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Rainsoft Gold not completing regeneration / salty water

 
 
NB2010
 
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 04:05 pm
Hi,
I have a 2002 model year Rainsoft Gold series softener, (I'm not sure if there are different model#s or not). There are only 4 or 5 buttons on the panel and one digital display.
Well, yesterday getting ready for work I was surprised by a salt water shower!
In fact the water all throughout the house was salty.

I checked the salt tank and noticed:
1) It had less than 1 bag of salt but the water level was at about the 2 bag line.
Not really paying attention to the process before I'm not sure how much, if any water is supposed to remain in the tank after it runs properly.
2) I did everything listed in the manual and from ideas on this board, (posted below) to trouble shoot, and cleaned out the salt tank. Then, with the salt tank completely empty and dry, I pressed the regenerate button. The only indicator on the panel switched from the time to "1:10". Then the sound of gears turning started and over a 10 minute period water flushed out the tube from the resin tank to the floor drain several times. After the 10 minutes was up though, the whole process just stopped. Nothing else happened and no water ever flowed into the salt tank. I tried again a little later and same thing.

So, my assumption here is the regeneration cycle did not complete for some reason. This usually regenerates in the middle of the night and I know from the noise it usually runs much longer than 10 minutes.
I'm assuming that "1:10" I saw was the amount of time it was supposed to run.

I've tried to review as many posts as possible to reslove the issue before bothering you all with another post but have not found a solution for my issue and/or did not understand the replies as they often mention parts on the system that I cannot identify to check without images or knowing exactly where on the system these items are located such as what is/where is the brine valve, brine tabs, Shut-off tabs, Tri-guard, injector? Maybe I got them cleaned maybe not. Please see what I did do below.

I've scanned the net and user manual and done the following below recommendations from the manual troubleshooting section in an effort to eliminate possibilities before I posted.
-------------------------------------
5.1 / 6.1 - "Drainline plugged / restricted ." - Checked OK, Not clogged I could blow through it.
5.2 - "Brine valve is dirty. - I'm assuming this is the contraption in the tube inside the salt tank? If so, I cleaned that out and soaked it in a tub of hot water and made sure the float moved and I could blow air through the tube. It did not seem clogged, just a few salt chunks clinging to it.

5.3 / 6.3 " "Low inlet pressure. - "N/A We have high pressure

5.4 - ? "The computer is not set properly." - I've never made any changes to it so I assume it has not changed. I also did not know how to change it and there was not enough detail in the manual. It just said "dealer sets it".

5.5 / 6.2 " The injector is plugged - Cleaned…I think, assuming I pulled the right part. (small white tube like item w/ washers on both ends and a black tip) I had no instructions / pictures as to what/where the injector is. But the part I cleaned was inside a black plastic piece that said "injector" on it . Anyway itdid not seem clogged. I rinsed with warm water and was able to blow through it too from both sides.

6.4 - ? "No water in brine tank." - Not sure what that means b/c the problem is that there IS water in the brine tank?
--------------------------

So after all that I'm left with nothing resolved as the regeneration will not go throught the full cycle and nothing goes into the tank.

Any thoughts / recommendations, (other than “Call Rain soft Dealer…Hand them $100 to say hello and watch the charges go up from there") would be appreciated before I result to the call!

Thanks,
Nick in Missouri
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Davethewaterdoctor
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 04:44 pm
@NB2010,
Rainsoft is an overpriced fleck with a fancy metal cover over the valve faceplate......i would be willing to bet that your system needs a new piston and seals inside the veave and that the valve is getting stuck in the brine cycle.......have you gotten a water bill that is shocking?

Have you ever had the company who sold it to you out to service it. The system is "supposed to have" a lifetime warranty but not on moving parts!

Have the valve rebuilt and it should fix the problem! Your system is 7plus yrs old and they need service! Try driving your car for 7yrs without changing your oil!
0 Replies
 
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 05:00 pm
Thanks for the reply.
It has never been serviced. It was put into 1st use in 2005 so it's not as "old" as the mfg date wear wise, but no it has never been serviced. We were told the "top of the line" gold model never really needed to be serviced by the installer. We did get a call last year asking if we wanted to do preventative service and it would cost $400.00!! So needless to say we declined to spend that amount on something that was not even broken. Heck, I believe for that amount we could buy a wole new system from a different mfg.
Any way to tell myself if the valves need to be repaired / rebuilt / replaced as you mention?
Would any other servicer besides a rainsoft rep be cheaper...and would I void that warranty if I did not use a RS rep?

I'd still like to resolve this myself...just the DIY and cheapskate in me I guess.
Davethewaterdoctor
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 05:28 pm
@NB2010,
Did the PAINSOFT rep contact you by telemarketer or mailer or door knocker?

I am an EcoWater dealer and have a few friends who got "suckered into their sales pitch and they "do not work"!

I gotta say that $400 dollars is "HIGHWAY ROBBERY"! THEY MIGHT AS WELL SAID BEND OVER! A rainsoft saleman will tell a customer anything to get a sale! They probably charged you $4-$5k for a system with financing for like 72mo.

The best systems out there are only the best if they come with a service dept who doesnt try to "RAPE" their customers! I deliver my customers salt (well the smart and non-cheap) so when i come out i check the performance of their system and TEST the water in fromt of their FACE so they can see if it works!

I charge $89.95 for a service call plus parts! Sad thing is "You can only buy the parts your need from RAINSOFT!" they design their system to be "PROPRIETARY" meaning you have to pay their outragious prices!

I would call round different companies in your area and ask what they charge for a service call!

You definetly need a piston and seals and spacers inside the valve! The fleck 5600 is the same valve that rainsoft claims in a "GOLD SERIES".....but if im not mistaken......the seals and spacers are the same as a fleck 5600 but......and a big but......the piston is slightly different.....making it proprietary! Rainsoft doesnt want diyers trying to fix their own systems because it denies their dealers revenue!
0 Replies
 
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 11:50 pm
Actually we only paid about $400 for the unit new in 2003 so I don't feel like such a sucker. A guy who was a retiring RS Rep had it new in box in his garage for about a year and we bought it from him. At least it appeared to me to be packaged and looked new/ never used. It has worked fine since '04 although I have to say the last couple of years I do not think it was working well. I'm finding blue/green build up on some faucet heads & aerator screens and blue/green/white crust on my shower heads the last year or so. What is that?

Anyway, when I came home today there was water in the previuosly dry & empty salt tank up to about the 2md fill level marking. So something additional with the regen must have run much later. This evening I ran it again just to watch and similar result. The timer showed 1:11 (not 1:10 as last times?) It pushed water out to the floor drain and also more filled the salt tank very slowly until it was 1/2 way between the 2 & 3 bag line marker. That took the 11 minutes, then it just stopped again with the clock showing "21:20" and a slow count down each minute from there. I assumed that meant something was to occur in 21 hrs 20 min. so I left. I checked on it after dinner an hour later and the clock said "02:84"??? So , clearly I have no idea what this means but it is again in a minute by minute countdown until something else occurs. Meanwhile it is silent and doing absolutely nothing during this countdown. Clearly I do not know what it "should" do normally during a regen cycle or how long it takes. I just know each time there is more water in the tank at this point. (again, while I'm troubleshooting I have no salt in the tank at all.)
Davethewaterdoctor
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 10:10 am
@NB2010,
What I think you are seeing is the times of each cycle. A softener has about 5 cycles.......like a washer has wash, rinse , spin. Each cycle has a specific amount of time for which it needs to complete the cycle. the cycles are service, brine fill, brine draw(suction)..THIS CYCLE TAKES THE LONGEST OVER AN HOUR, backwash, and fast rinse. I think your softener is filling but not CREATING SUCTION.......meaning it will only fill and not draw the brine(salt water) into the mineral tank for the proper regeneration and backwash.......this is because the valve is not fuctioning properly beacuse more than likely you need a piston and seals/spacer replaced. They only work for so long before they need to be replaced with new parts(standard maintenance). SPEND THE MONEY AND HAVE IT FIXED! THE AVERAGE HOMEOWNER ALWAYS TRIES TO SAVE A BUCK AND DO IT THEMSELVES WHEN THEY HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER IN WATER TREATMENT! I KNOW PLUMBERS WHO CANT FIX THESE SYSTEMS AND END UP CAUSING DAMAGE!

WHY WASTE ANY MORE TIME?

I always tell customers to have your water tested at least every few months to make sure the system is working! Just because you are putting salt in the tank and it is using the salt does not mean the softener is actually softening your water! If water comes out of your faucets most people think well it must be working.........there is no WARNING light or INDiCATOR that will tell you "IM PLUGGED" or "IM NOT WORKING"......HAVE THE WATER TESTED! THOSE DIP STRIPS ARE INACCURATE! The system need to know the hardness of the RAW TAP WATER and how many people live in the home x the amout of water used. The regeneration should be at 2-3am whne nobody is using water and the time should be set properly its THAT SIMPLE!

Blue Green stains could be LOW pH.....or ACIDIC WATER that is eating away at your copper plumbing and will eventally cause pin hole leaks which will be costly! White crusty buildup is definetly hard water limescale from your softener not working!

Are you on CITY WATER or a PRIVATE WELL?
0 Replies
 
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 12:22 pm
Thanks Dave (and others)for the response.
I'm on City (St.Charles County Missouri) water.
Seeing your comments and all the CAPS I guess I won't beat on it any longer and I'll take your advice, give up and call the dealer and just hope they don't rip me off too much. (It seems every contractor / repair man sees the nice homes in my area coming in and by the time they get to my door their charge has doubled. )
I'm pretty handy with most household stuff but something like this, other than basic cleaning out is my limit and I don't want to break anything further. I was hoping for an easy / cheap fix of course.

A few parting questions:

1) Regarding the water ph acidity possible issue...How does that occur and how can I test & fix it?!!
I assume the water softener does not do this?!
It must be bad b/c the house is only 5 yrs old. I do see a lot of corrosion around a few pipe connections in the basement, (One being the water heater where I found a few water drops from somewhere so it may already be starting.), and don't want them to leak/fail.

2) Should I have a plumber inspect my pipes that look corroded?

3) Any idea what I could expect for a $$ range to fix /rebuild a valve and about how long it would take assumingthe issue is limited to what you think is just so I know I'm not getting hosed? Is there an industry standard charge per hour? I do know Rsoft charges a min. $110.00 just to show up. I have no idea what to expect from there.

4) Should I also install some type of whole house replaceable media filter or even one of those larger ones the flush themselves prior to the water softener? I'd heard if any debris gets in it could be the cause of the water softener valve damage.
Any additional thoughts or advice is appreciated!
Joethewaterguy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 04:16 pm
@NB2010,
it actually could be a bad switch, and the system is only drawing brine during step 5 of the cycle instead of drawing during step 4 like it should. There are 5 steps in the cycle.. 1 is brine fill 1 10 would put water in the brine tank for 10 minutes.
2nd part is making brine 2 120 minutes to get salty and yes it does count backwards for 2 hours (120 minutes)and makes no noise during this step. xxx in the next steps is minutes running during that part of the cycle
3 xxx is backwash
4 xxx is brine draw and rinse
5 xxx is fast rinse
then the time should come back on the display
watch the water during the 4th part of the cycle and see if it is going down,if so it may be that the salt has turned to mush and can't get through it fast enough to be drawn out . if the water gets drawn out during step 5 then I'd say it was a bad switch.
Joethewaterguy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 04:28 pm
@NB2010,
did it push water out the drain during the whole time of the 1 10 ? if so the seals need to be replaced, or did it just run through a piston clean and stop running water at the drain once it started filling the brine tank? also is the water in the brine tank filling higher every time? check to make sure that the black line is seated all the way into the elbow of the float assembly.
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 11:09 am
@Joethewaterguy,
I was ou tof town for the weekend. I'll have to sit and watch each step I guess to confirm but from Fri to Sun night, the tank is almost filled to the top with water.
With regard to salt sticking, remember I cleaned it all out and currently have no salt in the tank at all. I'm just watching to see what happens at the moment.

Note too that I originally noticed the issue b/c our household water was very salty. It does not appear to be pulling water out of the tank at all so how could the salt actually get into the house?

I'll hit the manual regern button and watch the whole cycle tonight but from what I saw previously the 1st step water just flushes out the hose the whole time, (although it did pause, make some noises and then continue with flushing water in the middle of the 1st cycle).
Joethewaterguy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 01:09 pm
@NB2010,
at 10 minutes on step 1 there should only be like 2 1/2 gals of water in the brine tank. if the water is above the float in the brine tank the elbow where the black brine line attaches is leaking/ not seated all the way in. if water runs constantly at the drain during step 1 the seals need to be replaced. salty water could be that someone ran water while the resin tank was full of salt water, or a switch is bad and it only drew brine during step 5 and didn't rinse itself out. spend the money for a service call............
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 02:54 pm
@Joethewaterguy,
ok, made the service call. Luckily 1 of only 2 RainSoft rep plumbing companies was within an hour or so of my home.
They took down details of the problem then said " No problem. We'll come out and test / repair / maintenance the system and the charge will be $118.00".
Hopefully it all gets done for that. We'll see!
0 Replies
 
NB2010
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 11:02 am
Follow Up.
The Rainsoft guy came out last night. He basically reviewed the system regen cycles to see what was going on. Then took the top off of the unit and removed 4 or 5 round rubber seals, for lack of a proper term, that were layered in between 2 "wheels". One of the seals felt a little rough and they were all disintegrating a bit, as rubbing on them left thick black rubber smearing on your fingers. He said that was probably the cause. He also replaces some sort of small piston with a spring around it as it had a small rubber grommet on the end that was dissolving in a similar fashion.

Then he cycled through it, reset it to a hardness of 15, (what he said was appropriate for the area) and was done.
Out the door in a little under 2 hours for $100 service call fee.
He said it should be good for another 2-3 years.
If that's the case then I'd have to say I'm very happy with RainSoft at this point. The product has worked well and the service people have been friendly, helpful and responsive. They even knocked $20 off the service charge b/c they had to miss the 1st appointment.
That said, I'm going to have to give it a few cycles to actually say it's all fixed.



Joethewaterguy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 01:55 pm
@NB2010,
see how rotten those "Rainsoft" people are......... Glad to hear that you had a good experience with them. Joe
0 Replies
 
Jet777
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Feb, 2012 10:32 am
Thank you all for taking the time for these post as our Rain Soft is doing the same thing. Our only difference is our service person is rude and makes us want to change the unit out. The only thing that makes we consider staying with Rain Soft is the idea that this unit does not allow the salt to run over the people, just the brine during cleaning. (Hope this is true?)
Thanks again!
0 Replies
 
Jet777
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Feb, 2012 10:41 am
Question: Is Rain Soft good enough to keep due to proprietary issues limiting those that can repair and maintenance cost? Rain Soft recommends a yearly visit costing $100. Is this necessary? Or as NB2010 wrote-it should work for the next 2-3 years after this repair.
0 Replies
 
bpope03
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2014 07:43 pm
@Joethewaterguy,
is the water suppose to be drawn out during the 4th cycle?
0 Replies
 
Roby Dee
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Apr, 2016 12:55 pm
@NB2010,
I replaced the spring retaining clip on the Refill shut-off assembly. My rainsoft part number is 17812 for the whole assembly about $20 from my rainsoft dealer. I just so happened to have a c-clip that I put on and it worked. I have not had excess water in my brine tank (salt tank) for 3 days now. Prior to replacing the c-clip . I have been troubleshooting for about a week or two. I have an EC4 series water treatment system. address is [email protected]. I will send you a valve parts list and an exploded view of the valve of my system It might help.
0 Replies
 
 

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