GE GXSF30V Water Softener problems

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Old 01-22-19, 12:37 PM
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GE GXSF30V Water Softener problems

House with TWO people. NOT huge water users. We have had soft water for years. Our previous softener worked. Eventually it had to be replaced, and was replaced with a GE GXSF30V about 6 months ago.

The softener SORT-OF softens the water. It recharges and for a couple days the water is soft - at least it goes down to about 1.5 grains from the unsoftened 25. But, after 2 or 3 days the water is hard and the softener doesn't recharge for some number of days. Once it does the cold water is soft, but of course since the hot water tank is full of hard water by the time IT gets soft the softener isn't softening.

The local water company SAYS the hardness here is 18 grains. We STARTED with it at 18. Then went to 20, then 22 and NOW at 25 grains. Still the SAME problem.

I'VE CLEANED the venturi and nozzle. I had to do this on the previous softener about once/year so I'm familiar with the procedure. This one, when I pulled it apart showed NO clogging, grit, anything plugging anything - NOTHING. Clean. Manually recharged when done.

I'm GUESSING about when it recharges 'cause it doesn't TELL YOU when it recharges. I'm going by the "days until empty". It'll go down 1 day per day, then drop somewhere between 6 and 10 days, so I presume that means it recharged the night before.

In the salt tank there's a large tube with a float in it. Putting a yardstick into that tube, past the float to the bottom shows just UNDER 3" of water in the bottom. It APPEARED to be just under 3" when the hardness was 18, and it's STILL just under 3" with the hardness at 25.

I've manually run it through the recharge cycle and verified the slow drain, fast drain and so on in the various parts of the recharge.

SO, since everything APPEARS to be mechanically working as far a recharging and the hardness SHOULD be 33% HIGHER than the local water SAYS is the hardness, why doesn't this thing provide soft water between recharges?

I've been testing daily with test strips (cold water only since the hot water is ALWAYS messed up) and it'll go down to about 1.5 grains for a couple days, then right back to 25 grains until it eventually (at LEAST several days later) finally recharges. And the 25 is a guess since that's as high as the test strips go.

SO, I called GE, stupidly expecting I'd get someone in support who could tell me:
  • The right way to determine the softener has recharged
  • HOW MUCH water should be in the bottom of the salt tank (presuming the amount of salt uses to recharge is determined by the amount dissolved in the water in the tank)
  • and most importantly, WHY it gets hard DAYS before the water softener decides to recharge.

Unfortunately, I got one person that insisted it would recharge EVERY NIGHT. Then transferred to another person that told me I could see when it recharged by PERCENTAGE, but when asked exactly how, put me on hold then came back and told me "oops, that one doesn't do that". Then told me to "Just KEEP increasing the hardness 5 grains at a time 'til it stays soft between recharges"...

When I asked for someone with perhaps a BIT MORE knowledge about these units I was told "There's NO ONE else here that knows anything."

SO, HOPEFULLY somebody here can provide a LOT more help than I just got from the people that made and sold this thing 'cause at the moment it's not working well at all.

What do now?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-22-19, 01:25 PM
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Does your system have the blend valve as part of the bypass?

Make sure that the float assembly is all the way down. Your system fills the salt part first when it goes to clean.

Look for a toilet that is running, even slow will do a number on the softener.

If the raw water has 18-20 grains and no iron or manganese then the 22 should work just fine.
It is also possible that they did not load the tank with the correct amount of resin.

What size tank did they use in this system?
 
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Old 01-23-19, 07:15 AM
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I have not seen where you can program 22 on the hardness. It use to go to 20 then increments of 5 after that. Here are some possibilities:
1. program is not correct in control panel. Could be set for higher capacity system. (Highly unlikely)
2. Hardness is not set properly. Compensated hardness not calculate. (Highly likely)
3. Brine flow partially plugged with debris. (somewhat likely)
4. Partial salt bridge. System not getting required amount of salt per regen. (Somewhat likely)
 
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Old 02-02-19, 05:34 AM
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Sorry to be so long...

I don't know what a blend valve is. As far as I know the bypass is either open or closed. Can you tell me how to figure out if there's a blend valve?

As far as I can see, the float is at the bottom. It's just a styrofoam thing on a wire in the tube in the salt tank. How does it tell the system when there's enough water? It does go up and down, so I presume it's working.

Can someone explain how the whole float thing works and what its supposed to be doing 'cause it doesn't seem to be hooked to anything else... It just sits there in the tube.

As far as either of us can tell, there's nothing running. No toilets or faucets or anything else.

According to the city, the hardness is 18. According to the test strips it comes up in the 25 area, though that's as high as the strip goes, so I suppose it COULD be higher. Though I'm not sure why the city's number wouldn't be correct...

This unit lets me change the hardness setting by increments of 1 up to 25, then it jumps by 5, so we started at 18, went to 20, then 22, then 25 and now 30. So far, it doesn't seem to make any difference. Stays soft for a couple days, then gets hard, then eventually (going by the days-to-empty) it recharges.

I pulled the thing that controls the brine flow off and cleaned everything. I used to have to do this on the old unit about once/year, so I'm familiar with it. It was clean, nothing clogged, no debris.

There's definitely no salt bridge.

The old unit was a 24,000 grain unit and it used to run about every 7 - 9 days depending on laundry and such. And the soft water always lasted.

This thing apparently has a "turbine" in the line, and the only idea I have left is that EITHER the turbine is in wrong (possible), binding and not turning correctly, out of position (?), OR the "magnet" isn't picking up the turbine or not working or some such...

I"m going to try opening it up - pulling the bypass off - and checking, though I'm not sure what I should be seeing. If that doesn't work I'll have to call GE and get someone out to look at it...

If anybody has any other ideas let me know...
 
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Old 02-04-19, 03:20 PM
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I know that this might sound odd,,,

Could the system have been plumbed in reverse? in on the out and out on the in?
With the upper basket the resin will not show up in the house but the water will not be forced to come into contact with the resin as it would on the down flow through the unit and then into the house.
Just a thought.
 
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Old 03-13-19, 10:42 AM
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It's been a bit over another month on the GE GXFS30V water softener. Decided to try to figure out what/when it's doing things.

No, it's not plumbed backwards.

No, there's no salt bridge.

Read the manual and did "maintenance":
• Pulled the "venturi" unit apart and cleaned everything - there was NOTHING in any of the screens, nothing in the small hole in the venturi, nothing anywhere. But, since I'd had to do this cleaning about once/year with the old water softener I figured it couldn't hurt... Put it back together. Worked just as well as before...

Still softens the water for 2-3 days, then it gets hard again...
• Checked the turbine (the only other thing I could find in the manual). In diagnostic mode, open faucet, softener clicks rapidly and a counter increments. That, according to the manual means it's working perfectly.
• Ran through a recharge moving cycle to cycle while watching
• Pulled the long water tube with the float out of the plastic tube in the brine tank. There's always about 2 7/8" of water in the bottom. While running through the recharge process I watched the water come out of the tube into the brine tank. When done watching, put it back in and since I'd had it run that part of the recharge twice, there was now TWICE as much water in the brine tank as there normally is. Hit "Recharge Now" and let it do its thing.

Called GE to get someone out here. Person I talked to told me we'd done everything right, and that there wasn't any other thing we could do..........

There’s a spreadsheet below, but after ending up with EXTRA WATER in the brine tank when I manually recharged, water got soft and STAYED soft (tested EVERY DAY for hardness) for at LEAST 8 days. On day 9 the hardness jumped from 0 - 1.5 grains to 25 grains and on the night of the ninth day it recharged.

Again, the city says the water is a hardness of 18. We checked with Culligan and THEY said indeed it IS 18. We ran the softener at 18 and ran out of soft water. Bumped it to 22 and same thing. Currently at 25 grains.

In the chart, after the LONG period of soft water when I put extra water in the brine tank, it APPEARS to recharge every couple days. So, on 3/5, 3/8 and 3/11 it recharged. And on EACH OF THOSE DAYS the water was hard.

I expect it will recharge again tonight. For some reason the chart is at the bottom instead of here and I can't figure out how to move it....

ACCORDING TO GE, this is a 30,000 grain softener. By my estimation, with 2 people in the house, each showering daily (40 gallons each), running the dishwasher once (says 6 gallons figure 10), two loads of laundry (says 13 per load, figure 30), half a dozen toilet flushes (less than 12, figure 15), and 100 extra gallons of water for SOMETHING, we’re using at MOST 235 gallons/day.

At 30,000 grains using a HIGH hardness of 25 grains it SHOULD do 1200 gallons, which would be every FIVE days, NOT every 3. Even if the thing is a POS and only does 25,000 grains, that’s STILL over FOUR days…

Today the service technician showed up – actually TWO of ‘em.

Walked in, did a softening test, said “The softener is working, the water is soft, there’s NO problem.”

I said, “Yes, it softens, but it DOESN’T STAY SOFT and it RECHARGES every THREE days.”

Him: “Yup. I raised the hardness to 40 (yes FORTY) so it’ll recharge MORE OFTEN.”

Me: “Um, that DOESN’T seem to be a good fix – to have it recharge every other day.”

Him: “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. This is WHAT WE ALWAYS DO WHEN THE HOMEOWNER SAYS THEIR WATER DOESN’T STAY SOFT.”

Packed his tools and left.

Does this seem to anyone else to be a reasonable “fix”?

Would it be reasonable to say I’m TOTALLY unimpressed with GE, and their “service” people?

Our PREVIOUS softener, a 20,000 grain unit, recharged every 7 – 8 days, AND THE WATER WAS ALWAYS SOFT… SO, is this thing just a TOTAL POS and I need something “better”? ‘Cause doing a recharge every other day seems RIDICULOUS?
 
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Old 03-13-19, 12:01 PM
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Do you have an RO under the sink?

Do you leave a faucet running even just a little?

If the city water is 18, is that the average between the wells? what is the high and low?

It could be that the city water is harder and part of the reason for your challenge.

Find the highest hardness and set the system 2 above it.

You might have to fight a bit with the city to get them to answer up... your looking for the well with the highest hardness level.
 
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Old 03-14-19, 09:28 AM
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The city says 18. They don't provide information for every well. So lets call it an average. And presuming they're all fairly close together (Northfield isn't very big), I"m guessing there's not a drastic difference. In a town of 11,000, realistically how likely IS it that one local well would be 18 and another local well would be 40?

The test strips, which I figure are only marginally accurate show closest to the "20" grain color.

So currently, I"ve set it back to 25.

Again, I'll go back to the previous water softener - it was a 20,000 grain (not 30,000 as is the current one). It was also an Eco smart unit, just like the GE one is. It was set at 25. With the same 2 people, doing essentially the same things, it ran about every 7 - 8 days. The water was soft.

There are no faucets on.

I don't know what an "RO" is, so I don't think I have one.

I'm finding it curious that the concentration is all on the "hardness" rather than that a 30,000 grain softener is having to recharge every 3 days in a household with 2 people using a couple hundred gallons a day... And the service person's "solution" is to raise the hardness to a ludicrous level to force the softener to recharge even MORE frequently... Perhaps my previous experience with a virtually identical unit for 12 years has set my expectations too high?
 
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Old 03-15-19, 01:59 PM
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Thanks for the replies…

This unit goes to 25 in increments of 1, then skips by 5 going up. So, I can set it to 22.

“Hardness is not set properly. Compensated hardness not calculate. (Highly likely)”
Is this something the softener does? ‘Cause for hardness, I’m going by the city, what Culligan told me, and what the test strips say the hardness is…

Brine flow COULD be plugged, but the first thing I did was clean the whole venturi unit. And the “service tech” dismissed that immediately as a problem says “There’s no way there’s any problem there.”

I HAVE a complete spare venturi unit that I got for the previous softener. We had to clean it about every 18 months, so I got a spare to make it quick to change then I could clean as my convenience. I could swap those, but since it was completely clean when I pulled it apart I don’t think – presuming the current unit that’s on there is the right one – that it’ll make any difference.

Salt bridge – No. I checked and the “service tech” tool a long rod and shoved it all over in the brine tank, then stated “Nope. No salt bridge.”

This GE unit does NOT have a blend valve as part of the bypass. I know there are some that do, but this one doesn’t.

When the unit recharges, the float goes down and sits on the bottom of the tube where the water comes out. When I was checking, I pulled the tube out of the brine tank and watched the water come out, so I know if FILLS the tank. I also watched it EMPTY the brine tank. I cannot state with certainty that the float does what it’s supposed to, but it certainly goes up and down with the water level. This is not something the “service tech” checked as he simply stated “Yup, the water is soft. The unit is working.” Followed by “These cheap units are mostly junk.” Then he cranked the hardness to 40 and told me that’s what they do with ALL their homeowners.

I agree that 22 SHOULD work, and on our previous softener we had it run at 25 for the 12 years we had it, and the water consistently stayed soft between the recharges every 7 – 8 days. And that was a 20,000 grain unit, NOT a 30,000 grain unit.

I have gotten no information from anyone that there’s either iron or manganese in the water. I have no indication of any iron, presuming we’d have the kind of staining I usually see in places with appreciable amount of iron. The “service tech” made NO mention of iron or manganese as a cause for turning up the hardness.

I don’t know the amount of resin in the tank, and no one at GE seems particularly inclined to consider that as a possibility.

I just got off the phone with the same people I talked to LAST week, and THEY want me to turn the hardness back DOWN to 22 so the softener doesn’t recharge so often. I KEEP saying “It softens the water, but it only STAYS soft for two days.” And the phone answerer keeps saying “Well, we can send the service technician back out but if the water is softened they’ll charge you for the call.”

I’ve requested that a manager or supervisor contact me as the phone answerer at GE doesn’t appear to grasp that the problem isn’t GETTING the water soft, it’s KEEPING the water soft between recharges at a reasonable rate – and 2 DAYS is not reasonable in my opinion.

Beyond the chart I put in previously – it again recharged, the water stayed soft for 2 days. Today is day 3 and this morning it was hard. At the current setting (30) I presume it will recharge tonight. This will be the 5th time I’ve tracked the recharging. It’s consistent. And inadequate to keep the water soft for even 3 days. This CAN’T be normal.
 
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Old 03-16-19, 01:02 AM
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Sorry, these long manifestos are difficult to digest.

So the unit is working, it just runs out!

The unit was turned up to 40 but you didn't say if you left it there and it cured the problem?

Just a note for the future, 18 or 25 is pretty hard water and that little GE softner is pretty small meaning it may need to recharge every day, every other day to keep up!

Regardless of what the math says, it's capacity is being exceeded meaning it needs to be recharged more often!
 
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Old 03-22-19, 02:03 PM
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No, after the LAST call to GE I was instructed to turn it BACK DOWN to 23. At which it recharges about every 5 days. Soft water for 2, hard water for 3, recharger.

The PREVIOUS water softener, also an Ecowater, but a 20,000 grain unit (as opposed to this 30,000 grain unit) recharged every 7 DAYS and the water was always soft.

We use at MOST 220 gallons/day, so presuming it actually IS something close to 30,000 grains (1500 gallons at hardness 20), WHY would you say it needs to recharge every other day?

This week, 4 calls and emails with GE. It appears they have not yet found a dealer to service the unit. I found one with 1 phone call. I'm now waiting for my "case manager" to contact me next week.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 12:45 PM
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The 30,000 grain is the MAX.... with the Max Salt setting.....

So unless your at the max salt setting your not at the 30,000 grain capacity.

Eco water is a better control over the Sears or GE cheap system.

Eco is also better in adjusting the settings so that your more in control of the salt and capacity.

6lbs gives 20,000 per cubic foot as a rule of thumb..
 
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Old 03-27-19, 04:21 PM
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>The 30,000 grain is the MAX.... with the Max Salt setting.....
>So unless your at the max salt setting your not at the 30,000 grain capacity.

Are you referring to the water hardness setting or some other setting for "Max Salt"? My understanding is that the amount of salt flushed through the resin bed is based on the amount of water in the brine tank (which per some unit of volume dissolves some amount of salt). Which I presume would always be sufficient to clean the resin of 30,000 grains of whatever.

Regardless of the water hardness, why would the softener not ALWAYS use the "maximum" amount of salt so the 30,000 grain softener WOULD remove 30,000 grains of hardness, and simply vary the frequency of recharging?

If it's a "demand" system, based on the hardness set, shouldn't it know the number of gallons the 30,000 grain softener can soften? At a hardness of 20, it would soften 1500 gallons, at 30 it would soften 1000. And recharge when the demand indicates usage of that many gallons...

Am I correct that the softener IS NOT smart enough to have a built-in "fudge factor" to recycle slightly before the softener runs out of capacity, and thus the softener provider recommends the homeowner set a hardness HIGHER than the actual rated hardness? In the case of GE, they recommend the softener be set 4 grains higher than the stated hardness - in our case that would be 22.
Supposedly, this ensures the softener recharges before the usage exceeds the softener's capacity.

>Eco water is a better control over the Sears or GE cheap system.

From this statement, am I correct that Eco water (who according to the technician that was here is the actual manufacturer of Morton, GE, and many other softeners) has two (or more) lines of softeners - one the cheap, rebranded units, and another using the "better controls" and carrying their label?

In either case, GE has given up. They've stated they have "EXACTLY ONE" servicer in this entire area, and that's the people that sent the person who's fix was to "keep turning the hardness up 'til it recharges frequently enough not to run out of soft water."

I contacted a different provider (actually an Eco water distributor) who has a technician that will be out tomorrow. Hopefully, he'll find something.
 
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Old 03-27-19, 04:43 PM
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Time out!

Lets go back to square 1, just because your old unit was 20K and new is 30k is sort of like comparing apples to oranges, lets forget the past and work with the present.

So you had it set at 23 and it was not sufficient to keep the water soft, why don't you turn it up to a higher setting for a couple of weeks and see if that doesn't help as suggested?

And as noted, the max capacity is when the unit is at the max setting, has nothing to do with the brine tank, it will draw in as much as needed due to the setting which I'm suggesting get turned up to 40!

This is not rocket science, you just need to keep adjusting upward till the water usage + hardness = system capacity!
 
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Old 04-24-19, 07:02 AM
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I have almost the exact same problem with the same model. I had the GE30 at my old house (well water). It worked flawlessly for 6 years. I moved a short distance to another home (well water) and purchased another GE30 for this home. Since I am recently disabled, I ordered it online from HD. It came by UPS, and the box was destroyed. I dont know how the softener stayed in it. The softener appeared undamaged so I went ahead and installed it. For the first 3 weeks we had soft water. From then on, it was the same as the above mentioned problem. The softener regenerates on its own, and I can feel a difference in the water, but before it even cleans out the WH, it goes hard again. Now, 9 months later, several phone calls to GE, several visits from the tech, it still does the same thing. My water hardness is 22. At one point I had the unit set at 65 with no difference in results. Because we had such good results from the previous unit at the old house, we returned the unit to HD and bought another identical unit. Same thing. 3 weeks of soft water, and then garbage. The tech says the unit is working properly. He did mention that we may be using not enough water. What does that mean? We have no leaks.
 
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Old 02-24-20, 02:13 PM
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Unhappy whes33 softener

Try to make this short as I have posted all over the internet trying to find a fix. Brine will not draw, cleaned venturi numerous times, checked for plugged ports and basically everything else. (65 female here Pd $156 for tech to finally come and he couldn't figure it out, what a waste. The only advice he offered was to by a seal kit which I ordered today, could that cause the problem? Had the unit 5 yrs and worked fine and don't have the funds to buy a new one. Any further suggestions anyone might have. All the other modes of regeneration work as they should just no brine draw and quite a bit of water in tank now as it fills each regen. but never draws so water keeps getting hight and higher ugh - thanks in advance
 
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