New Homeowner - Questions about Settings and Data from GE 460i 'Test' Mode

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Old 10-07-14, 07:12 AM
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New Homeowner - Questions about Settings and Data from GE 460i 'Test' Mode

Hey there folks!

I moved into a house about a month and a half ago, and am running on well water with an inline filter between the well tank and a water softener. The previous owners are not contactable, and there is no documentation or identifying information about the water softener except for GE 460i on the control valve. I've had two techs out to look at the unit, since it was not regenerating automatically or providing soft water. I have been told it is a 40,000 grain tank with a resin volume of 1.25ft^3.

I have extremely hard and iron-y water. Hardness of 56 + 4.5ppm of iron, and TDS around 600. At this point, the settings have been adjusted enough that we have consistently soft water, though the unit is regenerating every other day.

The current settings are:

Hardness: 60
Capacity: 18
Brine Knob Position: 13

I have been monitoring the memory information in the unit's test mode to get # of days since regen, average daily use, and total gallons used since last regen, and the results don't add up to me. It states an average daily use of 35 gallons (and yes, I've converted the hex from the two memory locations: 0023h). This seems extraordinarily low to me - there are 2 of us in the house, and we do laundry and run the dishwasher on a normal basis. My parents get around 150gal/day at the lowest.

In addition to this, with the brine knob position set to 13, my understanding is that a regen cycle would use 13 pounds of salt. I put in 80 pounds when we moved in, and the tank at that point probably had 20 pounds. Since then, I've hardly noticed the salt level drop at all, but I have consistently soft water now, so I feel like rules out a salt bridge. However, I'm regenerating 3.5 times per week, so that would be about 45 pounds of salt used per week. Having properly softened water now for about 2 weeks, I am definitely not seeing the salt level drop anywhere near that much.

Could someone explain if my salt use understanding is incorrect, and provide input as to why the softener is only detecting 35gal of use per day? The first tech out had said the activation pressure of the softener was too high, but he tweaked it and so now the softener regenerates automatically. Is there a way to change the pressure detection values on the unit? My well pump cycles from about 23psi to 50psi.

Thank you very much!

-Griffin
 
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Old 10-09-14, 05:07 AM
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Does anyone have any theories here? I'm really unsure as to why so little salt is being used, and why the water use meter seems so low. Everything in my house is plumbed with soft water, including outside faucets, as far as I can tell.
 
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Old 10-10-14, 06:06 AM
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The TDS is not correct. With just the hardness of 56 GPG, TDS should be about 950. I would not try to remove that much iron with a water softener. I would recommennd an iron filter first. If in fact you do have a 1.25 CF system, the capacity should be set at 24 and not 18 with a salt setting of 8 lbs. Here is a manual: http://www.pure-earth.com/PDF/255-460i.pdf
 
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Old 10-10-14, 08:41 AM
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I'm inclined to think the TDS number is reasonably accurate, as other homeowners with wells in the area have similar numbers (albeit more like 450 or 500 than 600) and our water has been tested with more than 1 TDS meter.

So, how did you decide on a capacity of 24 over 18? The first service call we had, the tech set the capacity to 20, and then the second guy lowered it to 15. I then increased it to 18. My understanding was that it was a 40,000 grain unit, but because of the age and amount of iron and whatnot, the effective capacity would be much lower than 40. Just curious on how you picked 24.

I have that manual printed out and have read through it a number of times. When we got the house, the salt setting was at 19, then it was lowered to 9 by the first tech, and then increased to 14 by the second tech. How did you decide on 8? The manual would suggest 7.0 for the settings you recommend, but would it need to be higher because of how hard/iron-y the water is?

And again, my main concern is that the salt level doesn't appear to drop sizeably, if at all. It's been set at 13, and has regenerated every night the last 5 days, and the salt level doesn't look any lower to me. The water is soft, however, and doesn't smell/taste too bad.

And there's still the issue of why it's saying I only use 35-38 gallons of water per day. For 2 people, that seems crazy low. We're not that efficient.
 
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Old 10-11-14, 05:56 AM
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TDS is total dissolved solids. That means the hardness & iron make up the TDS. TDS is measured in PPM whereas hardness is measured in GPG. To convert from GPG to TDS you times by 17.1. In your case, 60 GPG * 17.1=1026. So either the hardness is wrong or the TDS is wrong.

1 CF of resin will yeild 30K capacity using 15 lbs of salt or 20K using 6 lbs. So 1.25*20K=25K & 1.25*6=7.5. With iron in the water you have to use more salt. As far as the unit saying a low average use, it may be caused by the last occupants but not sure.
 
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Old 10-11-14, 11:56 AM
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Thanks for the information. I think I was misinterpreting the recommended salt setting table. I thought that the capacity number was fixed based on the size/condition of the unit, and not that you could move your settings up and down within the displayed ranges depending on how much salt you wanted to use. Giving 24/8ish a whirl. Hope it works!

Also, my water went hard this morning. My (hopefully correct) theory is that the carbon filter I had put in to the sump earlier this week created too much of a pressure drop for the softener to actually run a proper regen. So, I've put the standard sediment filter back in and am hoping for the best.

I don't think the average use would be low because of the previous owner. The manual says the average is just a 7-day moving average.
 
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Old 11-06-14, 12:42 AM
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I see that this post is a month old so presumably you have resolved your issue. But here's my 2 cents anyway.

Based on your settings of 60 grains and 18,000 grain capacity your water softener would recharge about every 300 gallons (18,000g/60gpg). This would be every couple of days depending on your water usage. (If set to 9,000g it would likely be every day.) However, if the softener thinks that you are only using an average of 35 gallons a day, it should be a week between recycling, which it is not. A possible cause of this is that the 460i "Calendar Override" was set to manually recycle every 2 days by the previous owners. Some folks do this as their exchange media degrades and they find the softener not regenerating often enough to keep the water soft. Or maybe in your case, if the flow meter reading was bad. You can check this setting by following the "Calendar Override Setting" in the 460i manual.

I agree that the 460i indicating 35 gallons average water usage a day is low. This may be caused by a bad or restricted flow meter. By way of example, with my family of four, the "average daily use" read at location 3F:3E is 120 to 150 gallons. My actual use based on readings from location 2A:29 varies from 100 to 250 gal/day. If the flow meter is not spinning freely it could give a low reading. You can easily check the flow meter by leaving the jumper on pins 'B' and the display on address 29. Run water to fill a 2 or 5 gallon container and you should see the display change in real time by the number of gallons you dispensed.

Not sure what the "activation pressure" of the softener is and how one would "tweak" it. I have a 460i timer with a 255 body and don't know of any “tweakable” pressure settings. Maybe your body is different.

As to why you don't seem to be using much salt I am not sure given your extreme water hardness. It may be an illusion as I have a hard time detecting salt movement in my tank over the short term, but then it's not regenerating every day!

The capacity and the salt settings need to be manually coordinated per the salt dial setting chart allowing for any degradation in performance. When you had the salt setting at 13 lbs the softener was regenerating up to a 32,000 grain capacity with each regeneration, but the 460i was only expecting an 18,000 grains capacity based on your setting.

Also, the softener is more salt efficient at lower salt settings. Based on 1.25 cu ft of exchange media, it takes 23 lbs of salt to regenerate to 40,000 grains, but only 7 lbs to regenerate to 24,000 grains.

Hope this helps.
 
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