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Homewater(Harvey) H20 water softener developed fault


spaceman
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I have a non-branded non-electric twin tank (tablet salt) water softener that I purchased from EMWC in 2005.  EMWC appear to still sell the same model under the name "Homewater" but the installation instructions refer to it as the "300" model.  Various other companies also currently sell "Homewater 300" models, some of them state this is manufactured by Harveys.  The main components inside mine are marked as H20-750 (Regen=17, Resin=135 or B5 or BS hard to tell, B/V=1) and searching for this has led me to various sources of information that state the main innards are indeed manufactured by Harveys. 

 

My serial number ends in 34191, so earlier than the one shown in the photo at the top of this thread: https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/9729-used-water-softener-harvey-twin-tank-worth-a-risk/.  The innards look almost identical, but the threaded connections to the valves on the meters are different on mine (long and narrow, as opposed to short and wide).  I think I may also have an older brine valve/float assembly to the one shown in that thread (and it is not located between the 2 tanks, instead on its own at the back corner of the cabinet).

 
My softener was purchased new at the end of 2005.  It was in servce until we moved in 2009.  It was then stored in my new garage until 2018 (never quite got around to plumbing it in!).  I finally installed it in the "new" house in late 2018 (and sanitised it) and it has been in service working well until now.  So 4yrs in service at old property, 9yrs in storage, and 2yrs in service at new property.
 
I have come across the Wrekin Water site where I see they stock a good selection of spares for this softener, but I wonder if anyone can help me identify which component might be at fault if I explain the problem?
 
Recently I noticed a drop in water pressure/flow at all soft outlets in the house.  But it was intermittent.  It has been getting worse over the last few weeks, it is now barely a trickle when at its worst, but at other times it has excellent flow.  A bit of trial and error has led me to think that one of the tanks (or parts associated with the flow through just that tank) has an issue.  If I do a manual regeneration to swap to the other tank, the soft water flow is amazing.  If I do another manual regen to swap back, the flow is dreadful again.  These are the characteristics I have noted when in the 2 states:
 
Regen of Tank A, service from Tank B:
Trickle at soft outlets upstairs.  Downstairs outlets start OK then fade (so water being drained from the pipes).
Brine tank gets drained, then refilled, regen completes in <20mins, draining stops.
Still poor flow at soft outlets after regen.
...
Regen of Tank B, service from Tank A:
Excellent flow at ALL soft outlets.
Brine tank doesn't appear to be getting drained, or atleast it is taking a very long time.  Some time later (I got bored of watching), the brine tank refills.  I assume regen has completed BUT...
There is still a continuous (slow) flow out of drain.
 
I couldn't find anythin like a service manual online but I did manage to find the patent associated with the apparatus and reading this through and looking at the diagrams I think I have a reasonable understanding of how this is supposed to work now.
 
So I was thinking whether this would likely be a fault with the shuttle valve, or the mechanical meter(s) and/or valves therein that control the shuttle valve?
Meter lever/valve service kit is £48.  Replacement shuttle valve is £132.
 
I have a few options:
1) Diagnose (with your help!), purchase offending replacement part, fit/service myself
2) Call someone in to do the same
3) Get my unit fully reconditioned (Sandy's on eBay do a full mail-off recondition for £480)
4) Buy a second hand serviced/reconditioned unit (£300+)
5) Buy a new unit (£640-£800)
 
Given that my unit is so old and was in storage for some time I am concerned that 1) and 2) might only be a temporary solution and something else may go wrong later (e.g. the resin).  I'm nervous of a second hand unit for similar reasons.  I was thinking of getting my unit fully reconditioned but what with a new lockdown being announced I'm a little concerned this may take much longer than the stated ~1wk turnaround.  So I'm almost resigning myself to buying a new unit.  They can be had for ~£640 with 1yr warranty, or ~£800 with 5yr warranty and fitting kit.  I don't need another fitting kit and I'm not sure if a 5 yr warranty is worth the extra cost?
 
I would really appreciate any help on the likely fault, and advice on the way forward from members of this forum.  Thanks.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Spaceman, I still need to plumb in my used unit to see if it works (possibly today), so have no idea what may be wrong with yours as have no experience of these units. IIRC, @tommyt used to fit water softeners so if he's still on BH, he may know more. You may have taken the plunge to buy a new unit.

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Hi @spaceman If you look at both vessels they have an oval shaped plug held in with 2 x 1/4 hex head self tappers. Take out the vessels from the tank as this could get messy. If you isolate the water supply and relief all pressure in the machine by performing 2 turns of the manual regeneration screw on top of the meter. Then open up these vessel plugs. You should see resin (tiny orange beads) about 1 inch below neck. If resin begins to pour out like lava from a volcano then the resin is shot and has to be replaced by the manufacturer. Resin is easily damaged by chlorine/bleach and will expand so may have only affected the vessel that was online at the time of the problem.

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Apologies I have just checked back here to see if I managed to stoke any interest and it looks like I did!  Turns out my notifications were not configured correctly as I wasn't getting any emails (noob!).  Hopefully now sorted.

 

@orangeboom thanks for the update and offer.  Is the shuttle valve a new one or the one off your unserviceable unit?

 

@tommyt thanks for the suggestions.  I will see if I can do that test next weekend (taking it out of the tank before popping the plugs needs a bit more time and workspace).

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BTW I also spoke with Paul at Wrekin Water.  He also suggested it could be the resin (poor flow), but equally it could be the shuttle valve and/or meter valves.  Anyway the conversation developed into a gentle inferred recommendation to jump ship on the Harveys unit and get an up to date ECO electric metered one with water and salt saving technology.  I can accommodate an electric one in my existing property (I couldn't when I first bought the TT). 

 

Not sure if anyone here has made the jump from Non-Elec twin tank to electric metered single tank that would care to comment on the experience (good or bad).

 

I am currently weighing up what to do.  Here is a running cost comparison he did for me (note: I use tablet salt so the Harvey's cost shouldn't be as much as this, but I am in a "hard" to "very hard" water area):

 

image.thumb.png.129f32053991517011af984ee769c568.png

 

Edited by spaceman
Try to fix the broken image
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4 minutes ago, spaceman said:

Not sure if anyone here has made the jump from Non-Elec twin tank to electric metered single tank that would care to comment on the experience (good or bad).

Several years ago when my last Twintec block softener packed up I bought a Wrekin ECO10 or 15, I can't remember which. It worked ok regenerating at night. The only problem was that if there was a power cut it lost the settings and would start regenerating in the day time if I forgot to reset the timer. It was larger than the previous Harvey, Twintec etc I have had, so I sold it and went back to a Harvey Crown when I moved into the new build.

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5 hours ago, spaceman said:

 

 

@orangeboom thanks for the update and offer.  Is the shuttle valve a new one or the one off your unserviceable unit?

 

 

 

It's from a local water softener company, so not even sure it works as it was from a used unit. I may actually try it to see if it works on my unit and resolves the drip issue I have. If it doesn't I'm happy to post it to you. I may bit the bullet and get a new unit all together. Maybe Paul can give us a group discount! ?

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  • 1 month later...
On 09/11/2020 at 15:52, oranjeboom said:

Hi again, having tried to install my unit today and getting my head around the unit and their functions (and come across an issue!) if you think it's your shuttle valve, let me know as I may have a spare one.

Have you still got the spare shuttle valve, the rubber seal inside mine has expired? Thanks. 

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I ended up getting a reconditioned unit after I opened up the tanks to find there was no resin in there! So must have bought a dud item from ebay. I may try and buy resin and attempt to fix the issue at some point in the future. I think that may also explain why I had the dripping from the waste pipe. Thanks for the links - will save those for later.

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