Culligan Mark 100 Venturi Cleaning Help?

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Old 04-03-06, 11:24 AM
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Question Culligan Mark 100 Venturi Cleaning Help?

I have a Culligan Mark 100 water softener (10 years old) that isn't using any salt. I made sure that there was no salt bridging and ran two regeneration cycles. It looked like so salt water was being used. I have seen recommendations for other brand softeners to check and clean the venturi which may become blocked but I don't see anything in the Culligan manual about doing this or how to do it on a Culligan unit.
Has anyone done this? Is this something I can do or should it be done by a Culligan service guy?
Thanks. Peter
 
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Old 04-03-06, 01:45 PM
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Hi Peter,

You said you'd done two regenerations but did you wait a couple hours between them? It takes at least a couple hours for the water replaced in the brine tank after a regen to dissolve the necessary quanitity of salt.

You can find Culligan tech info that might help here ...

http://www.culligan.com/watertreatmentownersguides.cfm

You can always call the Culligan Man (or Woman) and see what they have to say.

Let us know what you find out.
 
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Old 04-03-06, 03:58 PM
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Yes, I did wait several hours. First I removed a bucket's worth of salt then pulled the remaining salt to one side of the tank so that the brine solution was visible on the other side. This way I knew there no bridging. I had picked up some Iron Out as I was reading about resin fouling and had never done anything other than add salt and I know my water had some iron in it. I mixed up a half gallon of solution following the iron out instructions and poured that into the brine tank. I then ran the regen cycle at 10:30PM. I obcerved the water leaving the drain hose and it didn't seem to be as vigorous as I recall. I also watched the brine in the tank and didn't see any activity. I then shut off the main water feed to the water softener to see if there was still a discharge but the discharge stopped when I did this (I was thinking that if it was using brine then there should still be some discharge). I put the water feed back on and I watched this for about 20 minutes then went to bed. The next morning I found no change in the brine tank. I started a second regeneration cycle and again there was no change in the brine tank. I called Culligan this morning and they are supposed to come out on April 17. The service call fee is $114.00. I want to make sure there isn't something easy that I could do to remedy the problem before then. Thanks. Peter
 
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Old 04-03-06, 04:08 PM
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The softener needs supply water pressure to draw the brine out of the brine tank and into the resin tank. By shutting off the water to the softener you stopped the brine draw.

You still might have a salt bridge. You can do this ... get a gallon jug of the hot tap water and pour it slowly down the brine well (the round tube the float is in). That will dissolve hardened salt.

You might also be on the right track thinking iron fouling. If the softener is 10 years old and you have any iron in the water and have never used iron out (or equivalent) you could have fouled the resin. You might be able to recover the resin or you might have to replace the resin. Either way, the softener is working and consider the repair cost of the softener as tuition and set up a routine to use iron out and clean out the brine tank.

Culligan's price for a service call is reasonable and they know the softener well. Pay carefull attention when Culligan is there and you might not need them the next time.
 
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Old 04-04-06, 12:09 AM
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when you're running a manual regeneration, try disconnecting the brine line from the brine well to see if there is any suction during the brine draw cycle. If not, your line or injector could be plugged.

Art
 
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Old 04-04-06, 09:46 AM
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Last night I removed the float assembly from the brine tank to check for a blockage. I rinsed it off and was able to blow air through it. I reconnected it and ran another regen cycle. During the first 10 minutes I did not see the fluid level in the brine tank move and I pushed down on the float valve in the brine tank just to make sure it wasn't getting stuck or anything. During the next ten minutes, I noticed pressure on the float valve and when I pushed down on it water started filling the brine tank so I know the line is not blocked. I did not check the connector with the hose off to see if there was suction but since I know that water flows through it out to the brine tank then I'd say its a good bet that there will not be any suction.
How do I check the injector? Thanks.

Peter
 
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Old 04-06-06, 07:34 AM
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Well I made some progress - I found the parts list for the softener and located the injector and screen. There is a metal plate on the top of the head. After moving the valve into the bypass position, I removed the three screws and found a screen and injector nozzle (although the nozzle was installed facing the opposite way shown in the parts list). Anyway, the screen was pretty clogged with rusty looking debris. I removed the injector nozzle and made sure it was clean and cleaned the screen off, put it back together (the same way I found it) and there is still no suction to the brine tank. I'm guessing if there was that much junk in the screen it's probably elsewhere too. There is another screen inside the head but looks a little more involved to get to.
I saw in another thread that Biff was able to get an update kit for the Mark 100 from Culligan. I want to check out if this kit is available at my Culligan dealer and if it comes with instructions.
I'm a little disappointed that Culligan never told me about using iron out periodically to clean out the resin tank (I am the original owner.)

Peter
 
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Old 04-06-06, 12:13 PM
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A few quick issues to address:

1. Do you have iron in the incoming water? If not, there's no need to use the iron out.

2. Since you've cleaned the injector screen (consider replacing this piece), another causes as to not drawing brine may be the presence of air leaks in the brine line. You might need to replace the seal pack.

3. Does the motor run during the regen cycle or is it costantly hot when not in regen? If so, you may need a new motor.

Lastly, consider the cost of the trip charge of $114 plus parts and get an idea if the unit will last a few more years, barring normal wear and tear or unforseen service issues. See if the dealer will apply the trip charge towards the purchase of a new unit if it does not make sense to repair the old Mark 100 - you'll first need to get a price on a replacement softener (their Medallist or Gold models are comprable in valve size & capacity); otherwise, they might simply add a $100 extra on top of what they would typically sell the new unit for in order to recoup the service call costs. It's always a good idea to get one or two more quotes from other dealers for a replacement unit so you'll have some options & negotiating leverage.

Art
 
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Old 04-06-06, 04:40 PM
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The water tests from 1996 showed iron from 0.5 to 1.1 ppm.

I would like to replace the screen. It sounds like the service pack that Biff mentioned contains a lot of the parts that would typically wear out including the seal pack.

I don't know what the motor is supposed to do. It sounds like it runs briefly - as if to move something to a different position - it doesn't run constantly during the regen cycle.

Since the regen usually happens at 2:30 AM, I'm not familiar with the sounds the unit made when it was working properly.

Peter
 
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Old 04-17-06, 01:02 PM
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The service guy came today. He found that the flow meter wasn't working and also installed an eductor service kit which had a bunch of parts including the screen I had cleaned. This seemed to solve the brine problem so it seems like the unit is functional again. He didn't have another flow meter with him so I just went with a fixed number of days regeneration schedule.
Cost-wise this seemed to make sense also as a new meter would have been around 270.00.

Peter
 
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Old 04-18-06, 09:58 AM
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Peter,

Would have been nice to have the "demand regeneration" working but IMO not at $270 for the part alone. There's nothing wrong with a "day count". There are lots of softeners out there counting days that work fine.

You'll want to get some test strips to make sure the water is holding SOFT until the regeneration. Did you choose 6 or 7 days between regeneration or a different day count?

What was the cost of the service call, repair, and parts?
 
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Old 04-18-06, 10:31 AM
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With the water meter, it seemed I was going about two weeks between regenerations (the last time I was monitoring it). I started with a setting of 10 days for now.

It seems odd as I could have sworn the softener had a regeneration cycle scheduled recently and that should not have happened if the meter wasn't working. The service guy had me turn a faucet on and he put the unit into a mode that showed the flow and it read 0.0. He didn't remove the meter from the system, he just disconnected the cable from the control unit. I would be curious to check that out again to see if really was dead or maybe just temporarily stuck. I don't know if the service manual describes how to switch the unit from day mode to meter mode as I don't have it with me. I don't recall it saying how to get the unit to display the flow rate either.

I didn't know they had test strips for testing the water softness. I will look into getting some. I notice the water in the toilets has a bit of a yellow tinge since yesterday. The service guy said he put some chlorine in the brine tank and I had a solution of iron out in there also. I ran another regeneration cycle last night to make sure the resin tank gets a good cleaning. I don't notice an odor or any problems.

The total bill for everything was around 235.00. The service guy was very good.

Peter
 
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Old 04-18-06, 10:50 AM
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Peter,

It's entirely possible that the turbine wheel stuck and might free up. That would save you $270

IMO two weeks between regenerations is too long especially if you have iron, and you do. I prefer 7 days or so. That'll make your resin last longer. Either by demand (turbine) or by day as long as the water holds soft until regeneration and it's not too long between regenerations you'll be OK.

You should set up a routine to use iron-out (as directed on the bottle) and to clean out the brine (salt) tank.

Here's a good place to get test strips. Buy 50 in a bottle and they are cheap.

http://www.americanwaterservice.com/
 

Last edited by justalurker; 04-18-06 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 04-18-06, 03:22 PM
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Now that I know about the Iron Out (and have some) I will use it regularly. I had cleaned out the brine tank several years ago and I plan to let the salt run down and clean it out again soon.

I will also get some test strips to know how the water is holding up between regenerations. I believe the meter used 1500 gallons as the regeneration trigger.

We didn't have kids when the system was installed and now we have two so I'm sure the water usage is significantly higher these days.

Thanks for the input.

Peter
 
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Old 04-18-06, 03:55 PM
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Peter,

Sounds like you have everything under control.

Do the iron out
Do clean the brine tank
Do check that the water is holding soft
Do only put enough salt in the brine tank to cover the water

It would be interesting to know if the turbine comes back ...

Happy to help
 
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Old 04-19-06, 12:23 PM
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I checked it out again last night (the installation manual does show how to switch the unit to meter mode) and the gallon reading did not change after leaving the water running for several minutes. I switched it back to day mode.

I have to get a plumber in to move the well tank and water softetener later this year so I'll ask if he can get at the turbine while it's all apart and see if it will free up.

Peter
 
 

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