Water Softener Resin in Water Lines

Old 07-18-07, 04:05 PM
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Water Softener Resin in Water Lines

We discovered resin stopping up the cold water line screen to the washing machine when it stopped filling. The gunk collected on all the faucet screens and slowed flow. We have an ECO Water unit 7 years old installed in our house when new. The dealer said this was normal and 5 to 7 years was all I should expect from the resin. I insisted it should not fail in the manner it did and they say it is not uncommon. They say they will replace the resin for $150 plus $85 labor but then I guess I will need to do this again in 5 years if this is "normal", I have read on two sites that the resin should last 20 years. We have 22 grain hardness plus clorine added. Most water systems in this part of Texas are well water of great quality - just hard.

What failed that let the resin out of the system. Should I just buy another unit? Try to repair myself? The system is usage controlled and worked well when new.

Last edited by Pigmy; 07-18-07 at 04:07 PM. Reason: question added.
Old 07-19-07, 07:37 PM
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Resin in lines

All softening resins will suffer normal attrition that is exacerbated by chlorine.

Predicting resin life depends on a number of variables, such as oxidants, heavy metals, resin types, resin crosslinkage, operational parameters etc...

It's inappropriate and irresponsible for anyone to make a knee-jerk resin lifespan prediction without having sufficient operating data.

Attrition is both a functional capacity loss and the structural failure of resin media. The resin will eventually collapse into a "mush" that resembles applesauce.

Your symptom doesn't really sound like attrition damage though.

It sounds more like a broken botton distributor screen/basket (the part that keeps the resin in the tank). Distributors usually fail due to thermal damage (heat backup from water heater) or hydrostatic shock (water hammer).

A third, less likely culprit is a riser that is cut too long during manufacture that has been "bowing" since day one has finally caused the distributor to fail.

Diagnosis is relatively simple - you remove the head and examine the resin with a cheap 40x handheld microscope from radio shack. If the media is generally spherical and whole, then your resin is probably fine. You could then also remove the riser/distributor assembly and examine it for structural integrity at that point.

Thermal damage will be evidenced by the melted/deformed appearance of the distributor and hydrostatic damage will show light-colored stress-marks on the plastic at the points of failure.

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