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*