Repacking resin for a water softener

Old 08-14-02, 04:18 PM
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Repacking resin for a water softener

I have a water softener that is 6 years old and not softening the water. I have some orange residue that has flushed out when I have recharged the system. We had a service call on this problem and it was diagnosed as spent resin and that the resin bed would have to be replaced for a cost of $600.
Can I do this process myself? If so, where do I buy the replacement resin and what would be involved in this project?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Old 08-14-02, 06:17 PM
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When we moved into a different house in a rural area the fixtures were stained with rust. I purchased a large continer of a powdered rust remover and found instructions on how to clean the beads in a softener.
Check your plumbing supplier. They may have something for this.
Old 08-15-02, 09:08 AM
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The product recommended by Greg is called iron out. bascially potassium permanganate, added to the brine tank and introduced to the resin column on the next regeneration. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

To answer your direct question - you can change it yourself depending on you skill level. 600.00 is a lot of money for resin in a residential softner. 1 cu ft of resin wholesale is about 80 bucks, and most residential softners are in the 1/2 to 1 cu ft range.

Does your system have a brine tank separate from the resin tank? or is the resin tank contained within the brine tank? makes a difference. what is the make and do you have a book for it. You need to know how much resin is required. If it is a two tank system, and you have bypass valves, its a pretty straight forward operation.
Old 08-15-02, 09:56 AM
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Thanks Dave for the quick response. I have an Alamo softener Model M2010-Fleck 3768716 (controller head?) with a seperate salt tank. I do have the operating manual. The manual says it is a simple operation. The resin tank externally measures 9" x 48" and according to the manual for tanks that dimension it takes 1 cf of resin.
I am a fairly skilled handyman.
My main concerns are: finding the resin, removal/ refill and disposal of the spent resin.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Old 08-16-02, 11:15 AM
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Finding the resin - resin is packaged in 1 cu ft bags so you will need 1 bag. I would call around to some water treatment equipment suppliers. Also, you can go to the internet and look up Roman Haas or keyword "ion exchange resin" Find a manufacturer and look for local distributors. Around here, you can find softening resin for as low as 80.00 per cu ft. There is no difference in quality of resins between manufacturers for water softening resins - so don't let anybody tell you tere is to justify a high price.

Removal of the resin - you will need to unhook the water lines to and from the control valve as well as the brine tube to the brine tank. Check carefully for shutoff valves and hope you have a bypass plumbed in. If not, you will have to turn off the water to the house. Do not remove the valve from the resin column at this time. Take the resin column outdoors if you can - the job can get a bit messy - but be carefull, this column is full of water and resin and is heavy.

Once you have it out doors, remove the valve from the top of the column by unthreading it. It is a straight thread, not a pipethread. The seal is made by a large "O" ring. Carefully lift the valve and you will note a smaller tube dead center in the bottom of the valve. This is sealed with an "O" ring as well and should slide right out of the valve and remain in the resin column. Don't worry if you pull it up a bit - your going to remove it anyway. Once you have the valve off, pull out the tube so you have full access to the opening. Removal of the resin is the fun part. You can turn the column upside down and flush the resin out with a hose, or the better way if you have one, is a wet vac using a little water in the column to "fluidize" the resin. get it all out and then rinse out the column. (a word of caution - resin spilled on the floor or your drice way is like walking on marbles on a skating rink - be careful)

Disposal - resin is plastic essentially - after you drain off the water, dispose of in ordinary garbage - I'm not aware of any hazards.

Refill - this is the more difficult part cause resin doesn't "flow" so well. The small tube has to be inserted into the column - it sits on the bottom and should be centered. You will note the tube probably does not stick up aboue the top of the column and that's OK. Cover the opening in the end of the tube with tape - don't get any resin down inside the tube. Fill the column with the 1 cu ft of resin taking care to keep the tube as centered as you can. Once the resin is in, replace the valve taking care the small tube is inserted into its opening in the bottom of the valve (Do not lift the tube) you have to line up both the small tube into the valve and the valve onto the column at the same time. It's not as hard as it sounds.

Reinstall the column and after you have hooked up the inlet but before you hook up the outlet, crack open the inlet valve and let the column fill to remove air. Use a bucket top catch any water that comes out of the outlet. All you need to do is fill it.

Finish reinstalling and immediately regenerate the column, checking to be sure you are drawing brine at the appropriate point in the process.

Congratulations, your done. Job shouldn't take more than two or three hours. be sure to post back and let me know how you make out - I'll be on vacation for a week, but will check back then
Old 08-17-02, 10:22 AM
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Thumbs up Worked Great

Went without a hitch. Took us 2 hours. About the only extra effort was getting the tank in the boot level to the plumbing and that wasn't much. I'm cycling the system right now and don't see any leaks, so far so good. Total cost for the job was $93 for 1 cf of resin and 10# of gravel plus tax. My wife will be happy to have her soft water back and I'm happy to have saved $500! Thanks for the help.
Old 08-26-02, 08:36 AM
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Glad it worked out for you. I didn't mention the gravel because most home systems I'm familiar with don't use it. But as you found out, it's no big deal.
Old 08-29-02, 03:39 PM
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Resin in Water

I saw your recent messages and I pretty much had the same problem except, I'm new to water softeners and hadn't been filling the brine tank. I have resin coming out of the cold water faucet and need to know what I need to do to repair the water softener. I have it on bypass right now.
Old 08-29-02, 04:15 PM
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Re: Resin in Water

Davef15 had a lot of good advice and seemed to know how to troubleshoot the water softeners. It could be as simple as mine where the resin was spent and needed to be replaced. I wonder if one of the valves in your system is faulty since you are seeing resin out of a faucet. I saw the resin coming out of the waste line from the mineral tank. The rest of my system appeared OK.
Good Luck.

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