Anyone know about water softeners?

Permutit unit, with an Autotrol valve. There's a thing called an "air check valve" that stops air being sucked in from the brine tank once all the brine has been used. This has a little rubber ball; once all the brine has been sucked through, and air arrives, it falls to the bottom of its clear chamber and seals the inlet.
Once regeneration has completed the unit squirts fresh water back into the brine tank through the same pipe.
The trouble is (I think) that the ball floats in brine, but not in fresh water, so when fresh is pushed back the ball sinks and the unit thinks it has air. Next cycle more water into the brine tank... eventually it overflows, and I don't get soft water.
So... - Should the ball float in fresh? - Where can I get another one?
Andy
--
(resend - last one didn't appear for me)

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Anything like this:
http://s377.photobucket.com/albums/oo218/1pennyfarthing/Water%20softener%20valve%20Jan%202011/ Mind the wrap.
This from my Permutit water softener. I posted on uk diy a couple of years back about it. Remove. Wash out as much gunge as possible. Shake, rattle & roll in mild bleach solution. Rinse and replace.. Apparently these things are affected by UV. Mine still going strong and it's at least 30 yrs old.. Can't find the original message now, google groups may/maynot help.
Nick.

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On 14/03/2013 21:15, Nick wrote:

http://s377.photobucket.com/albums/oo218/1pennyfarthing/Water%20softener%20valve%20Jan%202011/

No gunge - it's all clean. And it has a cover so it's pretty dark under there - certainly the plastic hasn't yellowed. The ball moves about just fine, it's just it doesn't float at a time I'd expect it to be floating - and I can't imagine why it would be carefully constructed to float in brine but not fresh water.
Andy
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On Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:56:27 PM UTC, Andy Champ wrote:

It doesn't work like that. There's just a timed flow of water into the brine tank. One of the flapper valves is letting by. You can get service kits I believe.
The ball sinks in fresh water or brine.
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On 14/03/2013 22:04, Onetap wrote:

tank. One of the flapper valves is letting by. You can get service kits I believe.

Reverse problem - the brine isn't getting sucked back out. If I take the ball out it sucks just fine (but then carries on and sucks lots of air too). There's another ball somewhere, which I think must be the one you are talking about.
Andy
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On Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:04:57 PM UTC, Onetap wrote:


Correction to that, I just looked at my softener.
The ball floats in brine or fresh & seals the inlet when the brine tank is empty (as you'd said).
There's an eductor tee in the valve assembley that uses the flow of fresh water, during the brine stage, to generate suction & suck up the brine. I t hink there's some sort of mesh filter before that, to take out any insolubl e particles that fall into the brine tank. I'd suspect that's clogged. I c an't remember where it is though, look for a manual on the internet.
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On 15/03/2013 13:19, Onetap wrote:

water, during the brine stage, to generate suction & suck up the brine. I think there's some sort of mesh filter before that, to take out any insoluble particles that fall into the brine tank. I'd suspect that's clogged. I can't remember where it is though, look for a manual on the internet.

I'm fairly sure the ball is sodden. If I take the ball out it sucks fine.
Andy
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On Friday, March 15, 2013 2:44:47 PM UTC, Andy Champ wrote:

Manual here says clean injector and screen, but I don't see the screen on the parts list (155 valve?);
http://www.morganwater.eu/page5.html
There are a couple of other balls (part #10). I looked it up, it says the balls and the valve seats are affected by chlorinated water and will then last 5 to 10 years. You may be right about it being the ball, but I still doubt it.
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On Friday, March 15, 2013 3:03:06 PM UTC, Onetap wrote:
ISTr that when you reassemble the ball thing, you have to manually operate one of the valves to fill the transparent chamber with water, get the air o ut & get the ball floating. Otherwise it sits on the bottom of the chamber and stops the brine being sucked up.
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On 15/03/2013 15:03, Onetap wrote:

balls and the valve seats are affected by chlorinated water and will then last 5 to 10 years. You may be right about it being the ball, but I still doubt it.

The manual at <http://www.morganwater.eu/255460imanual.pdf , page 13, shows the operation of the air check valve.
In diagram 3 the ball floats at the top of the chamber which is full of brine. I had no end of trouble getting to that stage, but when I did it behaved. for a bit.
In diagram 4 when the brine runs out air comes up the pipe, fills the air check chamber, and the ball falls and cuts off the feed.
In diagram 5, fresh hard water is going into the brine tank. In mine the ball sinks in this phase, never to rise again.
Andy
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On Friday, March 15, 2013 8:46:25 PM UTC, Andy Champ wrote:

balls and the valve seats are affected by chlorinated water and will then last 5 to 10 years. You may be right about it being the ball, but I still doubt it.

WEird; it could only be the ball becoming more dense, for some reason, unless it is somehow sticking. You'd need a new one. Does it sink in a glass of water/brine? I've heard of the 'rubber' balls in 2-port heating valves swelling, but not becoming more dense.
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On 16/03/2013 18:01, Onetap wrote:

I'm going to send for a new one. Annoyingly it's about a tenner for a 2cm rubber ball!
It floats in brine, but sinks in fresh water.
Andy
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On 16/03/2013 21:53, Andy Champ wrote:

The new ball is here. It floats in fresh water. Manually triggered regeneration cycle now running...
Andy
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