Update. This instructable was 8 years ago (now 2016). I had someone email me and ask a question about it. I helped the best I could but it was a long time ago. Also, 6 months after I fixed it the motor quit on me, it worked great up until then. The motor was half the cost of a new softener so I just went ahead and bought a new softener. This process does work though, it worked, but the rest of the darn thing broke down. So please consider this before you take on this DIY repair. Sometimes it is worth just replacing it.
This Instructable will cover how to refurbish your old water softener to run like new for the fraction of the cost of replacing it with a new one.
My water softener quit softening quite sometime ago and I just never had the extra money ($600+) to go out and spend on a decent one. I had a feeling there had to be a way to fix this thing without having to buy a new one. Finally after conducting throurough research. I came across a few websites that talked about how the resin beads wear out after years of use. This peaked my interest so I called one of the overpriced water softener salesman and got the low down. Sure enough it was confirmed, the resin goes bad after a certain amount of time and usage. I have a generic G.E. softener and it is typical of this brand.
I knew I needed to conduct more research. After a while I finally found a couple of places that sold just the resin beads. Not only that but it was a very reasonable price, compared to buying a new system. qualitywaterforless.com The stuff I bought was only $95 for a cubic foot and they had free shipping. They were supposed to provide instructions and a funnel tool, but somehow I didn't get them.
Only one place gave the actual instructions on their website Ohio Pure Water
of how to replace the resin . The instructions were not for my model but worked out well enough that I got through the process and it seems to be universal.
It is actually very easy to do, so easy in fact I will show you how to do it in this Instructable.
Step 1: Supplies, Tools, Safety
Beaware of heavy lifting and resin beads getting into your eyes
1. I guess you could wear goggles
2. I suppose you could wear a back brace
3. Don't choke when getting a drink from your water hose.
4. Be aware that water and electricty don't mix well
1 A Cubic foot bag of Resin beads, or what ever size your tank is. Look in your manual in the parts section and it should tell you what size the resin tank is.
2. Some 90% waterproof silicone grease Ace Hardware For rubber and synthetic "O" rings
That's it for supplies!
1. A Common screwdriver (flat)
2. A Water hose connected to a spigot outside
That's all for tools!
Step 2: Shutting It Down and Removal of Unit
1. Turn off the water to the unit by placing the system in the bypass mode. This is done by shuttling the bypass valve(s) into position (not seen in this picture).
2. Unplug the unit from the electric source.
3. Disconnect the unit from your plumbing (see your units manual), and move it out to where you will have room to work. You may have a little water under pressure that will leak or squirt out when you unhook the lines.
4. You could even turn off the water to the house, it does make it easier.
Step 3: Removal and Disassymbly
You may want to take the whole resivior assymbly outside because things are going to get wet and messy.
Becareful not to hurt your back moving your equipment, it is heavy.
Once you have your unit outside remove the rim cover.
If it is to heavy to lift remove the cylider from inside the tank resevior. Do this by leaning the system over and draining the water out of the resivior and the cylinder.
You should be careful not to drain out the water and resiviour near plants because the salt will kill your plants or grass.
Step 4: Empty the Cylinder
Since you just removed the cylinder from the resivour we need to remove the resin in the cylinder.
Next you will need to remove Using a common, flat, screwdriver gently insert and pry up on the white distributer top/screen and it should pop right out pretty easily. This attached to the riser tube. it is basically just a screen to keep the resin in the cylinder. FYI There is another screen at the bottom of the riser tube.
Then just pull out the the riser tube from inside the mineral tank, then tilt the tank over to pour all of the excess water out that you can, to make it weigh less. Once you see resin media coming out of the tank with the water, try to catch or contain the resin or media in containers, for proper disposal.
You can dispose of it by putting it in your garbage. It isn't harmful to the enviorment so it is safe to go in to the landfill.
Step 5: Empty and Refill the Cylinder
Since you have removed the riser tube and screens it is time to empty the cylinder. That is if you haven't already emptied your cylinder. Just tip it over and dump out the resin. My resin was an amber color as in the picture below. I scoope the old suff into a cardboard box and put it in the garbage.
After youi have emptied your cylinder rinse it out using your hose. A quick rinse will remove all of the old resin left in it.
Next rinse out off anything else that looks dirty like your salt storage area.
Now the choice is yours you can put your cylinder back into the storage tank or stand your cylinder up on its end.
Grab your new bag of resin beads and some type of funnel or scoop. I used a scoop. Carefully start putting the new resin into the cylinder until you get your proper amount in the cylinder.
Next reinstalle the riser tube into the resin tank you may have to push down while applying light pressure to get the tube back in past the resin. It will go though, just shake the cylinder around if you have a problem, doing so will shif the resin and allow the tube to go in easier.
Now just gently tap the top screen are in to the top of the cylinder and that's it we are almost finished.
Place the cylinder back in the salt tank area,
Reinstall the Rim Cover,
move the unit back into position to reconnect it to the main system.
Step 6: Lube and Connect
Just before you connect your equipment back to the system you need to apply some water prrof silicone greese to the O-rings. I got mine from Ace Hardware for around $3-$4 (it is food greade so it is not harmful) and a little goes a long way.
After you are all lubed up go ahead and reconnect everything.
Make sure everything is properly seated, o-rings, connectors etc.
When you are sure everything is ready to go place your system back -in service- by restting the bypass valve.
You may hear a gush of water enter your unit, it is normal. Water spraying or leaking is not normal.
Step 7: Rinse the Resin
In this final step you will need to run your faucet in your house for about 5 minutes to let the water rinse the resin. You may see some discoloration in your water at this time. It is normal and that is why you need to rinse it out.
After you have done this you should be getting soft water again so go take a shower and see if you get the soft can clean feeling that soft water gives you. Or run a set of dishes though your dishwasher and check for spots you shouldn't have any.
That's it you have just saved your self about $500 + now go spend that money on something else and enjoy your softwater!