Resin Tank Leak on Soft Minder Twin


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Old 03-12-08, 05:59 PM
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Resin Tank Leak on Soft Minder Twin

I have a Soft Minder Twin (1996 vintage Culligan)that has a severe leak on one of the resin tanks. The leak is between the white covering on the tank and a black plastic hub. The brass fitting from the valve body threads into this black plastic hub. My manual indicates that there are two o-rings that seal the valve body to the resin tank. However, it appears that if these failed I would leak between the valve body and the black hub.

Has the resin tank ruptured or is there a replaceable sealing component under this black plastic hub? Is this hub a threaded component that I should be able to tighten.

I contacted a vendor and they indicated that I would need to replace the tank and that that height was no longer available. Therefore I would need to by two tanks or by a new controller and convert it to a single tank system.

Would the fittings on a Culligan system fit on a tank by another manufacturer? I would need to buy at least one tank and resin since much of the resin was washed into my basement floor.

Is it worth trying to obtain new components to refurbish this unit or should I punt and invest in a new unit?
 
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Old 03-14-08, 07:52 PM
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Fleck 9000 Economizer

I was able to disassemble the leaking resin tank. I was surprised to find that is a metal tank with a bladder that is held at the neck of the tank by a hard plastic collar. The collar failed. So unless this bladder/collar can be purchased as an aftermarket component, I am on to procuring new tanks or a entirely new system.

After a little investigation, I determined that control valve on my system is actually a Fleck 9000. I see that this valve is still available on new units. This model is 11 years old. Is it still a decent valve/controller to use or are there significant advantages to newer electronic controllers/valves?

What are your opinions on the current “best” valve?
 
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Old 03-19-08, 09:44 AM
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That valve is a good valve. See, the whole idea with the twin system is while one tank is regenerating at whatever time of the day,the other one is in service and delivering soft water,basically when everything is up to par you should never be without soft water. I wouldn't start looking around at brand new units just yet,with proper repair and up-keep you should be able to get much more life out of that unit. I'm trying to visualize the collar/bladder you spoke of. Are you refering to the area where the valve itself touches the tank? Or is there a collar that actually holds the valve on?
 
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Old 03-19-08, 03:56 PM
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Failed component and Water Test

Originally Posted by Fleckneck5600 View Post
I'm trying to visualize the collar/bladder you spoke of. Are you refering to the area where the valve itself touches the tank? Or is there a collar that actually holds the valve on?
Let me start with a new description (now that I have taken it apart)... The resin tank is a metal tank with a bladder liner. The liner appears to be solvent welded to a hard plastic neck with groves that lock into a set of tabs on the inside of the neck of the metal tank. This hard plastic neck has internal and external threads. There is a ring that threads onto the outside diameter of the neck and clamps it onto the neck of the metal tank. Then the control valve is threaded into the inside diameter of the hard plastic neck. This neck cracked resulting in water and resin spewing out onto the floor.

I had the water tested today at a local manufacturer and it 14 grains per gallon with trace Iron. They recommended a 30,000 grain unit set at 15 grains and stated that it would process 2000 gallons between regenerations. Additionally they stated that it would consume about 10 lbs of salt and 35 gallons of water per regeneration.

My current unit was set to regenerate at 600 gallons. This is over 3 times as frequent. Is it reasonable that there is that much difference in the efficiency of control equipment and resins or is one of these settings way off?
 
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Old 03-19-08, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by japitts View Post
I had the water tested today at a local manufacturer and it 14 grains per gallon with trace Iron. They recommended a 30,000 grain unit set at 15 grains and stated that it would process 2000 gallons between regenerations. Additionally they stated that it would consume about 10 lbs of salt and 35 gallons of water per regeneration.
In order to correctly size a softener the details of your water conditions are required and a few questions need to be answered...

"Trace iron" is not an adequate measurement. Need to know hardness, iron, manganese, and PH at least.

How many people in the house?

Well water or municipal system?

Number of bathrooms?

Any appliances consuming large amounts of water... Jaccuzzi or hot tub?

What is the SFR (Service Flow Rate) of the plumbing?

With that information we can help you understand what size softener you need and then you can make an informed decision.
 
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Old 03-19-08, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"Trace iron" is not an adequate measurement. Need to know hardness, iron, manganese, and PH at least.
Where would I get a test of this detail? He tested for hardness (a titration) and then Iron (dry powder added to water sample). I assumed was looking for a color shift. From my view point, it was clear. He said “maybe trace iron”.

Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"How many people in the house?
Currently 2 adults and 1 child (3 years old). The house is a 4 bedroom. Therefore I would like to purchase a unit that is sized for normal occupancy.

Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"Well water or municipal system?
Municipal

Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"Number of bathrooms?
2.5

Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"Any appliances consuming large amounts of water... Jaccuzzi or hot tub?
Dishwasher, Cloths Washer.

Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
"What is the SFR (Service Flow Rate) of the plumbing?
Is this water usage? I looked a 3 consecutive years of water bills for the winter (no sprinklers running) and we averaged 220 gallons per day. The sprinklers feed off the main feed prior to the water softener ties in.
 
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Old 03-19-08, 05:35 PM
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SFR is the maximum water flow of the plumbing in gallons per minute (gpm) and an important consideration when sizing a water softener.

The SFR of the softener is determined by the volume of resin in the resin tank and the size of the inlet and outlet in the control valve but limited by the SFR of the plumbing feeding the softener.

If the softener's SFR is lower than the SFR of the plumbing (and fixtures) then hardness will leak through and you may lose water pressure after the softener. That obviates all the money you spent to get soft water.

Sizing a softener is really pretty straightforward arithmetic. you want the softener to be sized to adequately handle the SFR of the house and ideally regenerate every 6 or 7 days.

The recommendation you received would have the softener regenerating every 11 days which is longer than I'd want.

I'd like to know exactly what they recommended to you. Not 30,000 grains but in cubic feet of resin or the resin tank size.
 
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Old 03-19-08, 08:20 PM
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SFR Calculation

Is there a standard method for calculating the SFR of the house? I know that with the supply line size to the house, and allowed pressure drop, that I can calculate the flow rate. But I do not know if there is a "standard" allowed pressure drop assumed. Since each branch of the piping has a differnt equivalent length of pipe and each using component in the house will have a different Cv, calculating the actual therotical maximum flow would be quite complex. However, if typically the SFR is based on the inlet piping size and an assumed pressure drop, I can knock that cacluation out quite quickly.

I will gather more information on the proposed unit (resign tank size and resin volume). I know that it was a Fleck 6700 control valve and some information I found online indicates that there is a 15 psi pressure drop at 20 GPM and a 25 psi drop at 26 GPM. But this is for the valve only. The resin tank and associated piping would add additional dP.

In the end, I am going to have to decide between replacing the resin tank (or tanks if I can not find a matching height)and the lost resin for my Fleck 9000 or buying a new unit.
 
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Old 03-19-08, 09:18 PM
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You can get a ballpark SFR if you use the highest volume fixture, usually the bath tub (if it isn't a mixing valve), and using a 5 gallon bucket. Open both hot and cold and measure the water in the bucket after 10 seconds. Multiply that volume by 6 and you get gallons per minute. That will be low but at least a working number. Don't forget to bypass your old softener for this test.

The flow rates of the control valves are far above the SFR of any residential installation so they are not the limiting factor.

The limiting SFR is the resin volume in the resin tank of the softener.

You can get the SFR of a specific resin from the resin manufacturer. As an example...

The SFR (gpm) of most softeners with Purolite C100 (a common) resin in gpm according to a Purolite Rep is:

1.0 cu ft= 5 gpm
1.25 cu ft= 6.25 gpm
1.5 cu ft= 7.5 gpm
2.0 cu ft=10 gpm
2.5 cu ft=12.5 gpm
3.0 cu ft=15 gpm
3.5 cu ft=17.5 gpm
4.0 cu ft=20 gpm

Off hand, with 14g hardness, 4 people (you have 2.5 people but the house should have 4), and "a trace of iron" a 1.5 cu ft to a 2 cu ft softener should be what you need.

I'd prefer other than the Fleck 6700. They had some teething problems when introduced. I'd opt for a Fleck 2510SE or a 5600SE which is the tried and true Fleck workhorse.

If I were you, I'd call a couple more independent water treatment pros along with one of the big dogs like Kinetico or Culligan for comparison water tests and recommendations.

BTW, the more frequent regenerations of your old Culligan Twin (resin tank) softener were based on the two smaller tanks alternating regenerations where a single resin tank softener would have one larger resin tank and regenerate at longer intervals.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 03-19-08 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 03-20-08, 08:42 AM
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Be careful. Many Fleck 9000 valves built for the Culligan company have special size threads, and you would need to get a Culligan tank, and it is doubtful that tank is still made. While the 9000 valve is a very good valve, the fact you will still be tied to culligan will only raise your costs in the long run. After 13 years, it may be better to shop for a new fleck twin tank system with no branding on it.
 
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Old 03-20-08, 08:47 AM
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All this sfr stuff is silly. If you have 3/4" plumbing in the home, then a 32,000 grain water softener with a Fleck 5600 head and 3/4" bypass valve is what you need. If you have
1" plumbing, go with a 64,000 grain water softener with a fleck 2500 series head. You can only get so much flow out of a pipe, so the size of the pipe is more important than adding a bunch of fixtures.
 
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Old 03-20-08, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cleanwaterman View Post
All this sfr stuff is silly.
If you read the specifications of resin you'll find flow rate prominently mentioned for a reason.

The "flow out of the pipe" is SFR and a consideration that must be included when correctly sizing a water softener... unless hardness leaking through and pressure loss is not a consideration.

So, you size softeners based only on water conditions and water usage because "all this SFR stuff is silly"?
 

Last edited by justalurker; 03-20-08 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 03-21-08, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by justalurker View Post
BTW, the more frequent regenerations of your old Culligan Twin (resin tank) softener were based on the two smaller tanks alternating regenerations where a single resin tank softener would have one larger resin tank and regenerate at longer intervals.
Since I did not buy the old unit, I am not sure what the resin charge was, but the tanks are 42 inches tall and 9 inches in diameter. So I don't expect my new unit to be significantly larger in tank size.

My main concern with reusing the old unit was that it used about 320 lbs of salt between November and the end of February. So unless it was regenerating too often or had some other issue, was a salt hog and I would hope a new unit would consume much less salt. That is why I mentioned the 600 gallon regeneration setting as compared to 2000 on the new unit quoted.
 
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Old 03-22-08, 08:20 AM
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The only issue with a 2000 gallon regeneration setting is if you have dissolved iron or manganese in the water. In such cases, the softener should regenerate every 3 days to prevent iron fixing itself to the media (resin).
 
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Old 03-22-08, 08:33 AM
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If I size a commercial system, I am going to oversize it a little because in commercial / industrial situations, SFR is important. On the other hand, if you have a salesman in your home going on about SFR, he is most likely trying to confuse you and blow smoke up your rear. If I can succesfully treat 99% of the flow in a home without an issue, I am not going to worry about that 1% that might not be totally treated because of that one day when the Mrs. did laundry, the dishwasher, and had two kids taking showers while the husband filled the hot tub all at the same time. I am going to size a system that will be the most efficient for the normal 99% of the time, therefore I will save my customer money for purchase and operation. Softener sizing is not as difficult as deciding what other equipment you need in addition to a softener (at least for home use). I've seen many installations where other water treatment salesmen have done customers a total injustice by not understanding water chemistry in the least. Anyone who uses industry terms while selling you a system is most likely a salesman and not a licensed contractor like myself.
 
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Old 03-22-08, 10:12 AM
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The following is posted with respect to our different points of view...

Originally Posted by cleanwaterman View Post
On the other hand, if you have a salesman in your home going on about SFR, he is most likely trying to confuse you and blow smoke up your rear.
Or, he is knowledgeable about what he is doing and providing the customer with knowledge and facts so they can make an informed decision.

Originally Posted by cleanwaterman View Post
If I can succesfully treat 99% of the flow in a home without an issue, I am not going to worry about that 1% that might not be totally treated because of that one day when the Mrs. did laundry, the dishwasher, and had two kids taking showers while the husband filled the hot tub all at the same time. I am going to size a system that will be the most efficient for the normal 99% of the time, therefore I will save my customer money for purchase and operation.
When I pay money to get a job done or for a machine to execute a process I expect, no demand, that they (or it) do the job 100%, 100% of the time. To settle for anything less is not getting one's money's worth and less than competent performance.

Hard water properly treated by a correctly sized water softener should be 0 hardness 100% of the time when the softener is in service.

No softener system will "be the most efficient" when it's not doing its job 100% of the time. Well, I guess it could, if undersized it will be using less salt and regenerate less frequently than a correctly sized softener. The statement depends on what is considered most efficient and whether competency is considered in the equation.

Originally Posted by cleanwaterman View Post
Softener sizing is not as difficult as deciding what other equipment you need in addition to a softener (at least for home use). I've seen many installations where other water treatment salesmen have done customers a total injustice by not understanding water chemistry in the least. Anyone who uses industry terms while selling you a system is most likely a salesman and not a licensed contractor like myself.
Agreed, like many industries there are pros and pretenders, experts and wanna bes, honest business people and quick dollar snake oil salespeople in the water treatment business and many customers suffer and waste money due to that unfortunate reality.

Understanding chemistry is necessary and a requirement for a water treatment professional. Not following the flow rate specifications of the resin manufacturers and selling equipment that is purposely undersized for an application as a marketing consideration is, at least, misrepresenting the product while doing the customer an injustice.

Is your license to plumb, or to sell, install, and service water treatment equipment? A license from a government entity merely allows that one may do the job and does not certify that one can or will do the job correctly be it electrician, plumber, real estate agent et al.

Nothing personal Cleanwaterman, but we disagree.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 03-22-08 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 03-23-08, 12:29 AM
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Use flow is just one issue. Using equipment that is too large to properly backwash is the issue I have run in to far more often. Again, this is from salesmen looking at what they can get out of the customers (monetarily) instead of a qualified technician taking into consideration what he can realistically expect the well pump and septic system to handle as far as flow rate. Many systems foul because an overzealous salesman sells a system too large for the flow rate of the well pump. Therefore, the recommended backwash rate is not achieved for the entire cycle and the filter or softener can't rinse out properly. Again, much more than domestic flow rate should be used in sizing a system. Sometimes compromise IS the best thing for the customer, when you consider what other damage a system that is too large can inflict on the entire system, well and septic included. A good technician will lay these issues out for a customer.

I am not implying that you are not a qualified technician. I am just trying to tell others about all the other issues I take into consideration when sizing a system.

In my state (CT) the J1 contractors license test concerns well pumps, well tanks, and filtration systems. It allows one to sell, service and install systems and well pumps. It took me ten years to get my full contractors license. Unfortunately, if I was just a salesman, I could go from selling carpet one day to selling water systems the next, because in my state, you don't have to have proficiency in what you sell, as far as home improvement is concerned, you just have to pay a fee. This while a licensed technician IS proficient enough to pass a test about his field.
 
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Old 03-23-08, 08:10 AM
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We are speaking to residential installation and not commercial.

We are in agreement that there are rip-offs and liars out there selling pretty much anything and everything.

We are in agreement that salesman are generally not as knowledgeable as techs with the reservation that there are many exceptional CWS certified sales people who know their products better then their installers do.

We are in agreement that there are many considerations when sizing a water softener.

We disagree that "all this sfr stuff is silly".

We disagree that compromising 0 hardness during any time the softener is in service is acceptable. You say it is and I say it isn't.

We agree that a "CT J1 contractor's license allows one to sell, service and install systems and well pumps" and does not certify that one can or will do the job correctly.

If someone tells me that they will sell me a machine that does its job 99% of the time and the benefit is that the system is less expensive then sir, they are a salesman or a misguided tech.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 03-23-08 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:29 AM
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Just look at the last posting. A system that is too large is going to fail, simply because it won't be able to rinse properly due to well limmitations. How is that better for the customer?
 
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Old 03-23-08, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by cleanwaterman View Post
Just look at the last posting. A system that is too large is going to fail, simply because it won't be able to rinse properly due to well limitations. How is that better for the customer?
Never disputed and we agree, a system that is too large will have problems be it a well or a municipal water system.

You take your example to the extreme. Sure, there are softeners in service that are far too large for the installation requirements and these will have problems but there are far more softeners installed that are undersized for the installation requirements and the unsuspecting customers are paying for soft water all the time and not getting it. Worse, undersized softeners are regenerate more frequently, wasting both water and salt, and costing the customer more to operate than a correctly sized softener would.

Many softener sellers don't know or care what SFR is and many others hawking water treatment hardware think that "all this sfr stuff is silly".

That's why there's physics, arithmetic, chemistry, SFR, and resin specs so a system can be correctly sized to provide 0 hardness 100% of the time... you know, not too small and not too large, but just right

It's very difficult to help people who come to DIY forums expecting quick answers to their problems but do not provide the required details to help them. When posters provide detailed configuration of existing systems they're having problems with, water test results, ballpark SFR of the home and fixtures, and water usage it's a lot easier to point them in the right direction and give them recommendations as a place to start their shopping or repair diagnosis.

Kinda like trying to fix things over the phone... move it closer to the phone so I can see it or having to read the poster's mind to fill in the necessary, missing information to help them.
 

Last edited by justalurker; 03-23-08 at 01:08 PM.
 

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