Fleck Water Softener How to and Troubleshooting Guide

Fleck water softeners use a simple system, making them quick and easy to assemble and install. Their products are also reliable, delivering all the benefits you seek from a water softener. But, like other equipment and appliances, these units can also have issues every now and then. And when they do, it is advisable you try some DIY troubleshooting first, as in most cases the problem is not as complex as it may look. You can save the money on repairs, ordering parts, or a replacement. Here is a comprehensive guide with common Fleck water softener issues that you can use:

How Does a Fleck Water Softener Work? (Fleck 5600-SXT)

In the softener, water enters the top of the tank and flows down through the media and up the distributor tube. The minerals causing hardness in the water are drawn to the resin beads in the softener.

 During backwash, the flow of the water is reversed and water flows down the distributor tube and up through the media. This lifts and expands the softening media, and removes any particles trapped in the media.

After the backwash stage, salt brine is automatically drawn in from the brine tank and slowly rinses through the softening resin for 1 hour, which allows the hardness minerals to be swapped out with harmless potassium or sodium ions. This whole automatic process is known as ‘regeneration and takes about 90 minutes. Typically, the water softener’s filter is set to regenerate every 14-21 days, during the night when there is no water being used.

How Do You Reset a Fleck Water Softener?

Performing a master reset of the control boards on your Fleck 5600SXT may be necessary in some situations, like when it has issues that don’t seem to go away from trying other troubleshooting techniques. A master reset restores the original factory settings.

To do a master reset, follow the steps below:

  1. Unplug the conditioner power cable from the wall outlet.
  2. Press and hold the “Next Cycle” button on the controller and hold this button down while the power cable is plugged back in.
  3. Continue holding the “next cycle” button for 3 seconds and then release it.
  4. The master reset is now complete. You will need to program the Softener now to your specifications and you will need to reset the clock.

How Do You Bypass a water Softener Fleck

You are required to always provide for the installation of a by-pass valve if your unit is not equipped with one. To do that, follow these installation instructions:

  1. Place the softener tank where you want to install the unit. Make sure the unit is level and on a firm base.
  2. During the cold weather, the installer should warm the valve to room temperature before operating.
  3. Do all plumbing in accordance with the local plumbing code. Residential drain line pipe size should be a minimum 1/2 inch (13 mm) minimum. Backwash flow rates higher than 7 gpm (26.5 Lpm) or length in excess of 24 feet (6 m) require 3/4 inch (19 mm) drain line. Commercial drain lines should be the same size as the drain line flow control.
  4. For cutting height of the distributor tube, refer to the dimensional drawing. If there is no dimensional drawing, cut the distributor tube flush with the top of the tank.
  5. Lubricate the distributor o-ring seal and tank o-ring seal. Place the main control valve on tank. Note that you should only use silicone lubricant.
  6. Do the solder joints near the drain before connecting the Drain Line Flow Control (DLFC). Leave 6 inches at least between the DLFC and soldering joints that are connected on the DLFC. Failing to do this could cause interior damage to the DLFC.
  7. The only sealant to be used on the drain fitting is plumber tape. You may run the drain from twin tank units through a common line.
  8. Make sure that the floor is clean beneath the salt storage tank, and that it is level.
  9. Place about 1 inch (25mm) of water above the grid plate. If a grid is not used, fill to the top of the air check in the salt tank. Do not add salt at the brine tank at this time.
  10. If your unit has a by-pass, place in by-pass position. Turn on the main water supply. Open a cold soft water tap nearby and let run a few minutes or until the system is free from foreign material that may have resulted from installation. Close the water tap once clean.
  11. Gently place the by-pass in service position and let water flow into the mineral tank. When water flow stops, slowly open a cold water tap nearby and let run until the air is purged from the unit.
  12. Plug the unit into an electrical outlet.

What Would Cause a Fleck Water Softener to Stop Working?

If your Fleck water softener is not working at all or it is not working properly, it can be due to several reasons:

Check your water softener’s bypass valve

A unit going in “bypass” is one of the common problems these water softeners have. What this means is that the household water is not flowing through the media tank and will not be softened. Other softeners allow you turn off the bypass valve, so that is the first thing to check. A faulty or clogged valve may also hinder the unit’s functionality.

Check the unit’s power

Most water softeners use electricity to run a timer that regulates the regeneration schedule. If your water softener has stopped working, check to make sure the voltage transformer of the conditioner is installed correctly, plugged in, and working.

Check the regeneration process

Make sure the timer is set correctly and that the regeneration process occurs in the middle of the night when you are not using water or when you are not at home. Your water softener may not work properly if the system regenerates while you are using the water.

Check the water softener’s salt tank

It is essential to maintain an optimum level of salt for the proper functioning of your water softener. The level should be about 2-3 inches above the water level. Also, check the state of the salt. Using the wrong salt might form a form a bridge that prevents water from being effectively treated.

Check the water softener’s resin bed

While the regeneration process revives the resin bed, over time the resin bed in the tank can get depleted. When this happens, the effectiveness of the unit to remove chemicals from water reduces. In such a case, the solution is to get a new water softener.

How Do You Manually Regenerate a Fleck Water Softener?

To start a manual regeneration (backwash and rinse) in your Fleck 5600-SXT, follow these instructions:

  • Press or hold the “Extra Cycle” button for 5 seconds.
  • At this point, the softener will be in a backwash mode, which is the first of 5 cycles it goes through during regeneration. The backwash takes 8 minutes, after which the Fleck 5600-SXT will begin to suck up the brine solution from the brine tank.
  • After another 10-15 minutes the brine tank will be sucked dry of the salt brine. Check to make sure that the brine tank does not have water after this cycle.
  • After 60 minutes of being in this cycle 2 (brining cycle), it will move to cycle 3, which is a 6-minute second backwash cycle. The next cycle, which is cycle 4, is a 6-minute rapid rinse. Finally cycle 5 refills the brine tank.
  • Check to ensure the brine tank is filled with enough water to cover salt at the end of the cycles. To change the level of the brine, adjust the level of the float assembly.
  • Turn on the water to the house and run the water in the house for a few minutes after the regeneration process is complete.

How to Adjust a Fleck Water Softener

If you have your water tested and it has less than 0.5 mg/L (or ppm) of iron then use the following settings:

  1. Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin-Set CAPACITY  (C) to 15,000 grains
  2. Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 20,000 grains
  3. Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 25,000 grains
  4. Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 30,000 grains
  5. Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 40,000 grains
  6. Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 50,000 grains
  7. Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 60,000 grains

With the Fleck control valve, the amount of salt used per regeneration is controlled by changing the “Brine Fill” (BF) cycle length. The longer the time, the more water is added to the brine tank, and more salt is dissolved.

For Fleck 5600SXT

  • Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 3 minutes
  • Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 4 minutes
  • Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 5 minutes
  • Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 6 minutes
  • Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 8 minutes
  • Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 10 minutes
  • Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 12 minutes

For Fleck 7000SXT

  • Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 6 minutes
  • Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 8 minutes
  • Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 10 minutes
  • Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 12 minutes
  • Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 16 minutes
  • Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 20 minutes
  • Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 24 minutes

If you have your water tested and it has 0.5 mg/L (or ppm) or more of iron, then use the settings below:

  1. Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin-Set CAPACITY  (C) to 18,000 grains
  2. Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 25,000 grains
  3. Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 31,000 grains
  4. Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 35,000 grains
  5. Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 50,000 grains
  6. Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 62,000 grains
  7. Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set CAPACITY (C) to 75,000 grains

For Fleck 5600SXT

  • Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 5 minutes
  • Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 6 minutes
  • Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 8 minutes
  • Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 9 minutes
  • Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 12 minutes
  • Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 15 minutes
  • Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 18 minutes

For Fleck 7000SXT

  • Softener with 0.75 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 10 minutes
  • Softener with 1.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 12 minutes
  • Softener with 1.25 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 16 minutes
  • Softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 18 minutes
  • Softener with 2.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 24 minutes
  • Softener with 2.5 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 30 minutes
  • Softener with 3.0 cubic feet of resin- Set Brine Fill (BF) to 36 minutes

How to Program a Fleck Water Softener

 Fleck 5600-SXT programming

To modify the programming specific to your application, you first need to enter the programming mode by setting the time to 12.01 PM. To this, hold either the up or down button until the time display starts changing. Then push the extra cycle button to exit the time-setting mode.

After doing the above, then hold down the up and down arrow simultaneously for 5 seconds. This will enter you into the Master Programming Mode. While here, change the parameters according to the following guide:

  • Display Format (Display Code DF): Set display to GAL (U.S. Gallons), or change to Liters or Cubic Meter if outside the U.S. Press the “Extra Cycle” button to proceed to the next step.
  • Valve Type (Display Code VT): Set  to DF1b. This means it is set for standard Downflow mode. Press the “Extra Cycle” button to proceed to the next step.
  • Control Type (Display Code CT): Set to Fd. This is the Meter Delayed option which tells the softener control to meter or keep track of the amount of water used, but then wait until the pre-set regeneration (backwash and rinse cycles) time, usually in the middle of the night. To continue to the next parameter, press the “Extra Cycle” button.
  • Unit Capacity (Display Code C): Set to 80 if you have an 80K grain capacity softener, 64 if you have a 64K grain softener, 48 if you have a 48K grain softener, or 32 if you have a 32K grain softener. Use this display to set the Unit Capacity. This setting specifies the unit’s treatment capacity. Press the “Extra Cycle” button to go to the next step.
  • Number of Tanks (N): Set to 1, as this is a single tank system. Press “Extra Cycle” button to go to the next step.
  • Feedwater Hardness (H): Set this to your water hardness in grains per gallon. This is the feed water hardness that allows the meter to circulate the number of gallons between backwashes. If your water hardness is 15 grains per gallon, for example, set this to 15. If you have your water hardness in mg/L or PPM, then divide this number by 17.1 to reach grains per gallon (1 grain per gallon= 17.1 mg/L or PPM of hardness). Press “Extra Cycle” button to continue.
  • Reserve Selection (RS): Set this to SF, which stands for “Safety Factor”.
  • Safety Factor (SF):  Set this to 10. This instructs the softener to regenerate sooner by 10-percent of its capacity to avoid exhausting the softener resin completely before it needs to regenerate.
  • Day Override (DO): Set this to 7 to 14. Change the setting using the Up or Down arrows. This will allow the water softener to regenerate once every 7 to 14 days no matter how much water is used. The setting is optional and can be set to 0, but it can be useful if you have iron or other sediments to keep the softener clean. Press “Extra Cycle” button to go to the next step.
  • Regeneration Time (RT): Set this to 2.00 am generally or to some time when no water is being used, and no other filter or softener is likely to be in the regeneration cycle. Press “Extra Cycle” button to go to the next step.
  • Regeneration Cycle Step Times: Use this display to set the various minutes of each cycle. To change the setting to the desired setting, use the Up or Down arrows. Press the “Extra Cycle” button t accept the setting and move to the next parameter.
  • B1- Backwash: Set this to 8 minutes.
  • BD- Brine Draw: Set this to 60.
  • B2- Second Backwash: Set this to 6 minutes.
  • RR- Rapid Rinse: Set this to 6 minutes.
  • BF- Brine Fill: Set this to 12 minutes, 20 minutes, 26 minutes, or 32 minutes for 32K, 48K, 64K, or 80K grain softeners respectively.
  • Flow Meter Type (FM): Set this to T0.7. Press the “Extra Cycle” button.
  • You have now completed setting the programming. All you need to do now is set the clock to the right time of day by holding the Up or Down arrow.

Fleck 5600 programming

Set the water usage program wheel using any one of the following procedures:

  1. Typical residential application

To program, just set the time, set the hardness and it automatically monitors system needs and regenerates only when necessary.

  • To set time of day, press red time set button and turn 24-hour gear until present time of day is at “time of day”.
  • Set program wheel by lifting the “people” dial and rotating it so that the number of people in the household is aligned with the household grains per gallon water hardness.
  • Release the dial and check for firm engagement at setting.
  • This method provides reserve capacity based on 75 gallons per person.
  • Optional  programming  procedures
  • Calculate the gallon capacity of the system
  • Subtract the necessary reserve requirement and set the gallons available at the small white dot on program wheel gear.
  • The capacity (gallons) arrow denotes remaining gallons exclusive of fixed reserve.

Why is My Fleck Water Softener Timer Not Working?

Several issues may prevent the timer on your Fleck water softener from working properly:

  • Faulty timer
  • Faulty timer mechanism
  • Timer motor stopped or jammed

If you are having issues with the timer or the timer is not cycling, you will need to replace the timer to fix the problem. To replace timer on a Fleck 5600 follow the steps below:

  1. Start by unplugging the electrical cord from the outlet.
  2. Then turn off water supply to the water softener.
  3. If the water softener has a three-valve bypass system, open the valve in the bypass first, the close the valves at the inlet and outlet of the water softener.
  4. If it has an integral bypass valve, put it in the “Bypass” position.
  5. If there is just a shut-off valve near the inlet, close it.
  6. Put the control in the “Backwash” position momentarily to relieve water pressure in the softener. Then return the control to the “In Service” position.
  7. Pull out the cable from the meter cover and remove the control valve back cover.
  8. Remove the screw and washer at drive yoke and then remove the timer’s mounting screws. You should now be able to lift off the entire timer assembly.
  9. Put the new timer on top of the valve. Make sure the drive pin on the main gear engages the slot in the drive yoke. You can rotate the control knob just to be certain.
  10. Replace the timer mounting screws and then replace the screw and washer at the drive yoke.
  11. Return the bypass or inlet valving to normal “In Service” position. Water pressure automatically builds up in the softener. Be sure to shut off any bypass line.
  12. Plug the electrical cord into the outlet.
  13. Set time of day, program wheel, and salt usage. Manually cycle the control valve to make sure it is working properly. Be sure to return the control valve to the “In Service” position.
  14. Replace the control valve back cover. Be sure the grommet at the cable hole is in place.
  15. Check the brine in the brine tank and make sure there is enough.
  16. Rotate the program wheel counterclockwise until it stops at “Regeneration” position.
  17. Start regeneration cycle manually if the water is hard.
  18. Plug cable into the meter cover. Rotate the cable to align drive flat if necessary.

Flex 5600SXT Flow Meter Not Working

If there is no flow when you have some faucets open the meter turbine is mostly likely jammed. To establish this, you can unplug the sensor and wave a magnet over the end and the display should show some flow. If that works then the turbine is jammed and needs to be cleared.

Otherwise, the meter may as well be faulty and needing to be replaced.  Follow the steps below to replace the flow meter:

  1. Start by unplugging the electrical cord from the outlet.
  2. Then turn off water supply to the water softener.
  3. If the water softener has a three-valve bypass system, open the valve in the bypass first, the close the valves at the inlet and outlet of the water softener.
  4. If it has an integral bypass valve, put it in the “Bypass” position.
  5. If there is just a shut-off valve near the inlet, close it.
  6. Put the control in the “Backwash” position momentarily to relieve water pressure in the softener. Then return the control to the “In Service” position.
  7. Pull cable out of the meter cover.
  8. Remove two screws and clips at bypass valve or yoke. Pull the resin tank away from the plumbing connections.
  9. Remove two screws and clips at control valve. Pull the meter module out of the control valve.
  10. Apply silicone lubricant to four new O-rings and assemble to four ports on the new water module.
  11. Assemble meter to control valve. Note that the meter part of the module must be assembled at valve outlet.
  12. Attach two clips and screws at the control valve. Make sure the clips legs are firmly engaged with lugs.
  13. Push the resin tank back to the plumbing connections and engage the meter ports with bypass valve or yoke.
  14. Attach two clips and screws at the bypass valve or yoke.
  15. Return bypass or inlet valving to the normal “In Service” position. Water pressure will automatically build up in the softener. Be sure to shut any bypass line off.
  16. Check all seal areas for leaks.
  17. Plug the electrical cord into the outlet.
  18. Set time of day. Make sure the control valve is in the “In Service” position.
  19. Rotate the program wheel counterclockwise until it stops at “Regeneration” position.
  20. Start regeneration cycle manually if the water is hard.
  21. Plug the cable into the meter cover. Rotate the cable to align flat is necessary.

Fleck Water Softener Not Drawing Brine

Several reasons could be behind your Fleck 5600 water softener failure to draw brine:

  1. The draw line flow control could be plugged. To fix this, clean the drain line flow control.
  2. The injector could be plugged. If so, you may need to clean or replace the injectors.
  3. The injector screen could be plugged. To fix this, you will need to replace the screen.
  4. The line pressure may be too low. In this case, increase the line pressure (minimum 20 psi (1.3 bar) at all times).
  5. There could be a leak in internal control. To fix this, change the seals, spacers and/or the piston assembly.

How to Manually Regenerate a Fleck 5600

  1. Turn the manual regeneration knob slowly in a clockwise direction until the program micro switch lifts on top of the first set of pins. Let the drive motor move the piston to the first regeneration step and stop. Each time the program switch position changes, the valve will advance to the next regeneration step. Always allow the motor to stop before moving to the next set of pins or spaces.
  2. Position the valve to backwash. Make sure the drain line flow remains steady for 10 minutes or until the water runs clear.
  3. Position the valve to the brine/slow rinse position. Make sure the unit is drawing water from the brine tank. You may need to repeat this step.
  4. Position the valve to the rapid rinse position. Check the drain line flow, and run for 5 minutes or until the water runs clear.
  5. Position the valve to the start of the brine tank fill cycle. Make sure water goes into the brine tank at the desired rate. The brine valve cam will hold the valve in this position to fill the brine tank for the regeneration.
  6. Replace control box cover.
  7. Put salt in the brine tank.

For electronic valves:

  1. Manually dial the various regeneration positions by turning the knob on the front of the control until the indicator shows the softener is in the desired position.
  2. Manually index the control to the Backwash position and allow water to flow at the drain for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove back cover plate.
  4. Make sure that the salt dosage is set as recommended. If necessary, set salt according to the setting instruction sheet. Manually index the control to the Brine Fill position and allow the brine tank to fill to the top of the air check.
  5. Manually index the control to the Brine Draw position and allow the control to draw water from the brine tank until it stops.
  6. Plug in the electrical cord and look in the sight hole in the back of the motor to see that it is running. Slide tabs on skipper wheel outward to expose trip fingers to set the days that regeneration is to occur.
  7. Each tab is one day.
  8. Finger at red point is tonight.
  9. Moving clockwise from red pointer, extend or retract fingers to obtain the generation schedule.
  10. Manually advance the control to the beginning of the Brine Fill position and allow the control to automatically return to the In Service position
  11. Fill the brine tank with salt.
  12. Replace back cover on the control.
  13. Ensure that any bypass valving is left in the normal In Service position.

How to Disconnect a Fleck Water Softener

To turn off water supply to a Fleck water softener, follow these instructions:

  • If the water softener has a three-valve bypass system, open the valve in the bypass first, the close the valves at the inlet and outlet of the water softener.
  • If it has an integral bypass valve, put it in the “Bypass” position.
  • If there is just a shut-off valve near the inlet, close it.

Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener Troubleshooting

Brine solution is not being sucked in during regeneration

A Fleck 5600-SXT water softener not drawing in the brine is a leading cause for most of the problems with the unit. Be sure the injector is drawing in the brine:

  • Remove the brine tank tubing where it enters the unit’s control valve.
  • Press the “Extra Cycle” button and hold for several seconds until a backwash is started. After the display stops blinking and it is in a backwash cycle, press the “Extra Cycle” button once more, and it will advance to the next cycle, which is the brine cycle, where it is supposed to suck in the brine solution.
  • If it is sucking strongly, check the brine tank float inside the brine well and make sure there are no rubber bands around it, and that there are no obstructions. In some cases, it may need to be cleaned or replaced, if there is suction at the control valve but no brine is being drawn in.
  • If there is no suction at the control valve port where you have removed the brine line tubing, then you should clean the injector.
  • If you have cleaned the injector and there is still no suction, then try the following tips:
  • Check to make sure there is obstruction in the backwash line; that the backwash line does not go up and over the softener more than several feet. This causes pressure loss and the injector not to work properly.
  • Check to make sure there is enough pressure. If possible increase your water pressure to the softener from your well pump and see if the injector works when you slightly increase the pressure. A minimum of 30 PSI is recommended but it works better if there is 40-50 minimum PSI.

System not backwashing adequately

This is another common problem that occurs if you do not have enough backwash flow rate to clean the water softener properly.

To verify the backwash flow rate, run the drain line into a bucket and time it when the 5600-SXT is in cycle 1 (backwash). A 1.0 or 1.5 cubic foot system should have 5 gallons per minute and a 2.5 cubic foot system should have 10 gallons per minute of backwash.

Filter tank does not sit level on the floor

Your black filter tank base is not glued to the bottom of your tank. The tank base could have become crooked during shipment. To adjust your tank if it does not sit level on the floor, hold the empty tank and wrap it in concrete or solid floor a few times in order to level it.

Check this too: Culligan Water Softener How to and Troubleshooting Guide

System not programmed correctly

Some problems with the unit are as a result of the softener not being programmed correctly. Verify the correct programming by following the programming steps we covered in this guide.

Brine tank not filling with enough water

Sometimes if the brine tank is not filling adequately, it may be as a result of the float assembly in the tank being set too low. You would want the float to be several inches above the air check valve inside the tank. This will allow for enough water to be added to the tank before shutting the brine fill cycle.

If necessary, pull the float assembly rod up to the appropriate height, and cut the rod at that height, leaving while keeping the rubber washers the adequate space to hold the float in place.

Oscar

In his spare time, Oscar loves tinkering with electronics. Solar panels, wiring, old TVs and sometimes DIY powerwalls. When he is not busy trying not to electrocute himself, you can find him in the garden tending to his vegetables and chickens.

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