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Water Quality/Water Softener Resin in water lines


QUESTION: Hi Steve, I recently purchase a new water softener and installed it last Wednesday before I left for a short Thanksgiving holiday...everything seem to be working fine when I left...but when I got home on Saturday night most of my faucets,washing machine and toilet flush values were not working...seems that my whole plumbing system is clogged with resin from the new softener. I thought that I followed the installation procedures pretty well....even used online instructions that came with the there anything that I might be missing or not understanding? This is a real pain.... I have the unit by passed right now...I'll be going to the hardware store in the morning for new flush values and aerators... thanks for your thought on this matter.


ANSWER: Hi Patrick,
Oh man!  I feel for you buddy!  That's a bummer.  Basically there are 2 ways that the resin can escape from the system.  The first is through the exit line - in other words it just comes out with the softened water as you use it. The second is during the backwash - right before the unit regenerates.
If the resin is leaking out during normal operation it means that the screens may have come loose or there is not enough gravel in the bottom of the tank.  Did you put gravel in the tank?  You may have to take it apart and check the screens.
The second possibility is that you filled the unit with too much resin and when the unit backwashed it took resin with it.  Or your backwash rate (water flow) may be too high.  It's probably that you put too much resin or gravel in the unit and the level is too high.  That is an easy fix. Just remove some - the tank should only be about 3/4 full with gravel and resin.

As far as removing the resin - it should be fairly easy - just take the aerator screens off the faucets and the inlet on the washer and you should be able to just rinse it down the drain.

Let me know how this works and if you have any other questions.  Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks a bunch, Steve...the instructions said I didn't need gravel with the resin that was sent. The unit was sent with two, 2 cubic bags of resin...I assumed and used both bags...I am going to try and see if I can drain the tank and check the resin volume.... I guess I'll start there.

Thanks again


ANSWER: Hi Patrick,
Here is a good site for helping you with resin replacement:

Also - I have never heard of resin that didn't need gravel - I would check on this if I were you.  Good luck,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Steve...yes...the unit came with a resin that is not considered silk...and does not use gravel....the problem was I set this new unit up in the dark....I connected my supply line and etc...just as my older unit had been and it was you know the rest of the story.... I'm pruty dumb some times. But, have a new faucet in the kitchen and I was able to clean out the values on my flush masters...cleaned the screens on the washing machine and I'm still thanks for your help!! If you ever need any assist in music or guitar...check out Patrick Foy in the guitar area of allexperts...Thanks again my friend..

Hi Patrick,
I'll bet you are far from being dumb.  Maybe just inexperienced.  I think you've got some cahones for tackling this kind of a project on your own.  You saved some $$ and learned some things in the process - that's what makes DIY so much fun.

I hope you and your family have a nice holiday.  Take care,
Environmental Engineer

Water Quality

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Steve Young


I will answer questions on residential water treatment, i.e. use of softeners, filters, reverse osmosis systems, disinfection, iron and/or sediment removal and other issues facing the homeowner. I have worked extensively with well water systems.


I have worked in the water treatment area for many years as a consultant and as a professional environmental engineer in the private industry sector. I have designed reverse osmosis, deionization, and water softening systems. I have also done work in water quality and stream and river remediation as it relates to the Clean Water Act.

I am currently serving as an Expert for Home Improvement, Travel (New Mexico) and Travel (North Carolina);

BS Environmental Eng.

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