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picolin 03-13-2012 10:03 AM

Water Softener drain
I looked through the forums but couldn't find anything on this subject. A couple of months ago we started experiencing loss in water pressure throughout the house. eventually we got no pressure at all. Suspecting the water softener, I placed it in bypass mode and sure enough, the pressure returned.

Of course, I wanted to keep using the water softener, so I started researching possible reasons for this apparent blockage. I found a couple of videos on youtube that pointed to the water softener drain line.

That's when I realized what was obviously a lazy job. The water softener sits in the garage, but instead of making the drain go to the outside (it's right next to the garage door) by drilling a hole in the wall, the previous owner opted to send the line UP, into the attic, across the garage, and finally down to the drain used by the washer.

Needless to say, I'm considering just canceling the line and drilling a hole in the wall so it can drain to the outside, where there happens to be a flower bed. Before I do, I wanted to ask around to see if there was maybe a logical explanation for why he did what he did. Maybe I'm just missing the genius behind it :confused:

Blue Jay 03-13-2012 10:09 AM

He was just trying to get to a drain. If you run it into a flower bed or just out onto the lawn the salt will kill the plant life so unless you want a big brown spot I would not do it.

kok328 03-13-2012 04:55 PM

Wouldn't the drain system be forced discharge and therefore while not the best setup still not the reason for pressure loss?
Could the problem be plugged media?

inspectorD 03-14-2012 05:14 AM

The problem has nothing to do with the drain in my opinion.
The media needs to be changed, this is a common issue with water softener units and pressure loss. When you change the media and flush the system out, cleaning any screens along the way when you are done, you will see the difference at once. Just like when you bypass the tank.
Good luck.

joecaption 03-14-2012 07:52 AM

This problum can also be caused from a clogged injector, or a problum with the timer.

picolin 03-14-2012 09:06 AM

As far as the brown spot, I don't ahve anything planted there, just colored mulch, for decoration purposes. I guess I'll find out if it gets affected by the salt being drained onto it.

InspectorD, what do you mean by the media? Is that the resin?

kok328 03-14-2012 11:33 AM

Yes, Media = Resin. You may look into having it changed or purchasing a new bottle.

picolin 03-15-2012 09:17 AM

Great, thanks for the pointer! :)

Speedbump 03-17-2012 08:47 AM

Because softeners use water pressure to draw brine from the brine well, it is always advised not to run a drain line up more than about 6' and if your going more than a total of 10' go with larger pipe to prevent friction loss. We run softener water on the ground here in Florida all the time and I've never known that water to kill vegetation. At least not grass. I suppose it could kill some plants.

Bypassing the softener and getting your pressure back, I would also go with the plugged resin theory. This usually happens with age and/or a bad timer that prevents the unit from backwashing and cleaning itself. It just keeps collecting stuff until it totally plugs up.

Sirrah 05-09-2012 01:59 PM

water softener problem??
Hi All,

Please forgive me if this is considered a hijack; but, I have a similar problem, it's just that it's 180 degrees opposite of what picolin originally posted. Everyone here seems to be so knowledgeable and being a 'newbie', I wasn't sure how to get a new thread/similar subject started...

My problem is that I lose water pressure when my water softener is in the BYPASS mode.

I live out in the middle of 'nowhere'.
My well is 260 feet deep / the pump is at 160 feet.

I was having problems with my water softener so I pulled the electrical plug (& without giving it a second thought I left the unit in Service Mode). I figured I could live without the w/s for a short while and save a service call as I was expecting the serviceman in a couple months to replace the lamp in my UV Filter. During the next few weeks, I came to suspect that maybe I didn’t really need a water softener (left over from previous owner). I mentioned this to the serviceman when he was here; he did a test and agreed with me. He then explained that in addition to unplugging the unit I should also put it in Bypass Mode…so I flipped it over.

All had been well for the previous few months after unplugging the unit from the electrical supply until the next day after the service visit (flipped from Service to ByPass). I have a whirlpool bathtub. It takes a good 20+ minutes to fill. I started the water running and was totally shocked when after about 10 minutes the water started sputtering and spurting quite violently for a few moments and then the water stopped. I went down to check the water tank/pump only to realize that I had lost all water pressure. I primed the pump and was just barely able to fill the tub before I ran out of water again. ?????

The only change I could figure out was the switch from Service Mode to ByPass Mode; so, over the course of a couple weeks, I played around with the unplugged water softener…. in ‘service mode’ and …in ‘bypass mode’. In each case, when the unplugged water softener is in the ‘ByPass mode’, I run out of water at around the 10 minute mark from turning on the bathtub taps.

At no time, however, have I ever noticed any difference in which mode the water softener is in when I am running, say…the dishwasher or the clothes washer; ONLY, when I am drawing water to fill the bath.

In each and every instance when filling the tub....
Service Mode - No Problem;
ByPass Mode - loss of water pressure (no water) within 10 minutes.

Anyone have any ideas????

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