Water Softener Cycle

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by jhav, May 11, 2014.

  1. May 11, 2014 #1

    jhav

    jhav

    jhav

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    I have an Aquarius series control panel on my home water softener. It has worked just fine for the 2.5 years since I bought the house, but no longer. The timer works fine, but when it comes time to run the cycle at 2 am, everything comes to a sudden halt. Once it hits the 2 am mark it just sticks there and doesn't move. I've tried manually starting the cycle, but it still doesn't continue through the rest of the cycle, it just stays exactly where I turned it to before.

    Any Ideas?
     
  2. May 12, 2014 #2

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    Aquarius is probably not the actual brand of the softener head. If it is, I've never heard of it. There is in fact an Aquarius here locally. The name is the man's business name. It sounds like you have an Autotrol with a toothless gear. That was a common problem for the older timers. Can you take a picture of the head with the cover off and post it?

    Alright! I'm a PRO!
     
  3. May 21, 2014 #3

    jhav

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    ImageUploadedByHome Repair1400687510.991539.jpg

    Thanks for the reply! Does this help?
     
  4. May 21, 2014 #4

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    That valve is a Fleck 5600 metered head. You set the meter according to your hardness and the water meter will tell it when to backwash. The big knob in the middle just right of the little red gear pushbutton; turn it clock wise. How hard was it to turn a complete 360°? It should turn freely. If it doesn't; the cylinder is probably scuffed up and the rubber cups are dragging. This will stall or strip the gears in the clock. That means it's time for a new one. The rebuild kit is only a temporary fix because of the damaged cylinder.
     
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  5. May 22, 2014 #5

    jhav

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    Thanks for your help. When you say temporary, does that mean months or years? Also, it looks like the rebuild kit is about $60 and the full head replacement is $250. Would the full head replacement be the permanent fix or is the entire unit flawed?
     
  6. May 22, 2014 #6

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    I wouldn't waste money on a rebuild kit. Did the dial turn hard? If so, get a new head. I sell heads by the way.
     
  7. May 23, 2014 #7

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

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    How much for a new one for inspectorD? ;)
     
  8. May 23, 2014 #8

    inspectorD

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    Well, It depends on what yer gonna get and Location, availability.But about 2-250. Just get one online. Those units are cheap plastic, and for what they do, by keeping your water clean. I would get another timer head.
     
  9. May 23, 2014 #9

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    Believe it or not, my cost on a Fleck 5600 metered head without the cover is $212.00. I see these guys selling them for $250.00 on line. I wouldn't go to the trouble of packaging one, shipping it (they advertise free shipping) insuring it and offering a money back guarantee for that little bit of profit. It wouldn't be worth my time. I have a guy locally selling pool equipment for about 2% over his cost. He buys the stuff for the same price I do from a local distributor. WHY???

    I sold the Fleck 5600 because I liked their meter. It wasn't electronic, it was mechanical and it held up where here with all the lightning we have, the electronic heads were always at risk. For my money, I would go with a Clack head. They are probably the best one out there these days. Everything Pentair gets their hands on, changes for the worst. Like Fleck and Autotrol.
     
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  10. May 23, 2014 #10

    Wuzzat?

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    Choices are
    new softener vs full head replace vs rebuild kit
    with a new softener most likely to solve the problem but it is the most costly solution.

    What probability, P, from almost 0 to almost 1, would each have to have for this decision to be a toss-up as far as cost?
    The three likelihoods have to add to 1.0.

    In order,
    new softener vs full head replace vs rebuild kit
    is ranked from most likely to fix to least likely to fix. Let's say the prices of these options are $600, $250 and $60, respectively.

    Let P be the likelihood you waste your money on something that doesn't work and I give the first choice a P value of 0.05. Almost certainly a new softener will fix the problem for a long time.

    Formulas are great but spreadsheets provide a sanity check. Here's mine.

    Option \/ P(not working) Part cost \/ likely cost \/ P(working)
    new soft 0.05 .....................$600.............. $30 0.95
    full head 0.12 .....................$250.............. $30 0.88
    rebuild 0.88 .....................$60................$53 0.12

    new soft 0.05..................... $600.............. $30 0.95
    full head 0.195..................... $250..............$49 0.805
    rebuild 0.805..................... $60.............. $48 0.195

    new soft 0.05 .....................$600................ $30 0.95
    full head 0.5..................... $250............... $125 0.5
    rebuild 0.5..................... $60................. $30 0.5


    In the first, a full head is a good option providing it has at least a 0.88 chance of working.
    In the second, with those probabilities, a new softener is the choice.
    In the third, a rebuild kit is the choice if it has at least a 0.5 chance of working.

    Forum members can provide probabilities based on experience (which I don't have). Then it's just number crunching.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  11. May 23, 2014 #11

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    My experience with Fleck 5600's is that the average life of one is around 7 years. My last one died in 7 years. The more TDS your water has, the quicker the cylinder will get scuffed up. I do not recommend a rebuild kit. I have gone in behind other softener people who have installed a rebuild kit only to have it doing the same thing in several months.

    The other consideration is: how long has that unit been in service? Do you have city water or well water? If city water, you have chlorine. Chlorine degrades the mineral in the unit shortening it's life and cuts down on it's efficiency. If you replace the head, you may find that you will have to replace the mineral bed soon. Now you practically have a new softener.

    The best solution is a new softener.
     
  12. May 23, 2014 #12

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_dissolved_solids

    Do some softeners resist these insults better than others?

    Is there something the OP can put upstream so that both the softener and the gadget, working together, provide a very long life for the money paid?
    ". . .the interaction of multiple elements in a system to produce an effect different from or greater than the sum of their individual effects."
    I guess I'm assuming the gadget's initial cost + maintenance cost is less than the softener's initial cost + maintenance cost.

    Seems like investing in a water test may be worthwhile to figure out the root cause of failure since a few hundred are riding on this.
    If the water test results are considered "perfect information" then this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expected_value_of_perfect_information
    may apply.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  13. May 23, 2014 #13

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    I didn't know I was insulting softeners.

    If you wanted to protect your mineral from the effects of chlorine, you can put a carbon filter in front of it. This will remove the chlorine before the softener sees it. I don't recommend in line filters like the big box stores sell. The carbon filter would be roughly the same size as the softener.
     
  14. May 23, 2014 #14

    jhav

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    Yes, the knob turns hard, but I'd rather spend $150 than $250. Is there any merit to replacing just the valve/piston/lower component and keep the old timer/top component? It doesn't seem like there's any problem with the electric part of the equation.
     
  15. May 23, 2014 #15

    Wuzzat?

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    Nah, the chemicals do the insulting, like sugar in a gas tank insults the engine or pouring salt on a wound.

    If the odds are equal that each will fix it, then sure. The odds are what are being debated here.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  16. May 23, 2014 #16

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    Chlorine is the softeners worse enemy and iron is right behind it.

    It's like the mechanic always says: Pay me now, or pay me later. And like the Plumber says: I love it when a homeowner turns a $50.00 job into a %5000.00 job.
     
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