Monday, August 03, 2009

Water, softening and the headaches they cause

Rarely do I get truly scared about something but this is one of those times. Let's take a step back a few years to when we bought our house. It was the coldest day in January waaaaay back in 2005. We closed on the house on the only day which had snowfall and it was as close to a blizzard as we've had in this part of Minnesota for quite some time.

The first full day in our house found me making two trips back to my old apartment to pick up the last remnants of our stuff and return the trailer I had rented. I also picked up some softener salt because, dammit, a water softener needs salt. I remember grabbing six bags because I was there and I had a relative's truck. I made my way back home and deposited the bags of salt into the softener. All was working well.

Then about a year ago I noticed that the water felt hard. I was all too familiar with this due to the fact that while growing up on a farm, the hard and rusty well water would sometimes wreak havoc on the softener in the basement. My dad eventually became well accustomed to the quirks of it and could muddle through the mechanics of this foreign device on his own and save literally hundreds of dollars in service calls and expert repairs. He, of course, became my lifeline as I looked for help with my own water softener. Whatever I did worked. The softener started sucking up salt again and we had soft water.

Then this past winter the water became hard again. I noticed more moisture than usual on the concrete floor and upon popping the lid off of the softener's brine tank I found it to be totally full of water. It had been overflowing with each regeneration - spilling water on to the floor and down the floor drain (eventually).

Since that time the water softener had wobbled between hard and soft water and because of the wife's leg lotion consumption, I am at a breaking point. I am confident after looking through some similar owner's manuals I found online that I can remove the valve assemble of the water softener control module and I have a good idea of what the problem is.

This is where my fear comes in. What if I get the whole thing disassembled and because of the lack of any discernible model number (and the owner's manual being M.I.A.) can't get parts? What if I break the whole damn thing in a fit of frustration? What if I lose some integral part in my hasty disassembly as the wife makes me sweat while asking aloud "are you done yet?" or "do you know what you're doing?"? Or what if I fix the whole thing and can't get it reassembled? Those, my fellow do-it-yourselfers, are my fears.

Some people had better weekends than mine and they can be seen on MinnPics. Check it out!


Stephanie Faris said...

I'd just call a plumber but I suck at things like that! Hey, at least you try!

Pesky said...

I figure I am so far ahead from doing everything myself, that I can afford to have one blow up in my face one of these days. I'll still be way ahead. It's time to put on your man pants and dive in.

snowelf said...

Just do it, Sornie. You'll be great. If you get frustrated, just think about punting a baby.

(I passed that link around work and the guys loved it! They are very manly--even for IT guys. ;))

Sornie said...

Well I got the whole thing disassembled last night and bought the parts this morning. Tonight I reassemble and hope that the combination of new valves, and injector, a screen and a few o-rings will get me back on the road to soft water. All for just $30!

Building Materials Supplies said...

How did you get on reassembling?