Time to replace water softener?


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Old 01-28-09, 01:58 PM
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Time to replace water softener?

Recently moved into an almost 10 year old home with a system that I believe is as old as the house. The system is a fleck 5700 (I think) that seems to be demand based regeneration (had to set dials based on number of people and hardness).

Have been having some problems, brine is not drawn in on regeneration, when testing it seems like there is a small amount of suction on the brine draw, but not much. Also, while cleaning and testing everything, accidentally broke the air check assembly off the end of itís tube.

The brine tank is a mess, huge solidification of salt on the bottom that definitely needs to be cleaned out, water slowly moves in and out of the tube, but takes a little while for the tube to match the tank.

Tried opening up what I could on the valve and cleaned out screens and nozzles. There is a slight draw, but definitely much less than 1GPM (would say probably around 0.025 GPM).

I donít know what else to check on the valve. Replacing the valve and the air check assembly would come close to the cost of replacement, plus I have read that the lifespan of these things is 8 Ė 12 years, so thinking resin or something else would need to be replaced soon.

Last place I lived had a GE unit with demand regeneration and some nice digital features. Seemed to use a lot less salt than others, and was quiet when not regenerating.

Seems like it is better to not put money into this due to age and get something new, but wondering if that is crazy.
 

Last edited by mnmarathonman; 01-28-09 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 01-28-09, 03:02 PM
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Don't think Fleck ever made a 5700 valve. It sounds as through it is a 5600 valve. The system will last 20+ years. A weak draw will still draw the salt water in. Should draw at a rate of .33 gpm. Cleaning the injestor throat and nozzle will help. I would clean out the brine tank and the injector/nozzle, fix air check and add a bag of salt and see what it does. May save you $$$. If not, get a Fleck 5600 metered system. I say this because I don't like mixing electronics and water.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 03:13 PM
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Thanks, it appears that it is a 5600 econominder. Did clean out the nozzle, throat, and screens. Will test again with a cup to see exact draw, believe it is much lower than 0.33 GPM (just stuck hose in a cup to see). It seems to come back in at full strength, so afraid most will just go out overflow.

Will try a good cleaning first and test.

Any other ideas for the low draw? If I only have to replace air check assembly it will be less than $20, definitely less than a new water softener.

Edit:
Tested with a gallon bucket of water, and it drew it in at a rate of almost exactly 0.33 GPM! Will clean out the brine tank, and hopefully that will do the trick.
 

Last edited by mnmarathonman; 01-28-09 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 01-28-09, 07:12 PM
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The draw may feel weak, but once it starts going, it moves. Are you on city water or well? If well, buy some resin cleaner. It will help.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 07:22 PM
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It's city water. Just got to the bottom of the tank, I think there must have been the wrong type of salt used, or lots of humidity, it was rock solid for the last foot or so on the bottom, don't know how any water got through there.

I manually started regeneration, and it looks like it runs through a cycle just fine (except that I have to manually advance from the brine draw when the brine water is gone because I am missing the air check assembly until the new one comes on Monday).

Otherwise, seems to be working again. Not sure what ended up improving the draw, but definitely know why very little salt was consumed. Took a lot of work to loosen the chunk at the bottom and get it out.

Thanks for the help! Was ready to replace everything this morning, now I will only be out about $30 and a couple of evenings! Much better than paying for a new setup.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 07:35 PM
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Can any harm be done by letting it do a normal regeneration cycle without the air check assembly (meaning that it would suck in a lot of air)? I would think it is not good, otherwise the air check assembly would not be necessary.

Doesn't matter too much since I have one coming on Monday, will try one well attended regeneration between now and then, and leave it unplugged in between. Just was wondering...
 
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Old 01-29-09, 06:29 AM
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No, yopu don't want the unit to draw air. Can cause loss of resin. Glad you were able to determine a new unit was not needed. I tell my custmoers to let the unit run almost out of salt once a year too prevent what you went though.
 
 

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