autotrol 255 water softener problem

I added calcite to my water softner and it regenerates fine the first time, but when it backwashes the next time, it blows all my calcite out through the backwash tube. Even when the indicator is on "conditioned water" H2O still flows from the backwash tube. I have to then take the head off and clean out the calcite from inside the autotrol device. The clock sees to run fine and the only problem that I can see is calcite blocks open port 6 on my head.
When I add calcite to the tank, I just add the mineral, put the head on and slowly turn the water back on. Is there another trick that I'm missing, or is this a sign that the autotrol head is shot?
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Assuming you've actually done this... you shouldn't have. But then if you have, there is something wrong with the drain line flow control. Resin is much lighter than normal acid neutralizing mineral. But there is one type and I'm not familiar with it that is said to be lighter than the others, and it might get blown out of a softener with a softener DLFC. Anyway.... If you've taken the DLFC out of an Autotrol control, or broken off the end and removed the ball, get another and control the flow to drain. Or you put too much mineral in the tank. You should have about as much free board (space above the media) as you do mineral in the tank; 30-50% freeboard. Did you convert the control valve from a softener version to a heavy mineral backwash filter version?
When you add mineral, put the control in backwash manually and fill the tank slowly until the drain line is full of water, no air. Then cycle through its various cycle positions manually so any trapped air escapes and stop in backwash again and let it backwash until the drain water is clear of the whitish color from the mineral dust. Then go into the rinse position and let it run until it is clear.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin board: www.qualitywaterassociates.com/phpBB2/
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Thanks Gary. All I know is the tech guys have been recharging the system for about 10 years and I thought they filled it to the top with mineral. I did the same and it blew out through the autotrol. The usually recommendation around here is one bag of calcite each year to keep the pH neutral. Also, what is a DLFC? My control has no shot glass or ball in it, just a line in from the salt tank and a line out to backwash.
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You actually have a salt tank! And put acid neutralizing mineral in the resin tank ON TOP of the resin? .... or do you have a combination filter/softener? That's where one media tank sits on top of another and the two are connected as one. If not, I've never heard of adding AN mineral to a softener, and I've been in this business for more than awhile now and I read about new things all the time. The AN mineral is heavier than resin so it would classify on the bottom of the tank with the resin on top, IF the resin could make it up through the AN mineral, which is very questionable, and IMO, not going to happen with even an oversized DLFC (drain line flow control). DLFCs limit the gpm through the unit during backwash etc.. Softeners usually backwash at roughly 20-30% of the gpm flow rate of a heavy mineral filter such as an AN filter; I.E. say 1.5-2.4 gpm compared to 5-7.0 gpm. Without a top basket to keep mineral/resin from getting out of the tank during backwashing; such as your situation. And then, the filter will backwash for up to twice+ as long as a softener. That's a lot of wear on resin beads and corresponding loss of resin to friction wear; usually up to 5% per year is normal anyway. Settle rinse will also be as long and at the same gpm. That's more wear but more important maybe, the resin won't be up to the full capacity based on the salt dose used and then the extra RAW water run through the bed during settle rinse. IMO, and I doubt I could find any dealer but yours to disagree with me, this is not a good idea and is totally wrong. Unless they are replacing the resin each year when they add mineral under the new resin. Which is really dumb and just takes more of your money than an AN filter would.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Bulletin board: www.qualitywaterassociates/phpBB2/
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I'm learning something new each day...This is my configuration: I have a resin tank about 55-60" tall with an autotrol head on it and a 300 lb salt tub to the side. Raw water goes into the resin tank and (supposedly) neutral, iron free water comes out. We have strict well water laws here and the pH has to be 6.8 to 8, and iron has to be less than 2 ppm. I had my treated water tested last week and it's 7.5 with <1 ppm, so something is working right. The raw water tests at 5.5 and 5 ppm.
As long as I had the resin tank, every shop around here recharges it with AN the same way: pop the head off, dump 40-50lbs of calcite in it, and do it all over next year.
The plumbing supply company that sells all these units claim it's no big deal that the resin and AN get tossed together like a salad in the same tank. One will catch the iron and the other will boost the pH. They say they have sold hundreds and all my neighbors have similar one-tank systems.
Rainsoft wanted to sell me two tanks - one for iron and another for acid reduction at a low, low price of $3,300. The service guy said the resin needs to be rebeded, etc. My contention is if I can add calcite each year and the water quality is still good, why bother? This is where I got into trouble with the autotrol blowing AN out through the backwash tube. I filled it to the top, which may not have been a good idea in hindsight. If I separate the system into two (use a tank for iron, and another for pH) will this impede or help my water pressure? The pressure at the pump is 55 pounds, but I don't know what it is at the faucet, but seems to flow fine.
You mention an AN filter. Is that just a simple filter connection, or would it be another tank with AN in it? If so, how long would the AN last in such a tank?

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From 10-15# of 1/4x1/8" gravel and resin yes, but 50# of fine mesh AN mineral... I don't agree.

It's a separate filter with nothing but grvel underbed and AN mineral in it. Until you'd add new mineral would be from 12 to 30 months depending on how acidic your water is and how much water you use' plus what type on mineral you use.
Gary Quality Water Associates www.qualitywaterassociates.com Gary Slusser's Help Forum www.qualitywaterassociates/phpBB2/
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