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Old 02-05-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
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Refurbishing a water softener? Good idea?


Hello all. I can tell by reading around that I am surrounded by experts here. Sorry if I don't sound professional, but here's my problem.

I spotted a couple used water softeners for around 100 dollars. One is a Kenmore and one is a Whirlpool, both rated at about a 30,000 grain capacity. Now, I am leery of buying used, but new softeners are $400+, so I am trying to save some dough here.

Both softeners are about 8 years old, and I was wondering if it would be cheaper to clean/replace the resin and clean the screen than buy a new $400 softener. I know a bag of resin is a little over $100, so I figure I could save close to 200 dollars by doing this. I found some resin replacement directions here:

Refurbish Your Water Softener and Save Big $$$

...and on the units I'm looking at, the cylinder is tucked into the tank. Do you think it would be hard to get the cylinder out of there? Are there better ways to refurbish the unit than just replacing the resin?

Thanks for any advice. I just want to get a softener before the calcium builds up too bad on my appliances (new house).

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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Refurbishing a water softener? Good idea?


Changing the resin is not hard. However you also have other issues to consider; the valves that control the softening process go bad. These also can be changed, but then you also have to worry about the timer going bad (not as common) but does happen. The valve or plungers on a softener is usually what fails. IMHO I would stay away from them, the average life of a softener is somewhere between 10 to 15 years depending on how well they were maintained and the quality of the water they were softening. Granted some do last longer however that is the exception not the rule.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:43 PM   #3
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Refurbishing a water softener? Good idea?


I saw a fleck 5600 for $399, looks like a decent unit. Can anyone vouch for this?
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:28 PM   #4
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Refurbishing a water softener? Good idea?


I will also vouch for the low quality of big box brand water softeners. I would replace them all the time, some still under warranty (people just got tired of dealing with them). I do think the 2 - 5 years may be a little low for an average, but they definitely do not last as long as a flek, autotrol or kinetico (not familiar with the clack or erie). Those are the three brands I installed.

One I that I replaced I felt kind of bad since the softener was installed improperly (inlet and outlet reversed), However the store sent three different techs out to figure out the problem and they all missed it.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:26 AM   #5
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Refurbishing a water softener? Good idea?


My neighbour has a Kenmore which is internally the same as my GE which is now about 8 years old.I live in a VERY hrad water area.
I have had to clean and overhaul mine several times as well as a friend's. The GE system runs with an impeller floating agains a series of seals and O rings. It' s more work than I care for but I have gotten pretty good at it. Also found a great trouble shooting site @ kenmorewater.com?
This unit is made under several different brands. My understanding from service techs is that GE was working on new technology a few years ago , however the unit in Home Depot still looks very similar as do the Kenmores I've seen in other homes.
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