Water Not Soft Enough

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CROforce

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Not sure what to do... I have Fleck 7000 unit. I have noticed for some time now that my water is not right but didn't have time to check on this. Finally this weekend I cleaned up brine tank, added salt and took water sample while in in bypass mode. The hardens was showing as 250. Did Regeneration on the unit ran water for some time to get fresh "soft" water in the system and checked for hardness again, and now is showing 100. So it took some hardness out but not completely. Any idea what is going on? The system was installed back in 2011 or so. I would appreciate any help. And just for the record, House was built in 1964 and is 1080sqft with 3 bedrooms 1.5 bathroom. 2 adults and 2 kids (under 10) living in the house.

Here are my Settings:
df: GAL
vt: df2b
ct: Fd
c: 48
H: 20
RS: SF
SF: 10
DO: 14
RT: 8:00
B1: 8
BD: 60
B2: 6
RR: 6
BF: 30
FM: t1.2
 

CROforce

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Your post isn't completely clear. Was the unit offline as in no salt in the brine tank for an extended period of time, running or not, in bypass mode or not?
Yes... System was offline for few months when I noticed that is not working 100%. Then after the brine tank was cleaned, I have set it back online/ in Service mode. I still see the same thing as before. Some Hardens is taken but not completely. Now I am just assuming that it could be related to the raisins got old but again, that's just my assumption.
 

HudsonDIY

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First let me say I'm far from a water softener expert, just speaking from my own experience. I was in much the same boat as you a few months ago. I also had a fleck with the exception that mine is more old school. The basic functionality is still pretty much the same. When I moved in my home the softener had been offline for I honestly don't know how long. I took much the same steps you have to bring it back online with much the same initial results. It took 3 or 4 regen cycles before mine was back up to speed. One additional step I had to take was a clogged brine drain line. It seemed to be clogged with dried salt, but that is likely just specific to my unit.

I'm sure the experts will chime in with more authoritive advice but you may just need to give it some time.
 

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First let me say I'm far from a water softener expert, just speaking from my own experience. I was in much the same boat as you a few months ago. I also had a fleck with the exception that mine is more old school. The basic functionality is still pretty much the same. When I moved in my home the softener had been offline for I honestly don't know how long. I took much the same steps you have to bring it back online with much the same initial results. It took 3 or 4 regen cycles before mine was back up to speed. One additional step I had to take was a clogged brine drain line. It seemed to be clogged with dried salt, but that is likely just specific to my unit.

I'm sure the experts will chime in with more authoritive advice but you may just need to give it some time.
Thank you for the info... It doesn't hurt to run extra few regeneration's to see if that would fix the issue :)
 

Bannerman

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How was the hardness reading obtained? Your 250 and 100 readings are not usual for test methods normally performed by a homeowner. A Hach 5B Total Hardness Test Kit is recommended for any homeowner wishing to install and service a softener. Most test kits such as the 5B, will indicate hardness in grains per gallon.

We will need to know the softener's BLFC (brine line flow control) flow rate which is the flow rate to refill the brine tank, usually 0.125, 0.25, 0.5 or 1 gpm. This is controlled by a flow restrictor which is usually specified on a label located nearby to the brine line connection.

We will also need to verify your softener's total capacity or if unknown, the diameter and height of the media tank (the one with the Fleck 7000 mounted on top). Since the programmed Capacity is currently set as 48 (48,000 grains), I suspect you have 1.5 ft3 of resin installed in a 10" X 54" tank. For 1.5 ft3, that is not the appropriate capacity setting as the softening capacity will decrease over time due to some resin being lost due to attrition and wear. In addition, regenerating that amount of capacity will require a very high and inefficient amount of salt.

Is your water source municipal (town/city) or your own well? If well is there any iron and if so, how much?
 
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CROforce

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How was the hardness reading obtained? Your 250 and 100 readings are not usual for test methods normally performed by a homeowner. A Hach 5B Total Hardness Test Kit is recommended for any homeowner wishing to install and service a softener. Most test kits such as the 5B, will indicate hardness in grains per gallon.

We will need to know the softener's BLFC (brine line flow control) flow rate which is the flow rate to refill the brine tank, usually 0.125, 0.25, 0.5 or 1 gpm. This is controlled by a flow restrictor which is usually specified on a label located nearby to the brine line connection.

We will also need to verify your softener's total capacity or if unknown, the diameter and height of the media tank (the one with the Fleck 7000 mounted on top). Since the programmed Capacity is currently set as 48 (48,000 grains), I suspect you have 1.5 ft3 of resin installed in a 10" X 54" tank. For 1.5 ft3, that is not the appropriate capacity setting as the softening capacity will decrease over time due to some resin being lost due to attrition and wear. In addition, regenerating that amount of capacity will require a very high and inefficient amount of salt.

Is your water source municipal (town/city) or your own well? If well is there any iron and if so, how much?

Thank you for taking time to look at this post and provide all the info.
For the test kit, I have purchased one from HW Department Store (Lowes). Here is the link to the one I used. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Mosser-Lee-H2O-OK-Drinking-Water-Test-Kit/50352996 If you look at the last picture, my reading (color of the stick) was = to 250 color.

Thank you for the info on BLFC, I have checked the label and it's 0.125 GPM
Media Tank dimensions are 54" x 10".
My water source is municipal (ground water) and report is here https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/sjwater.external/website/CCR.pdf?q=ccr showing average hardness as 310.

Based on all the info, any suggestions on settings that I should change?
 

Bannerman

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The hardness test you utilized, has a large gap between indicators. As 17.1 ppm = 1 grain per gallon then:
0 ppm = 0 gpg
100 ppm = 5.85 gpg
250 ppm = 14.62 gpg
450 ppm = 26.3 gpg
800 ppm = 46.8 gpg
The large steps between indicators make it difficult to identify the water's specific hardness quantity if the hardness colour indicated is somewhere in-between the sample colours. When programming the softener, the specific hardness needs to be known.

While the municipal water quality report indicates the 'average' hardness from the ground source is 310 ppm (18.1 gpg), the hardness may also be as low as 150 ppm (8.77 gpg) or as high as 460ppm (27 gpg) which would consume the softener's capacity much faster than the 20 gpg currently anticipated in the settings.

The actual hardness amount needs to be measured at your specific location using an accurate test kit that measures gpg. As there are multiple water sources each with different hardness amounts, when programming the softener, it is usually recommended to add 2-3 gpg to the as-tested result so as to anticipate occasions when the hardness amount may be higher than tested.

The usually recommended capacity setting for 1.5 ft3 of resin is 31,500 grains when regenerated with 9 lbs salt, or 36,000 grains when using 12 lbs salt.

Your current 30 minutes Brine Fill setting X 0.125 gpm BLFC = 3.75 gallons total brine fill per regen cycle. As each 1-gallon water will dissolve 3 lbs salt, then 11.25 lbs will be dissolved which is insufficient to regenerate 48,000 grains capacity, so a further reason your soft water is not so soft.

For a good balance of capacity, water quality and salt efficiency, suggest reprogramming your softener's usable Capacity setting to 36 and your Brine Fill setting to 32 minutes. The 32-minute setting will allow 4 gallons to enter the brine tank to dissolve 12 lbs salt. The salt efficiency for this setting will be: 36,000 / 12 = 3,000 grains per lb.

The current Reserve setting is 10% of capacity which will be 3600 grains or 180 gallons if 20 gpg hardness is programmed. As there are 4 people, anticipating 60 gals/day per person consumption, then the reserve setting should actually be 240 gallons. Resetting RS:SF to RS:RC and SF to RC:240 should provide an appropriate reserve. If your average water consumption per person differs, program the appropriate amount.

Because all of the 1.5 cuft resin capacity has been exhausted, the total capacity will now need to be restored which will require a 1X regeneration using a higher quantity of salt. To restore 45,000 grains capacity will require 22.5 lbs of salt. As the brine tank will currently contain 3.75 gallons (BF 30 X 0.125 BLFC), then to dissolve 22.5 lbs will require an additional 3.75 gallons water added to the brine tank using a bucket or hose. Reprogram the correct settings as specified while allowing approx 2 hours for additional salt to dissolve before initiating a manual regeneration cycle. As the correct settings were already programmed, 4 gallons water will be added to the brine tank at the end of regeneration, to prepare the correct amount of brine for the following regeneration cycle to restore another 36K grains capacity.

The chart below will show various capacities and the applicable salt requirements for those capacities for a large range of softener sizes. Note, the salt quantities are specified as lbs per ft3 of resin. The salt efficiency and water quality for each salt setting are specified at the bottom of the chart.
https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/resin-chart-jpg.53316/
 
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Reach4

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I think this is consistent with what Bannerman said:

System info (not programmed)
salt lb/cuft : 8 ; A choice ( efficiency vs capacity)
BLFC : 0.125 ; Brine Refill rate GPM
cubic ft resin : 1.5 ; Same as (nominal grains/32,000)
Raw hardness : 20.0 ; including iron etc
Estimated gal/day : 240.0 ; 60 gal per person typical calc
Estimated days each regen : 7.5 ; presuming days each use reserve capacity
Fleck 7000SXT Settings:
DF = Gal ; Units
VT = dF2b ; Downflw/Upflw, Double Backwash
CT = Fd ; Meter Delayed regen trigger
C = 36.0 ; capacity in 1000 grains if 8 lb/cuft
H = 20 ; Hardness grains after compensation ADJUST.
RS = cr ; Cr = base reserve on recent experience
CR = 0 ; 0 is default (leave it)
DO = 20 ; Day Override (typ 28 if no iron/Mn)
RT = 2:00 ; Regen time (default 2 AM) BUT CHOOSE YOUR OWN
B1 = 8 ; Backwash 1 (minutes)
Bd = 60 ; Brine draw minutes
B2 = 5 ; Backwash 2 (minutes)
RR = 10 ; Rapid Rinse minutes
BF = 32 ; Brine fill minutes for 8 lb/cuft
FM = t1.2 (usual) ; t1.2 is default flow meter


Alternative C and BF pairs:
lb/cuft ; C= ; BF=
5.000 ; 28.7 ; 20
5.250 ; 29.4 ; 21
5.500 ; 30.2 ; 22
5.750 ; 30.9 ; 23
6.000 ; 31.5 ; 24
6.250 ; 32.2 ; 25
6.500 ; 32.8 ; 26
6.750 ; 33.4 ; 27
7.000 ; 33.9 ; 28
7.250 ; 34.5 ; 29
7.500 ; 35.0 ; 30 ;What you were set for, but note smaller C.
7.750 ; 35.5 ; 31
8.000 ; 36.0 ; 32 ; USED IN ABOVE EXAMPLE
8.250 ; 36.4 ; 33
8.500 ; 36.9 ; 34
8.750 ; 37.3 ; 35
 

CROforce

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Thank you Bannerman and Reach4 for taking your time and be so specific. I am going to give it a try and report back in few days with my results :)
 

CROforce

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The hardness test you utilized, has a large gap between indicators. As 17.1 ppm = 1 grain per gallon then:
0 ppm = 0 gpg
100 ppm = 5.85 gpg
250 ppm = 14.62 gpg
450 ppm = 26.3 gpg
800 ppm = 46.8 gpg
The large steps between indicators make it difficult to identify the water's specific hardness quantity if the hardness colour indicated is somewhere in-between the sample colours. When programming the softener, the specific hardness needs to be known.

While the municipal water quality report indicates the 'average' hardness from the ground source is 310 ppm (18.1 gpg), the hardness may also be as low as 150 ppm (8.77 gpg) or as high as 460ppm (27 gpg) which would consume the softener's capacity much faster than the 20 gpg currently anticipated in the settings.

The actual hardness amount needs to be measured at your specific location using an accurate test kit that measures gpg. As there are multiple water sources each with different hardness amounts, when programming the softener, it is usually recommended to add 2-3 gpg to the as-tested result so as to anticipate occasions when the hardness amount may be higher than tested.

The usually recommended capacity setting for 1.5 ft3 of resin is 31,500 grains when regenerated with 9 lbs salt, or 36,000 grains when using 12 lbs salt.

Your current 30 minutes Brine Fill setting X 0.125 gpm BLFC = 3.75 gallons total brine fill per regen cycle. As each 1-gallon water will dissolve 3 lbs salt, then 11.25 lbs will be dissolved which is insufficient to regenerate 48,000 grains capacity, so a further reason your soft water is not so soft.

For a good balance of capacity, water quality and salt efficiency, suggest reprogramming your softener's usable Capacity setting to 36 and your Brine Fill setting to 32 minutes. The 32-minute setting will allow 4 gallons to enter the brine tank to dissolve 12 lbs salt. The salt efficiency for this setting will be: 36,000 / 12 = 3,000 grains per lb.

The current Reserve setting is 10% of capacity which will be 3600 grains or 180 gallons if 20 gpg hardness is programmed. As there are 4 people, anticipating 60 gals/day per person consumption, then the reserve setting should actually be 240 gallons. Resetting RS:SF to RS:RC and SF to RC:240 should provide an appropriate reserve. If your average water consumption per person differs, program the appropriate amount.

Because all of the 1.5 cuft resin capacity has been exhausted, the total capacity will now need to be restored which will require a 1X regeneration using a higher quantity of salt. To restore 45,000 grains capacity will require 22.5 lbs of salt. As the brine tank will currently contain 3.75 gallons (BF 30 X 0.125 BLFC), then to dissolve 22.5 lbs will require an additional 3.75 gallons water added to the brine tank using a bucket or hose. Reprogram the correct settings as specified while allowing approx 2 hours for additional salt to dissolve before initiating a manual regeneration cycle. As the correct settings were already programmed, 4 gallons water will be added to the brine tank at the end of regeneration, to prepare the correct amount of brine for the following regeneration cycle to restore another 36K grains capacity.

The chart below will show various capacities and the applicable salt requirements for those capacities for a large range of softener sizes. Note, the salt quantities are specified as lbs per ft3 of resin. The salt efficiency and water quality for each salt setting are specified at the bottom of the chart.
https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/resin-chart-jpg.53316/

I have purchased a "Hach 5B Total Hardness Test Kit" and just checked today, it took 20 drops of "Hardness 3 Titrant solution" to turn my water to blue... This means my water is equal to 342 ppm. Water Sample was taken from outside faucet (not connected to my softener).
In the meantime, while waiting for test kit I ran 3 regeneration's (one each night) with these settings:
df: GAL
vt: df2b
ct: Fd
c: 36
H: 20
RS: cr
DO: 14
RT: 2:00
B1: 8
BD: 60
B2: 5
RR: 10
BF: 32
FM: t1.2

Today also I took another sample from my faucet (connected to water softener), it took 10 drops of "Hardness 3 Titrant solution" to turn my water to blue... This means my water is equal to 171 ppm. Still not good enough. Just today, I have changed my hardens to 23 from above settings and that's the ONLY change I made. Now the question is... Is there anything else I need to change? Also, is 24hr before regeneration enough for salt to properly dissolve before I run another regeneration? This is just until I get to the softens of my liking? Any thoughts/ opinion are greatly appreciated :)
 

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If you change only H, I think not, but I am not sure. If the count-down gallons increases, then you should probably schedule a regen tonight by poking the regen button momentarily, or hold it in for immediate regen.
Also, is 24hr before regeneration enough for salt to properly dissolve before I run another regeneration?
2 or 3 hours is enough. Make sure there is salt above the water level in the brine tank.
 

CROforce

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If you change only H, I think not, but I am not sure. If the count-down gallons increases, then you should probably schedule a regen tonight by poking the regen button momentarily, or hold it in for immediate regen.

2 or 3 hours is enough. Make sure there is salt above the water level in the brine tank.
Yes... Salt is above the water... I will poke the button tonight and will see what tomorrow brings :), actually, I wont be home tomorrow until Sunday but I will report back on progress. Thank you for your quick response :)
 

Reach4

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Yes... Salt is above the water... I will poke the button tonight and will see what tomorrow brings :), actually, I wont be home tomorrow until Sunday but I will report back on progress. Thank you for your quick response :)
If you momentarily poke the button now, an icon will blink. But the regen will not happen until your RT time. That defaults to 2AM , but you changed that to RT=8 am.
 

CROforce

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If you momentarily poke the button now, an icon will blink. But the regen will not happen until your RT time. That defaults to 2AM , but you changed that to RT=8 am.
I have changed it to 2:00 but I think I will change it back to 8am because it's freaking noisy and my kids bedroom is sharing wall with garage where my softener is and they get scared with the noise :). I am planing to regenerate every 14 days and will adjust it to one of the week days when we are at work/ kids at school so there is no interference :)
 

Reach4

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Your 7000 softener is normally demand driven. So you don't know what day the regen will happen. I expect it to regen about every 7 days from demand.

What does it sound like in the kid's bedroom? Water flowing, or something else?
 

CROforce

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Your 7000 softener is normally demand driven. So you don't know what day the regen will happen. I expect it to regen about every 7 days from demand.

What does it sound like in the kid's bedroom? Water flowing, or something else?
It's the back wash that is very noisy. It sounds just like this video
.
My Water softener is about 4 feet away from the wall being shared with kids bedroom. At 2am you can hear it even more so
 

Bannerman

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I have changed it to 2:00 but I think I will change it back to 8am because it's freaking noisy
Setting 8 am to commence regeneration, will result in no soft water availability until almost 9:30 am, right at the time when most families will require the greatest amount of soft water on a consistent basis. Choose another time, preferably when no water is usually consumed such as when the kids are in school and no showers or baths occur and no laundry or dishes are usually washed.

The common cause for high hardness after the softener is a missing, defective or damaged O ring seal around the riser tube, where the tube connects to the control valve inside the media tank. I suspect defective or damaged seal since a missing O ring will usually result in the outgoing water from the softener measuring the same hardness as incoming, but some softening could occur as a result of a partial seal due to how the tube is situated within the tube socket, even if the O ring is missing.

A method which will usually indicate a missing or defective seal without removal of the control valve is to taste the water flowing to drain to time how long it will take to become salty after the controller is manually advanced to Brine Draw. With a leak around the riser tube, the flow to drain will become salty very rapidly whereas with no leak, the drain flow will take some time to become salty as the brine entering at the top of the tank will first slowly flow down through the resin bed to the tank bottom before rising up the riser tube to flow out to drain.
 
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CROforce

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Setting 8 am to commence regeneration, will result in no soft water availability until almost 9:30 am, right at the time when most families will require the greatest amount of soft water on a consistent basis. Choose another time, preferably when no water is usually consumed such as when the kids are in school and no showers or baths occur and no laundry or dishes are usually washed.

The common cause for high hardness after the softener is a missing, defective or damaged O ring seal around the riser tube, where the tube connects to the control valve inside the media tank. I suspect defective or damaged seal since a missing O ring will usually result in the outgoing water from the softener measuring the same hardness as incoming, but some softening could occur as a result of a partial seal due to how the tube is situated within the tube socket, even if the O ring is missing.

A method which will usually indicate a missing or defective seal without removal of the control valve is to taste the water flowing to drain to time how long it will take to become salty after the controller is manually advanced to Brine Draw. With a leak around the riser tube, the flow to drain will become salty very rapidly whereas with no leak, the drain flow will take some time to become salty as the brine entering at the top of the tank will first slowly flow down through the resin bed to the tank bottom before rising up the riser tube to flow out to drain.

Thank you for the info Bannerman... 8am actually works for us because we are up and already out of the house by then. We normally run our dishwasher after 10pm and do Laundry around 8pm. There is nothing running inside the house that would require water at that time (weekdays). I wish I could do 2am schedule but like I mentioned above, it's very noisy in my kids bedroom when it runs. I've been tracking my water softens since Thursday (8/29) with settings mentioned above (the only change I made is for hardness which I have changed to 23) and this is what I see (using "Hach 5B Total Hardness Test Kit"):

8/29 at 7:30pm 10 GPG
8/30 at 7:30am manual regeneration
8/30 at 7pm 10 GPG
8:31 at 10am 10 GPG
8/31 at 2pm manual regeneration then went to visit with friends (no water usage during regen.)
9/1 at 12pm 10 GPG
9/1 at 6pm 7 GPG
9/2 at 9:30am 11 GPG
9/2 at 9:45pm 6 GPG
9/3 at 7:30am 14 GPG

I will need to test your method about O ring... I am not sure what else I could do.
 

Bannerman

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the only change I made is for hardness which I have changed to 23
Increasing the hardness setting to 23 gpg will not change the water's actual hardness when tested, but will reduce the number of gallons delivered between regeneration cycles, causing the softener to regenerate sooner than when programmed at your original 20 gpg setting.

ex: 36,000 grains C / 23 gpg = 1,565 total gallons available between regen cycles vs 36,000 / 20 gpg = 1,800 gallons

With 20 gpg incoming and 6-14 gpg measured after the softener, seems to indicate an issue with the riser seal. As stated, the usual cause for high hardness after the softener is a damaged or missing O ring where the riser tube connects to the control valve riser socket. To inspect or replace the O ring will require removal of the control valve from the tank. The riser tube should remain within the tank when the control valve is un-threaded. Food-grade Silicone grease type lubricant will be required to lubricate the new O ring and upper riser tube before the control valve is reinstalled.
 
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