water softener

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  #1  
Old 02-02-02, 01:58 PM
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Question water softener

I have an Ecowater Series 1000EM water system that is about 7.5 years old. It regenerates usually once sometimes twice a week (that is what it is set at). I have used the potassium pellets exclusively.

I noticed that my dishwasher's porcelin finish is not shiny like it used to be. My stainless steel is not shiny either ... seems to have a cloudy. The initial water test before the softener was 17 gpg hardness and 1/2 ppm iron.

I can hear the water softener regenerating ... so I assume it is working. Is it? Could something be clogged?

Please help.
 
  #2  
Old 02-02-02, 03:41 PM
toiletjockey
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You say it regenerates once sometimes twice a week something is wrong with the timer. And this maybe why the softner isn't working properly.What time of day do you hear it regenerating? It should be about 2:00 in the moening if it isn't that makes me feel even more that there's a problem with the timer motor. a metered softner could change how many times a week it will regen. But I don't think your model is a metered softner.
 
  #3  
Old 02-03-02, 10:11 AM
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Question Water Softener

Maybe that is my fault ... not being home much (with 1 or 2 here) I have it set for once a week (just me) or twice a week if my son is here. Hearing the softener regenerate sometimes wakes me up, so I have it set to go off during the day. Wrong?? How often should it be set at? I know how to do that .... just push the little pins down. Is the fact that it is not set often enough the problem? Will changing this help get the porcelin finish on the interior of my dishwasher back to the shine that it is supposed to be and take the cloudyness out of the stainless?
 
  #4  
Old 02-04-02, 10:19 AM
Davef15
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There are a couple of potential problems here. Regenerating during the day may be one of them. When a softner goes into regeneration, it goes to bypass for the water used in the house. If you draw water while the system is in regen, you get hard water. If its hot water you are drawing, the hard water goes to the hot water heater and the result is it "contaminates" any soft water that is in the tank. It now takes a couple of days to clear out the hard water in the tank. Your dishwasher uses hot water exclusively so it would see water that is not "zero soft". Set it to regenerate during the night or, don't use any water while it is regenerating.

Another possibility is the condition of the resin. 0.5 PPM iron is on the high side and iron fouls softening resins. Over a few years, you lose the ion exchange capacity of the resin. You could try a product called iron out to see if this helps. Coincidentally, our water here is 16 grains with 0.5 ppm iron and I have to change my resin about every 8 years.

Can I ask why you are using potassium to regenerate?

I've made a number of assumptions here - the brine setting hasen't changed, the unit is drawing brine, your use pattern hasn't changed, the hardness level in the water supply hasn't changed and there may be a few more.
 
  #5  
Old 02-04-02, 05:28 PM
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Question Water Softener

How do you change the resin? Is it in the tank where the salt/potassium goes? Or is it in the other tank with the timer on?
For some reason I just thought I didn't need any more salt in my diet and thought this was an acceptable substitute. Should I change? Basically, the setting hasn't changed. When the unit was installed, I was told that considering the water consumption, I did not need to have the unit set to regenerate several times during the week. (If any water was used during regeneration, it was the exception rather than the rule). Is there any way to tone down the noise from regeneration? Maybe like a blanket for a hot water heater??? Should I switch to iron out permanently ... temporarily ... and is it okay to mix it with the potassium? I can do a lot of things around the house ... but the water softener is somewhat confusing to me ... and the manufacturer did not provide much information. Thanks for your help!!
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-02, 10:54 AM
Davef15
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The resin is in the other tank - the one with the "timer" on it. The "timer is actually a motor driven multiport valve that directs water in different directions for the regeneration. these aren't too complicated but because the tanks need to be removed from the location to facilitate the resin change, it may not be something you can do alone. Usually, they are plumbed in with a bypass - some are not. The tank needs to be removed and the valve (timer) has to come off. It is threaded and can be a bit of a problem to break loose. Once it is off, you will have an opening about 2 inch diameter with a tube sticking up in the middle. This tube goes to the bottom of the tank and is just supported by the resin around it. The resin is the small plastic beads you see. You will have to remove the resin and replace it. Resin is sold by the cubic foot and runs anwhere from 60 to 100.00 per foot. You will have to know the size of the tank to purchase the correct amount of resin. If you measure the diameter and the height, the supplier can help you with that. After you have the tank cleaned out, place the center tube back in all the way to the bottom. Put a piece of tape over the opening at the top of the tube and then put the resin in the tank. thread the valve back on taking care to make sure the small tube sticking up out of the tank is centered in the bottom of the valve.

potassium is used for exactly as you indicated - people are cautious of the additional sodium and with 17 grains hardness, you add quite a bit to water that probably already contains sodium. I have not used it for regeneration so I do not have tables for the proper dosage (lbs / cuft of resin). The cold water to the kitchen faucet in my house bypasses the softner.

Don't know how effective iron out is - never used it never believed in it. However, there are people that swear by it. It is usually added to the brine tank every so often - follow the directions on the box.

The noise you hear is water flowing through the pipes during the backwash and rinseup cycles in the regeneration process. I doubt the insulation blanket will help.

Here's what I would do. I would watch a complete regeneration and assure myself that the system was drawing brine from the tank and refilling the tank with water as it should be. assurred of that, I would contact a water conditioning company and try and obtain some test strips for hardness. After a regeneration, go to a cold water faucet and turn it on for about 5 minutes to flush out the line. Use a test strip to determine hardness - if the softner is working, you should have what is called zero soft water - no hardness. If that is what you get, the softner is at least regenerating some exchange capacity. If you get hardness I would think about replacing The resin immediately (BTW, resin is also damaged by chlorine in the city water system) If the water is soft. I would test every day until the next scheduled regeneration. If you see hardness before the next regeneration you have hardness breakthrough and the causes are few. Assumming, you have good resin and the brine is saturated, you are using more water than the salt setting / regen frequency can handle. Also, the hardness in the water supply could have changed - that should be checked.

There are a lot of variables here - ideally, there should be some calculations run based on the hardness in the water, the water usage, and the cubic ft of resin in the tank to determine a proper set up.
 
  #7  
Old 02-07-02, 10:47 AM
rlidh
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basic help, please

Best info on water softeners I gotten just reading the replies. Thanks. I know little to nothing about my system. It's about 14 years old, has a tank that's supposed to hold salt but when I add, the salt either dissolves entirely or makes my tap water salty. I don't have a clue what to do about the timer or if it's even working. I think it 's worked in the past because my water's been tested and rated fine. Of course, when ever I ask a rep to teach me how to care for the system, 3 have said they don't sell this brand so don't know about it but would be glad to replace it (despite my water testing ok) for more money than I have. I've installed an expensive sulfur removal system and I'm worried the mechanisms won't last as long as they should if the water softner isn't in proper order. Help.
 
  #8  
Old 02-07-02, 06:24 PM
toiletjockey
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You've been given good answers to your problems and I think what Davef15 said about it regen. in the day is probably your proplem at least part of it some of it is also what you said about it tested bad and needed to regen more. When a softner is set up it is a pretty calculated thing and if you alter it in anyway its not going to do the job you need it to do. I would have to say that softner needs a tech to take a look resample your water, reprogram it and let it do its job. I personally would use salt with 2oz. of iron out per 40 or 50# bag of salt just to help the softner work and keep it clean. As far as adding sodium to your diet thats been a mistaken thought for years about softners. It only uses salt to soften the water and then its washed down the drain with all the junk it cleaned from the water. I was told once, and its been awhile ago, by a softner manufacture that there is more salt in a 8 oz. glass of milk than a gallon of soft water.
 
  #9  
Old 02-08-02, 10:26 AM
Davef15
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Toiletjockey - I would like to clarify your comments regarding the sodium issue. While you may be correct in that a glass of milk has more sodium than a glass of softened water (and this depends) it is not an accurate statement that softners to not add sodium to the water. Water softening is an ion exchange process - and a very inefficient one at that. Regenerated softening resin is absent of calcium ions but it has an affinity for calcium, more so than sodium. It gets the calcium ion from the water but, in doing so it gives up the weaker sodium ion to the water - at a rate of approx 2 sodium to 1 calcium. Thats the ion exchange mechanism. The resin can only hold so many calcium ions and then no more - you have breakthrough of calcium. The regeneration process - this is the inefficient part of the equation, "Floods" the resin with sodium "forcing the calcium ions to the waste stream. Sorry I don't have a chemistry background - I could give a better explanation - it has to do with the +/- charges between the resin and the calcium and sodium.

The approximate amount of sodium added to the water will be twice the amount of calcium and magnesium (in ppm) removed.

As far as the glass of milk is concerned and more sodium, it depends on the sodium content in the hard water. In our area it is bumping the EPA limit of 600 ppm. With 17 grains of hardness, you add quite a bit of sodium to water already high in sodium content. That is precisely the reason to switch to potassium for regeneration. The NYS health code recommends people on restricted sodium diets to watch this.

Thanks for the advice on the iron out - I have never used it but probably should give it a try.

As for the writer above and the salty water after regeneration, you should check your valve. Sounds like the softner is not rinsing up after the regeneration. Had this happen one morning (nothing like a mouthful of saltwater first thing in the morning to get your attention) (the dog didn't like it either). If you have a valve with motor driven cams to operate poppet valves in the head, check the cams - they may be worn down. I got lucky and found a guy with a boxful of old cams - a buck later, I was all set.
 
  #10  
Old 02-08-02, 02:49 PM
Davef15
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For Rlidh - I want to clarify and perhapes help you fix your situation. You stated either the salt dissolves completely or you have salty drinking water. I take it you don't have both at the same time - ie when you have no visable saltpellets in the brine tank, you don't have salty drinking water. Here is how it is supposed to work.

The tank with the salt pellets is called a brine tank. You use saturated brine to regenerate the softner. Saturated brine is defined as a water / salt solution that can hold no additional dissolved salt. In a static situation such as a brine tank (no mechanical agitation) it takes a minimum of 6 hours (some say longer) to make a saturated brine. One should never expect maximum capacity out of a softner if it is regenerated immediately after salt is added to a tank where there is no visable salt remaining.

If one has a tank where there is no visible salt remaining and one initiates a regeneration, the resin will not be regenerated or, not regenerated to its full capacity because one does not have saturated brine.

If, when you have salt in the brine tank, your water tastes salty, the softner is not rinsing up properly after the introduction of the brine - check your valve. If you have no visable salt in the brine tank, and the water is not salty after a regeneration, its because you did not introduce brine to the resin and you have not regenerated the resin.

Hope this helps
 
  #11  
Old 02-08-02, 05:40 PM
rlidh
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learning slowly

Your info helps a lot. I'm slowly but surely learning about my system.

Now, to learn some more -

A) Where is the valve I'm checking to see if it's working? There is a bread-box sized contraption with dials and wires, screws and other unidentifiable things, a couple of which have the word valve in near proximity on top of the non-brine tank (assuming it holds the resin). I don't suppose you know a web site where I can find a basic diagram?

B) I reset my timer to go off at 2:00 am (previously set for 4:00 pm); however, I couldn't find a clock to put the correct time. So, how does it know when my 2:00 am occurs? Hope that makes sense.

Can I say again, how great this thread is? You're great.
 
  #12  
Old 02-11-02, 09:55 AM
Davef15
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that breadbox size contraption is the valve. Check to see if it has a name and model number on it and post here.

Take a closer look at the dial where you set the regeneration time - you should also be able to set the time of day - usually on the same dial.
 
  #13  
Old 02-17-02, 05:34 AM
rlidh
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Here's the name

I have a Hague Hydro-clean. On the valve, I found ser. no. 14524. On the taller tank, I found model HCII-232.

I thought I had it running smoothly, but now I think it's using too much salt, over 1/2 a 40 lb bag in a a week. Given there are only two of us, that seems excessive. So, I have a couple more questions. What should the salt to to water ratio be in the brine tank? What does it mean if the floating shelf in the brine tank is sometimes (often lately) lopsided? How do I clean the brine tank (do I even need to)?

As I've already said, all help so far has been great. Further help will be terrific.

Rosalinda
 
  #14  
Old 02-18-02, 10:36 AM
Davef15
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http://www.ohiopurewaterco.com/wsfaq.htm

Above is a site that has FAQ's regarding water softners. Lots of basic info without getting too scientific.

I was not able to find any information on your Hydro-clean softner so it will be difficult to comment on the salt settings. This particular system may have a meter that automatically puts it in regeneration after a certain number of gallons are used. Typically, with metered systems, one has to enter the hardness of the water, in Grains per Gallon (GPG) somewhere on the valve. The meter then "counts"the number of gallons processed through the softner and when it reaches a preset number of gallons based on the capacity of the system, starts a regeneration that night. There is always a safety factor so you don't run out of soft water.

Alternatively, there are softners that have instrumentation that actually measures the hardness of the water and schedules a regeneration based on a rise in hardness. I don't have experience with them.

The amount of salt required depends directly on the hardness of the water and the amount of water you use. I can't say if 1/2 of a 40 pound bag per week is too much. If you are on a municiple water system, you should be able to call the water department and get the hardness of the water. From there, I can run a few quick calculations based on American Waterworks numbers.
 
  #15  
Old 02-18-02, 10:50 AM
Davef15
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http://www.haguequalitywater.com/

Here is the home page for hague water conditioning systems. They look like a regional company, specializing in water treatment. They most likely have these systems made to their specifications. I would guess it is a high end system that does more (?) than soften water. Do you by chance live in california?
 
  #16  
Old 02-19-02, 06:42 AM
rlidh
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I live in Florida. It's possible my system does more, but I wouldn't know. I have well water. If I recall correctly from the times my water's been tested, my water has a hardness of around 7?? based on a color coding system?? Obviously, I should have paid more attention, however I was distracted by the blatant hard sell when all I wanted was preliminary info. Thanks for the sites. I found Hague and got a number from them yesterday to call (in Gainesville, about 1 1/2 hours away). I'll try that. Also, I'll go to the Ohio site.

Thanks so much. I'm feeling less confident that my system is doing anything but more confident that I'll be able to understand the next time I get a service rep in. I'll be able to ask the correct questions, thanks to you.
 
  #17  
Old 02-19-02, 09:52 AM
Davef15
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When I say the system does more, here is what I mean. Some companies have taken the approach to provide a complete water conditioning system - not just softening. From the looks of the Hague web page, you have one such system. I would guess it is high cost to purchase. I would also guess the system has carbon on top of the resin to remove chlorine and organics. Organic removal is questionable because of the velocity of the water through the carbon. You probably don't need carbon for chlorine because, Unless you are adding chlorine to your water system, you don't get any from a well. The problem with the carbon is it has a finite life and can not be regenerated. You have to have a service call to have it removed and replaced. They will also try to sell you resin as well. In this area of the country, these types of systems go for about $4500.00 (conventional softner = 800 to 1000 installed ) and the guy selling them drives a mecedes.

7 grains per gallon really isn't that hard. basaed on a regeneration rate of 10 pounds of salt per cubic ft of resin, ( for 25,000 grain) the capacity of the softner should be 3,700 gallons of water per cu ft of resin before you get any hardness leakage. The question is, how many cu Ft of resin is in the tank and how many pounds of salt are used for a regeneration? I would guess you are using why too much salt and regenerating too frequently.

In our area, the guys selling these system also just happen to either deliver the salt or have a relationship with someone who does. Softners can be set up to provide 35,000 grain per cu ft capacity but the salt dosage to achieve that is 15 pounds. It is not the most optimum setting.

let me know how you make out.
 
  #18  
Old 02-19-02, 01:16 PM
rlidh
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Thanks for all the info. I've been in this house just over a year and dealing with this issue off and on since then. I recently had a recall on my sulphur removal system, and the rep snidely informed me that my softener was not working since it had no salt (did he give me any advice on what I should be doing? NO). I'd given the salt responsibility to someone else in the house. Now, I've taken it back and hope to deal with this once and for all (save maintainance, resin restoration, the occassional power outage, etc.). I'll let you know what happens, if I actually get someone from Gainesville to drive to St. Augustine, so you can add the ins&outs of a Hague system to your vast repretoire.

Saludos,
Rosalinda
 
  #19  
Old 02-19-02, 02:41 PM
lvw
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Marlo mania

I have a Marlo MP-25S softener that got stuck in the "backwash" mode. My family and I came home after an evening out, and found our our Marlo running amok. It just kept backwashing and backwashing. I finally had to manually take it out of the backwash mode. Since that time the softener hasn't done a thing. The water coming out of the tap is hard, and I can not get the unit to regenerate manually or otherwise. I have power to the softener, I am wondering if the control unit is shot.

Any ideas/suggestions/comments??
 
 

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