Water Softener blockage

I have a Kenmore Water Softener that I purchased in 2002 (27,000 grain model) ....Lately it has been severely restricting the water pressure (drops to almost nothing) when we take a shower or run the washing machine. It seems to work OK when just running the sink faucet or flushing the toilet.....I'm at my wit's end...I have taken it apart and stirred the resin beads up as I thought there may been sediment at the bottom/blocking the water flow. I used "water softener cleaner" that I got at Sears and it worked OK for a day or two but then the problem was back.....I hate to spend $400 on another one as this one is only 4 years old.....
Any ideas????
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Joseph wrote:

Do you have a whole house filter installed on the incoming water line to the softener???
Even on clean city water, such a 10 micron filter will clog and restrict flow unless it is changed at least once a year. There is an AMAZING amount of dirt/mud in city water supplies.
It could be that the resin bed is getting clogged with this dissolved dirt.
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No.....I don't have a filter installed. The water comes into the house and into the softener first. Is there a cleaner I can use that will get that dirt/sediment out of there? The Sears cleaner is like a kind of baking soda I suppose. I'm not really sure what it is.
Thanks, Joseph

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Joseph wrote:

A whole house filter is not expensive. Two type are available, 20 inch tall by about 3 inches in diameter. The other is 10 inches tall but about 6 inches in diameter. They cost less than $25 at Home Depot and Lowes for the housing and $5 to $10 for the filter. Only modest plumbing skills are needed to insert the filter. BTW, you also need a water shutoff valve inline in front of the filter as you will need to turn the water off and bleed down house pressure to change the filter.
It is POSSIBLE that the resin bed is damaged. A pro water company can replace the resin, although I know not at what cost,. In any case, clean it several times AFTER you get the filter installed. I have ALWAYS had a prefilter on mine, installed when the system was purchased and installed. After a pressure surge destroyed the resin containment and spread resin to EVERY outlet in the house, I added a POST filter as well.
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Yes, a filter before the softener is a good idea. Your resin bed may be clogged. I would put a whole house filter on the water system before the water enters the softener. You can try and clean the resin bed by using a product called "Super Iron Out" or "Morton's Rust Raze" available at most hardware stores. Follow the directions on the product to clean the resin bed. You may still need to have the resin bed replaced if it is unable to be cleaned.
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Joseph,
Are you sure the problem is with the softener? What happens when you bypass it? Odd that flow is adequate for doing laundry but pressure is inadequate for showering. I think you need to investigate further rather than trying random fixes. The cleaning that you did argues against the problem being in the softener
Dave M.
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Well, the pressure slowly becomes less and less as the washer fills... If I bypass the Softener, the water pressure becomes a rushing river so I know the softener is the problem.....I replaced the water inlet screen....that is the little strainer at the bottom of the resin bed a couple of months ago. The little fins on the botttom of the strainer were bent and the softener quit working. The guy from Sears came out and thought the problem was the "O" ring at the top of the inlet valve but it still did not work after he replaced the ring....it was then we discovered that the fins at the bottom of the inlet strainer were bent, allowing water to by-pass the inlet pipe at the top, thus letting the water leak by the inlet pipe without flowing thru the resin bed....and then the result - hard water.....confused yet???? Now the pressure is the problem....dammit!
Anyway, I hate to plop down another $400+ (if I do I'll get another brand this time....but they all work the same..)

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are you on a well or city water? the sears unit use a resin that is not good to use for iron problems. we have replaced a number of them after being in use for only a couple years.it sounds as though the resin bed is fouled. could be from chlorine the resin beads usually cant handle high amounts. scott
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Joseph,
Since you would rather fix than replace, try removing the resin from the tank and then reassemble the softener. Is the pressure problem fixed? If so the resin is the problem, find a strainer or colander and try to clean it. Or replace it. If it's not the resin then you need to find out where and what is causing this plug. With the resin tank disassembled can you flush through from the outlet and maybe clear plugging material. This will be a lot of work. A filter and a new softener may be the way to go.
Dave M.
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