Salty Tasting Water from Softener
OK, so I'm going to lay it all out (including my blunder) in hopes that somebody can help me.
We have a Kenmore Ultrasoft 400 water softener (had it for about 5 yrs). We use NaCL pellets and have NEVER had a problem with it since the day it was installed.
Our problem started recently when we started noticing an intermittent salty taste to the water (sometimes extremely strong). I went out in the garage and saw that the time was off (we live in FL and had lost power several times during Tropical Storm Fay), and I determined that we probably used the water while the regeneration was taking place. I corrected the time and decided to do the maintenance that night by adding the chemical to the brine soluton to clean the resin beads (whatever it is that Sears sells, it was a powder mixed with a gallon of warm water).
The problem is, we now get salty water taste occasionally, even though the time is now correct on the softener (not as strong now). Also (my blunder), I admit that I had not done the cleaning of the resin well in about 2-3 yrs (oops). We are seeing actual white spots on stuff from the dishwasher (inside some mugs look like you poured something out and it dried) and we are not getting good cleaning. Also, I have cleaned the aerator on the kitchen faucet about 3 times in the past couple of weeks due to it being clogged with calcium.
To fix it, I have cleaned the Venturi and watched much (didn't wait the whole 2 hrs) of the regeneration process. The brine well does fill and the float appears to be working fine. The weird thing happened when it was drawing in the brine. It started to lower the level, then it stopped. I disocnnected the hose from the venturi and nothing was coming out (I could hear a sound like sucking air). I reconnected it and the brine level started to lower again.
Here are my questions:
1. Isn't the WS supposed to automatically go into bypass mode during regeneration?
2. Is it possible that the constant brown-outs and power flickers caused an electronic problem with the softener? When I push the Regenerate Now button, it advances on its own but not sure about the timer (although the salty water and lowering of the salt level tells me the timer is working)?
3. Is it possible that the resin beads were so coated that when I added the solution it broke it up some and flakes were released and are now clogging something?
4. Should I run the solution through again to try to clean any remaining residue?
5. Do I need to replace the red disc and gasket (they look fine) or is there a valve problem?
6. Even if it isn't draing in all of the brine, why would it draw it in later so that we could taste it?
Thank you to anybody that can help me with these questions. I'm almost desperate enough to call Sears to have them come out to look at it.