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Old 08-24-2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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Default Water softener sending debris through pipes?

Water softener was installed about 4 years ago. No problems until a week ago. Owner said salt level ran out completely and owner added Morton's pellets (as recommended by a sticker on the lid of the softener). Owner had previously used Morton's crystals on occasion. Shortly after replentishing the salt level, owner began having significant salt (white chunks) and black/brown debris in water lines. The salt and debris has significantly clogged any screens on faucets, washers, etc. I have bypassed the water softener temporarily, but the problem seems to continue. Even though the softener has been bypassed for a week, salt/debris continues to clog the faucet filters, etc. I am suspicious that debris and salt crystals are in the hot water tank as well. Any suggestions? Anyone run in to this in the past? I am at a loss as to what to do next. The house is on a well with a water filter before the softener.

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Old 08-24-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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What does the water filter look like? Is there a rip in the membrane of the filter? Replace the filter, flush all the lines, flush out the water heater tank, remove all screens from the faucets and clean them, and finish with a full flush of the water softener, and then replace the salt.

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Old 08-24-2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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Default thanks Havsu

I'll try to flush it again. I replaced the filter, so I don't think there is a problem there. Keep in mind, the filter is pre-softener. I think the gunk is coming from the softener (so after the filter). I shut off the water and opened a basement faucet to flush the lines. Now that basement faucet is running really slow when the water is on. I think a bunch of sediment probably is clogging the supply line. I am not overly familiar with the softener and what kind of system it has to keep large chunks of salt from getting into the line. Obviously it isn't a good filter. That must be where the problem originated. I don't really know what to do other than take out the softener and take it apart and look at it. I am not too excited about that ordeal.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:09 PM   #4
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Are you sure it's salt?

Could it be dip tube?
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:11 PM   #5
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I think what your seeing is mineral build up from the pipes. Salt can't get into the lines in anything except dissolved solid form. The other pieces your seeing are probably iron, calcium and magnesium.

Get rid of the inline filter. They are nothing but trouble and useless.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:09 AM   #6
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I'm no expert on water softeners but from what I understand the water does not pass through the salt tank but through a mineral tank filled with small polystyrene beads, also known as zeolites. At timed intervals a liquid brine solution is pumped through the mineral tank.The sodium ions in the brine replace the magnesium and calcium that attached them selves to the zeolites.

It's most likely the membrane in the mineral tank failed and it's the zeolites that's in your system.

I've had to back flush a system. I disconnected water heater supplies and connected a hose to the hot supply ( not the heater) then cap off the cold supply to heater or turn off supply valve to heater. Cap off a tub or shower head and turn on that valve to back feed cold water into the hot water system and out the hose on the wtr htr supply. Do that to all the fixtures if you can. Sometime you have to actually take off the angle stop at the fixture and back flush it with a hose from a clean source.

Here'a link I found on softeners How a water softener works

. . . . . . . . . . -(@@)- . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . ----o00--()--00o----. . . . .

a.k.a. Krazedav
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