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whitedavidp 11-22-2009 07:46 PM

Flooded Salt Tank in Kenmore H2O Softener
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Hello. I purchased a new-ish home (1 year after it was built) that has a model 625.388170 (or maybe 625.388180 - same manual for both) H2O softener. Until today, I had every reason to believe that all was fine with this unit. I generally do not let the salt level get very far down before refilling and I keep it near maximum.

But I have been a bit lazy about adding salt recently so I checked today and found that it was down much further than I usually allow it to get - 5 out of 8 max on the level markings. While looking, I noticed that there was water in the salt tank. I know that there is supposed to be water in the tank but the online info at where at the bottom it says this should be only 2-5 inches high. Today, the water was just at or slightly below the level of the salt. For reference, this would be at least 2 feet above the bottom of the tank.

I thought this odd (or at least unexpected) so I did a bit of research here and found that this seems a known situation. I followed the instructions to clean the venturi assembly. This was easy to do and I found nothing that was unexpected - all seemed fine. The last step in this process is to manually trigger a recharge. I did this and it took quite a long time to complete. During this process, the water level in the salt tank went down and out of sight. I cannot say how far down exactly but much lower than it was when I started all this.

At the end of the recharge cycle a rinse occurs and water starts to run. When this happened I watched what was going on and I noted that water was running into the salt tank at this point through the overflow tube/hole. This seemed to cause the water level to fill up to about the point where it was originally.

This seemed odd and I looked to see how it was plumbed. The overflow hose comes out of the overflow hole and tee's into the main drain line for the unit. This then connects to the pressure bleed line from the water heater located right next to the softener. The combined drain line goes through a hole in the side of the house and out to a hose which drains on the ground. I checked this during the rinse and did see water coming out ok. I saw not signs of blockage or restriction.

The diagrams in the manual all show the drain and overflow lines going their separate ways to the drain. They are not shown interconnected like they are on my unit. So I am guessing that when the rinsing occurs, the waste water is finding it much easier to flow back into the salt tank via the overflow tube than it is to go all the way out of the house to the drain and this is what is causing the higher than expected water level.

Nothing has been changed here so I am guessing that things have been this way since installation and I just never noticed due to the high salt level in the tank. So my questions:

1. Is this a satisfactory situation? Or does this lead to inefficiencies in the system? Could this lead to an overflow situation which could cause the floor to get wet?
2. If this is not a satisfactory situation, what is the best action to take? There is no floor drain and I would like to keep the single hole and drain out the wall, if possible.

Thanks for your time and comments.

Added 11/23 @ 9am

I just added two photos to try and clarify the situation. The first shows how the drain and overflow lines from the softener are tee'ed into a single line. I found the install manual and it specifically says NOT to combine these lines. The second photo shows how the combined line from the softener is added to the water heater blow-off line which then exits the house through the wall to simply drain on the ground.

lilh2o3 01-04-2010 10:08 PM

un hook the overflow line off the side of the salt tank, there is a safety shutoff in the brine tank that will not allow the water level in the salt tank to get high enough to overflow. Secondly, allow the salt in the take to run almost completely empty before adding any more salt. If you keep it full all the time the salt will get musshy in the bottom and not disslove which will make it look like ther is more h2o in the take than there needs to be. But yes that is an improper hook up.

rudolph58 01-07-2010 12:05 PM

you say that the water pop off valve drains into a hose going outside?first off,the drain off of a water heater pop off valve can not terminate to the outside.if this drain would happen to freeze over in the winter and the water heater malfunctioned, you want the brine water killing your grass.if you disconnect the tank overflow hose and the float that controls the amount of water when in back flush cycle takes place sticks open where will the water go!

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