Water softner not softening...


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Old 11-29-06, 10:06 AM
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Water softner not softening...

Hello all - I recently cleaned out my salt storage tank (brine tank) since it was empty. I did this by removing the float assembly that runs down the hollow tube, took the salt tank outside, removed the bottom grid, and cleaned it out with the hose. It was loaded with a ton of dirt - amazing. Anyway, after I reassembled it and refilled with salt and enough water to cover the grid by about an inch or two as per the manual, I had it run through two regeneration cycles on two consecutive days. As of today, the water is still hard. Obviously, it is not working. I'm not sure why and thought maybe someone could help. I noticed the brine tank was lacking in water and filled it myself, then started another cycle. After it was complete, I noticed the level in the brine tank was again low, so I know I have suction. From what I just saw on the web sites pointed to by Dunbar in "Detailed breakdown of Water Softeners/Filters", the fill cycle happens at the beginning of the cycle, so I probably did not have to fill it myself. I will run another cycle tonight and verify.

Anyway, any thoughts on why my water is still hard?

Thanks,
Rob
 
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Old 11-29-06, 10:36 AM
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What brand and model of softener?

Is the softener in "bypass"?

Usually "not-softening" is the result of brine not being sucked into the resin for the ion exchange or brining step in regeneration.

The softener will/should put the correct amount of water into the brine tank based on it's settings. If there's salt in the brine tank and that brine is being sucked into the resin tank at the correct time then it should soften.

Since the only thing you did, cleaning the brine tank, seemingly resulted in not-softening triple check everything you did. Check every connection.

BTW, those animations Dunbar points to are pretty specific to Sears type softeners and while they generally apply, industry standard softeners may operate differently. For instance, industry standard softeners generally refill the brine tank as the last step in regeneration and that step is called a "post-fill". Some industry standard softeners fill the brine tank as the first step in regenerating and that is called a "pre-fill". If they do a pre-fill there needs to be at least TWO HOURS allowed for the water to disolve the salt, BEFORE regeneration begins, otherwise the brine won't be sufficently concentrated with salt to ion exchange the capacity of the resin it is calculated to do.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 11-29-06 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 11-29-06, 10:40 AM
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Wink

Have you checked the controls to as how much salt it should use?????
 
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Old 11-29-06, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Imeduc
Have you checked the controls to as how much salt it should use?????
It was softening BEFORE he took it apart so it seems the solution would be with something he did/didn't do or didn't do correctly or overlooked.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 11-29-06 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 11-29-06, 04:06 PM
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[QUOTE=justalurker;1084864]What brand and model of softener?

Is the softener in "bypass"?

Usually "not-softening" is the result of brine not being sucked into the resin for the ion exchange or brining step in regeneration.
QUOTE]

The softner is not in bypass mode. It is a culligan mark 59 or mark 512. The brine is being sucked, but it appears it is not being replenished. Do you know if this model is a fill before of fill after. I am guessing fill after since it seems to only have a 2 hour cycle.

Thanks for your help so far!

Rob
 
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Old 11-29-06, 04:20 PM
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If the softener worked fine before you worked on the brine tank then either you've messed something up or it's just bad luck. Perhaps you didn't reinstall the float correctly or changed the setting. That would influence the amount of water in the brine tank.

IIRC, the older Culligan's are "post-fill".

Ususally brine problems are that it is not being sucked out and that's usually a venturi problem.

Based on the dirt you found in the brine tank no one has been doing routine maintenance on that softener so the dirt undoubtedly has made it's way into the control valve. If that softener has been in service for a long time it might need a rebuild or at least a service. Sounds like something may be wrong with the seals and o-rings on the stack (piston).

Here's the owner's manual for the 59-512 and it's dated 1991...
http://www.culligan.com/download.cfm?&&13075620361E0D39062B001C43211616000C5E0B2D55041657280E0F060D272A005C07003E0B4E2E130B1B545C09436A424652660F1306111037300A440B093A174E4B4554494540105E6F4B4C42085F554D135402&&MTMwNzU2MjAzNjFFMEQzOTA2MkIwMDFDNDMyMTE2MTYwMDBDNUUwQjJENTUwNDE2NTcyODBFMEYwNjBEMjcyQTAwNUMwNzAwM0UwQjRFMkUxMzBCMUI1NDVDMDk0MzZBNDI0NjUyNjYwRjEzMDYxMTEwMzczMDBBNDQwQjA5M0ExNzRFNEI0NTU0NDk0NTQwMTA1RTZGNEI0QzQyMDg1RjU1NEQxMzU0MDI=

Give the Culligan people a call and tell them what you've observed. They have the parts and tools.

Consider the cost tuition and be there to see the tech work. Ask questions and pay attention so you may be able to help yourself next time
 

Last edited by justalurker; 11-29-06 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 11-29-06, 04:46 PM
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Thanks - I'll take a look at that manual. I do know that water is being sucked out. What I did yesterday is look in the brine tank. I noticed the water level was very low (so low that when the water is sucked out, only air would go into the line as the suction tip was no longer submerged). So, I added a couple gallons with a pail. Then I went through the regen cycle. The next morning (about 8 hours later) I looked in the tank. The brine tank was again low. SO it appears the sucking is working, but it is not refiling. So I'm guessing I don't have soft water because me adding water and then running the cycle immediately thereafter did not give the salt enough time to disolve. Maybe I should try pulling apart to see why it is not refilling.

Thanks for the help!
Rob
 
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Old 11-29-06, 05:21 PM
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Rob,

You should call Culligan and get a price for a service call. The softener needs repair and you don't have the parts or the tools
 
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Old 11-29-06, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by justalurker
Rob,

You should call Culligan and get a price for a service call. The softener needs repair and you don't have the parts or the tools
Problem solved - I pulled the float assembly apart and the little brass ball that presses against a washer to cut off the flow during the brine tank refill was always pressed against the washer. The lever that is connected to the float was so corroded that it broke and blocked the ball from mocing out of the way. So, I just pulled that apart and pulled out the broken parts, rebent a lever rod connecting the float rod to the shutoff ball, and presto, I am back in business. Funny thing about that shut off - especially since the refill cycle is timed to stop filling after an amount of time. Although I imagine that the float is to cut it off in case the refill time is too long. So my fix will get me going for a few days, but like you say, I need a replacement part since my "fix" does not allow the float to turn off the water any longer.

Thanks for your help - I'll call culligan in the AM.

Rob
 
 

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