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When we realized our 12-year-old EcoWater tank-style water softener wasn't softening at all as compared to our source water (lime scale on glassware and plumbing, with subsequent lab testing to confirm), we cleaned the venturi/nozzle and ran multiple regeneration cycles over several weeks using resin cleaner. Neither of these made any difference. We determined this using API KH test drops, which we verified the accuracy of by comparing to our lab test results. Our source water iron content is low.

We concluded the resin bed must be shot and replaced the gravel and resin beads. No change, even after running 100 gallons of water to make sure we weren't testing water still in the lines. The softener is not bypassed and still appears to function normally in all other ways, including using salt.

What else should we check?

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  • Are you sure the softener is actually cycling? If you force a manual recharge, do you get water out of the discharge hose?
    – FreeMan
    Mar 8, 2023 at 19:06
  • Yes, when doing a manual recharge water comes out of the discharge hose.
    – DK Moore
    Mar 8, 2023 at 19:44

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The bypass valve cycles every time the system regenerates. It contains discs, seals and O rings. If those parts are worn, then when the valve is NOT in bypass, raw water can slip by the worn parts into the softener's output -- the path of least resistance -- instead of going into the softener and through the resin bed.

Check your manual to see how the valve is constructed. It's possible to disassemble it and look for worn parts. The entire valve assembly should also be available as a replacement part.

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