This article walks you through the steps to swap out a softener’s resin media and internal distributor/riser tube (if needed). You may wish to research for a video tutorial online to watch as you complete these steps. This is a 1-2 person job.
Silicone based lubricant
Step 1 - Disconnect the Valve Head
1. Turn off the main water in the home and open a nearby softened water faucet to relieve pressure in the plumbing.
2. Bypass the unit by pushing the handle in on the back:
3. Remove the top cover.
a. On the back of the unit, unhook the two clips that hold the cover onto the tank below (see photo). Flex/pull the cover out and away from the system at these clips.
b. There are two similar clips holding the front of the cover on as well. Slide the cover towards you to release these clips, being careful not to disconnect any wires. It is normal for the plastic cover to produce some noise as it shifts and bends.
4. Unplug the power cord from the outlet.
5. Disconnect all wires from the valve head to free the top cover from the unit.
6. Remove the black C-clips from the softener/bypass connection. Pull one side of the black plastic C-clip away from the softener, and slowly roll it towards the other side to remove.
***If the clips seem stuck, slowly and gently rock the softener back and forth slightly while applying pressure to the clip as described above to free them.
7. Pull the softener away from the bypass assembly.
8. Disconnect the Drain hose by releasing the black clip on the right-hand side of the head (pictured below). You may want to have a towel handy here to catch any residual water in the valve head.
9. Disconnect the Brine hose by unscrewing the white nut attached to the Venturi (pictured below).
10. Remove the two large white clamps from the tank neck by unhooking the retainer clips that hold them together.
11. With both hands on the valve head, wiggle it side to side as you pull it up and off. Set the valve head aside.
Step 2 - Remove the Resin Beads
1. Remove O-ring #1, O-ring #2, the top distributor basket, and O-ring #3 (pictured below).
2. Remove the tray/rim from the softener (unclips around top of salt tank) and take the resin tank out of the salt tank.
3. Pull up on the riser tube to remove it from the resin tank. If it is too hard to pull out, you can wait to take this out in the next step.
4. Line a bucket with a few garbage bags to hold the resin – the beads are dense and saturated, so it will take some patience to remove them.
Tip: The resin beads are small and slippery. Try to keep them off the floor to avoid slipping.
5. Tip the resin tank over and shake it out into the bucket. If you were not able to remove the riser tube before, you should be able to slowly pull that out during this step.
6. After removing the bulk of the resin, you may still have some stuck to the inner walls of the tank. If this is the case, lay a towel on the ground outside, and use a garden hose to rinse out the tank. Pour the rinse water and remaining beads onto the towel, so the beads do not get on the lawn or into a street storm drain.
7. Tip the tank up and wipe off any residual beads from the neck.
Step 3 - Add New Beads
1. If you are using the same riser tube/bottom distributor as before, rinse them out and place back in the tank. If not, place the new riser tube/bottom distributor in the tank.
2. The bottom distributor should sit on the bottom of the tank, with the riser tube resting slightly higher than the lip of the tank neck (1/2 inch).
3. Tape the top of the riser tube shut to stop any resin beads from entering as you refill the tank.
4. Use a funnel or similar tool to add new resin back into the tank. The new resin will not pour well, as it sticks together slightly. Check your manual for specifications on how much resin. If you have a hybrid unit (model WHESFC) you would fill it as follows:
- Add 10lbs of quartz gravel
- Add the appropriate amount of resin beads
- Add 7.5lbs of activated carbon.
5. Once the resin tank is filled properly, remove the tape on the riser tube – be careful not to pull the tube up.
6. Wipe the neck of the tank off, removing any beads that may have stuck to it.
Step 4 - Reassemble the Softener
1. Lubricate the three O-rings.
2. Rinse off the top distributor or grab the new one if you are replacing it.
3. Place the medium sized O-ring on the bottom of the top distributor and fit the basket onto the riser tube.
4. Roll the small O-ring onto the riser tube, pushing the O-ring down only about ¼ inch from the top of the tube.
5. Fit the large O-ring on the neck of the tank.
6. Move the resin tank back into the salt tank and place the tray on the softener.
7. Carefully place the valve head back onto the riser tube and push down until it rests on the tank below.
8. Reassemble the large white tank clamps and secure with the retaining clips around the neck.
9. Reconnect the softener to the bypass assembly and attach the two black C-clips.
10. Reattach the brine and drain hoses to the head.
11. Reconnect all the wires onto the valve head:
12. Plug the power cord back into the outlet.
13. Reopen the main water supply and run a few cold-water faucets in the home until there is no air left in the lines.
14. Take the softener out of bypass and watch for leaks.
15. Your new resin requires a Backwash and Rinse cycle. Hold the Recharge button until the motor starts to turn. This will start the Fill cycle. (**If you see the word ‘Clean’ on the display, skip this by pushing the Recharge button until you see ‘Recharge’ and ‘Fill’ on the display).
16. Press the Recharge button once to move to the Brine cycle.
17. Press the Recharge button once more to move into the Backwash. You should see a heavy flow of water exiting the drain hose. There is no need to push any more buttons.
18. The system will backwash for several minutes, and then automatically switch to Rinse. During these two short cycles, examine the system for any leaks.
19. When the recharge is over and the unit shuts off, open a few cold-water faucets and let them run for 5-10 minutes to rinse out any small fines within the new resin.