Ruptured Resin Tank on Kemore Water Softener

The Boss came home yesterday to discover that there was a lot of water coming out of our Kenmore water softener onto the basement floor. Luckily, the majority of the water had made it into the sump hole and was being contained but it was past the point of overflowing. Water was starting to creep across the basement floor. The Boss quickly shut the bypass valve and the water stopped flowing out of the water softener.

It turns out that the resin tank (can alternatively be called a mineral tank on some models) has ruptured. The Kenmore water softener is a “tank in tank” design. Basically, the resin tank is inside the brine tank. The brine tank is where you add salt. The problem with a cracked resin tank is that all of the water for the house typically goes through the resin tank to get softened before going to any of the faucets. With a cracked resin tank, the water isn’t contained and is freely flowing out into the brine tank and onto the floor (in my case).

To top it all off, the silly little plastic bypass valve is leaking both internally and externally. I’ve got a constant fast drip coming from the valve outside of the tank. Internally the valve is not completely closed as there is still water flowing into the resin tank. This is causing major problems as I can’t leave my household water turned on. Right now I’ve got the whole house water turned off at the water meter until I can get at least the bypass valve replace.

This morning I called Sears Home Central and got pricing on the parts required to fix/replace the resin tank and associated parts. The grand total? Over $700 before tax and that’s just for the parts – installation would be extra and who knows what else might be broken now due to the high pressure water that was spraying the electrical control unit, etc.

Needless to say, I think I’m going to be buying a new water softener by the weekend. I quickly looked online at both sears.ca and sears.com to get an idea of what an equivalent softener would cost. I can definitely buy a new one for not much more than $700 + labour + tax. Thanks to the strong Canadian dollar I may be better of buying one from the US though. As with many products right now, the Canadian versions all appear to be much higher cost that their equivalent US version.

There are two other things I’m installing this weekend because of this. The first is a true copper bypass system. I’m going to put in a couple valves so that I can bypass the water softener completely without having to rely on a flimsy plastic valve. The second is a sump pump. I’ve never had a water problem before that required me having a sump pump but I don’t want to have to deal with another flood caused by a ruptured resin tank. I can only imagine how much water could have accumulated in the basement if we had been away for a couple days. *shudder*

52 thoughts on “Ruptured Resin Tank on Kemore Water Softener

  1. same situation

    Had my Sears unit completely fail after 10 years of service. This is the second time the unit has failed in some way. This time the resin tank split and the beads came out into the saline tank. I will also go about replacing some the parts with more robust components.
    I will also be looking for another manufacturer.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  2. Jeff Ivany Post author

    Suggestion – buy a new unit. I just did that and I’m working on a post detailing what I ended up doing. By the way, the resin tank alone is the second most expensive part to replace on my model. Only the computer costs more. The resin tank and new resin were almost $600 Canadian just for the parts.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: EcoWater Water Softener to Replace Kenmore Water Softener at Ivany.org

  4. Rich

    Seems like this is a common problem with Sears/Kenmore softeners. I have a split brine tank on model 625.75822. It’s 10-12 years old. My previous softener system had 2 separate tanks, was not a Kenmore and lasted almost 20 years. I won’t buy Kenmore again. Actually a lot of Sears products are crap. I have a 2 year old Kenmore Vacuum that sucks. (pun intended) I had a lawnmower from Sears that died after about 5 years. Come to think of it, I’ll never by anything from Sears again !!!

    Reply
  5. Cindy

    I just had the same thing happen with our Sears/Kenmore Genius II (“Sears Best”) Water softener. The resin tank ruptured and water was flowing into our house for a few hours. Ruined allot of stuff that we had stored in our basement, and water actually flowed into the next room, which is our home office with carpet.

    The good thing is that when it was installed, we insisted on having copper plumbing lines with shut off-vales and a full by-pass, in case we wanted to water the lawn, fill the pool etc and not have to use soft water for those things. So, we are still able to have water to the house right now. The other good news is that our unit is 9 1/2 years old. Warranty is for 10 years, so luckily we will get a replacement system from Sears.

    Now for the bad news….lots of personal and business items damaged from the water. The water was just coming in too fast for the floor drain to take it. Sears has a legal dept. and insurance, but they say that we have to go thru our own home insurance FIRST, then our home insurance will go thru subrogation to get the money back from Sears’ insurance. Our deductible is $1000, so we’re likely gonna be out that amount of money.

    We were actually considering going away for the weekend, but at the last minute we decided not to go. What an eerie blessing that decision turned out to be. I was only out of the house for 3 hours, when I returned is when I discovered the flood. I can’t even imagine what would have happened had we been away for 2-3 days with the water running full tilt. We would have lost everything!

    Yea, not so keen anymore on Sears products. Used to be something you could rely on. Not so any more. Craftsman and Kenmore brands are no longer reliable. Kenmore washing machine broke down 1 month after the 5 year warranty, Craftsman chainsaw is a piece of junk and won’t even start, Craftsman lawnmower is junk, blech…I could go on and on.

    I don’t even know what we’re going to do about this water softener unit. We DO NOT want another Kenmore brand appliance in our home. I know the chances of lightning striking twice is slim, but my heart and purse-strings are aching due to the damage and loss we have suffered because of this mess. And I’d just rather not have the same defective unit in my home. The lady who works for the insurance company representing Sears actually told me that they’ve had several claims this year for the exact same thing happening. Something like this should NEVER NEVER happen.

    We have also decided that we’ll be shutting off the water-main to the house whenever we are away from home for any extended period.

    Reply
    1. Heather

      So my question is, did Sears replace that ruptured resin tank?? Mine distributed resin throughout my water system today, it is still within warranty by three years and Sears said it is not covered!!!

      Reply
  6. Cindy

    Just found out some interesting facts about the warrantees…. The resin tank on Kenmore models is warranted for 10 years. Ecowater brand has a lifetime warranty on the resin tanks. Ecowater is the manufacturer of the Kenmore line. So, why the difference in warranties? If Kenmore is made by Ecowater, why not offer the lifetime warranty on all of them? Seems a bit cheeky to me!

    Reply
  7. Jeff Ivany Post author

    Cindy: I didn’t know that Ecowater made the Kenmore water softeners. It does sound sort of strange though that they wouldn’t have the same warranty. I guess that there is one of two things – either the Kenmore model is manufactured cheaper or you pay more for the Ecowater one to get the lifetime warranty. I know my Ecowater water softener was quite a bit more expensive than any of the Kenmore ones.

    Reply
  8. Jamie Doan

    June 17/08

    I have a Sears water softner model 75922 (Ecowater) installed in my home. Age 8 yrs old. At last salt filling I noticed that resin tank was split down the side. Luckily it had not failed to the point where basement was flooded. After checking manual it was seen that resin tank has ten yr warranty. After phoning Sears service and trying to convince them that resin tank was cracked I swore that I would never by another Sears product. You see they wouldn’t send out a technician to repair with parts until they had one come out and verify the crack. Of course this was at my cost of $73.00 for the service call. Warranty only covers parts you see.
    In the end I talked to Tech personally and he brought parts with him and didn’t charge me for the service call. Total cost to repair was just over $700.00. I paid $599.00 plus tax by the way for the unit. This was another thing I tried to explain to Sears customer service when they told me the replacement resin tank was almost $500.00. I said it makes no sense to repair it rather a replacement was more cost effective. She couldn’t have cared less and she let the process continue.
    The Tech told me he is good at changing resin tanks cause it happens a lot. He checked the manul for my unit and it said labour was covered too. So I’m happy in the end but disgusted with Sears customer service. If not for the Tech. I be paying just over $200.00 Cdn.
    FYI,
    Jamie Doan

    Reply
  9. Jamie Doan

    June 17/08

    I have a Sears water softner model 75922 (Ecowater) installed in my home. Age 8 yrs. At last salt filling I noticed that resin tank was split down the side. Luckily it had not failed to the point where basement was flooded. After checking manual it was seen that resin tank has ten yr warranty. After phoning Sears customer service and trying to convince them that resin tank was cracked I swore that I would never buy another Sears product. You see they wouldn’t send out a technician to repair with parts until they had one come out and verify the crack. Then and only then would they order parts. Of course this was at my cost of $73.00 for the service call. Warranty only covers parts you see.
    In the end I talked to Tech personally and he brought parts with him and didn’t charge me for the service call. Total cost to repair was just over $700.00. I paid $599.00 plus tax by the way for the unit. This was another thing I tried to explain to Sears customer service when they told me the replacement resin tank was almost $500.00. I said it makes no sense to repair it rather a replacement was more cost effective. She couldn’t have cared less and she let the process continue.
    The Tech told me he is good at changing resin tanks cause it happens a lot. He checked the manul for my unit and it said labour was covered too. So I’m happy in the end but disgusted with Sears customer service. If not for the Tech. I’d be paying just over $200.00 Cdn to get my unit back up and running.
    FYI,
    Jamie Doan

    Reply
  10. Tammy Morrsion

    June 18, 2008
    Had flood in basement, had Sears Model 625 75922, piece of you know what. Sears customer service was absolutely horrible. Received as a wedding gift, and was told without proof of purchase and since we were not the buyers, the warranty does not include end users, the gift receiver. The plumber we had in told us he had seen 8 this year alone with this brand. I also heard that the factory where the resin tanks are built are paid by piece work, suppose to wrap fiber glass 50 times around but only doing 40 times around. BUYERS BEWARE DO NOT SHOP SEARS / KENMORE. PASS THIS ALONG……… DO NOT BUY GIFTS FROM SEARS OR REGISTER YOU DON’T GET THE WARRANTY.
    The S in Sears stands for sucks %/*%?#@

    Reply
  11. John

    Wow, I just had the resin tank crack in this very softener this afternoon! Silly me, I had neglected to install the overflow drain hose because at the time I didn’t know the small hole in the floor was a drain. I discovered it when I saw water seeping into the next room. After switching the bypass valve and cleaning up the mess, I checked my paperwork on it and found the tank was still 3 months within warranty. Jeez, if they built those suckers just a little better and they all split after 10 years, they would save a ton on warranty costs. I’ll be calling Sears in the morning and if they think I’m going to pay them for a service call to verify I’m not lying, they’ll have a fight on their hands.

    Reply
  12. John

    Well, this morning I called Sears about getting this water softener fixed or replaced (it’s not clear which they do). What an ordeal! I was going to just call the store to find out how to proceed, but it wasn’t open until 9:30, so I called the 1-800-4-MY-HOME number. After eventually getting a live person, all he could tell me was to call the store; must be someone working at a call centre for minimum wage. When I called the store, they told me they don’t handle that stuff, which I knew, and gave me that same number above. I told her what that got me, so she gave me the Sears customer service 800 number, which was supposed to be higher up the food chain. More lengthy waiting, listening to music until I got a woman with an Indian accent, but easy to understand and seemed to know what she was talking about. Had to give her details from the sales receipt and then she gave me another 800 number to call. Here we go again. This time, again after being on hold a long time, I was promised a technician would come out on August 12 and I might have to pay $75 for the service call, but maybe not. Wow, good thing it’s still not flooding my basement, but I can’t even be sure about that either. Yesterday I moved that stupid plastic valve to “bypass” and vacuumed the water out to a foot below the hole in the side of the brine tank, but this morning I had a flood again because the o-rings in the plastic valve must not have been sealing properly. I turned the plunger back and forth to hopefully seat the o-rings, sucked out the water again and hooked up a drain hose. Keeping my fingers crossed the levee won’t breach in the next couple of weeks.

    Reply
  13. Phil

    The resin tank on my Kenmore softener ruptured last Saturday. It’s located next to the sump pit but I still had minor flooding in the basement. I have a bypass plumbed in the system so it was easy to stop the water flow but I still had a mess to clean up. It turns out that the softener is 9 1/2 years old and the tank should still be covered under warranty. I called Sears on Saturday to schedule and appointment for repair. My owners manual clearly states that Sears will provide and install a new tank at no charge if it fails within 10 years. The Sears customer service rep told me that it was indeed within the 10 years but they would only cover the parts and not the labor. It would be $65 for the technician diagnostic call (split tank and resin beads in the brine tank make it pretty obvious) and any additional labor. I read the actual warranty from the manual to the person at Sears but she continued to disagree and said I would be responsible for the labor and service call. I went ahead and scheduled the call for Friday but am having second thoughts.

    I’m very interested to hear the outcome of the previous posters service call.

    Reply
    1. David

      Phil, I have a Kenmore water softener and the resin tank just ruptured (and yes, flooded basement). Do you know if the warranty transfers from the original purchaser to the new home owner? Some indicated that it does not.

      Reply
  14. John

    Well, the Sears van pulled into my driveway just before 9:00 this morning (about an hour later than promised) and they had the resin tank replaced in half an hour. A service rep called yesterday to confirm the appointment and give me the time. Cleaned, checked, tested and reset. It probably helped that I had already removed most of the salt. When they arrived (technician and helper), I asked whether they were just here to diagnose the problem or actually replace the resin and he said, no, they had the replacement tank with them. Obviously, the service rep had paid attention to what I told her when I called and I suspect this is not an uncommon problem (although the tech didn’t admit to that part). The tank came filled with fresh resin and is warrantied for 10 years from today.

    Phil, the warranty clearly states that both parts and labour are covered under the leakage warranty. There was no charge for the service call. I suspect they tell you there may be a charge for the call because some claims turn out to be bogus.

    I mentioned that the plastic bypass valve leaked when I first moved it over and he confirmed that twisting the plunger back and forth the way I did was the correct way to stop it leaking. He also recommended that the brine tank not be kept filled right up all the time because the weight of the extra salt pellets crushes those on the bottom, so I just put in the 2 bags I had.

    The tech said not to reuse the salt I had removed in case it had fibreglass slivers in it, but I may just use the first pail I scooped out from the top because it looks perfect. The other 2 pails look a bit mushy and dirty, so will serve for de-icing the front step and walkway in the winter. I’m wondering if I hadn’t removed most of the salt and provided extra buckets, whether they would have hauled it away. They sucked the old resin up in their big shop-vac and took it away with them.

    Yea, so all in all, I’m quite satisfied with Sears warranty service, although having to wait almost two weeks before someone came is a bit much. Imagine having to wait that long for a simple car repair.

    Reply
  15. Jeff Ivany Post author

    @John: I’m happy to read that you had such a great resolution. It’s nice to know that sometimes it’s still possible to get good service from some of these big companies.

    As for if this is a common problem, just look at the number of people who have commented on this post! If this was uncommon, I wouldn’t expect any of you to have come and written your comments! :)

    Reply
  16. sandra lane

    Sandra Lane August 15th,2008

    We have had the same problem as everyone else on this site.
    However the Sears Service person that came to our house said he had never seen this problem before ( Split resin tank) even though it sounds like this is a common occuence with these softeners. He said that it looked like the water softener had been frozen!!!

    Reply
  17. Phil

    Follow up to my previous post.
    Sears Service came to the house yesterday. Scheduled to be out between 8 – 12 but called at 11:45 to say he was running late. Arrived at 12:45. Ruptured tank was the diagnosis. He would order a new resin tank and have it shipped to my house. Scheduled to be back next Friday to install the new tank. He commented that he saw a lot of the same thing in my area and thought it might be from high water pressure. (Indianapolis city water) He did say there would be no charge for the service call, replacement tank and labor.

    Reply
  18. Phil

    Sears had the new resin tank delivered to my house and was back out on Friday to install. No charge but did suggest I have the preventive maintenance service done for $39.95 which I declined. Everything appears back to normal.

    Reply
  19. John

    Phil, do you know what the “preventive maintenance” would have been? In the manual for this unit in the section called KEEPING THE WATER SOFTENER CLEAN it describes the procedure for cleaning the nozzle and venturi. Is this something you do yourself? If not, then the $39.95 might have been money well spent. People pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars to for maintenance on their cars and just bite the bullet.

    I always wondered whether my softener was working okay years after I put it in. In the beginning I noticed how slimy the soapy water felt when taking a shower and how it seemed impossible to rinse the soap away. Was the softener still working, or had I just got used to it? I wondered if my water was actually harder than the number I had plugged in, so I upped it to 25, then 30, but noticed no difference. While waiting for the replacement tank I did notice that the soap didn’t want to lather too easily when showering. When the resin tank was replaced I knew that at least I had fresh resin and the soap lathered easier after a couple of days. But I still wondered if the softener was working as well as it did when new.

    Well, yesterday I got a telemarketer call from someone who wanted to test my water for free, so I took them up on it. A salesman came to the house with his bag of tricks (he was selling a reverse osmosis system). We had a discussion on the “benefits” of commercially bottled water, on which we both agreed. He then measured the TDS (total dissolved solids) in my hard water and it was 326 ppm, which he said was totally unacceptable. He also measured some water he carried with him that he said was water from my area purified using his system at one of his clients and that was close to zero. He told me the high reading was because of the fertilizers and manure that ends up in the groundwater in my rural area. (I just looked up TDS and found this: “High total dissolved solids may effect the aesthetic quality of the water, interfere with washing clothes and corroding plumbing fixtures. For aesthetic reasons, a limit of 500 mg/l (milligrams per liter) has been established as part of the Secondary Drinking Water Standards.” Mg/l is equivalent to ppm for water.) So, okay, the guy was conservative because he was selling a purification system. I understand. He then got out this little device with two pairs of electrodes, plugged it in and stick it in a glass of my hard water and a glass of his purified water. Right away there were bubbles and a scum forming in my water and hardly anything in his. He even reversed the electrodes to show it wasn’t a trick. After a minute or two, my water looked horrible, with a heavy black precipitate and his was only slightly yellow. (I tasted them afterwards and they both tasted bad.) Bottom line, I asked him what his system costs and it was around $322/month over 12 months and about $1000 more if I wanted to stretch it out over 60 months. Needless to say, I’m not buying it. The money is better spent for a new winter beater car and an upcoming root canal on my fixed income.

    For anyone still with me, here is the part about my water softener. I got him to measure the hardness from my hard water tap and my soft water and the hard was 25 grains, the soft, zero! So it looks like my softener is working just fine.

    Reply
  20. Phiilip

    I also found that my tank was cracked but not leaking. I called Sears and they said that they will not replace it unless it is leaking. So my choice is to wait for it to fail and flood my basement or to bite the bullet and buy a new unit. I tried escalating the problem to corporate and got no where. This will be the last Kenmore product I buy.

    I would fix it myself but spending $4oo for the tank alone doesn’t make sense when I can buy a better unit ffor $550. I just hate throwing it away due to the high cost of repair parts.

    Reply
  21. Heather

    it was very enlightening to read all these comments. I have just begun this process, and yes, Sears keeps kicking me upstairs, or sideways, more like.
    I do not know if the resin tank has split, I just know that there is resin in my water. My wash water, and probably my washing machine.
    It is three years within the ten year warranty, and they claim it s not covered.

    Reply
  22. Tim

    My Kenmore water softener resin tank just ruptured last night. Luckily I was home and heard the loud bang when it ruptured. My plastic valve wouldn’t shut of the water either. It slowed the flow, but I had to use the copper bypass valves that I installed when I put the softener in to cut of the water supply. The fiberglass was factured in many places and about a 3 inch split was in the tank right about the salt level which was between 3 and 4 on the scale inside the tank. My unit’s build code is 00014, which I believe is the 14th day of 2000, so I assume it will be in warranty. I may try that route before buying another. I have to locate my manual and receipt. My brother just had his rupture in June. He did not hear it as it ruptured during the night and flooded his utility room and living room. I will see how much effort that I have to put into Sear customer service to get it replaced. It doesn’t sound like fun….

    Reply
    1. David

      Tim- My Kenmore water softener resin tank ruptured in Aug. 2009. It ruptured in the exact same part of the tank that yours did. However, I didn’t detect it right away and ended up with a flooded basement (fortunately the bypass valve worked fine). The water softener was purchased by the previous owner of my home so I didn’t have a receipt. I called the Sears customer service number on the owner’s manual and eventually spoke to six Sears representatives in varying departments. Sears transferred the warranty from the original owner to myself as I am the current owner of the home the water softener was originally installed in. The date code on my softener is 01295. The first two digits are the year of manufacture (in my case 2001). The resin tank on my softener has a 10 year warranty (free labor and part). I made an appointment with Sears service and they came out and verified the tank was ruptured. At that time they ordered a replacement resin tank and arranged another service call to come back and install it. They had the tank shipped directly to my home. It arrived about 3 or 4 days later. The service tech returned about 1-1/2 weeks after their original service call to install the replacement tank. The service tech did a great job installing the tank. There was about 2 inches of solidified salt in the bottom of the brine tank. The tech removed the salt and sprayed the brine tank out with a garden hose (looked like new when he was done). He flushed the float to make sure the escaped resin didn’t clog it up. There appears to be a slight redesign of the replacement resin tank. It has a clear coating on the outside of the resin tank that the defective tank didn’t have. Hopefully this means improved durability. The tech put everything back together and the softener works great. There was no charge for parts or labor just as the warranty on the owner’s manual stated. Although the service tech was great, the Sears customer service phone support was somewhat shaky. Two of the Sears phone support agents told me the resin tank itself was no charge but I would have to pay for the resin that goes in the tank! It took talking to six phone support agents before someone told me I shouldn’t have to pay for the resin because the resin tank comes pre-filled with resin (it’s considered part of the tank). The service tech verified there would be no charge when he arrived for the initial service call. Hope this helps. Sounds like you will be in good shape as long as you have the 10 year resin tank warranty on your particular model.

      Regards,

      David

      Reply
    1. David

      Bob- I asked the service technician that replaced my resin tank the same question. Although he couldn’t be entirely sure what caused my tank to rupture, he did offer a theory. He said as the tanks go through the assembly line during production, several chemicals (in liquid form) are mixed together to create the adhesive that bonds the fiberglass strips. These chemicals have to be mixed in the proper ratio for the bonding agent to cure at the maximum strength. In a production line setting, each of the chemicals are likely held in containers larger than 50 gallons. When the chemicals in one of the containers runs out and is replaced, the ratio of the chemical mixture could be thrown off slightly before stabilizing back at the proper ratio. This brief moment where the adhesive agent is not at the proper ratio could cause a section of a tank to be weak and eventually fail.

      I have no way of knowing how plausible this theory is. And, the technician was just surmising. However, the replacement tank had a smooth, clear coating on the outside. The original tank had a rough finish. Hopefully the finish on the replacement tank will result in a stronger tank. I’ve had the replacement tank for 5 months now and it is working perfectly.

      Regards,

      David

      Reply
  23. Bob Rice

    David: thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. When the service technician replaced my failed resin tank he said that the fiberglass had not properly cured. I guess you could interpret that as being consistent with what the technician told you. My replacement tank also has a smooth clear coat but the original tank had a rough finish as you described it.

    Best Regards
    Bob

    Reply
  24. Angela

    I’m not sure what our Kenmore 300 Series water softener is doing other than driving me crazy. About two weeks ago, my husband went to see if it needed salt and the tank which holds the salt was full of water. He drained it out and turned the valve off to the water. He went online ordered all new innards and drain hose. He put those in fairly quick and it worked great for about two weeks. Checked it Monday, and its full of water again. Not sure whether to bother with getting it repaired or just replacing the damn thing all together.

    Reply
  25. searslawsuit

    Well there seems to be a common theme to these brine tanks failing. I just got back from the golf course and had 7 inches of water in the basement. The entire tank looks like it exploded. This is patently ridiculous to have this type of situation where a house floods because of crappy manufacturing. very unsettling to have this very dangerous piece of equipment in a home.

    Reply
  26. Brian

    I had the same problem, brine tank overfilling and spilling onto my basement floor. Luckily I caught it after only a gallon or so had overspilled the top (too fast for overflow line to handle). After thinking it was my venturi not operating properly and spending $50 for parts, the problem still happened. After taking out all salt and breaking apart the 2 inches of solid salt on the bottom, I noticed that there was a trickle of water coming from the resin tank and a slight bulge about a foot from the bottom. I felt it and there was a 1 inch vertical crack at about the same height that everyone else is describing. I think this may be the area wher the brine water tends to be or interacts with the solid salt pellets. My thinking is that salt is very corrosive and the fiberglass or plastic resin tanks are sitting in a caustic environment all the time. I think that the durability of the resin tank is compromised after 10 years or so (something like 12 years for me!). It would cost $260 for a new resin tank and resin, not counting the delivery charges or new o rings that I would be happier replacing. It will be cheaper to get a new similar unit (list price $399) and hopefully I can get a sale to compensate for the $50 I already spend on parts for the venturi. I was considering repairing the resin tank, but from the posts here, I’m thinking it could rupture in another location and I would be in a serious flooding situation as some of the posts have indicated. I was looking for a used resin tank when I came upon this website/forum, but realize now that the resin tanks have a limited life span and it would probably fail.

    Does anyone have a recommendation on another brand that would be reliable and not overly expensive?

    Reply
  27. Julia

    I recently started working for a company that sells high end softeners and RO systems. Our president did a presentation for the people of “First On Site” which is a company that cleans up after disasters like fire and flood. A good portion of their business is from burst resin tanks and they were looking for brands to recommend to their clients with damaged basements. Sears brand softeners were their major offenders…… Awful, considering I also have a Kenmore myself. I will be saving my pennies for a kinetico unit. You really do get what you pay for. :(

    Reply
  28. David

    My resin tank ruptured yesterday, and yes it made an awful mess in the basement, but lucky the bulk of the water flowed to the floor drain, and or to the sump pit. My Kenmore Water Softener was a UltraSoft 200 series (model 625.75122) and was just under 9 years old. I also noticed that the overflow tube was basically uselss when it comes to this kind of failure (full city water pressure). Sears is coming next week to look at my unit to determine if the failure is going to be a covered by the 10 year warranty. I guess I will update on how this will go in a later post. But when this unit gets replaced (either by Sears, or if I go out and get another unit), I will definitely be getting a drain pan (normally used for hot water heaters, and or washing machines) and will be running 2 inch pipe from the pan to the sump pit.

    Reply
  29. David

    Five days after calling Sears, 2 repair guys showed up with a new resin tank (pre-loaded with resin) and repaired my unit. My new tank also has a new white smooth coating compared to the old rough (fiberglass) finish as posted above.

    It was interesting having the 2 repair guys saying how strange to see a blown out tank, when they first showed up, but during our conversation (during thier repair) they sure had lots of storeys of other blown tanks, and the mess they made. Also they seemed really familiar with the replacement of the unit (just old pro’s).

    Reply
  30. Eric Malloy

    I am the victim of a failed Kenmore pressure tank as well. It caused $3500 in damage. $500 of which I have to pay form my deductible. I work in the composites industry and this type of failure would never be expected. When they say their tank is warranted for ten years, I believe the logical assumption is that it will continue to provide soft water for ten years not that it will fail under pressure. The data label stes the unit was pressure tested to 300 psig and has a working pressure of 120 psig – both far in excess of what would be expected in a city water water system. Is anyone aware of legal action that hs been undertaken against Sears?

    Reply
  31. Brian

    Just hand a minor flood but caught it almost immediately. Was working in the basement when it happened. The tank filled to the top and started shooting water out the overflow.
    Got to the bypass in time, drained the tank and sure enough the bottom third of the resin tank was split open. Cleaned the venturi system and the Brine valve assembly. Both were clogged. Called the repair service and the were going to send an “inspection” tech out for $99 plus 1.25 fuel surcharge. I argued their was no inspection needed I could see the damaged tank. They then said the warranty might not apply because of the manufacturers date stamp, but the purchase date was 6 months later (two months before the 10 years) They then said the installation might not be covered but when I read them my warranty they backed off and said they would have someone call me first.
    The new tanks are about $300 plus install but should be free if under warranty.

    Reply
  32. Abbas Emami

    Hi,
    Kenmore water softener model 625-348591 malfunction. Did troubleshooting per Kenmore and online suggestions (cleaned venturi, checked brine well float, etc). . Had soft water for a while but stopped working again. All of a sudden the water turned milky and sure enough it had extremely high salt content. Pu it on bypass and ran the water until it was drinkable. I am getting a new one (not Kenmore!), but what happened to cause the problem? Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Abbas, It sounds like your unit failed during the backwash portion of the recharge cycle. This is the only reason I know of that would cause you to have salty water getting out into the domestic water. Water softeners are supposed to backwash the brine out to the sewer drain at the end of the recharge cycle.

      Jeff

      Reply
  33. John

    It’s interesting that stories about these popping Sears resin tanks keep coming in on a regular basis long after my incident over 3 years ago. I should add that my replacement tank also looked “different” from the original. The original had a matte finish and the fibres looked finer, whereas the new one had coarser strands and was very shiny. Someone above wondered what the cause of these failures might be and said a technician thought it might be variations in the ratio of resin to hardener during the production process. When I first started searching the ‘Net on this, I came across a forum where someone suggested that some workers winding the fibreglass could be rushing the job because they’re on piece work. Today, my guess would be that the tanks are made by the lowest bidder in China, which doesn’t imply it’s good or bad really. Even high priced carbon fibre racing bicycle frames are now made in China.

    Anyway, what brought me back here is some doubts about whether my softener is working properly. I now have more people in the house and the salt ran out when I didn’t have an extra bag on hand. I noticed almost a foot of water in the bottom of the tank and don’t know if that’s normal. When I put in 2 bags, the level went to about a couple of feet, which might just be displaced water. However, I’ll be keeping a closer eye on it. Meanwhile, I came across this, http://www.misterfixit.com/h20soft.htm where the owner discovered why all the brine wasn’t going into the resin tank because of a clogged plastic strainer basket under the valve body. Maybe I have the same problem.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      John, you shouldn’t have water in the salt tank. If there is water (brine) in the salt tank then it isn’t being used to recharge the resin so your softener isn’t operating correctly. This may lead to more frequent recharge cycles if your system is an “on demand” softener. If you still have your owner’s manual (or can find it online), see if there are maintenance tips. You may have a partial clog somewhere (valve, plastic hose, drain, etc).

      Reply
  34. John

    First of all, I had let the salt just about run out due to an increase in occupants. I just put in 2 bags of salt and set it to regenerate overnight. The next day I looked in the brine well and saw it had not emptied, so I suspected a problem like in the link I posted above. However, it was easier to check and clean the venturi first. I found the venturi gasket completely disintegrated and crumbled bits of it in all the channels and the small screen. Clearly the venturi wasn’t working and drawing brine. As soon as I received the venturi gasket kit, I installed it and initiated a manual recharge. However, at the end of the cycle the brine was still there. I inspected the venturi again and found more gasket particles, which I cleaned out and after that it regenerated correctly, emptying the brine well. Incidentally, the old venturi gasket looked like it was laminated from red and green vinyl, whereas the new one looked like solid black neoprene. To order the kit I went to the Sears Parts website on Sunday and left an message asking how I could get the kit. Someone called me back that evening and I ordered what I needed. He said it was on back order and would take 2 weeks, but I received it in just a few days.

    Reply
  35. Indyglideman

    Well I have now joined this group of sears sufferers. Wife came up stairs this morning, said we had no water. Wend to basement, on the way there heard water running, found water flowing from the brine tank. Tank had split down the side. I am totally screwed. Unit was purchased in 1996 so now warranty on any thing. In the past I have put about $250.00 in repair parts into the unit. Every O ring and the drive motor for the rotary valve. Don’t think i will by another Sears unit.

    Reply
  36. Larry

    I have a ultrasoft 275 that I purchased in 2004 model number 625.388270. I was working next to my softner, and I noticed a salt cake at the back of the tank on the floor that was about 2″ tall and and an area about 3 x 10. I assume the outer tank may have a leak. Anyone else see this? I did have an older unit at a previous house that overflowed and leaked causing minor flooding and carpet damage in the next room. What is a better brand to buy? Might be time to change. I dont want anymore flooding. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Hi Larry, as you mention, it sounds like you have a leak in the outer (brine/salt) tank. This salt buildup might also be caused by a leak in the plumbing leading to the softener and what you are seeing is just the buildup of many months of slow dripping water.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t replace the tank yet if it’s just a small leak. Try to identify the source and channel the water away to the floor drain like David suggests. If it’s crack in the tank, you could try some food grade silicon (I think aquarium silicon is OK) to seal it up from both the inside and outside.

      Also, have you checked for a salt dam? Those can cause brine overflows during recharge cycles. Grab a broom and see if you can jam it down to the bottom of the salt tank. If not, you might have a salt dam.

      Reply
  37. David

    The best thing I can recommend is to have your new softener installed with a pan (either for a hot water heater, or washing machine) near a floor drain. Make sure you install 1 1/2 inch pipe to the floor drain. The little overflow pipe is useless when the thing blows. As for the salt/outer tank leaking, nope mine was fine when my resin tank popped.

    Reply
  38. John

    @Larry
    A massive drain would be the only thing that can save you from a flood in the event of a catastrophic failure due to a ruptured resin tank. However, most furnace room floor drains aren’t made to handle huge volumes of water, only condensate pumps or humidifier overflows. You really should find out where exactly the leak was coming from. Follow all the maintenance directions for your softener and replace leaky or damaged o-rings and gaskets.

    Reply
  39. Karin

    Does anyone have a manual for this water softner? We recently moved to a new home, and the water softner flushes for an hour every night. We have outrageous water bills in the new place and are wondering if the nightly flushing is the reason. Anyone know how to change the setting? We can’t figure it out, and also can’t find the manual online. If anyone knows how, we’d greatly appreciate the help. Thanks so much :o)

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Karin,

      Water softeners flush (backwash) to get rid of the brine after recharging. If this is happening a lot then it could be due to you having very hard water and/or your unit is set to a very high number of “grains”. It’s been a few years but if you have the same Kenmore softener that I had, the interface was pretty simple. I think there was one button to cycle through options and some arrow buttons to change values. Just make note of the values when you first see them in case you need to revert back later.

      Another possibility is that your unit isn’t able to recharge enough so maybe you have a salt dam? With it recharging every night you should be consuming a lot of salt too. If not then take a broom handle and see if you can jam it all the way to the bottom of the salt tank. If not, start trying to break it up and/or remove the salt that is in the tank.

      Finally, make sure you are using the recommended brand/type of salt. Our new softener (and installer) recommends only the “Windsor System Saver II” type.

      Hope some of this helps!

      Reply

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