Water Softener drain

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by picolin, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Mar 13, 2012 #1

    picolin

    picolin

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    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:
     
  2. Mar 13, 2012 #2

    Blue Jay

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    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.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2012 #3

    kok328

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    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?
     
  4. Mar 14, 2012 #4

    inspectorD

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    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.
     
  5. Mar 14, 2012 #5

    joecaption

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    This problum can also be caused from a clogged injector, or a problum with the timer.
     
  6. Mar 14, 2012 #6

    picolin

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    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?
     
  7. Mar 14, 2012 #7

    kok328

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    Yes, Media = Resin. You may look into having it changed or purchasing a new bottle.
     
  8. Mar 15, 2012 #8

    picolin

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    Great, thanks for the pointer! :)
     
  9. Mar 17, 2012 #9

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    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.
     
  10. May 9, 2012 #10

    Sirrah

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    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????
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  11. May 10, 2012 #11

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    By turning a softener off and not bypassing it, the crud in your water can eventually plug the mineral and slow down your water flow. You said you re- primed the pump, so I assume it's a jet pump. What could be happening is that the softener being in bypass allows more water to flow and it may be enough that the pump and/or well can't keep up. So it loses it's prime which would certainly make your pressure go to zero.
     
  12. May 11, 2012 #12

    Sirrah

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    Hi & Many thanks for taking the time to answer my query.

    Although I claim zero knowledge in the subject matter I can understand what you are saying.

    Now, I have a secondary problem if I leave the water softener is 'Service Mode'. After a few months, my water gets really stinky notwithstanding that I also have an iron filter and a separate UV filter that are both in working order. I was blaming iron filter but that is not the case so it is my best guess that the culprit is the water softener (unplugged/in Service mode). I don't want to put the water softener back into everyday service unless I absolutely have to. I have lived without it for over a year and have not noticed any real difference. We used to use potassium chloride which has become outrageously expensive and the 'hubby' does not want to use the regular w/s salt.

    Would we gain any benefit from..
    - leaving the w/s unplugged and in Service Mode; and,
    - maybe once a month putting a 1/2 cup of bleach in the brine tank and
    running the system through the normal regeneration function?

    Regards
     
  13. May 11, 2012 #13

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    Do this: Put the softener in service, go run the tub full blast, being careful to observe the flow. Then put it in bypass and do the same. Make sure the pump has built up and shut off. Then repeat the process and see if the pressure doesn't seem better at first then slowly drop until it quits. Then report back.
     
  14. May 12, 2012 #14

    joecaption

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    If you 100% sure you do not want the softner why keep messing with it? Just remove the lines from the softner and connect them back together so it does not go the softner at all any more.
     
  15. May 12, 2012 #15

    Sirrah

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    Hi & many thanks,

    Dismantling the water softener did come to mind but not quite 100% sure that we want to take that route at the present time. It's not a job we can do ourselves and would hate to find out afterwards that the cause of the problem is unrelated. We live well off the 'beaten path' and getting tradesmen out here is very expensive. At the suggestion of one of the hubby's friends I replaced the pump control box which did nothing other than lighten my wallet.

    In any event, I guess I'm just curious as to what the problem might be. It was picolin's original post that caught my attention as he was seemingly having pressure problems when he softener was in Service Mode and mine is when the softener is in ByPass Mode.
     
  16. May 12, 2012 #16

    Sirrah

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    Hi & many thanks,

    Please excuse my ignorance but I'm not quite sure if I'm understanding you right. I do not mean to abuse your kindness but can you elaborate? How long do I run the water full blast in 'service' before switching to 'bypass'? When I repeat, after the pump is revived, how long to run water in 'service'; then in 'bypass'? I'm not sure what I should be looking for.

    I've been playing around with the unit for the past few months and every now and then I will put it in 'bypass' to see what happens. So far I have never noticed any difference in water pressure whether in 'service' or 'bypass'. All I know is that, without fail, when filling the bathtub which takes about 20 minutes (approx 95.5 US gal by my calculations) and the unplugged water softener is in 'bypass' mode, the water starts sputtering and spurting quite violently at roughly the 10 minute mark and then just stops. If in 'service' mode, I can fill the tub (full 20+ minutes) without incident.
     
  17. May 13, 2012 #17

    Blue Jay

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    Sounds like you have a slow well. When you are running thru the water softner it keeps the gallons per hour below the well recharge rate but when you bypass you are moving more water quicker and the well can not keep up.
     
  18. May 13, 2012 #18

    Sirrah

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    Thanks,

    I will check that out further.
     
  19. May 13, 2012 #19

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    [quoteSounds like you have a slow well. When you are running thru the water softner it keeps the gallons per hour below the well recharge rate but when you bypass you are moving more water quicker and the well can not keep up.][/quote]
    Very well said. That''s what I've been trying to say in so many words, just not with much result. I believe the well is drawing down too.
     

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