Culligan water softener repair

InsodusSeptember 8, 2013

I just bought a home with a 15 year old Culligan Hi-Flo 2 water softener. It appears the timer on it is broken. I reset the time on it and came back a few hours later to find the time was still sitting on the time I set it. Secondarily, when I push the lever down to do a manual recharge, it just endlessly flushes out water down the drain line.

I took the cover off and found the part that appears to be the main drive gear. My question is... is this little piece something I'm going to be able to find or am I going to have to replace the whole control unit? Or worse, the whole softener?

Second question, since the softener is now bypassed until I can get this part, are there other maintenance things I can do to extend the life of the softener? (i.e. drain the brine tank and clean, drain the primary tank and replace the resin, replace any o-rings and what not, etc etc)

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justalurker

Now you know why they left the softener there. Keep it bypassed.

A 15 year old timer based softener has earned it's keep and ready for the heap. Along with the repair the control valve should get a rebuild and the resin should be replaced and that will get you close to the price of a new correctly sized on demand softener that will be more salt and water efficient. Culligan doesn't make tech info available to end users and some dealers won't sell parts. You don't know your water conditions till you get a water test but odds are that old Culligan is undersized anyway.

Get a comprehensive water test by a certified lab and we'll help you correctly size a softener and treat whatever else the tests show should be treated.

We need to know from the lab:
hardness
manganese
iron (ferric or ferrous)
pH
TDS
arsenic
chlorine
sodium
if on a well bacteria and nitrates

We need to know from you...
well or water system
# of people
# of bathrooms
any stains in the toilet bowls
any slime in the toilet tanks
any smell in the water
any high use appliances like a super shower or Jacuzzi
size of plumbing at the softener location
is your softener plumbed to treat the whole house or just the water heater
SFR (service flow rate) and here's how to determine that...
You will need a watch with a second hand and a 1 or 5 gallon container to measure your flow rate with the instructions below.

1. Using the bathtub as the measuring point, open BOTH the hot and cold water faucets completely open. If your tub has a single faucet then find a hose bib near the water entrance to the home. If on a well a hose bib after your pressure tank and before the old softener.

2. If you have a well water supply, wait until the pump kicks on before continuing.

3. Place either a 1 or 5 gallon container under the faucet and measure the amount of time it takes to fill the container in seconds.

When you can post all that info (don't leave anything out) we can move on to the next step.

This post was edited by justalurker on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 19:36

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:03PM
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Insodus

Since the plumbing is all done for a softener, what is a replacement usually going to run? We stretched ourselves on the new house a bit and a whole knew unit may not be in the cards.

With the softener bypassed the water tastes just fine. Its just a bit hard (my wife apparently can tell because of the way her hair feels, I cant tell at all). No stains on any toilets or anything and no smell.

The home is 3300 sqft, its currently just me and my wife but we plan on having a couple kids soon. Its 4 toilets, 2 showers, and 1 jacuzzi tub. Theres also a decent size (probably 40 gallon) hot water heater that gets softened water. There is separate plumbing that goes straight from the well water tank outside for the irrigation system but everything else appears to get softened.

It seems like everything in the home was sized on the larger side, the well water tank is massive. The input/output valves are 2 inch copper pipe. The area where the softener is currently has plenty of room (probably 4 feet in all directions).

I had a water test done as part of the home inspection...

Iron 0.03 mg/l
Lead ND
Manganese ND
Sodium 6.26 mg/l
Chloride 2 mg/l
Hardness 64 mg/l
Sulfate 6.19 mg/l
Nitrate ND
Color 5 CU
Odor 0
PH 8.03
Turbidity ND

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:46AM
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justalurker

When you can post all that info (don't leave anything out) we can move on to the next step.

This post was edited by justalurker on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 10:54

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Insodus

I turned the hot and cold on in the jacuzzi tub upstairs, it took 33 seconds to fill a 5 gallon jug. I did that 3 times and it was all right around 33 seconds. I used a cold water spigot for the irrigation system outside, I did it that 3 times and it took about 55 seconds to fill it each time.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:30PM
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justalurker

So, we'll use an SFR of 10gpm which is about what I expected.

You have iron and your pH is a touch high.

You have an interesting dilemma... the water conditions you posted (incomplete as they are) and the water use (2 adults but expect to add a couple kids), 4 bathrooms and a Jacuzzi indicate a smallish capacity softener with a larger SFR than that size softener can provide. If we size the softener for water conditions and use then hardness will leak through when peak SFR is hit. If we size the softener for SFR then it will be larger than water conditions and use indicate and that can bring other problems.

That's why you need to provide ALL the info requested... we're cutting this close so we have to be right.

Researching your Culligan Hi-Flo2 further appears to be an on demand design and that is contemporary technology. You should consider calling Culligan for an estimate of what it would cost to put it back in service?

This post was edited by justalurker on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 14:06

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Insodus

I spoke with Culligan and they say the can not service the unti, they'll need to change out the control unit. And because of that they tried to talk me into a whole new unit. I guess this one is a commercial grade one, sized pretty excesively for the home and if I replace with an equal unit it will be several thousand installed. There is no way I'm doing that.

I understand what you are saying about sizing to water conditions vs. service rates. I guess my preference would be to size to conditions, because we really dont use much water. Even if the home can handle a significant amount of flow, we are very concious of our water usage. If we had guests or something and it got a little extra hard, I really dont care. We are using the water now with the softener bypassed and its really just fine. I'm only aiming for making it "better" not "perfect".

Also what am I missing? Only thing I see that I'm missing is bacteria, and that was none-detected on my water test.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:10PM
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justalurker

"We are using the water now with the softener bypassed and its really just fine. I'm only aiming for making it "better" not "perfect"". There is no better... water is hard or soft and properly treated or not.

There is one way to correctly size a softener... determined by water conditions, water usage, and SFR and that's how I do it. When you're paying for soft water then you should get it all the time. Since that doesn't appear to be your intention there is nothing I can do to help you.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:48PM
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