Troubleshooting water softener water quality change

Users who are viewing this thread

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Resin or softener replacement may not be required as hardness removal with only <10 ppm hardness in the softened water is reasonable. After resin cleaning, I anticipate the remaining hardness amount will likely be lower but below 17.1 ppm hardness is considered sufficiently soft for residential applications.

A Hach 5B Total Hardness Test Kit is recommended for periodic testing of both the raw water and softened. The 5B will report hardness as GPG which is usually sufficient but they also offer other kits for measuring ppm if necessary. These test do not replace the necessity or a comprehensive lab test.

If you don't already have a preferred lab, National Labs offer a Standard Well package which is will be appropriate.
http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5

Understood thanks, skyjumper just has me convinced the whole thing needs to be replaced. I haven't measured it at 30 gpg recently as I last attempted to do it a couple of weeks ago and the strips I bought were no longer doing anything. I just assumed they had expired, just cheap from Amazon in a screw cap canister. In hindsight, maybe the strips aren't even bad just there is no difference between the raw and allegedly softened water. I'll test some bottled water and if that comes up different I'll know I've got an issue.

Edit: Yup mustard yellow regardless of water source. Flying blind as expected. Allegedly the strips only expired in October but still wrong. On the bright side the servicing appointment is actually Thursday so I shouldn't be in the dark much longer.
 
Last edited:

Skyjumper

Member
Messages
213
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
Midwest
do you know how much the service appt is going to cost you? I think your money would be better spent on a new softener. Yes Waterright can sell you a new one, but there's better units out there that probably cost less. if you go ahead with the service call ask about a resin replacement. a good valve cleaning combined with new resin would probably suffice, although the cost would be comparable to a brand new Clack system.
 

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
do you know how much the service appt is going to cost you? I think your money would be better spent on a new softener. Yes Waterright can sell you a new one, but there's better units out there that probably cost less. if you go ahead with the service call ask about a resin replacement. a good valve cleaning combined with new resin would probably suffice, although the cost would be comparable to a brand new Clack system.

Previously it was $200. Good thinking. However the same company does maintenance on the radon bubbler as well at the same time and that included testing the radon in the water as well as draining and bleaching the tank, replacing various parts etc. Definitely not married to water right or anything, just it's what's already there. If I do a replacement I'll consider Clack, thanks. I mostly see others posting about Fleck.
 

Skyjumper

Member
Messages
213
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
Midwest
one other thing you could try before throwing in the towel is this stuff https://www.crystalclean.us/ you could get the 2 bottle trial. This stuff is legit I used it to restore my old softener and it does work, within reason. if this stuff can't fix your problem then you defintely need new resin or a new softener. and you can use the remaining Crystal Clean as a maintenace dose to keep the new softener clean, so you wouldn't be wasting it. you add 2oz to your brine well and do a manual regen. rinse & repeat every night until it clears up. letting it soak in the resin for a while helps. if it doesn't clear up after 3 or 4 tries then there's no hope. do verify the brine is getting sucked in completely during brine draw or none of this matters. it is highly likely your brine injector is clogged, and its an easy fix if you know how to remove & clean it.

I doubt the regular cleaners (rescare, iron out) will be able to recover it. maybe if you use a ton of product and do 5 or 6 overnight soaks (that is, suck in the brine, stop the regen, put it in bypass, and let it sit overnight).

one caveat - while I was able to get my old severely fouled softener to work again using Crystal Clean it was temporary. 18 months later I did finally replace the resin and clean/rebuild the valve and then the unit was like new again.
 

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Thanks for the recommendation, good to know. Their site is encouraging. It would even deal with any remaining iron bacteria. I'll see where I'm at following the appointment and maybe introduce that. I don't believe there is an issue with brine injection as I've observed after the brine refill begins, the water level is noticeable and at other times including immediately following regeneration it looks dry as ever.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
39,019
Reaction score
4,479
Points
113
Location
IL
one other thing you could try before throwing in the towel is this stuff https://www.crystalclean.us/ you could get the 2 bottle trial. This stuff is legit I used it to restore my old softener and it does work, within reason.
Did you try a strong treatment with Iron Out powder?
IO10N.jpg
It may not smell as good, but it's not that bad. And it is economical.
 

Skyjumper

Member
Messages
213
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
Midwest
Did you try a strong treatment with Iron Out powder?
IO10N.jpg
It may not smell as good, but it's not that bad. And it is economical.
Yes, I went through a couple bottles of it. dissolving in water & adding to brine. It didn't help, but I did not allow it to soak in the resin for any length of time. was just following the label directions. its possible had I let it soak overnight it would've helped. hard to say now.
 

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Had the service appointment today. The injector was very clogged and flushed a bunch of brown/red water out of it and the technician believes the problem will now be fixed but did put iron out in the brine tank that will be introduced at regen tonight, and recommended iron out going forward periodically. Said if there is no change to call them back out to repack the media or potentially replace the tank on the unit since the valve is in good shape.

Interestingly I did some searching about clogged injectors and found a video on youtube on cleaning them and it looks exactly like mine. It was a video for a Clack WS1 so I'm already using a Clack which I previously had no idea was the case, encouraged by their reliability and there was an in depth teardown/rebuild video.
 

Skyjumper

Member
Messages
213
Reaction score
8
Points
18
Location
Midwest
oh that's great news. yes keep that Clack!

I generally don't publicly post links to online sources of maintenance parts, but since you essentially have the same softener and water conditions I have I'll do it here.

For replacement Clack parts I recommend this guy he is great. super fast shipping. answers emails all weekend long, processes your order on Sunday afternoons, etc. https://www.softenerparts.com/Clack_Parts_Models_WS1_WS1_25_WS1_5_WS2_WS3_s/7161.htm
The replacement parts you'll want to have on hand include:
https://www.softenerparts.com/Clack_WS1_Injector_Assembly_V3010_p/v3010.htm --- injector in white color
https://www.softenerparts.com/Spacer_Stack_Assy_for_Clack_WS1_Valve_V3005_p/v3005.htm --- seal pack
https://www.softenerparts.com/Distributor_Top_1_05_Twist_On_MD1203_or_18280_p/md1203.htm --- top basket
https://www.softenerparts.com/Piston_Downflow_ASY_for_Clack_WS1_pn_V3011_p/v3011.htm --- piston
https://www.softenerparts.com/Service_Wrench_Clack_V3193_02_new_style_p/v3193.htm -- service wrench to make disassembly easier.
https://www.softenerparts.com/Distributor_Bottom_1_05_O_D_piping_pn_D1236_p/md1236.htm -- bottom basket for future resin replacement.
https://www.softenerparts.com/Funnel_2_1_2_p/23u1006.htm -- resin funnel for future resin replacement

I've found you can clean these parts by soaking in iron out solution overnight and they clean up real nice, and then you can reuse them for the next cleaning/rebuild. don't use lubricant on the seal pack when you replace it per Clack direction.

for the tank/resin --- you can replace that yourself too. its much easier if you buy a spare tank and fill it with resin ahead of time. then its just a matter of swapping out the tanks (keep the old tank for next time). I used this place for the tank and resin. good price and free shipping. works great water has never been better.
https://www.aquascience.net/10-x-54-fiberglass-mineral-tank-with-base
https://www.aquascience.net/aquafine-aq100-na-high-capacity-8-crosslinked-water-softening-resin

then you buy a 3/4" PVC pipe locally to make the riser. put the riser in, fill the tank with resin, and then swap it out easy peasy.

*USE RESIN CLEANERS* with every regeneration. I'm not a big fan of iron out as a maintenance dose but you can try it its better than nothing. Rescare is cheap, so is citric acid. or that Crystal Clean product I guarantee will keep it clean if the cost doesn't bother you.

EDIT: forgot the injector screen. get one of these too... https://www.softenerparts.com/Injector_screen_Clack_WS1_pn_V3177_01_p/v3177.htm
 
Last edited:

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Gah.. Unfortunately there seems to be a secondary issue at play here. First I waited for the regeneration to happen the night following servicing, no real change, water still yellow and seemed to become yellower after passing through the softener, although it does eventually level out and not get as noticeable but is still yellow tinted, like straw yellow.

So I bought some Iron Out and followed Bannerman's earlier advice to fill the brine well with a strong solution of 2 gallons of it and advanced the regeneration directly to backwash and poured it in after brine draw started. I was a bit confused about how long to let this go. I waited beside the unit and there was still some in the brine well as late as nearly 30 minutes into the cycle. I figured that it was sufficiently transferred and wanted to give it some time to soak, so I unplugged and bypassed, resuming after an hour and a half. Ran a full regular regeneration after that completed and I checked the water this morning and no real change from the previous description.

However in the process of checking it out, I bypassed the softener to see what the raw water looked like to see if comparable to the day before. In doing so I ran multiple taps which I didn't before and it was unable to keep up, each of 3 (2 sinks and light bathtub flow) reduced to a trickle so I knew something else was going on and suspected maybe the softener hasn't been getting sufficient water for the regeneration process which would obviously hamper it.

The problem is, the pressure tank is nearly new, replaced late 2018, and the well pump is brand new, replaced in November. I'm leaning that the pressure tank needs more air (it's a Flex Lite FL-7 if relevant) but haven't checked/done that yet, just cycled the breaker of the well pump in case that improved things, but no change.

Edit: Tank doesn't have a separate valve to check air pressure, there's just a flat round cap on top that appears removable with effort as if the valve could be under there but I don't want to break it worse.

Note that the reason this water loss is able to go largely undetected is because the water is delivered to the house via the pump in the radon bubbler. This is the exact same reason when after buying the house nothing appeared to be wrong but the pressure tank needed to be replaced after all because the radon bubbler eventually became unable to fill because it was only getting a trickle of water. This time it varies between 1.5 and 2 gpm according to the readout on it.

I have Res Care coming from Amazon next week but obviously need to address this first.

Further edit: the tank calls for water at 40 psi as designed and stops at 60, it does seem to fill slower than I recall seeing immediately after the new pump was installed. Maybe that thing is already failing but the old one was so old they couldn't read the code on it to see when installed and was completely covered in iron bacteria.
 
Last edited:

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
39,019
Reaction score
4,479
Points
113
Location
IL
The problem is, the pressure tank is nearly new, replaced late 2018, and the well pump is brand new, replaced in November. I'm leaning that the pressure tank needs more air (it's a Flex Lite FL-7 if relevant) but haven't checked/done that yet, just cycled the breaker of the well pump in case that improved things, but no change.

Edit: Tank doesn't have a separate valve to check air pressure, there's just a flat round cap on top that appears removable with effort as if the valve could be under there but I don't want to break it worse.
https://www.flexconind.com/flexlite sell sheet lr 7-24-17.pdf says
Air valve: Easy to access brass valve with o-ring seal
So if there is just that one cap on the top, the Schrader valve has to be under that. Ahh, here it is: Flexcon Composite Manual.pdf (wahlwater.com)

Pre-charge adjustment
This well tank is shipped from the factory with a pre-charge of 38 psi. The well tank should be pre-charged to 2 PSI below the cut-in setting of the pressure switch but must not exceed 80 psi. Any adjustments to the factory pre-charge must be done prior to initial tank installation and with 0 psi pressure on the system. DO NOT ADJUST THE PRE-CHARGE OF THE EXPANSION TANK WITH THE SYSTEM UNDER PRESSURE!

To adjust tank precharge (Prior to Installation)
Remove the protective cap from the air valve.
Check the tank pre-charge pressure using a standard tire pressure gauge.
If required add air to the tank using a manual bicycle tire pump until the proper pre-charge pressure is reached.
Replace the protective cap on the air valve.​

That factory air precharge will have to be maintained, because air slowly diffuses away thru the diaphragm into the water. Normal recommendations are to check and adjust annually, tho you can probably go longer since you have a butyl diaphragm.


With a submersible pump, you normally set the air precharge to 2 psi below the cut-in pressure. So with a 40/60 pressure switch, air would be 38 psi.

Always measure and change the air precharge with the water pressure zero. If the water pressure is higher than the air precharge, the air pressure will measure about the same as the water pressure. If those differ much, that would point to the calibration on your air pressure gauge being different than the water pressure gauge. There are two normal things that cause some expected differences:
  1. the water pressure gauge is going to be at a different altitude
  2. there may be some tension on the diaphragm.
 
Last edited:

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Thank you for the quick response. Yes I was looking for an instruction manual and could only find basic spec sheets but if it says it is there it must be. I just didn't want to pry that cap off and break it. It appears to twist off but requires pulling. Will give it a shot again.

I had read that it should be charged to 2 psi under the cutoff so I was planning on increasing it to 38 psi if it was too low, and with the pump off and tank reading at 0.
 

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
2 psi below the pump CUT IN pressure (lower number). Example, if your pressure switch settings are 40/60, the tank pre-charge should be 38 psi.

Yes, that's what I meant. I should have said low cutoff but cut in is more clear.

Thank you for finding the manual, Reach4, glad someone had it. I'll switch off the pump and drain the tank and measure and adjust if needed.
 

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Alright so I don't have an issue with pressure as I originally thought. I didn't sufficiently isolate the problem. This time I tried with the prefilter before the radon bubbler bypassed and I was able to run 4 gpm through the softener without issue. bypassing that filter for the time being. It was literally just replaced on Thursday at he service appt. Looked dirty but I wouldnt have thought it would restrict flow so much so soon.

I drained the tank and checked it and it was only at 34 psi according to the tire gauge. tried to add more via bike pump but only a small increase was noted. gave up due to the below draining experience but I didn't want to attach a compressor and risk overfilling too much in case my gauge is wrong.

The main change after draining is that a lot of really dark brown water came out, and some sediment, originally from just the tank because i had the upstream shutoff engaged but I decided to see if that had anything bad and the water at some points came out as bad as the bottom of the pressure tank so the pipes had a lot of water in them. Filled a small trash can about a gallon and a half and it was like looking into a mud puddle.

It's very strange that it got so bad so fast as immediately after the new well pump install I ran the raw water and it was clear.

Doubtlessly a future regen with the tank and pipes much cleaner will be more successful.
 

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
39,019
Reaction score
4,479
Points
113
Location
IL
It's good that you were able to locate the problem.
It's very strange that it got so bad so fast as immediately after the new well pump install I ran the raw water and it was clear.
It's normal that changing a well pump kicks up sediment. A filter could clog on the sediment that got kicked up. It is best to run a significant amount of water out of the hose bib after such work, since those are not filtered.

For cartridge filters, the backpressure is approximately linear with the cartridge length and the square of the diameter. 4.5x20 is biggest of the common generic cartridge sizes sizes.

If that filter sprung a leak, would your water system be out of commission? I keep a spare o-ring for mine, although I could bypass that in a pinch.



================================
Precharged Pressure tank flush:
1. Connect a hose to the sediment drain valve, and run that to where you plan to drain the water. I suggest filtering the output through a cloth if you suspect the sediment may include sand.
2. Turn off the pump.
3. Open the drain valve, and let it drain until the water stops. It would be possibly interesting to watch the first water that comes out.
4. Close the valve, and turn the pump back on, and let pressure build.
5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 a time or two.

I drained the tank and checked it and it was only at 34 psi according to the tire gauge. tried to add more via bike pump but only a small increase was noted. gave up due to the below draining experience but I didn't want to attach a compressor and risk overfilling too much in case my gauge is wrong.
When the water pressure is higher than the air precharge, which it will usually be, the air pressure will be about equal to the water pressure. You can compare the two gauges to see if the calibrations are in sync. There can be small natural differences, but not much.
 
Last edited:

FruitfulPanda

Member
Messages
34
Reaction score
1
Points
8
Location
Maine
Thanks for the additional info, Reach. That filter doesn't appear to be critical as it was when iron bacteria was a problem, so I'm able to just bypass it if there is a problem with it for the time being. I ran the water without any filtration including directly from the pressure tank several times and it was clear. There was occasional sediment even after the water cleared up, likely from the pressure tank. I had trouble draining the pressure tank, could not get my hose on it appropriately. There's only perhaps 3 inches of clearance. I did get it on there but it still leaked so i think it's a problem with the hose. I did a great deal of draining by going cup into bucket. Tedious but like the results.

The latest update is that everything seems to be fine right now. I ran Rescare through it. The first few gallons were again alternating yellow to dark yellow though, but after 10 it appears clearer than the unsoftened water which is far and away better than results I was getting earlier, since there was a constant yellow tinge. I do wonder about the initial water quality issue. I plan to use the initial Rescare dose next and see if that takes care of it. If it recurs again I'll increase the rinse time at the end but so far I'm quite satisfied and leaning toward returning it to service.

Comparing side by side in clear glasses with a sheet of paper behind them it is difficult to tell a difference and I lean toward the softened water being clearer, perhaps since the unsoftened water has the small amount of iron. Definitely will be setting glasses and bowls particularly those used for comparison into a solution of iron out. It already did a great job in the toilet tank and bowl.

Further edit: perhaps even a prolonged soaking of the Rescare as I had previously tried with iron out? Unsure if that would make a difference as I haven't seen it suggested before.
 
Last edited:

Reach4

Well-Known Member
Messages
39,019
Reaction score
4,479
Points
113
Location
IL
Thanks for the additional info, Reach. That filter doesn't appear to be critical as it was when iron bacteria was a problem, so I'm able to just bypass it if there is a problem with it for the time being. I ran the water without any filtration including directly from the pressure tank several times and it was clear. There was occasional sediment even after the water cleared up, likely from the pressure tank. I had trouble draining the pressure tank, could not get my hose on it appropriately. There's only perhaps 3 inches of clearance. I did get it on there but it still leaked so i think it's a problem with the hose.
A new hose washer will probably help. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-Hose-Washer-and-O-Ring-Combo-Pack-27937/100659295 comes with two kinds -- flat washers and o-rings.

Others may have favorites to suggest.

So maybe have an annual thing where you flush your pressure tank, check/adjust the air precharge, and change the batteries that need changing annually.

The latest update is that everything seems to be fine right now. I ran Rescare through it. The first few gallons were again alternating yellow to dark yellow though, but after 10 it appears clearer than the unsoftened water which is far and away better than results I was getting earlier, since there was a constant yellow tinge.
Nice.
Further edit: perhaps even a prolonged soaking of the Rescare as I had previously tried with iron out? Unsure if that would make a difference as I haven't seen it suggested before.
Prolonged seems to be be advantageous if you are doing a treatment.
 

Water Pro

In the Trades
Messages
365
Reaction score
33
Points
28
Location
syracuse
Thanks for the additional info, Reach. That filter doesn't appear to be critical as it was when iron bacteria was a problem, so I'm able to just bypass it if there is a problem with it for the time being. I ran the water without any filtration including directly from the pressure tank several times and it was clear. There was occasional sediment even after the water cleared up, likely from the pressure tank. I had trouble draining the pressure tank, could not get my hose on it appropriately. There's only perhaps 3 inches of clearance. I did get it on there but it still leaked so i think it's a problem with the hose. I did a great deal of draining by going cup into bucket. Tedious but like the results.

The latest update is that everything seems to be fine right now. I ran Rescare through it. The first few gallons were again alternating yellow to dark yellow though, but after 10 it appears clearer than the unsoftened water which is far and away better than results I was getting earlier, since there was a constant yellow tinge. I do wonder about the initial water quality issue. I plan to use the initial Rescare dose next and see if that takes care of it. If it recurs again I'll increase the rinse time at the end but so far I'm quite satisfied and leaning toward returning it to service.

Comparing side by side in clear glasses with a sheet of paper behind them it is difficult to tell a difference and I lean toward the softened water being clearer, perhaps since the unsoftened water has the small amount of iron. Definitely will be setting glasses and bowls particularly those used for comparison into a solution of iron out. It already did a great job in the toilet tank and bowl.

Further edit: perhaps even a prolonged soaking of the Rescare as I had previously tried with iron out? Unsure if that would make a difference as I haven't seen it suggested before.
regarding the lack of clearance to attach the house to the PT. you can clock it slightly by loosening or use one of those collapsible hoses.
 
Top
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can't live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you'd like to support the site, please allow ads.

If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.
I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks