How To Troubleshoot & Fix a Fleck 5600SXT Softener July 20, 2017 11:34

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bottom of the safety float there is an air check that prevents air from being sucked up when the brine has been fully withdrawn from the tank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.