Calculating Your Well Water Flow Rate November 15, 2017 17:15

Knowing the flow rate that your well can deliver to your home is an important bit of information to have when choosing many different kinds of backwashing water filters or water softeners. If you are a rural dweller with your own water system, you very likely have a pump and a pressure tank which comprise the main components of your water delivery system. Most wells use submersible pumps which reside in the well itself, but there are also jet pumps which typically sit on dry land - either in the home or in the pump house.

The flow rate calculation method described below requires that you have a pressure tank. The vast majority of rural water systems will have one, but if not you won't be able to use this method. Here's what some typical pressure tanks look like:

Pressure Tank w Water Softener

Pressure Tank w Water Filter

Pressure tank for water softener installation

Here's what you'll need to perform this test:

  • stopwatch
  • 5-gallon bucket

Once you've identified where your pressure tank is, here's what you need to do:

  • make sure your pump is not running and make sure no water is flowing anywhere in your home
  • go to a faucet in your home, and open the faucet all the way as you start the stopwatch
  • stand beside the pressure tank and when you hear your well pump kick on, stop the stopwatch
  • record the number of minutes/seconds it took for the pump to kick on

Next steps

  • allow the well pump to fill the pressure tank (you'll know it's full when the pump shuts off)
  • ensure that no water is running anywhere else in your home
  • go to a faucet that will allow you fill the 5-gallon bucket
  • you need to be close enough to the pressure tank that you can hear the pump turn on
  • start filling the 5-gallon bucket and record how many gallons of water you can take before the pump kicks on
  • this is the volume of water that the pressure tank holds - record this value

The Calculations:

You now know the time it takes for the pump to fill the pressure tank, and you know the volume of the pressure tank, so you can calculate the flow rate as follows:

Flow Rate = (Volume / Fill Time) X 60

  • for Volume use gallons
  • for Fill Time use seconds

Here's an example:

Fill Time = 30 seconds

Volume = 4 gallons

Flow Rate = (3 / 30) X 60

= 8 gallons per minute

Choosing the Tomlinson Faucet That Matches Other Stainless Steel November 13, 2017 08:21

Aquatell sells the complete line of Tomlinson Reverse Osmosis faucets and we're constantly being ask which of their finishes matches stainless steel the best. If you want your new RO faucet to match your stainless steel fridge or existing kitchen faucet, the closest match will be the Tomlinson Satin Nickel finish. This is a little misleading because Tomlinson makes a Brushed Stainless finish also. However the Brushed Stainless finish doesn't match other stainless steel well at all. The Brushed Stainless is a very coarse finish and is very very bright - almost silvery. The great photo below shows the Tomlinson Satin Nickel finish compared to an existing stainless steel faucet. Thanks to Aquatell customer Chris from Uxbridge for the great photo!

Tomlinson Faucets Satin Nickel Finish


How To Program the Aqualux ProSoft Control Valve September 08, 2017 13:18

The control valve on an Aqualux ProSoft softener will need to be programmed when you first receive your softener, and may need to be re-programmed if you need to perform a master reset of the machine at any time.  In either case, the programming is very straightforward.

There are some buttons you'll have to use on the face of the machine:

Aqualux ProSoft control valve

Entering the Master Programming Mode:

  • press and hold either the UP or DOWN buttons and the clock will start to move
  • get the time to 12:01 pm (the 'pm' must be shown otherwise it is 'am')
  • once the display shows 12:01 press the NEXT CYCLE button
  • while the display still shows 12:01 pm press the UP and DOWN buttons at exactly the same time, and hold them until the display shows 'DF' on the screen

Programming Values:

At each stage of the programming, the left side of the screen will show which stage of the program is being set (DF, VT, BW as examples).  The main part of the screen (center and right) will show the value that is being entered. At each stage of the programming the UP and DOWN buttons are used to scroll through the options, and the NEXT CYCLE button is used to enter that value.

  • set DF to GAL
  • set VT to 5810
  • set RF to df2b
  • set CT to FD

The next value to enter is the C value. The C stands for capacity. The capacity value will differ depending on the size of the softener you purchased. Softener size is the cubic feet of resin the softener is built with. Here are the different C values that correspond to the different sizes of softeners we sell. The C values provided will allow your softener to operate in the most efficient manner possible:

  • for 0.75 cubic feet C = 15,000
  • for 1.0 cubic feet C = 20,000
  • for 1.5 cubic feet C = 30,000
  • for 2.0 cubic feet C = 40,000
  • for 2.5 cubic feet C = 50,000
  • for 3.0 cubic feet C = 60,000

Now for the next set of programming values:

  • For the H value use your local hardness value in Grains per Gallon (if you know your hardness in PPM or mg/L divide this value by 17.1 to get Grains per Gallon)
  • set RS to SF
  • set SF to 5
  • For the DO value use 7 if you're on rural well water and use 14 if you're on municipal water
  • RT is the regeneration time - choose the time of day you'd like the softener to regenerate (this process takes about 2 hours)
  • set B1 to 10
  • set BD to 60
  • set B2 to 5
  • set RR to 10

The BF value stands for Brine Fill. Different BF values are used for different sized softeners. Softener size is the cubic feet of resin the softener is built with. Here are the BF values to use:

  • for 0.75 cubic feet BF = 12
  • for 1.0 cubic feet BF = 16
  • for 1.5 cubic feet BF = 24
  • for 2.0 cubic feet BF = 16
  • for 2.5 cubic feet BF = 20
  • for 3.0 cubic feet BF = 24

You may have noticed that some of the larger softeners have the same BF value as the smaller softeners. This is because the rate of brine tank refill is higher in the larger systems.

Now for the last set of programming values:

  • set FM to t1.2
  • set RE to OFF
  • set VR to OFF

Once this last setting has been entered, the programming menu will be automatically exited. At this point, press and hold either the UP or DOWN button to start the clock moving. When the correct time is displayed on the screen, use the NEXT CYCLE button to enter that value. Remember that 'pm' must be displayed on the screen while setting the clock, otherwise the time is an 'am' time.

Congrats - you're all done!

Master Reset of Aqualux ProSoft Control Valve September 06, 2017 16:42

Sometimes a situation may arise where a master reset of the control board on the Aqualux ProSoft control valve will be necessary. This is a two stage process that we outline below.

Stage 1

  • unplug the power cable for the control valve from the wall
  • once the unit has been unplugged, remove the plastic cover from the top of the control valve

Aqualux ProSoft Control Valve

  • the front panel (where the input buttons are) is called the controller or circuit board
  • at the top of the circuit board, two black clips hold it in place
  • depress these black clips and this will allow the circuit board to rocker forwards
  • carefully pull the circuit board away from the control valve and turn it so you can see the reverse side

Aqualux ProSoft Circuit Board Reset

  • press and hold the black Reset Button for 3 seconds
  • make sure not to accidentally pull out one of the three cables shown in the circled area above
  • put the circuit board back onto the control valve and make sure the two black plastic clips are seated properly
  • place the cover back on the control valve

Stage 2

  • press and hold the 'next cycle' button on the control valve circuit board and hold this button down while the power cable is plugged back in
  • continue to hold the 'next cycle' button for three seconds and then release it

These two processes together will put the control valve back into the factory default un-programmed state. The control valve will need to be reprogrammed for your size of softener, and application after this process is completed.


Killer softener installation Mike! August 11, 2017 12:33

We get lots of pics of customer water softener installations and we're always so proud to see what a great job our customers do. Every once in a while we see an especially impressive one and this installation of an Aqualux ProSoft by Mike M. of Regina Saskatchewan is no exception. Wow! Nice work Mike!

awesome water softener installation

When Fleck 5600SXT Softener Brine Tank Is Full of Water July 20, 2017 11:30

If the brine tank on your Fleck 5600SXT-based softener isn't being drained during the regeneration of your softener, two things will happen:

  1. Your softener won't regenerate properly and your water will be hard
  2. Your brine tank will fill with water over time, until the safety float is engaged

When customers contact us that their softener isn't performing, nine out of ten times it's because the softener isn't able to draw the brine solution out of the brine tank during regeneration. This can be caused by a number of different issues and this article will help you figure out how to identify and correct the problem.

Here's the list of possibilities, and we'll expand on each one below:

  • the softener drain line is kinked, blocked, or frozen
  • the safety float is malfunctioning
  • the injector is clogged

Issues With The Drain Line

When the softener regenerates it will need to send water to drain. During the brine draw (BD) stage of the regeneration of the Fleck 5600SXT this drain line flow is passed over the injector (an inside component in the control valve) to create suction to draw the brine solution out of the brine tank. If the drain line is block, kinked, or frozen, and the water can't be sent to drain this suction can't be created and the brine solution will never be drawn out of the brine tank. This situation can also be created if the softener drain line is routed too many vertical feet above the softener. This can create a situation where the line water pressure isn't sufficient to push the water up high enough. However this situation would create an issue from Day 1. So if your softener was working fine, but not it's not, it likely isn't because of the vertical height of the drain line.

Softener Safety Float Malfunctioning

The safety float is a mechanical device that usually sits in a 4" diameter white tube that's inside the brine tank. This tube will often have a lid on it. The safety float has two purposes:

  1. In the even that too much water is added to the brine tank, the safety float will shut off the water flow to the brine tank avoiding a flood
  2. The safety float also acts as the pickup tube for the brine solution. At the bottom of the safety float there is an air check that prevents air from being sucked up when the brine has been fully withdrawn from the tank

Here's how to check and see if the safety float is causing the issue:

Force a regeneration by pressing and holding the 'next cycle' button:

The screen should show 'BW' and a countdown timer. At this point detach the brine line from the top of the safety float. This will be a 3/8" black or clear line that connects to the top of the safety float. Make sure you don't lose any of the small pieces of the connector as you disconnect the line.

Once the line is disconnected, press the 'next cycle' button once (don't hold it down) and the the control valve will move to the next stage of the regeneration - the Brine Draw (BD). Once the BD cycle starts counting down, immerse the end of the brine line in a clear glass of water. After 1 minute the level in the glass should be noticeably lower. You can also put your finger over the open end of the brine line to see if it's generating suction.

If the water level in the glass goes down, then the issue with the water softener is being caused by the safety float. To fix it, remove the safety float and do the following:

  • run the entire thing under hot water for a few minutes
  • while doing this, move the float up and down to make sure the arm at the top of the float assembly can move freely
  • at the bottom of the safety float you'll find the air check - it's usually a grey or beige coloured cage that will have a ball inside it. Make sure this ball can move freely

Once that's done, put the safety float back in, re-attach the brine line (make sure this is done well, but not overtightened or the plastic fitting can crack). Since the Brine Draw (BD) cycle usually runs for 60 minutes, the softener will likely still be in this mode when you re-attach the safety float.  As long as there is 20 minutes or more remaining, the softener should now be able to remove all of the water from the brine tank.

Clogged Softener Injector

The injector is an internal component of the control valve. When water is passed over the injector it creates a vacuum that is used to suck the water out of the brine tank. If your softener brine line isn't able to create suction, it's almost always caused by a clogged injector. Here's how to clean it out:

Once the injector is clean, force another regeneration of the softener, and during the brine draw (BD) cycle you can do the water-in-a-glass test again to confirm that suction is being created.

Buy Aquasafe Canada Reverse Osmosis Replacement Cartridges Here! June 23, 2017 11:36

Over the last few months we've had a number of Aquasafe reverse osmosis system owners contact us asking if we sell replacement cartridges for these systems. We do! We've built filter bundles at discounted prices that make replacing your Aquasafe reverse osmosis filter cartridges and membranes easy and affordable:

 Aquasafe Home II System:

Aquasafe Home II + Remineralizing System:

Maximus II System:

Maximus II + Remineralizing System:

Maximus II + remineralizing Aquasafe Reverse Osmosis System


Aquasafe is a manufacturer or reverse osmosis systems based out of Saanichton British Columbia. For the last 10 years Aquasafe has been a popular online destination for the purchase of reverse osmosis systems and associated replacement parts and pieces. It appears that Aquasafe is no longer in business as we've had numerous customers of theirs tell us they've been unable to reach them to order replacement parts for their RO systems. We've also noticed that on Google, their physical location is recorded as permanently closed.

How To Test Water Hardness With A TDS Meter January 17, 2017 16:43

Trying to use your TDS meter to measure your water hardness? Well, you can't! Sorry if that's not the answer you were looking for. Here's why it won't work:

TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids. It's the measure of all the stuff that is dissolved in your water. A TDS meter is actually measuring the electrical conductivity of the water, and then calculates the TDS value based on this.

The problem with trying to measure hardness by measuring TDS is that TDS is comprised of much more than just hardness. Yes - when the water is very hard, a good percentage of the TDS will be made up of hardness minerals, but a lot of it won't be. So your TDS value will always be significantly higher than the hardness value.

The other thing you can't do with a TDS meter is use it to figure out how well your softener is working. This doesn't work because of the nature of how water softening works. A water softener is an ion-exchange device - it grabs on to calcium and magnesium ions (aka hardness) and exchanges them for sodium. Well, the sodium carries the same electrical charge as the hardness. So the TDS reading of hard water and soft water is pretty much identical even if the water has been softened perfectly.

If you're looking for a water test kit that has a hardness test with it, here's a good one. If you want a TDS meter anyway, we've got those too!

What Water Softener Salt Is Best To Use? January 14, 2017 01:06

It's a question we get asked daily here at Aquatell. There are so many types and brands of water softener salt, it can be really difficult to know what to buy. The short answer to this question is this:

We find that salt pellets tend to do the best job in the softeners we sell.

If you'd like to know how we arrive at this conclusion you can read the rest of the article below. The salt you use in your softener has an impact on a few different things:

  • how effectively your softener will regenerate
  • how clean your brine tank stays
  • the amount of sodium that ends up in your soft water
  • the water softener 'total cost of ownership'

What you'll see for sale in stores:

    • salt crystals
    • salt pellets
    • potassium chloride

Salt crystals and salt pellets are different forms of sodium chloride. This is the salt we're all familiar with in the dinner table salt shaker. Potassium chloride is marketed as an alternative to sodium-based products.

We get a lot of questions about the sodium level in soft water. The water softening process is an ion-exchange process. The softener grabs onto hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium compounds) and exchanges them for another ion - usually sodium. So using a sodium-based product results in an increase in the sodium concentration of the soft water. How much? The Mayo Clinic suggests that the majority of softener-using households contain less than 50mg of sodium per litre of water. That's less than 13mg in a glass of water. Soft water can therefore be considered a 'very low sodium' product in the strictest sense. To put it in perspective, the suggested daily sodium intake for adults is 1000 - 1500mg.

Salt Crystals:

Salt crystals are usually found in two different forms: rock salt and solar salt. Rock salt is mined from the ground like other minerals, and generally contains the greatest level of impurities. These impurities can increase the likelihood of salt bridging and mushing. The use of rock salt will also cause the accumulation of debris in the brine tank that will need to be cleaned out periodically. The advantage of rock salt is that it's quite inexpensive.

Solar salt is created through the evaporation of naturally occurring brine, such as sea water. Brine ponds are exposed to the sun and wind, and the brine solution concentrates over time until it becomes a solid mass. Solar salt tends to be cleaner than rock salt but does not have the same purity level as salt pellets.

Salt Pellets:

Salt pellets are created by forcing water down into naturally occurring salt deposits in the earth. The water dissolves this salt and the brine solution is then pumped to the surface. Here it is exposed to heat and vacuum evaporation. This process produces the most pure salt - usually 99.9% sodium chloride.

For this reason salt pellets are the preferred salt for most water softening applications. Pellets are slightly more expensive than rock salt and solar salt, but because of their exceptional purity, you'll rarely experience bridging or mushing, and you'll likely never have to clean out your brine tank over its entire lifespan.

Potassium Chloride:

Potassium chloride can be used as an alternative to the typical sodium-based water softener salts available. The advantage of potassium chloride is that the softened water contains no sodium. This can be important to those people on sodium restricted diets. The disadvantages of potassium chloride include the following:

      • It's a lot more expensive
      • It's less effective at regenerating the water softener resin

All the water softeners sold at Aquatell can be used with Potassium or Sodium based products. For customers looking for maximum softening efficiency but still wanting sodium-free drinking water, consider using sodium chloride in your softener, and then purifying your drinking water with a Reverse Osmosis system. Reverse Osmosis systems will remove thousands of contaminants including all of the sodium. 

How To Clean the Injector on a Fleck 7000SXT Softener January 09, 2017 08:03

An injector? What gets injected into a water softener? Brine does! The injector is a small part that resides inside your Fleck 7000SXT water softener. The injector is responsible for helping to create the suction that draws the brine solution out of the the brine tank.

If the injector isn't working properly the system can't create a vacuum force, the brine never gets sucked up, and your softener doesn't regenerate. It might seem like it regenerates - you may hear it going through the motions - but because the brine never gets pulled through the resin, nothing useful has really happened and you still have hard water. Another sign is that your brine tank is filled up with a lot of water. You see, if the injector is clogged your softener only has a problem pulling water from the brine tank, but it can add to the brine tank without issue. So over time the brine tank fills up up up.

The injector can get clogged for a number of reasons, and here's how to clean it:

1. Bypass & Depressurize

Do this by first closing the bypass valve (turn the dial on each side of the bypass valve to the bypass position). With the unit in bypass force a regeneration by pressing and holding the Next Cycle button.

Press and hold the Next Cycle button until you hear the valve mechanism start to turn. When you see BW and a countdown not he screen, you’ll know that the unit is depressurized as it will have opened the drain port.

2. Open the Service Hatch and Clean Some Stuff

Located just behind the timer (the electronic part with the buttons on it) is a service hatch that is held in place with a red plastic clip. Remove the red clip, and then pull the service hatch off with a pair of pliers. What you'll then see is this:

First, pull out the filter screen and clean it, then make sure you put it back where it came from. Second, pull out the injector. It has a lip that you can grab with a pair of needle nose pliers but be careful not to damage it. When you pull it out it will look like this:

The injector is comprised of three interlocking parts. You need to pull these apart in order to clean it properly. While still holding the injector as shown above, pull on the yellow part. What you'll end up with in your pliers is this:

See that small hole? If you look at the end of this part, you should be able to see right through that hole. If you can't, use a paperclip or small wire to clean it out, but don't damage it. Set this now cleaned part aside. Now we'll deal with this part:

Holding this part as shown, turn the yellow part a quarter turn and it will detach from the purple piece. There's nothing you need to do with the yellow piece - just set it aside. The purple piece looks like this:

Again, this hole runs right through this piece, and if you look at the hole from the end you should be able to see daylight. If you can't clean this hole out with a paperclip or wire.

Now that the injector parts are clean, put the injector back together, and put it back in the control valve along with the cleaned filter screen. Put the cap on, then secure it with the red clip.

Since you had put the softener in regeneration mode to de-pressurize it, it will likely still be in this mode now that you're done. Before you put the softener back in service mode, press the Next Cycle button to skip from cycle to cycle until you're out of the regeneration.

Now turn the dials on either side of the bypass to put the softener back in service mode, and you're all done!

How To Do a Master Reset of Autotrol Logix 760 or 762 Controller January 06, 2017 16:49

The Logix 760 and 762 controllers are used primarily with the Autotrol 255 and 268 valves. There may come a time in the life of your water softener where you need to do a master reset of the Autotrol Logix controller. If your Autotrol control valve uses the Logix 760 or 762 controller then you can use these instructions to perform a master reset to get it back to the factory defaults. Warning - this reset procedure will erase all stored values including historical data. You'll know if you have a Logix 760 or 762 if yours looks like this:

Autotrol Logix 760 / 762 Controller Reset

Here's how to do the reset:

  • Press and hold SET and DOWN simultaneously for 5 seconds.
  • "H0" and the system’s set resin volume (or "F" mode) will be displayed.
  • If a history value other than "H0" is displayed, use the up arrow to scroll through the settings until "H0" is displayed.
  • To reset the control, press and hold SET for 5 seconds.
  • The control will be reset to an un-programmed state.

The control valve is now reset to factory default values and you can proceed to the following resources for reprogramming instructions.  Look for the section titled "Initial Setup"

The most important step in the initial setup is to make sure that the media volume is set correctly.  Here are the grain capacities for water softeners and corresponding resin volumes:

  • 24,000 grain = 0.75 cubic feet
  • 32,000 grain = 1.0 cubic feet
  • 40,000 grain = 1.25 cubic feet
  • 48,000 grain = 1.5 cubic feet
  • 64,000 grain = 2.0 cubic feet
  • 96,000 grain = 3.0 cubic feet 

If you happened to find this page because you're looking for a new Autotrol softener, you're in luck - we sell them!  And you can find them here.


Remineralizing Reverse Osmosis Systems December 08, 2016 16:36

If you're been researching the purchase of a reverse osmosis system for your home, you've likely encountered the terms Remineralized Water & Alkaline Water. Speaking from a strict chemistry perspective, these terms are often misused and misunderstood and the confusion they create can be frustrating for homeowners who just want to figure out which RO system to buy.

Remineralized Water is water that has had some mineral content added back to it. The reverse osmosis process is non-selective - it removes the 'good' stuff like calcium, and magnesium, along with the 'bad' stuff like pesticides, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals.  The process of remineralizing the water adds back some of the good stuff. This is usually done with a post-filter that contains some form of calcium or magnesium. The most common substances used are Calcite (calcium carbonate) and Corosex (a magnesium compound). Some filters use a combination of both. The reverse osmosis treated water is passed through one of these filters where it dissolves some of the filtration media immediately before being dispensed. Calcite remineralizers will bring the pH to neutral (about 7.0) while Corosex will bring the pH above 7. Any liquid with a pH greater than 7 is referred to as a 'base' although the term alkaline has replaced this word in popular discussions.

Alkaline Water is a term that needs some explanation as it is often interchanged in popular media with the term basic. In the strict scientific definition, any solution that has a pH greater than 7 is basic. Alkalinity is the acid-nuetralizing capability of a solution. A solution with a basic pH and low alkalinity can have the pH altered with only a small amount of acid added. A solution with basic pH and high alkalinity can absorb a higher amount of acidic material before the pH of the solution will drift downwards.

The health effects of drinking basic pH water and/or alkaline water are not firmly established in the scientific community. What has been established is that some people find reverse osmosis water that has been remineralized to be tastier. If you want to know how remineralized vs. non-remineralized RO water tastes, have a sip of Dasani water and then have a sip of Aquafina.  Both are produced through the RO process.  Dasani has some mineral content added back in and Aquafina does not. If you'd like to remineralize your own RO water, here's a breakdown of how to do it:

If you don't yet have an RO system, you'll want to find one that has easy access to the carbon post filter like these ones do:

Then, you have a choice of a bunch of different filter cartridges that can be swapped out for the standard inline carbon filter. Here are a few options:

Calcite + Carbon:

Pentek GS-10CAL/RO

Omnipure K2551CALCC-BB

Calcite + Corosex:



When you're selecting a filter cartridge, make sure that you choose one that has the correct ends. Some cartridges have threaded female connectors while others have push-to-connect fittings that will receive a plastic tube. 

Loud bang from Autotrol Water Softener During Regeneration November 17, 2016 16:19


Did somebody just fire a shotgun in the basement or was that the water softener!?

If air is allowed to get into the softening tank of an Autotrol softener, you can end up with some pretty loud noises during the regeneration. Enough to wake you from your sleep. The issue is almost always caused by a failure of the air-check mechanism.  Before we get into the details, here's a little background:

When your Autotrol Softener goes through a regeneration, one of the cycles is the Brine Draw followed next by the Slow Rinse. In Autotrol-speak these are referred to as cycles 2 and 3. The purpose of cycle 2 is to draw the brine solution into the softening tank, and then cycle 3 slowly pushes this important brine solution through the resin bed.

Once all of brine solution has been drawn out of the brine tank an air-check valve prevents the softener from accidentally drawing air into the tank. If this valve fails, you end up with air in the tank and this air is the cause of the loud noises that are waking up the kids.

One complication of troubleshooting this, is that an Autotrol softener can have the air check in one of two places:

Location 1:  The Sight Glass

On the side of your Autotrol softener there is a clear site glass.

autotrol air check sight glass

This sight glass may or may not contain a small plastic marble. If it does, this marble is what acts as the air check. You'll want to take the sight glass apart and make sure that the marble can move freely and that it can seat properly at the bottom of the sight glass.

Location 2:  The Foot of the Safety Float

Your brine tank is where you add the salt to your softener. Inside most brine tanks you'll find a 4" tube with a lid on it. Take the lid off this tube to reveal the safety float. The safety float has two purposes:

  • it has a sort of toilet tank floater that is actuated if the softener tries to add too much water to the brine tank (flood prevention)
  • it has a pickup at the very bottom where the brine solution is sucked into the softener

If your Autotrol softener does not have a floating marble air check in the sight glass it will certainly have one in the pickup. The pickup is at the bottom and is usually a cage of some kind. Inside the cage you'll find the floating marble. Here are some commonly used float assemblies showing the pickup at the bottom:

water softener safety float pickup aircheck

To service the air check, you will want to detach the brine line from the safety float - it usually attaches at the top. Then the safety float can be pulled out. A few of them are attached to the side of the brine tank with a nut - if that's the case you'll need to undue this first. Once the safety float is removed, run the bottom pickup area under hot water and make sure the marble can move freely.

Once you're all done put everything back together, paying special attention to the connection point between the brine line and sight glass, and the brine line to safety float. If either of these are not air tight, the brine draw won't work. Then force a regeneration (on most softeners this is done by pressing and holding the 'regen' or 'next cycle' button). Let the softener run it's course and see if the gun-shot noise is gone.

Removing Chlorine vs Chloramine In Home Water November 16, 2016 17:20

Most folks have heard of chlorine - it's the stuff of backyard swimming pools, hot tubs, and the same stuff in that bottle of bleach under the kitchen sink. But many people haven't heard of chloramine. Similar word, very different compound. What they both have in common is that they are highly efficient disinfectants for drinking water. That is, they're both really good at killing bugs. The other thing they have in common, is that many people are waking up to the fact that drinking disinfectants isn't a great idea! So here at Aquatell we're always fielding calls about how to remove both of these compounds from home water.

While they're very similar in name and in function, these two disinfectants require different filtration strategies. Chlorine is highly reactive, and this makes it easier to remove from water. The most common means of removing chlorine from your home water is to use a carbon-based water filter where your water enters your home. These can be cartridge based systems or backwashing style systems. Cartridge systems offer the advantage of lower initial cost, but the downside of cartridge changes, and lower flow rates. Backwashing style carbon filters are more expensive up front, but filter chlorine more thoroughly and the carbon media only needs replacing every 4 - 6 years in most households. They also offer a superior flow rate.

The removal of chloramine is similar but there are fewer options. Chloramine is less reactive than chlorine, which makes it tougher to pull out of the water. Cartridge based systems exist, but the cartridges are ridiculously expensive, and the lifespan is limited. We recommend the use of a backwashing carbon system that use Centaur Catalytic Carbon. This is a special carbon product that is highly effective at removing chloramine from water and will do a great job for virtually every residential application.

If removing chloramine or chlorine from all of your home water isn't a high priority and you just want to make sure your drinking water is secure, consider a reverse osmosis system. They're highly effective at removing chlorine and chloramine and literally thousands of other water contaminants.

Brantford Ontario Water Hardness November 09, 2016 07:40

Hey - be careful Brantford! If you're looking for your water hardness level online, you may find some flat out incorrect information. Somebody has compiled a list of water hardness values for different cities across Ontario and the number shown for Brantford is incorrect.

brantford ontario sign

The correct hardness value is 310 mg/L (same as ppm) which converts to 18 grains per gallon. This number comes right from the city itself. This water is very hard. In pretty short order, water with this hardness level will scale up faucets, tubs, kettles, dishwashers, and pretty much any water-using device. You can avoid damage to these items and generally make home cleaning and maintenance a lot easier with the use of a water softener.


Programming the Fleck 5600SXT softener valve for max efficiency November 08, 2016 11:54

As most Aquatell customers know, a water softener can be programmed a number of different ways, and some ways are much more salt efficient than others. Aquatell customers who buy a Fleck 5600SXT based softener, are shown the way to program the system to minimize salt consumption while still maintaining outstanding softening performance. The problem is that there are lots of folks out there who bought a 5600SXT-based system somewhere else and were never shown the way to make it work efficiently. That is, they were never shown the way to minimize salt consumption. And the difference between a non-efficient and efficient softener can literally mean hundreds of pounds of salt per year. So, no matter where you purchased your Fleck 5600SXT based softener, here are the programming instructions you can use to keep your salt consumption to a minimum. One quick word of warning - if your water has high iron (more than 2.0 mg/L) you may not want to use these settings. First things first - here are the buttons on the 5600SXT controller:

Fleck 5600SXT buttons

First we enter the master programming menu: set time to 12:01 pm (by pressing and holding up or down arrow, and once you see the time you want, press the enter button).

Now use these settings:

VT= df2b
NT = 1

The next setting that the controller will want you to program, is the Capacity (C) setting. The C setting differs depending on the 'size' of water softener you purchased. This is where things can get a little tricky as the size of a water softener is described differently by different companies. Use this chart to choose the C setting to program into the controller:

Size = 24,000 grain (may also be called 0.75 cubic feet) > Use 15 x 1000 for C setting

Size = 32,000 grain (may also be called 1.0 cubic feet) > Use 20 x 1000 for C setting

Size = 40,000 grain (may also be called 1.25 cubic feet) > Use 25 x 1000 for C setting

Size = 48,000 grain (may also be called 1.5 cubic feet) > Use 30 x 1000 for C setting

Size = 64,000 grain (may also be called 2.0 cubic feet) > Use 40 x 1000 for C setting

The next setting that the controller will want is your hardness setting (H). Use your hardness value in grains per gallon. If you have your hardness value in mg/L (or ppm) simply divide that number by 17.1 to get the hardness expressed in grains per gallon. Important: the hardness value you program is the hardness of your untreated water.  It's not the hardness level you want in your softened water (this will always be very close to zero)

The next settings will be the same no matter the size of your softener:

SF = 5
DO = 7
RT = the time of day you want the softener to regenerate (most people use 2am)
B1 = 10
BD = 60
B2 = 5
RR = 10

The next setting is Brine Fill (BF).  The BF value needs to be matched to the Capacity (C) value from one of the steps above. Here's how to choose the BF value:

If C = 15 x 1000 then BF = 3

If C = 20 x 1000 then BF = 4

If C = 25 x 1000 then BF = 5

If C = 30 x 1000 then BF = 6

If C = 40 x 1000 then BF = 8

Lastly, the meter type must be selected (FM).  There are two main types of meters used with the Fleck 5600SXT.  There is the turbine style, and paddle wheel style.  You know if you have the paddle wheel style as there will be a cable in behind the control valve, that attaches to a dome:

paddle wheel meterIf your Fleck 5600SXT meter looks like the one above, set the FM value to p0.7.  If you have a wire coming out of the back of the Fleck 5600SXT controller that attaches to something that does not look like the photo above, set FM value to t0.7

That should do it!  Now that the programming is done, use the up or down arrows (press and hold) to get the clock to the proper time, then press enter.  You're done!