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Sourcing a Water Softener System

mikesmcp | Posted in General Questions on

The old kenmore lasted 20 years, and most probably could have been fixed by ordering up a new part.  The new owners of kenmore, however, refused to help me unless I gave them information I either did not have or did not want to give over.
I am asking any professionals or anyone else who has stumbled upon any companies out there that offer a high quality water softener that you can easily get parts for?  I would prefer if I could go to a local store that stands by what they sell, and don’t need my phone, email and social security number.
In VT or NH.

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  1. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #1

    Water softeners only have a few basic parts: the softener tank, the resin in it, the control valve, and a salt tank. Get a unit that uses a Fleck control valve -- those are super common, and easy to get parts for. The tanks can last a *long* time if you're careful with them. Resin beads need to be replaced around every 7-10 years or so, maybe longer depending on operating conditions UNLESS you get chlorine in there, which will wreck the resin in short order.

    If you go online, you'll find lots of places that sell systems. I've found it's cheaper to buy a system to start out, then buy parts as needed down the road. I've used a place called "softenerparts" before to buy parts -- they are helpful and have most of what you're likely to need to repair things (possibly including your old Kenmore unit), but the Fleck valve is better in this regard because it's so common and doesn't have wierd propreitary parts. I've never had ANY online vendor ask for an SSN# before -- that would be an immediate warning sign to me to not use them if they did.


    1. mikesmcp | | #3

      Thank you very much Bill, I really appreciate that information. I will look into the Fleck valve and that parts store looks promising too. My father installed that kenmore and he was pretty handy about taking care of things. Kept his basement dry and clean. Its on a well so no chlorine. Its in great shape. I suspect it got zapped or crapped out because it is displaying a code and wont respond to any button pushing. Kenmore flat refused to tell me what the code meant and the manual did not say. Could not find it online, but maybe just did not know where to look. I will start with your suggestions and see if I can figure it out. Thanks again.

      1. Expert Member
        BILL WICHERS | | #4

        You might check if you can replace the control valve and keep using the tanks and resin in the old softener. That might be the easiest/cheapest way to go, and would avoid putting a lot of otherwise useable parts in the trash. You might even find the old Kenmore valve uses Fleck parts -- many manufacturers just rebrand the Fleck valves. Call the softenerparts people, they'll probably know if you can repair your existing softener or not.

        BTW, if you have iron in your well, check out "Rust Out" too, which can often rejuvenate old resin that seems to have stopped working. When I bought my current house, the softener was in really bad shape -- 5+ years of zero maintenance and it was completely fouled. I ran I think it was 3 runs with the Rust Out and it started working again, and continues to to this day (and I fixed it about 7 years ago now).


  2. Trevor_Lambert | | #2

    Kenmore never made anything, they just put their name on stuff. Any decent parts store should be able to figure out the OEM model of your softener and sell you parts.

  3. user-723121 | | #5

    Yes on Fleck water softeners.

    If you need a new softener this is where to buy, might get parts there too. I have the 5600/5800 series, unbelievable soft water and low salt usage. You can order the softener to your specifications and suited to your water conditions. The price is great as well. Took a couple of weeks to get but they put them together based on your specifications.

  4. matthew25 | | #6

    Amazon sells packaged water softeners with Fleck valves. I purchased this one a few years ago for my current home:

    I would highly recommend a two-tank system if you can afford the space. Single tank systems work on a timer for their regen cycle and during the cycle you are not getting softened water. Additionally, since the timer dictates when to regen there is a good chance you are wasting water by regenerating even when you don't need to (like if you're on vacation, etc.). Dual-tank systems usually use a paddle wheel to measure water usage so it only regens when the water usage dictates, and one tank is always available in standby and is switched on while the other tank goes through the regen cycle. So you always get softened water, and you avoid wasted water and regen cycles.

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