Step 1: Remove the old parts
1 of 2
Photo 1: Remove the main piston
Grab the piston by the metal tang and yank
it straight up (the uppermost seal may
come out with the piston). Toss the piston.
2 of 2
Photo 2: Remove the valve innards
Stick your finger down into the control
valve and pull out the four spacers and five
seals. Toss them.
A bum water softener control valve can
cause the unit to leak or stop producing
soft water. A leak automatically
means a rebuild, but if you've run out
of soft water, first check the power at
the receptacle. If the receptacle works
and your softener is more than five
years old, chances are good that you're
due for a control valve rebuild. Water
softener repair pros charge about $200
to do that. But you can do it yourself in
about an hour and for less than $60. I'll
show you how to rebuild one of the
most common valves (the Fleck 5600
series) and direct you to a Web site for
rebuild instructions for other brands.
It'll take some detective work to find
the make and model of your control
valve because they don't have identifying
labels. So take a photo of your
valve and go to softenerparts.com.
Click on “I.D. Your Control Valve” and
match your photo to the valves there. If
you have a Fleck control valve, buy a
complete rebuild kit and follow the
instructions here. If you have a different
brand, locate the parts and rebuild
instructions on the site's menu.
Start the rebuild by relieving the
internal water pressure. Turn the
bypass valve to the “bypass” position
and rotate the dial to the “backwash”
position. Unplug the power cord. Then
remove the back cover, the housing
screws and the screw in the center of
the main piston. Tilt the housing and
lift it off. Remove the hold-down plate
screws and the plate. Then grab the
piston and pull it straight up (Photo 1).
Next, remove the spacers and seals
Step 2: Install the new parts
1 of 2
Photo 3: Replace the brine valve
Pop out the old brine valve and check to
make sure the bottom O-ring comes with
it. Then push the new valve into the bore.
2 of 2
Photo 4: Load in the new valve parts
Drop a rubber seal down into the valve
body. Then alternate spacers and seals,
finishing with a seal at the top.
Remove the old brine valve
and install the new one (Photo 3). Then
install the new seals and spacers (Photo
4). Insert the new piston and install the
hold-down plate. Reinstall the housing,
turn on the water and check for
leaks. Then turn the dial to put the unit
into a manual regeneration and check
again for leaks.