Water softener at step one drains water instead of filling brine tank. Whats wrong?

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Andrei, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Hello. Need some help or advice.
    I have Rainsoft EC4.
    I got it used and installed myself. The problem I am facing now is when I start manual regeneration, water should be going into the brine tank, but its not happening. Instead water goes into the drain line. Issue is not in the brine line itself, cause I disconnected it from the brine tank just to see if anything will be going through. No water. Line is not blocked or anything.
    so before I take the panel apart I would like to have some ideas on what could it be. So far I was going to clean an injector and inspect the brine valve. But this is it. Trying to see what else I should be looking while there? What else could cause that kind of behavior?

    Also is it how it should be working in terms of .... lets say Brine Valve does not open, should then drain valve open automatically to make sure water has somewhere to go... or no.. this is not how it works and since it starts cycle with draining, then something is totally messed up
    Thank you
     
  2. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Are you certain that Brine Fill is to occur 1st? Brine fill is more commonly performed at the end of the regen cycle, so as to prepare brine for the following regen cycle. Some controllers will allow the setting to be modified as BF first is normally used when Potassium Chloride is used instead of salt.

    You might add water to the brine tank with a bucket. After waiting ~ 1-2 hours for salt to dissolve, then initiate a manual regen cycle to verify the unit does regenerate properly and to determine if water will automatically reenter the brine tank near the end of the cycle.
     
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  4. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Good suggestion, but I am basing on these steps from the manual below. So, to me when the system is following the timer, it can add water to the brine tank 2 hours before the regeneration process. But I would think that with manual generation the first step is actually to add water to the brine tank and its not happening.....
    So I don't know what could it be

    Brine Tank Fill
    The first step in preparation for the regeneration is to add water to the brine tank. The amount of salt the conditioner uses in its regeneration is directly related to the amount of water added to the brine tank. The salt will only dissolve into the water until it reaches a point of saturation, then no matter how much longer it sits, no additional salt will dissolve. Many softeners add a fixed amount of water to the brine tank at the end of each regeneration cycle. With that type of unit, the water sits in the tank until the next regeneration, usually for several days. Your EC4 uses a more sophisticated and efficient approach called "proportional brining." The computer continually monitors your water use and decides if regeneration is needed today. If regeneration is needed, the computer moves the valve to the brine refill position about two hours before the scheduled time of regeneration. You may hear the motor running and some water flowing at this time. Because the computer knows how much water you've used, it calculates the exact amount of salt that will be needed to completely restore the system capacity. Then it adds just enough water to the brine tank to dissolve that much salt. So you can say it creates brine in proportion to the amount of capacity you need to restore - it doesn't waste salt.
    EXAMPLE:
    If the time of regeneration is set for 2:00 AM, you may hear the system apparently start to regenerate at 11:45 PM. What it is actually doing is running the brine fill cycle. It will fill the brine tank for a few minutes, then return to its normal home position for 2 hours. The actual full regeneration cycle starts at 2:00 AM as scheduled.
    Soak Cycle
    After adding water to the brine tank, the valve returns to home position and waits for two hours. This gives the salt plenty of time to dissolve and ensures that an accurate salt dose is used. The system is still providing treated water to your home during this cycle.
    Backwash Cycle
    At the exact time of regeneration, the valve moves to its backwash position for the start of its actual regeneration cycle. In the backwash position, the normal flow through the pressure tank is reversed, with water flowing from the bottom up, so that the softening mineral is lifted and cleaned. This removes any dirt or particles that have accumulated on the top of the mineral bed. As is true of the entire regeneration cycle, all the water flowing through the tank at this point is sent directly to the drain. None of the regeneration water enters your supply pipes. If you use any water during regeneration, the system provides you with untreated water that completely bypasses the tank.
    Brine Draw / Slow Rinse Cycle
    After the system is backwashed for several minutes, the valve moves to the brine draw position. In this position, the valve creates a vacuum to pull the brine solution out of the brine tank. The brine solution flows slowly through the mineral bed, removing the hardness ions that are attached to the softening resin and sending them to the drain. After all the brine is drawn out of the brine tank, the system continues to slowly rinse the
    MANUAL REGENERATION:
    Although it may never be necessary, you always have the option to start an immediate regeneration using the "manual regeneration" key on the keypad. The manual regeneration will start with brine tank fill and a 2 hour soak cycle as described above. Since a manual regeneration is primarily intended to recover from unusual circumstances, such as allowing the brine tank to run out of salt, it is assumed that you need to recover full capacity. Therefore, a manual regeneration always uses the maximum salt dose for your size of unit.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I don't know that softener.

    1. Does water flow from the drain line at the beginning of the brine fill cycle?
    2. Does water flow during backwash? If you don't want to wait around to watch, maybe play the drain line into a bucket that can overflow safely.

    If you take seals, that rub during regen, apart ideally you will lube with Dow #7 Release Compound, which is a lower viscosity silicone grease. I have used the heavier stuff on moving seals without problem, but the thinner stuff is supposed to be better. I would use the heavier stuff if I had it in preference to nothing.

    For seals that don't move, that or a thicker silicone grease is good. https://www.danco.com/product/0-5-oz-silicone-faucet-grease/ Danco 88693 is a 0.5 oz tube that is probably locally available. A little goes a long way. Molykote 111 5.3 ounce tube is a lifetime supply.


    Injector screen.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
  6. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Answers are Yes and Yes.
    Water flows from the drain line at the beginning of the brine fill cycle and during backwash
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Checking whether brine gets drawn during brine draw seems like a nice next step. So that bucket fill sounds useful. If the brine does get drawn, that would preclude something that is stopping the brine flow totally. No waiting needed to start the test, but you will need to wait to see if the brine gets drawn.

    For this troubleshooting test, no need to add salt. No need to remove what you have either.

    I am thinking that pulling the brine line from the softener valve and blowing air or sucking to check for flow could make some sense.
     
  8. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Proportional brining can be finicky and prone to problems which is why many control valve brands do not incorporate that capability.

    If there is no method to alter programming to BF last, then a malfunction with the Brine Valve or a brine tank component will not normally result in water flowing to drain. For that to happen, I would suspect a worn or damaged seal which would usually require rebuilding the valve to replace common wear items such as seals, spacers, O-rings etc. Rebuild kits are often available for many brands and models.

    PM SENT.
     
  9. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Thank you everyone. If you can think of something else... then keep suggestions coming...
    Mostly likely I will be testing possible issues this weekend
     
  10. Andrei

    Andrei New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2020
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I think I got it solved. I pulled everything out yesterday and everything looked fine beside the injector area.
    Injector itself was OK but that thing where you screw brine line into, was pretty dirty and covered in salt. I think that blocked the hole and water wasn't going in either directions.
    Once I cleaned that out, water started flowing just fine.
    On the other note.... it seems that with manual regeneration, first thing that the system does is actually drain some water, and then it adds water to the brine tank slowly for 15 min.
    so draining a bit at first is fine. But after that water was not going through... well... and now it is...
    Thank you everyone for your help
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
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