K buffer to chip away at should the need arise.

Thank you @Bannerman and @Reach4. I think I'm just reading too much and scaring myself. Will do run a test near end of service period and see if hardness is leaking and go from there *if* it is.
 

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I have slightly tightened the compression nut at the head for the brine line as I have seen air in the line. I'm assuming throughout the whole draw/slow rinse 60 minutes there shouldn't be any air? I will have to wait until I use a lot more salt to get to the bottom of the tank and inspect/test the air check.

Am I choking my drain line which is choking the draw flow? I have fairly small tubing connected (https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?threads/fleck-5800-injector-size.106501/post-759718 right half of this picture). The hard plastic elbow is 5/16" on the outside so I'm assuming 1/2" ID. Hrm. Just googled around and found a couple 1/2" air gaps that say they are good for up to 15gpm so maybe not.

Still plan on checking hardness at end of cycle and probably running regen when I can watch the brine line next time...
 

Bannerman

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The hard plastic elbow is 5/16" on the outside so I'm assuming 1/2" ID.
5/16" OD is much smaller than 1/2" (8/16") ID .

The usual drain line diameter for a softener is 1/2", but to reduce frictional restriction when the run distance is greater than 10', larger diameter tubing such as 3/4" is recommended.

assuming throughout the whole draw/slow rinse 60 minutes there shouldn't be any air? I
The brine will typically be transferred under suction from the brine tank within ~15 minutes. Since the brine line will be under negative pressure, any leakage in the brine line above the brine level, will reduce or prevent brine from being drawn.

Once the brine level has been drawn down to the middle of the air check screen, the ball within the air check valve will no longer float and so the ball will come to rest on the J shaped brine pickup opening, effectively sealing off the opening to prevent air from being drawn during the remaining Slow Rinse phase of the cycle.

Since the brine pickup tube, air check and safety float & valve is normally located within the brine well, those components can be removed as a complete assembly to allow inspection, cleaning and testing anytime without waiting for the salt within the brine tank to be depleted.
 

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I'm gonna get new 1/2"x 3/4" fittings and tubing. It's less than 10'. Will look into pulling the brine float mechanism up. Looks like maybe the one nut on the inner side of the tube to hold it in place. I have 18"x33" brine tank and it appears the water level in the tube is high enough that the emergency float appears to be up, understand that the level in the tank itself will be lower than that. I was watching when I did a regen on Monday and it looked like the level in the brine tank got down far enough to see a bit of the air check looking down the tube after about 10 mins of draw.
 
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Bannerman

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If the safety float is being lifted high enough to cause the safety valve to close, then less brine than required will be produced, and so the brine will be drawn in less time than it should, and less than 36K capacity will be regenerated.

Check to determine if the safety float's lower limit ring maybe moved downward on the rod to allow the full 4+ gallons to enter the brine tank without causing the safety valve to close. The float may rise higher than it does currently, but as long as it is not closing the valve while there is the proper amount of brine in the tank while the tank is filled with salt, that will be OK.

Because the float will rise higher than before the adjustment, the plastic rod that is attached to the topside of the float may rise higher than the top of the brine well. Since the brine well cap and brine tank lid could prevent the float from closing the safety valve, the top of the rod may need to be trimmed shorter to allow the float to rise sufficiently high enough to close the safety valve when required, without the rod making contact with the brine well cap. When trimming the rod, the upper limit ring may need to be moved lower on the rod. The upper ring is utilized to support the float while it is hanging, and also to allow the float to reopen the valve once the brine level has fallen.
 
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dstutz

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I think I have a different style valve than you are expecting. This does not appear to be adjustable. Was extremely easy to pull, thanks for the idea. Measuring from the bottom of the air check up to the slightly scummy line on the float while holding it up yields ~ 19.5". I don't know how much water is under the air check when it's installed...I could probably figure out if you needed me to based on the mounting hole in the tube in the tank.
float.png


float2.png
 

Bannerman

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I think I have a different style valve than you are expecting.
Yes. The version I described is shown below. I have no experience with the version you show, so I'm not certain how the float and valve would be adjusted, or if that is even possible.
2310pu-sc.jpg


The chart linked below, specifies an 18" X 33" brine tank will hold up to 350 lbs of dry salt, and each inch of liquid brine will contain 1.2 lbs salt. For your 12 lbs salt setting, there should then be approx 10" of liquid above the line on the air check screen.

Since it seems the current amount of brine significantly exceeds 10", suggest either removing the BLFC flow restrictor button to view the number on it to verify it is actually a 0.25 GPM BLFC or, disconnect the brine line at the top of the tank, advance the controller to the Brine Fill position and measure the amount of water exiting the open brine line over 60 seconds. If the BLFC button is actually a 0.5 GPM version, your BF setting minutes will need to be reduced by 50%.

Edit to add: The BLFC button is directional. When reinstalling it after viewing the number, ensure it is inserted with the number facing toward the control valve.

Brine Tank Capacity Chart
 
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dstutz

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suggest either removing the BLFC flow restrictor button to view the number on it to verify it is actually a 0.25 GPM BLFC
Yeah, that's where I was heading. Something isn't right. I will verify that size one of those ways. While I had the brine float out I cleaned it up and tested sucking on the top and there was the tiniest bit of wheezing coming out at first but I think that's in better shape now. When I put it back in I was curious how much room was below it and it seemed like it was pretty much at the bottom but there was a "mushy" feel when I pushed down which I assume is just dissolving salt. I'm pretty sure there is no grid in my tank.

Again, appreciate all the info as this has veered off topic. I got the drain line replaced. Found the dumb way it's not 3/4" FIP but 1/2" so a quick return trip got me a couple 1/2" x 3/4" barbed elbows. I already had the 3/4" tubing so just used that bigger size anyway.
 

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While it is out, check the nut just below the safety valve to ensure it is not a source of leakage.

Since the brine line is connected with a quick connect fitting that is not equipped with a locking clip, after inserting the brine tube, continue to hold the tube fully seated into the fitting, then use a straight blade screwdriver in the groove between the black valve body & the grey release ring to gently pry the release ring outward a little. I've experienced leakage issues when that was not done. I prefer a locking clip inserted in that groove, thereby ensuring the release ring will continue to remain pulled out fully.
 

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I've gone through one regeneration since checking all the valve bits, moving to a bigger drain line (things got a bit quieter, so that's nice) and checking the brine float/check assembly. I was watching that regeneration cycle and it seemed like everything was working properly. On a whim I decided to skip the tank refill and I was going to start taking a look at the salt. I finally got around to that. I've been using Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft pellets for quite a while now. The salt in the tank seemed fairly mushy and solid most of the way through instead of being actual pellets. There was a small cavity over by the tube the float is in (https://photos.app.goo.gl/NwhxjzqCiGzXV2yAA). I also found a couple inches of mushy salt in the bottom of the tube that must have migrated in through the slits (https://photos.app.goo.gl/gHPrdfGpnTf2FyN1A). I've got 5 buckets full of the old salt which seemed clean, just...mushy (https://photos.app.goo.gl/XVWRpx8PfBLAX7hXA). I cleaned the brine tank and got some scum out of the inside of the tube and put everything back together again.

I am suspecting that the water level in the tank appeared to be so high but really wasn't. It was high in the tube but the tube slits at the bottom were partially blocked and there was a ton of just mush salt so I don't know if it was finding its way out into the salt properly (or if it even had the proper amount of water since the float at the top was floating and had turned off the incoming water supply. I'm assuming the condition of the brine tank salt was the root cause of my initial "running out of soft water". I put a note that I had added 2 bags in the second week of June and we still had all that you see in the buckets, so clearly it wasn't using the salt properly for a bit and that's on me for not really noticing/paying attention to that at the time.

Actual questions:
- The previous regen, before cleaning the brine tank, I still noticed some air bubbles in the brine line during draw. And I saw a bunch of little ones building up in the drain line over time. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6GhmHUUPJgvbkQUz7 Might still be the air check not sealing up great due to all the mushy salt. I'll keep an eye on it for the next one. Are these bubbles an issue for the regeneration? I think the fast rinse blows all that out, the line was clear at the end.

- I put 4 gallons of water into the tank and haven't added any salt back in. I did buy one new bag of salt. I was thinking I should probably put a little extra water in to account for the height of the air check but wanted to ask here before I do more stupid stuff on my own. Should I add another gallon or 2 to get things back on track for normal regens (I don't care if the salt dose is a little high)?

- I assume I shouldn't use the old salt, but is there any reason I couldn't just toss the dose (12lbs) plus some extra and keep it away from the float tube? Under no circumstances would I just refill the tank.

- Should I look into a different brand/type of salt?

- We normally go about 3 weeks in between regens, so the brine tank is sitting idle for a bit. Would it be a terrible idea to program a custom regen cycle of doing the fill first, pausing for 4 hrs (or more?) then doing the backwash/draw/fast rinse so that the brine tank sat "drier" more often?

And a softball...During backwash, fill and fast rinse, the unit is consuming water from the supply at the DLFC rate, but during the draw/slow rinse, it's consuming water based on the injector total flow rate?
 

Reach4

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Actual questions:
- The previous regen, before cleaning the brine tank, I still noticed some air bubbles in the brine line during draw. And I saw a bunch of little ones building up in the drain line over time. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6GhmHUUPJgvbkQUz7 Might still be the air check not sealing up great due to all the mushy salt. I'll keep an eye on it for the next one. Are these bubbles an issue for the regeneration? I think the fast rinse blows all that out, the line was clear at the end.

- I put 4 gallons of water into the tank and haven't added any salt back in. I did buy one new bag of salt. I was thinking I should probably put a little extra water in to account for the height of the air check but wanted to ask here before I do more stupid stuff on my own. Should I add another gallon or 2 to get things back on track for normal regens (I don't care if the salt dose is a little high)?

- I assume I shouldn't use the old salt, but is there any reason I couldn't just toss the dose (12lbs) plus some extra and keep it away from the float tube? Under no circumstances would I just refill the tank.

- Should I look into a different brand/type of salt?

- We normally go about 3 weeks in between regens, so the brine tank is sitting idle for a bit. Would it be a terrible idea to program a custom regen cycle of doing the fill first, pausing for 4 hrs (or more?) then doing the backwash/draw/fast rinse so that the brine tank sat "drier" more often?

And a softball...During backwash, fill and fast rinse, the unit is consuming water from the supply at the DLFC rate, but during the draw/slow rinse, it's consuming water based on the injector total flow rate?
If the bubbles enter while the brine has not yet been sucked down, that is not cause by the air check valve. If only after, that would be the air check valve.

Typically the brine gets sucked down in about the first 15 minutes of the BD.

During backwash and fast rinse, the DLFC determines the water consumption. During BD, consumption is determined by the injector. See the graphs in the service manual.
 
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