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Softener Head image

I have a Culligan water softener in my water treatment shed. It's been determined that our water is not being softened. My research of this problem suggests various steps for resolution, which I've performed (mostly) and somewhat out of order, which in this case, I believe is insignificant. My research also included checking this site for related terms.

The timer system works properly and performs timed recharges. This is confirmed by setting the clock to a normal hour and observing the discharge hose. It also performs properly with a manual recharge.

The salt tank had a salt dome. Clearing it with a stick didn't help.

The resin bed was 25-30 years old. Replacing it didn't help. It really needed to be replaced, though, as the iron in our water turned the beads almost black. Not too expensive, not too difficult.

The salt tank needed to be cleaned. I don't think this was ever done by the previous homeowner and not by me in almost 30 years! Six or more inches of salt mud in the bottom, well above the baffle level in the bottom. I believe this is a serious factor in the current failure.

After all the above steps, the mechanism filled the salt tank with water and appeared to perform a regeneration cycle, but the water remains hard. Over the past weeks, no salt has been consumed.

This implies that water is getting to the tank, but is not being pulled into the resin bed to do the work.

Considering that I had my own mud bath in the bottom of the salt tank, I suspect that some of the grunge has managed to plug up the works in the softener head.

My searches have come up empty for dismantling the softener head. I'm hopeful that it's practical for me to flip the plumbing into bypass, yank the head and tear it to pieces.

I'm equally hopeful that I'll find passages in the head that, when cleaned of the gunk, will place the unit back in operation.

Are there "sensitive" parts within the head of which I must exercise extreme caution?

Any hints on disassembly are appreciated.

  • Make sure you can find replacement parts first! I helped the owner of a property my wife managed years ago try to repair a different brand to find no parts were available ant the small plastic parts that actuated the regent had shattered so we had to replace the whole unit. – Ed Beal Jul 15 '18 at 21:40
  • That's a great suggestion. I probably would not have thought of that until it was too late. On the flip side, it's effectively useless now and can't get worse! – fred_dot_u Jul 15 '18 at 21:42
  • That's what we thought but the plastic was so brittle inside when we opened it up it started constantly flushing or in regeneration and the bypass did not work so we had to cut it out and bypass it with pipe then plumb in the new unit the next week. Just trying to share what could happen and be prepared to bypass hopefully it will have valves to bypass this one was all internal. – Ed Beal Jul 15 '18 at 21:56
  • Yepper! This one has an externally plumbed bypass. I learned one lesson with the project so far, don't re-use the O-rings on the push-in piping. Also, there were four where I thought would be two. What's another trip to the hardware store? – fred_dot_u Jul 15 '18 at 22:22

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