3
   

Water Softener Tank Brine level

 
 
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:36 pm
@wd8dsb,
wd8dsb wrote:

I keep hearing that my unit is undersized, but I still do not understand how we are coming to that conclusion based on my water hardness of 26 gpg and 70 total gallons of water usage per day.


I am really a glutton for punishment...

You can't check the SFR of your plumbing system and fixtures through the softener that might well be the bottleneck. Make sense? You have to bypass the softener and then the turbine in the 5600SXT is out of the water flow so SFR must be measured another way.

As to the question above... the SFR of one cubic foot of standard resin is 5 gpm (this number from a Purolite rep). If you force water through one cu ft of resin faster than the SFR of the resin it can't remove all the hardness and hardness leaks through. The flow rate of the plumbing and control valve are academic because the flow rate through the resin is the limiting factor.

Rather than tell you what you need to hear I'll tell you what you want to hear... your softener is working perfectly and is setup correctly. You made the right choice in sizing and have that puppy fine tuned to within an inch of it's capability.

Does that make you happy?
0 Replies
 
wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:46 pm
Justalerker,

OK, even though you are getting ticked off at me, you are finally starting to describe things to the point where I can understand what your trying to say. Great on the 3 pounds of salt dissolved per gallon of water. How many gallons of brine do I need to properly regenerate 1 cu-ft of resin? I have to know how many gallons are needed in order to finally figure out if my brine fill time is long enough or not.

I think I care about the SFR through my water softener based on what you guys were telling me early on, and I agree with this. If you say 1 cu-ft of resin can only handle a flow rate of 5.0 gpm then I am indeed exceeding this limit when I see my peak flow rate of 6.0 gpm.

Don
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:11 pm
@wd8dsb,
wd8dsb wrote:

Justalerker,

How many gallons of brine do I need to properly regenerate 1 cu-ft of resin? I have to know how many gallons are needed in order to finally figure out if my brine fill time is long enough or not.


I gave you the answer 4 posts ago... are you reading this at all?

To repeat... "1 cu ft of resin regenerated by 6 lbs of salt = approx 21,000 g hardness removal capacity so 2 people using about 60 gpd x 2 = 120gpd x 26g hardness = 3120 g hardness / day to be removed divided into 21,000 hardness removal capacity = 6 days between regen with a modest reserve".

So the answer is 6 lbs of salt which is 2 gallons of water. Now find out what size BLFC is in your control valve (could be .25 gpm or .5 gpm or 1 gpm page 25 Fleck 5600SXT manual part #38) and multiply that by minutes of BF to get two gallons of water into your brine tank.

Now, I have a question for you... will that be Mastercard or Visa?
0 Replies
 
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 07:18 pm
@wd8dsb,
wd8dsb wrote:
I think I care about the SFR through my water softener based on what you guys were telling me early on, and I agree with this. If you say 1 cu-ft of resin can only handle a flow rate of 5.0 gpm then I am indeed exceeding this limit when I see my peak flow rate of 6.0 gpm.


You need to be accurate when you are arguing a point.

Gary and I have told you that your softener is undersized. We are both referring to undersized in Service Flow Rate (of the resin volume) NOT undersized in the softener's hardness removal capability. They are two different measurements and two different conditions. Plus, there is constant SFR and peak SFR.

When you pose your question on other forums BE SURE you ask the same question and put it in context so you get answers that are on point.

There are many softener "experts" that sell thousands of softeners that quote SFR as the maximum flow rate at a 15 psi pressure drop or they quote the SFR of a softener as what the control valve will flow naked in a jig on a test bench.
0 Replies
 
wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 04:17 am
Hi guys.

My original question was about mush, and the next thing I know is that you guys tell me my unit is undersized which I feel is not a correct statement the more you guys talk. But based on your comments, it is indeed possible that I am not making enough brine and I will indeed look into the backfill flowrate of my unit. It is indeed possible that my parameters are not set correct, and I will keep asking questions until we figure out how they should be changed.

You guys have taught me a bunch about the SFR issue in regards to hardness passing through the resin when the flow rate gets too high, but that issue is totally unrelated to my original problems/complaints.

I pulled up the Purolite resin datasheets last night, and I am going to call Purolite today or tomorrow in order to make sure I understand how to properly interpret the curves.

This has gotten somewhat out of control because I asked about mush and you guys threw a curve at me saying my unit was not the correct size.

Thanks again, and I let you know what Purolite says.

Don
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 07:57 am
@wd8dsb,
Don,

It's a habit to get the whole picture when someone asks for help with a softener. It's easier to help when everything is in context cause it's hard to see the situation through a monitor.

As soon as someone mentions, even in the vaguest terms, that the water doesn't stay soft asking for the water conditions, # of people, and the SFR is a reflex because if the softener isn't sized correctly there almost always is hard water, even intermittently, before regeneration.

Your difficulty is that you want to know the "why" along with the "how" and unless you run into an educator with expertise in the specific field you're asking about you're not going to like the "why" answers. Few of us are teachers but we know the "how" and that's what we give you. Want your softener to work, then be quiet, listen, and say thank you.

I don't need to know what Purolite says, I've contacted one of their reps and get my information from him.

My water conditions are similar to yours with the same two people in the house and I use one bag of KCl a month but what do I know?

0 Replies
 
Gary Slusser
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 10:41 pm
@wd8dsb,
I've already explained this but one last time. The constant SFR gpm, it has to be greater than the peak demand flow rate gpm of the house. That means the total gpm of all fixtures that are being used at the same time. We aren't talking SFR of the plumbing... we are talking max gpm being used/run through the softener. The volume of resin has to be able to remove all the gpg of hardness, whatever that is.

The SFR per cuft depends on what you're using the water for, so a manufacturers' resin spec sheet, or their rep, is going to give you a conservative gpm/cuft.
0 Replies
 
wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 06:47 am
Gary,

Thanks, and I new nothing about SFR before you guys provided info on the subject, but I assume based on the information you guys provided that exceeding the SFR capability of the resin only results in a temporary loss/reduction of hardness during the time that the flow rate exceeds the SFR capability of the resin. My original problem was loss of hardness before the start of the next generation cycle, not temporary loss of hardness that corrects itself when flow rate is reduced.

So far my softener is working great now that I have cleaned the salt/brine tank, but I need to see if it continues to work properly for at least the next 3 or 4 regeneration cycles (which will take approximately 40 days based on my water usage and my 10 day over ride value). Also in the meantime I am going to investigate the brine fill rate in my unit as it relates to resin capacity in order to determine if I need to increase my brine fill time.

I will also add solar salt to my system as my 120 pounds of pellet becomes depleted.

Don
Gary Slusser
 
  0  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 09:45 am
@wd8dsb,
Don, Justalurker didn't know anything about it either until I taught him about it but, he still gets parts of it wrong. And yes, if the SFR gpm is exceeded, hardness gets through the softener. Also, anytime you use more capacity than the salt dose regenerates, you will eventually get hardness through the softener and the only cure is to do the 2 manual regenerations I mentioned.

I can't understand why you still think you might have to increase your salt dose, other than you aren't grasping what I've told you. I guess you don't believe me about the 10 day calendar override.... So let me know how things are in a couple weeks.

BTW, does the SXT timer show you actual gallons used each day over a week or month etc.? If so, check your 70 gals/day against it. Then calculate against your 20% reserve. Then you might want to program the way I mentioned instead of the way you're doing it. I tell my 20-40 softener customers a month to program that way and have for over 5 yrs now and my customers always have 0 gpg soft water unless they run low or out of salt.

At some time use that 6 lbs and 21K Justalurker mentioned and let us know how things go.
justalurker
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 10:19 am
@Gary Slusser,
Gary Slusser wrote:
Justalurker didn't know anything about it either until I taught him about it...


Gary, my softeners, and many others, are setup up correctly and operate efficiently despite you, not because of you.
Joethewaterguy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 04:28 pm
@wd8dsb,
hopefully your system is working now. I would set it to regen once a week, hope I helped.
Joe
0 Replies
 
Gary Slusser
 
  0  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 08:31 am
@justalurker,
justalurker wrote:

Gary Slusser wrote:
Justalurker didn't know anything about it either until I taught him about it...


Gary, my softeners, and many others, are setup up correctly and operate efficiently despite you, not because of you.

Yeah right, and you still get it wrong along with the advice you give concerning potassium chloride. Or in telling Don here to post on Fleck's forum where no one replies to his type questions.
justalurker
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 11:27 am
@Gary Slusser,
Gary Slusser wrote:
Yeah right, and you still get it wrong...


Yup, heard your squawk many, many times... the only water softeners on the planet that are setup and sized properly are the ones you've sold and you've setup over the phone.

Purolite doesn't know their resin, only you do.

Fleck doesn't know their control valves, only you do. You can't rebuild a 5600 without using the helper tools but I and others can and do.

I'll continue along using only one bag of KCl a month and enjoying 0 hardness water every minute of every day.

As I've already said "my softeners, and many others, are setup up correctly and operate efficiently despite you, not because of you".

wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 12:46 pm
Wow, sounds like I started one big mess (sorry).

I did talk with a Purolite technical manager (employee of Purolite, not a rep), and he walked me through their engineering bulletin which includes calculations to determine capacity and hardness leakage.

What I learned from the Purolite technical manager is that the SFR of 5.0 gpm per cubic foot of resin that was previously mentioned in this posting is a value that Purolite lists on their first page of their datasheet, and it just reflects an optimum operating point (there really is no such thing as a peak or maximum SFR for resin when discussing hardness leakage). As flow rate increases, you will experience more and more hardness leakage, but the hardness leakage values experienced for typical home applications is very low even if you greatly exceed the stated 5.0 gpm per cubic foot of resin value they publish. Typically you can greatly exceed the stated service flow rate of 5.0 gpm per cu-ft of resin and still obtain what Purolite considers soft water for residential use (they consider less than 1 gpg acceptable).

I guess the best test of this theory is to just crack open all of my faucets, sample the water, and then have it tested (guess I know what I will be doing this weekend).

All of the other information you guys have provided regarding capacity versus the amount of brine used has been very helpful, and I am now in the process of determining how much brine I generate (and subsequently use) since my system just generates brine based on brine refill time (there are no other parameters that control salt per regen on the Fleck 5600SXT assuming one has the brine /slow rinse cycle time set long enough to use all the brine).

(Oh, Gary to answer you questions about the 5600SXT, it has some great diagnostics. In normal mode it just flashes between time of day and number of gallons remaining before regen. You can manually go into diagnostics and see flow rate in real time, and you can also see what your peak flow rate has been since the last regen plus a few other interesting values.) I normally look at my remaining gallons each morning. Today I looked before and after my wife and I showered (we shower together), and we used 35 gallons. As I previously said, our water usage through the softener is approximately 70 gallons per day on average.)

Just FYI,

Don
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 02:06 pm
@wd8dsb,
Don,

Once you've determined what salt dose you think you need...

Reference your 5600SXT service manual, remove the BLFC, and see what size BLFC is installed in the control valve.

Take the # of minutes the BF cycle is set for and multiply that # by the size of the BLFC.

That gives you the gallons of water put in your brine tank during the BF (brine fill) cycle.

Take the gallons in your brine tank and multiply that # by 3 (lbs of salt dissolved per gallon).

That is the salt dose or brine concentration you are presently set for.

You adjust the salt dose by increasing or decreasing the time setting for the BF (brine fill) cycle.

So easy an internet softener huckster can do it Wink
0 Replies
 
justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 02:24 pm
@wd8dsb,
Don,

The Purolite rep I contact is an employee of Purolite with decades and decades of experience in water treatment and he holds the highest CWS certification offered.

And, IMO, the optimum specification is always what I attempt to achieve and do. Since the optimum spec is 5 gpm for cu ft of resin then a correctly softener sized to that specification will never have hardness leak through.

Water is either soft or hard. If intermittent 1 gpg hardness is acceptable to you then that's your choice. Absolute 0 gpg hardness is easily achieved when the softener is properly sized so accepting less makes no sense to me. No engineer I know would accept 1 when they can easily achieve 0.
0 Replies
 
wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 04:26 pm
justalurker,

You actually have a certain amount of hardness leakage even when you are below 5 gpm per cubic ft of resin.

I just checked my BLFC and it's the 0.5 gpm version. My brine fill time is 10 minutes, so it sounds like I generate approximately 5 gallons of brine which therefore consumes approximately 15 pounds of salt (if everything is working correctly).

This raises another question. When you develop a lot of mush, is it possible that the water can't really enter the area where the salt is which causes the overflow valve to stop the flow of water into the brine tank prior to the 10 minutes because the water in the well rises rapidly? I guess it's also possible that if you overfill your salt tank and have very tight packing of salt, that you really can't fill the brine tank with as many gallons as you desire before the overflow valve shuts down water flow into the brine tank? What do you think? Makes me think that having a full tank of salt has many disadvantages.

I am surprised that my unit should be using 15 pounds of salt per regen based on the numbers (but I guess it makes sense if they are trying to provide as much capacity as possible, but not efficiently). I do know that when I started to have problems I noticed my salt usage stopped (salt level stopped going down in the salt tank which made me think I had a bridge, but when I dug into the tank I found a majority of mush, and some bridging).

Don

justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 05:14 pm
@wd8dsb,
Don,

Not wanting to incur your wrath by not telling you want you want to hear exactly as you want to hear it and accepting that sometimes you can't teach an engineer new tricks and sometimes you can't teach an engineer any tricks at all I will say this and leave you to do what you choose...

A foot of mush in only 9 months sends up a red flag. A brine tank filled to the brim with any kind of salt can cause a variety of problems.

With your water use and water conditions a 15 lb salt dose is wasting a lot of salt. Your softener comes set the way it is because it is drop-shipped from a warehouse and no one who knows anything about water treatment ever touches the parts let alone sets them up according to the customer's needs. They sold you a 32k softener and that's how it comes set whether it is correct or not regarding your water conditions and water usage.

With your water use and water conditions 10 days between regenerations is too long.

All the guidelines, numbers, and calculations you need to set your softener for the most efficient operation for your water conditions are posted as responses to your questions in this thread.

Monitor your salt tank weekly and add salt to cover the water, maybe a tad more.

0 Replies
 
wd8dsb
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 06:05 pm
Justalurker,

I know your going to fall down when I tell you this, but I am in agreement with you. When all is said and done I would like to operate with an approximate 7 day regen cycle, and get my salt usage to a more efficient level. I don't mind using more salt than necessary to make sure I have a robust system (not on the ragged edge of regenerating the resin based on the capacity I need), but also don't want to go crazy on the salt usage. Therefore I suspect long term I will actually wind up reducing my brine fill time, and adjust my reserve capacity to make my unit regenerate every 490 gallons (12,740 grains), and this would put me right at 7 days (I will double check my average water usage and adjust accordingly). I am also going to switch to solar salt when I need to add salt to my system.

What do you think?

(In defense of my previous posts, I certainly don't think my system is undersized based on my water usage.)

Don

justalurker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 06:28 pm
@wd8dsb,
Don,

Let's set aside whether your softener is undersized or not. It is whether you believe it or not Wink

Cut back the capacity setting and change the salt dose (BF) so the softener regenerates every sixth day with a calendar override on the seventh day.

Your system is more than robust enough and if there are any problems with that system they will be the result of the loose nut in front of the control valve.
0 Replies
 
 

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