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Old 01-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Hello All,

In my water softener 3 bags of salt got consumed in 3 weeks (usually it used come for couple of months at least). I'm seeing water all the time in the tank up to salt level and sometimes more. I never used to see water in the tank before.

Also, before this problem started happening, the tank was out of salt for few days. Did this cause the problem? or is it always recharging? What should I check and do to fix this?

Recharge schedule is 2am every night. We are family of 4. In this forum I saw posts saying recharging every day too much. What should be typical schedule? My usage is avg of 5000 gl/month.

I really appreciate your help.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


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Hello All,

In my water softener 3 bags of salt got consumed in 3 weeks (usually it used come for couple of months at least). I'm seeing water all the time in the tank up to salt level and sometimes more. I never used to see water in the tank before.

Also, before this problem started happening, the tank was out of salt for few days. Did this cause the problem? or is it always recharging? What should I check and do to fix this?

Recharge schedule is 2am every night. We are family of 4. In this forum I saw posts saying recharging every day too much. What should be typical schedule? My usage is avg of 5000 gl/month.

I really appreciate your help.
One thing to check is the float assembly, make sure that it all the way down in the brine well or the black tube that is on the inside of the brine tank. Some times after adding salt the float assembly will get worked up and there will be more 3/8 tubing in where the salt goes than there should be as the float assembly is no longer setting on the bottom of the tank.

There is really no typical, there is each house hold.. some use 60gallons per person per day other more and there are some that use less..

Depending on the water iron, mn, hardness and size of the unit as to gallons it can treat before it needs to recharge..
If the iron and hardness are high and your system is having to go every night it could be undersized..

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Old 01-04-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Look in your owners manual for a diagram of the venturi assembly. It needs to be cleaned periodically. If it's dirty the proper amount of brine(salt water) will not be drawn into the resin bed and the water level in the reservoir will keep rising. As far as programming the softener, you need to determine the hardness of your water and there should be a reference table in your manual that tells you how often the unit has to be regenerated based on the number of people in the household and your water hardness. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:13 PM   #4
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


If your salt usage has suddenly jumped up check for a water leak. Toilet tanks are a common culprit.

A second cause of a sudden increase in salt consumption is the softener valve malfunctioning and overfilling the brine tank--your observation of higher than normal brine levels could indicate this is the problem.

To get an informed opinion about whether daily regeneration is reasonable we need to know your water analysis--hardness, iron, and manganese levels along with your daily water usage--you indicated 5000 gal/month or 166 gpd. Are you on city water or a well? If city water you can get a water quality report from your supplier.

Also check your softener and tell us the grains hardness setting along with the size of the resin tank--the cubic feet of resin or the advertised grains capacity of the softner.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:52 AM   #5
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Thanks a lot for your reply and here is the info you asked for:

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Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
If your salt usage has suddenly jumped up check for a water leak. Toilet tanks are a common culprit.
I checked for leaks and did not find any.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob999 View Post
A second cause of a sudden increase in salt consumption is the softener valve malfunctioning and overfilling the brine tank--your observation of higher than normal brine levels could indicate this is the problem.
Brine tank meaning the salt storage tank, right? You may be right. We were hearing water drop sounds, but when I looked in the tank I did not see water falling. Is this valve easy to change?

Water level is not high in the tank...water level is always just above the salt level. With 3 bags water level is almost to the top, but now with half bag left water level just above the salt.

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To get an informed opinion about whether daily regeneration is reasonable we need to know your water analysis--hardness, iron, and manganese levels along with your daily water usage--you indicated 5000 gal p month or 166 gpd. Are you on city water or a well? If city water you can get a water quality report from your supplier.
We use city water, and water quality report is:
http://www.ci.cedar-park.tx.us/cp/sy...?pg=1411&ver=8

Hardness level above report mentions is 176ppm so 10.29 gpg. The hardness setting I had was 12 in the begining, but water was too soft so I changed it to 6. Recently it changed to 35. May be one of my sons change it. But, water wasn't as soft as it was at 12. Now I changed it back to 12.

I did not find iron and manganese levels. I called the city and they said they provide only this report.

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Also check your softener and tell us the grains hardness setting along with the size of the resin tank--the cubic feet of resin or the advertised grains capacity of the softner.
My water softner is Whirlpool WHES40, and it says 40,000 Grain Capacity and dimensions are:

Depth: 19 in.
Height: 47 7/8 in. (just the tank is 39-1/2")
Width: 18 in.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:41 PM   #6
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Sounds like the venturi has had some challenges for some time, last I looked the units like yours are rather dry between cleaning cycles as they put the water in at the start of the cleaning cycle and then start pulling the water out.
So either the venturi is dirty and not working right or the float assembly is up to high and there is more tubing showing in the brine tank than there should be.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


As noted by AK with the Whirlpool softeners typically you should see only a small amount of water at the bottom of the brine tank because they add water before regeneration. The fact that you are seeing more water all the time indicates either a dirty/defective venturi or a leaking valve causing an overfill of the brine tank. Because your salt consumption has jumped up and you say there are no leaks or other increase in water consumption I am inclined to think the problem is your softener valve. There are rebuild kits sold for the Whirlpool valves but even with rebuild the typical life exectancy of that valve is perhaps 5-7 years. Depending on the age of your unit and your ability to do the rebuild yourself you may want to consider a new unit--if you do I recommend a unit with a FLECK valve.

As you have learned the solution to water that is softer than you want is NOT to change the hardness setting on the control. The setting on the control valve determines when the unit regenerates and to operate satisfactorily it must be set for the hardness of the water--or a higher number but never a lower number. To get it working well again set it at 12 as you originally had it and add 3 gallons of water to the brine tank and then set it to do a manual regeneration. You may need to repeat that process a second time.

If you want to reduce the softness install a blending valve to blend some unsoftened water into the softened water before use.

With water use of 166 gallons per day and hardness of 12 you have ~2000 grains per day. With the Whirlpool softener variable brining I would expect that your salt use should be 1/2 to 3/4 lb of salt per day if the unit is working properly. Frequency of regeneration is controlled by the valve programming which is not user adjustable but I would not expect it to regenerate daily.

I still wonder if you have a water leak somewhere given your reported salt usage and the fact the unit is regenerating daily--have you checked the drain hose on the softener to ensure no water is draining while the unit is is service?

Last edited by Bob999; 01-06-2011 at 04:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Thanks AK and Bob.

My unit is 2.5 years only. Water was in fact draining from the drain hose. I thought it is normal as my installer told me that don't leave it outside the drain pipe (see attachment).

How do I know whether venturi or valve has gone bad? Would I see any wear and tear or any cracks etc?

Thanks for the tip regarding the blending valve. I'll install one.
Attached Thumbnails
Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank-softner1.jpg   Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank-softner2.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Continuous drainage from the drain hose is a valve problem--not the venturi. The only time there should be water draining from the unit is during the regeneration cycle--typically 90 minuntes or so in the middle of the night. Any other time indicates a problem.

The hose you have marked is the overflow from the brine tank so apparently what is happening is that excess water is flowing into the brine tank to the point it overflows. This explains the increase in salt consumption.

You MIGHT see a problem if you disassemble the valve--there is a large complex O ring that might show damage but more likely you will not see any problem.

Another possibility is that the valve is not indexing to the correct service position at the end of the cycle and because it is not in the correct position it is allowing water to flow to the drain. However I think this is unlkely becuase the Whirlpool unit does the brine fill at the beginning of the cycle--not the end.

Last edited by Bob999; 01-07-2011 at 12:17 PM. Reason: Add information
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:46 PM   #10
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Thanks again Bob. I'll work on it. I'm overwhelmed after looking at the components diagram. I hope I'll be able to fix it. Would you mind pointing to (by number) which O-ring you are talking about.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:10 PM   #11
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Could be that 15 and 17 or just 17 will need to be replaced. 17 is the seal while 15 is the disc.. either could be bad with some kind of cut or break and letting water past and to the drain when it should not be .
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:36 PM   #12
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


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Would you mind pointing to (by number) which O-ring you are talking about.
See AK's comments--17 is the "complex o ring" I was referring to. 15 seals against 17 and could be the culprit. Also check the seat 17 sits in.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #13
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


Thanks Bob and AK. I'll try to repair (at least take it apart :-)) it this weekend.
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Old 02-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #14
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


My softner did that. My plummer tied my salt storage overflow hose and valve drain hose together and it caused the tank to slowly fill with water ovet time. http://www.ecodynewatertreatment.com/ws/WHES40.pdf
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:33 AM   #15
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Whirlpool Water Softner: high salt usage and always see water in the tank


[quote=Akpsdvan;562801]One thing to check is the float assembly, make sure that it all the way down in the brine well or the black tube that is on the inside of the brine tank. Some times after adding salt the float assembly will get worked up and there will be more 3/8 tubing in where the salt goes than there should be as the float assembly is no longer setting on the bottom of the tank.

KUDOS For VERY Specific and Accurate Advice

This is good advice as is the undersized possibility, I would switch to block salt to avoid what is typically referred to as bridging as well as consider leaving salt-based water treatment if in fact you have iron or manganese in the water. Proper equipemnt must regenerate on a meter and you are right to question this huge slat demand. Im itching getting out of your shower-- lots of sodium carbonate makes it hard to rinse off. I also agree the system is probably undersized in addition to the brine bridge indicated by water in the tank

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