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Water Softener Troubleshooting: Constantly Draining

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Do you have water constantly trickling or maybe even flowing quickly from your water softener (or iron filter or backwashable filter) to the drain? If so, you're probably wondering how you stop all that water from being wasted, and how you can troubleshoot and repair the problem? If you’re looking for a solution to any of these, this video is for you. 

The quickest way to confirm that the fast flowing water you hear is being caused by your water filtration equipment — and to stop the flow — is to bypass it. If the flowing stops, you're right, that water softener is the culprit!

The next step would be to check to see if the valve is in service or in a regeneration (REGEN) cycle. In service, there should be NO water flowing to the drain, while during regeneration there definitely SHOULD be water flowing to the drain and there would be no concern.



If it's not in REGEN mode, then water constantly flowing to the drain from your water softener can either be flowing slowly, which you can just barely hear, or flowing so quickly that the water is gushing through the drain line to the drain. If it’s flowing quickly, you can simply grab the drain line and if you feel vibration from the line, then you’ve just confirmed it.



If the water is flowing slowly, you can confirm that source by a number of ways. If the water softener drain line is sitting in a drain stack, you can simply pull it out to check.

If the drain line is attached at both ends, however, it becomes a little more difficult. You'll first need to make sure the water softener is in service and not in the middle of a regeneration cycle. You can determine that by looking at the valve and making sure that if it is an electronic valve it is not counting down a cycle. If it’s a mechanical valve make sure the “window” is displaying “Service”.

Then put the water softener in bypass and disconnect the drain line, being careful to catch any water coming from the drain line in a bucket  especially if it discharges up.

Once disconnected, slowly open the bypass valve; if you have a leak to drain, water will slowly or quickly flow from the drain port on the valve. Once confirmed, re-attach the drain line.

Whether the flow to the drain line is caused by the valve being stuck or water leaking past the piston seals, the solution is one of two things.

  1. The motor has stopped working and cannot advance the valve through the cycles. 
  2. The seals need to be replaced because they have become compromised and are holding the piston in place against it’s will, or they have become compromised and water is leaking past the pistons.


If you have an Aquamaster or WaterBoss water softener, the solution is to replace the drive end cap assembly. I’ve got a great video that shows you how here!

For a Clack WS1 Water filtration valve, here are the steps to solve the problem:

  1. Start a regeneration (REGEN) and bypass the water softener.
  2. Once it's slowed down, pull out the e-clip, disconnect the drain line and catch any water in a bucket that might be in the drain line.
  3. Remove the faceplate and unplug the power.
  4. Unplug the electrical connections, tuck aside, and remove the Drive Bracket.
  5. Unscrew the Drive Cap Assembly, having a bucket available in case water leaks out. Then pull out the piston and regenerant piston, if there is one. 
  6. Remove the Spacer stack assembly. 
  7. Replace the Spacer stack and piston(s), reassemble in the reverse order and then tighten.

Once everything is replaced and put back into service, the trickling and water flowing to the drain issue should be gone!



For my next video on water filtration equipment troubleshooting and repair, click here and I’ll see you there!

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