About 15mo ago, I bought a house with a non-functional water softener. The old unit was installed in 1993 so i figured it was simply at the end of its life and time to be replaced. I finally got around to doing that today. However, after running the new unit through the initial cleaning regen cycle indicated in the manual, the water from the tap still tests at roughly 50 grains which is the same as before installation and the same as untreated water from a tap before the softener in the plumbing loop.

It is a Morton MH34 (34k grain). During initial configuration, only settings I changed from default were the regen time (from 2AM to 3AM), and the hardness (up to 50 grains from whatever the default was). I also set the local time of course.

The initial regen used about 20 lbs of salt judging by the level drop in the tank.

I have walked through the manual regen verification in the manual which steps through each step and verifying using visual clues that it is functioning and all appears to function correctly.

I have taken apart the venturi component and verified no blockage there.

Everything about the unit seems to be working but it simply isn't producing results which, ironically, is exactly the symptoms the original unit exhibited.

  • By what method are you testing hardness? And, of course, it's not bypassed? (The "headslap" reason - more common than you might think.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 15, 2016 at 3:06
  • @Ecnerwal primarily using a very basic TDS meter that measures ppm and converting to grains using the standard 17.1 ppm / gpg conversion. I know this isn't going to be exact but the softener also came with a paper test strip which tested the same as the TDS meter. Also, the water doesn't pass basic "this is soft water" tests like being slippery when washing with soap. Last, yes, the bypass valve is in the correct position. The first regen wouldn't have used salt if it wasn't (right?). Also, when I took apart the venturi mechanism, I had to put it in bypass then (and then back to service)
    – kinar
    Feb 15, 2016 at 3:14
  • Given that a TDS meter is really just looking at conductivity, and that a softener works by replacing ions with other ions, I am dubious that it's a good way to check for softening effectiveness. tdsmeter.com/what-is?id=0004
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 15, 2016 at 3:29
  • Have you checked more than one facuit? In my house, the kitchen cold is unsoftened due to the back yard water being tapped off of the same line.
    – DoxyLover
    Feb 15, 2016 at 3:30
  • @DoxyLover yes, I have both soft and hard taps in the same room as the softener plus I have tested both bathrooms (both hot/cold soft)
    – kinar
    Feb 15, 2016 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


Turns out @Ecnerwal was correct about my testing being flawed. The softener appears to be working fine. As he mentioned, it makes 100% sense that a TDS meter will measure exactly the same before and after a water softener install since the water isn't being filtered.

I'm not sure if my initial user experience tests were simply done too soon or if it takes a couple days to clear out the pipes but the slippery feeling of the water is now present as expected. I have also been able to verify that everything is fine with the softener by the fact that I can run the dishwasher without rinse aids for the first time in over a year.

cup comparison

In this picture, the cup on the left just came from the dishwasher. The cup on the right came from my cupboard and was ran through using a rinse aid before the softener was replaced. Previously without the rinse aid, you wouldn't have been able to see my fingers through the cup.

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