Water softener problems

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by slownsteady, Jun 2, 2017.

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  1. Jun 2, 2017 #1

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    My softener doesn't seem to be drawing brine when it cycles. It's a rather old Technetic 1000, which has been reliable in the past. It cycles okay, keeps time etc. Just doesn't make the water soft. Is it something i can fix or have repaired? Or should I consider buying a new head? I don't mind doing a little plumbing.
     
  2. Jun 3, 2017 #2

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    Can you post a picture of the head? I have never heard of Technetics. It could be anybody's head because there are a thousand names. Only half a dozen or so manufacturers.

    If it's not drawing brine, something is plugged up in the draw line or the nozzle is plugged up inside the head.
     
  3. Jun 5, 2017 #3

    slownsteady

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    Sorry for the delay. Here's a couple of pics; one outside, one inside. The rectangular cover on the tank is just dressing a simple cylindrical tank. The tube to the brine tank works fine to fill the brine tank, just won't draw the brine back. I've been told that it works with a low pressure, and anything that's a little "off" can keep it from drawing. Otherwise it cycles fine. It still counts the gallons accurately (more or less). It back washes okay.

    IMAG1665.jpg

    IMAG1668.jpg
     
  4. Jun 5, 2017 #4

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    That's one I have never seen before. By looking at the large geared wheel on top I see the different functions it goes through. Backwash, brine and rinse etc. If you put it in brine and rinse and remove the plastic tubing from the head, you should be able to feel vacuum at the fitting you removed the plastic tubing from. If not, that is the problem. It needs vacuum there to draw the brine from the tank. I can't tell you what to do next because I'm not at all familiar with that head, but the nozzle and venturi that actually create the vacuum from water pressure should be in that local area. If you can take that apart, look for a small nozzle looking thing with a hole diameter of a paper clip. That's where the gunk will be that is keeping it from working.

    In a manner of speaking, the nozzle venturi should line up with the plastic tubing.

    If you do have vacuum at that fitting, replace the plastic tubing. It probably has a pinhole somewhere that is sucking all the vacuum from the tubing.
     
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  5. Jun 6, 2017 #5

    slownsteady

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    Thanks. I will check that next.:thbup:
     
  6. Jun 17, 2017 #6

    slownsteady

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    I checked the tubing, cut a new end and inserted it back into the sight glass. The tube draws and siphons fine. I also took off the sight glass and the oring seems fine (no cracks and still elastic).
    So I guess the next step is to remove the filter (small screw-in tube directly below sight glass?) I think i mentioned that it fills the brine tank fine, it is only not drawing water back from the brine tank. Same tube does both functions BTW. Here's a little more info that I found, but it is hard to tell from it what is still in stock and what is no longer available.
    http://www.softenerparts.com/Technetics_1000_1100_s/44.htm
     
  7. Jun 18, 2017 #7

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    I have never seen one of those. That's a new one to me.

    Show me a picture of your potassium tank.
     
  8. Jun 19, 2017 #8

    slownsteady

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    It seems to be made by Autotrol. I bought it sometimes around 1989-1990. Some parts aren't available anymore, but other common parts have been used on newer units.
    Potassium tank? I have the softener, and a separate salt tank, and a calcium tank with a modified head for acid neutralizer.
     
  9. Jun 19, 2017 #9

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    Do you have some kind of a float mechanism in your brine tank?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  10. Jun 19, 2017 #10

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    You mentioned a sight glass. Can you take a pic of that? Autotrol has a design unlike no other.
     
  11. Jun 19, 2017 #11

    slownsteady

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    Yep, brine tank has a float valve which sits in a long tube reaching down to the (almost) bottom. Float works properly, no salt bridging either.
    Here's the head with the digital face moved out of the way. The sight glass is on the right side. I hope this is close enough. I can get a better one if needed.

    IMAG1676.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  12. Jun 21, 2017 #12

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    Yup, that's an autotrol part. It stops the unit from drawing air when the brine tank goes empty. Never seen that head before though.

    That tube your referring to: Is it grey and is the float device on the bottom of the 1/4" tube? If so, it's a J-tube and could be stuck not allowing the unit to get brine. If that's the case, the brine tank would eventually fill up and run over, or out of the overflow tube.
     
  13. Jun 22, 2017 #13

    slownsteady

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    Tube was probably the wrong word for it. I was referring to the housing that the float valve sits it. The valve is at the top of the brine tank, where the 3/8" (?) tube connects from the sight glass. The float is on a long metal rod that extends down to the bottom of the brine tank. i have checked that out and it seems to work correctly in both directions.
     
  14. Jun 24, 2017 #14

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    Then my only guess would be a pinhole in the tubing between the sight glass and the float mechanism. I have never found a pinhole, but I have changed the tubing and made it like new again.
     
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  15. Jun 26, 2017 #15

    slownsteady

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    That's an easy try...not too tough and not too expensive. :thbup:
     
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  16. Jul 12, 2017 #16

    slownsteady

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    So, after a long delay, ( and also falling into the trap of reading all the other threads here while ignoring my own ) I did a few things and it seems to be working now, but maybe not at full strength.
    I replaced the tubing and the nylon nut that connects it to the air check (sight glass). I replaced the injector and the injector cap. I cleaned and soaked in vinegar the injector screen, and I changed the o-ring on the air check. After that I could see brine moving into the air check when it cycled, although it didn't look as briny as I remembered it from the past.
    I'm wondering if I now have to wait for the brine tank to get back into balance. I ran a lot of water through the tank during this adventure, and there was plenty of water remaining in there. There also was a minimum amount of salt because i didn't want to fill the tank and commit a lot of salt to a broken system (also it gets hard to move when full!).
     
  17. Jul 12, 2017 #17

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    A gallon of water will dissolve approximately 2.5 lbs of salt. It doesn't take that long to do so. If your seeing wavy water going through the sight glass, it's working. Usually the sight glass after a few years can't be seen through, so your in luck.
     
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  18. Jul 12, 2017 #18

    slownsteady

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    Thanks for your help, speedbump
     

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