You are here: Home > Parts and Valves > Sears, NorthStar > Sears and GE Smartwater - Water Not Soft - Distributor Oring problem and solution
Sears Kenmore, North Star, Mortons, Ecodyne, Ecopure, Whirlpool, and GE Smartwater softeners use the same clamp to tank valve design
since the early 1990s. And on occasion the distributor o-ring, that fits on the outside of the
riser pipe, will slip up and off the center pipe in the resin tank.
This will allow the water to flow in and out of the tank without being force down through the Resin beads.
The Valve will appear to be functioning properly, but the water would not be soft,
no matter how many times the system was regenerated.

Here is the way one customer solved this problem
( problem caused by the pipe being just a little too short ).

* I pulled the central tube out completely with the bottom distributor ( # 10 and # 11 ) and
cleaned it. Since I needed approximately 1/8" extension to prevent the O-ring ( 7170254, # 7 ) from
slipping out at the top, I cut the tube at two places, about 10" central piece, keeping at least 6"
at the top piece in order to be able to slip the top distributor ( # 9 ) on top without hitting the
inserted coupler. I used two 3/4" PVC couplers to glue the three pieces together. This extended
the length by 1/8" (each coupler has a central shoulder of 1/16"). Waited till the joint dried and
lowered the tube into the tank. While lowering, some resins oozed out of the tank, maybe a couple
of handfuls. Carefully assembled the rest of the parts and then started the recharge. Glad to say it
is working fine so far. I waited till it recharged and soft water is flowing once again before writing
this E-mail.

I would say this may also be possible to extend by using only one 3/4" PVC coupler, but you will
need to carefully judge the amount of "extension" you need to add to prevent the oring from slipping
off the top.

This problem is most common on city water because of the higher water pressure and the chlorine
causing the resins to swell, but can occur on any type water, since the primary issue is the pipe being
a little bit short.



Figure "B" (CLICK TO ENLARGE) with the O-ring over the outside of the pipe is CORRECTLY installed.

Figure "A" (CLICK TO ENLARGE) with O-ring on top is WRONG.