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Air Check inside Brine Tank can becomes Stuck or Water Logged
Last Updated: 05/28/2013

The Problem as related by Customer:

When checking the brine tank valve assembly--even though I already took it apart and cleaned it--I also replaced all brine tubing. When I took out the brine tank valve assembly (the second time), it was still unobstructed, however, when I attempted to draw out salt water by sucking on the end of the still connected tubing, nothing would come out. When moving the valve assembly I heard something rattling at the end that goes to the bottom of the tank (sounded like a marble or other object). Next, I inserted the valve assembly into the brine tank salt water and shook it a little. I was then able to manually draw out the salt water. In addition, after inspecting the brine tank level after I ran a softener cleaning, I could tell things were back to normal. Why does the brine tank valve assembly contain an object that blocks flow to the filters? Is it a simple back-flow valve? If so, is my Fleck 5600 head supposed to send a little water to the brine valve assembly just prior to sucking in brine solution in order to unblock the pathway? Also, does it sound like my valve assembly needs to be replaced?

Why This Problem Occurs and What is Wrong:

Most softeners use a Brine Pick Up tube that has the AIR CHECK at the bottom of the Salt tank.
There is a "Ball" that is made to Float ( normally ) and only "drop" when the water level ( salt water ) in the Brine Tank has been sucked out ( down ).
It is there to prevent the suction cycle ( Brine Rinse ) from drawing in ( sucking in ) any AIR, once the salt water has been successfully removed ( to prevent AIR from getting into your Resin Tank and some possibly getting into the house water lines ).

It is possible ( rare... less than 0.01% failure rate ) for this "ball" that is suppose to FLOAT to become Water Logged... to SINK early,
OR becomes so "dirty" with mineral deposits,
that it "sticks" in the Down position, and BLOCKS the flow of water out of the Brine tank..



Solution

Replace the Brine Pick Up tube with Air Check ( our PN FP60002 ) or the entire Brine Pick Up assembly if it includes a float shut off


see:
Brine Pick Up Tube with Air Check 60002 or
Brine Safety Float Pickup Tube BP1002

Cleaning can help, but is usually only a temporary solution to the problem.
New parts should prevent issue from occurring again ( for many years, or forever ).

*** NOTE: If you have this "air" in your water lines problem, and your salt tank is over FULL of water, then you simply have an "air leak" between the Valve and the Brine Pick Up Assembly. The valve is sucking air the whole Brine Rinse cycle, and then adding ( Refill cycle ) for the next regeneration. You will also have hard water, since your resin are not getting "recharged" by the salt water.

Cleaning the Air Check is easy.
Just remove from brine tank, and soak in bleach for 2 - 3 minutes, and then rinse with water for 30 seconds, and re-install.
That would dissolve any "build up" around the air check "ball" or "seat" that you can't "get to".
Sometimes it is just salt crystals ( which can form when system is not used often ).


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