Can’t figure out why resin is entering household plumbing

Recently, I noticed a large amount of resin coming out of a garden hose. I checked the household faucets and fixtures, and found a relatively minor amount of resin in some of them. The resin beads did not look degraded, and did not crumble when pressed firmly with a spoon.

I have a Technetic Plus 1000i and the distributor is the type with a basket at the bottom and another one somewhere around the middle. My system is somewhere around a decade old. I checked the distributor and did not see any cracks or breaks. I measured the slits and they were all between .25 and .29 mm.   There was a small amount of grime, but cleaning it did not fix the problem.  Likewise, the injector screen needed cleaning, but it did not fix the problem, and everything else looks clean.

I don’t know how big the resin beads are supposed to be, but they look fairly uniform. They are small enough that if I put some on my finger and rub the basket, some will pass through. But I don’t see anything that would explain a sudden failure.  Is there somewhere else I should be looking for some sort of leak, or is there some other problem that seems likely based on what I described?

Answer: Probably not your resin – your description indicates the resin is fine, and not degraded. There are only a few ways that resin can be found in the treated household water.  The first is that the inlet/outlet connections are reversed.  Assuming that this is not a new installation, this is probably not the problem here.

The second is a poor seal between the valve control head and the riser tube found in the center of the resin bed.  There is an o-ring that seals the tube when it is inserted into the valve.  If this o-ring is damaged, misaligned, or missing, it is possible for resin to escape the tank.

The last and most probable cause is (as you have already pointed out) a broken screen.  Even though you have visibly inspected the basket, press individually on each of the individual vanes.  Sometimes the screen looks intact, but is actually damaged.  The upper basket in your unit does not normally come into play during service operation, but if this is damaged, and some of your valve discs (flapper valves in the control head) are leaking, it is possible (but unlikely) for resin to leave the tank through this screen.  Check it to be sure.

Comments

  1. Hagrinas says:

    I found some hairline cracks in the bottom basket, and sealed them with PVC pipe cement. Now things are working and the basket is solid. Since I am at about 86% of the resin volume listed in the user manual, I changed the setting for capacity to compensate. At that level, am I better off adding resin to top things off, or am I close enough to normal that it won’t be an issue? The manual shows the upper basket exactly 1 inch below the top of the resin. Is that significant with respect to performance?

    Given the age of the distributor/riser and the initial cracks, I might as well rebuild it for my own peace of mind if there’s a chance that it’s likely to fail again. It’s a standard 3/4 in (1.05 O.D.) riser, going from the lower basket and passing through the upper basket, which has an outer pipe with a 1.315 O.D. outer pipe. If the top basket is easy enough to come by, then I just need to know whether to top off the resin while I’m at. The current resin looks like small orange beads. If there’s anything I should know about whether I need to get a particular resin, please let me know.

  2. Any good quality cation exchange resin is fine to use. We would recommend that you replace the riser and basket, and as long as you are doing this, top off the resin bed to it’s original volume. If you are not planning to replace the riser, then leave it alone, and just compensate for the resin loss as you describe

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