Is there a Plumber in the house? Whole House Water Filter System Spin-Down Filter Woes

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KimW

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We have one of these doo-dads installed prior to our 3-sump water filter system. Brand is Rusco. Does anyone else have one of these installed?

We're having a very difficult time with removing the clear housing to clean the mesh filter. Rusco's response was that this sometimes happens and some people wrap a dish towel around the housing and then use a spanner wrench. Tried that and the towel ripped and the housing didn't budge. To loosen and remove the clear housing: With me holding onto to the filter top with all my might, Hubs (who you do not want to "hand tighten" anything unless you want it tightened so much that it breaks) wears grippy gloves, tries 4-5 times, takes a break and then tries 2-3 times before he succeeds. Since I'm a lot weaker than Hubs, I always reinstall the housing to what is my "barely hand tight". Then, 3 months later we get to go through the whole routine again.

I/we suspect there's either something wrong with the install, which was done by a plumber, or something wrong with the housing, though I have no idea what that might be. Slightly damaged threads perhaps from an overzealous plumber? Some sort of centrifugal force anomaly that only happens to us? Gremlins?

Just in case someone notices, this is a pic from the first install when the plumber installed the top part backwards with the flow in the wrong direction. It's since been corrected.
 

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Tara_H

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I'm afraid I don't know anything about American plumbing, this looks very mysterious to me! Only thought I'd have if it's somehow suctioned itself on, could that be released by means of the tap? But I'm sure you've thought of that already.

I can completely sympathise with this though:
Hubs (who you do not want to "hand tighten" anything unless you want it tightened so much that it breaks)
After mine "helped" me change a tyre and tightened everything so much that I had to spend a not insignificant amount of money for the garage to cut it free again 🙄
 

KimW

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Yep - that would be my lovely hubs, Old Iron Hands.

Oh, and yes, I did try the tappy-tappy thing like I used to do to jars, much to hubs dismay. 🤣
 

Quanta

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I would try a strap wrench. Those things can get anything loosened up.
Is there some kind of limescale building up in the threads or something? We have hard water and get limescale in everything. I have jugs I refill with RO water at the store to use in the teakettle, otherwise I'd have to get an Amazon subscription for replacement kettles.
 

KimW

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We've tried a strap wrench and it just slides. The housing is very smooth plastic with no ridges. Dumbest design! I haven't noticed any limescale buildup on the housing, but you make a good point so I'll more carefully inspect the top that the housing screws into.
 

Quanta

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We've tried a strap wrench and it just slides. The housing is very smooth plastic with no ridges. Dumbest design! I haven't noticed any limescale buildup on the housing, but you make a good point so I'll more carefully inspect the top that the housing screws into.
Try putting one of those grippy circle things for opening jars between the strap and the housing. My strap wrenches have grippy rubber straps that can grab anything. Maybe yours is just too slick?
 

KimW

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Try putting one of those grippy circle things for opening jars between the strap and the housing. My strap wrenches have grippy rubber straps that can grab anything. Maybe yours is just too slick?
Great minds - yep, we tried that too. Even tried an old swim cap doubled up, but you're right ours is a smooth strap wrench. It goes down to 1" but it just won't grip it. Which strap wrench do you have? I'll peruse online tomorrow. I know I saw at least one last year with grippy ribs but it had bad reviews, so I didn't get it.
 

Quanta

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Great minds - yep, we tried that too. Even tried an old swim cap doubled up, but you're right ours is a smooth strap wrench. It goes down to 1" but it just won't grip it. Which strap wrench do you have? I'll peruse online tomorrow. I know I saw at least one last year with grippy ribs but it had bad reviews, so I didn't get it.
I have a Boa Constrictor, the plastic version. It has bad reviews on Amazon, people say that the strap has no grip. But I have another smaller one (for opening jars) from Tupperware that is far slicker (that one is old though), so by comparison the Boa is plenty grippy. It works well for whatever I've needed it for. I also paid only $10 for the set of two (both sizes) from Lee Valley back in 2016. They are at least double that price on Amazon now, for only one size. The bigger one alone is something like $25. The place I bought them from no longer carries them.

I recommend you see if you can find one that has good reviews, or try this one: https://www.amazon.com/BOA-BO13010-...a9c34&pd_rd_wg=bpOq5&pd_rd_i=B0011E4QU4&psc=1

That is the metal version of what I have and it has better reviews than the plastic ones. For your application the plastic one might not be sturdy enough.
 

DeeAnna

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Obvious question, I know, but I'm gonna ask anyway -- I know you're turning the water off to this filter, but are you also completely reducing the water pressure in the filter before you try to remove the housing?

I see what looks like a bypass line above the filter, I see a valve on one side of the filter, but I'm not seeing a valve on the other side of the filter. It may be out of the view of the picture, so you're going to have to confirm if it exists. I'm assuming the valve on the bottom of the filter housing can be used to release pressure, but that's another thing to confirm.
 

earlene

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What I'd do is call out a plumber and make sure you & Hubs pay really close attention to what the plumber does so you can change the filter next time without having to call a plumber again.

I did that once for 'how to do annual furnace maintenance' because it's not complex, but I wanted to be sure I didn't tackle something that I might mess up if I didn't follow all the steps appropriately.
 

KimW

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Obvious question, I know, but I'm gonna ask anyway -- I know you're turning the water off to this filter, but are you also completely reducing the water pressure in the filter before you try to remove the housing?

I see what looks like a bypass line above the filter, I see a valve on one side of the filter, but I'm not seeing a valve on the other side of the filter. It may be out of the view of the picture, so you're going to have to confirm if it exists. I'm assuming the valve on the bottom of the filter housing can be used to release pressure, but that's another thing to confirm.
Good eye, DeeAnna, and very good point. The system is thusly, with flow from left to right in the pic: pressure tank, inlet valve, spin-down with drain line at bottom, three canisters of in-line water filters, pressure relief line, outlet valve, main line to house.

So, you're right, there is no shutoff after the spin-down. When we drop the spin-down, the inlet valve is off, the three canisters are not installed (so the "water flow line" is open and free of water), pressure relief line is open and no longer flowing, outlet valve is off. Also, the spin-down housing is empty of water which is achieved by opening the drain valve on the bottom. This drain valve is left open whilst trying to unscrew the spin-down housing. So, I'm guessing there has been a complete release of any type of water pressure or vacuum effect.
 

KimW

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What I'd do is call out a plumber and make sure you & Hubs pay really close attention to what the plumber does so you can change the filter next time without having to call a plumber again.

I did that once for 'how to do annual furnace maintenance' because it's not complex, but I wanted to be sure I didn't tackle something that I might mess up if I didn't follow all the steps appropriately.
hmmmmmm....that might just be an idea, Earlene! Would also give us a chance to see what sort of tool he has to use, if any, to get the wretched thing loose.
 

Quanta

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I just thought of something. What about using Teflon tape on the threads before you put it back together? You know, the stuff you use on shower head threads. It should only take two wraps or so.
 

DeeAnna

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Good eye, DeeAnna, and very good point. ... I'm guessing there has been a complete release of any type of water pressure or vacuum effect.
Yes, it sounds like the pressure is entirely off the spin down when you remove it, so that's good. If there was any pressure, it would be almost impossible to loosen the housing, which is why I asked. This housing should not be so difficult to remove as long as the pressure is off.

Here are some other things that might be useful to consider as you troubleshoot --

Housings like this typically use an O-ring to seal against the pressure. It's a good idea to pull the O-ring and make sure it is not damaged in any way, such as abrasions or cuts, distortions from its ideal round shape, flattened surfaces, etc. If damaged, it's best to replace it.

Also verify as the housing is screwed into place against the O-ring, the housing isn't peeling the O-ring out of the groove it should normally sit in.

You can apply a thin film of petroleum jelly (Vaseline), silicone grease, or a similar food-safe grease on the O-ring itself and in the groove it sits in. You can also apply a thin film of grease on the housing to give the housing a bit of lubrication. This lubrication will help the O-ring stay in place as well as provide a little slip to make it easier to install and remove the housing.

The rule of thumb is to tighten with light hand pressure and then add 1/8 to 1/4 turn, again with (a bit more) hand pressure. Start with 1/8 turn and see if you get leaks. If you do, then tighten a bit more until the O-ring seals properly.
 

KimW

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Here are some other things that might be useful to consider as you troubleshoot --

Housings like this typically use an O-ring to seal against the pressure. It's a good idea to pull the O-ring and make sure it is not damaged in any way, such as abrasions or cuts, distortions from its ideal round shape, flattened surfaces, etc. If damaged, it's best to replace it.
You may have cracked it with the o-ring info. I commented on a YT vid where a guy just unscrewed his with one hand. His response was to check the o-ring. Now I know what exactly it is to check! I do take the o-ring off when I clean the screen and housing, but it's so small and new I haven't paid too much attention to it's condition. So, I shall indeed check that o-ring, or maybe even just replace it.
 

DeeAnna

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If that O-ring pops out of the groove its supposed to stay in, the housing will be very difficult to install or remove. It can be really exasperating!!!!

I have two filters on my water inlet line to my house, and the O-rings are installed differently in each one. It's pretty easy for the O-ring on one filter to pop out of place when I feed the housing past the O-ring. I try to keep that O-ring greased and go real slow and careful when putting the filter back together. A little grease is all it takes, but it really needs that little dab. The O-ring for the other is not nearly so fiddly to work with.
 

Talispa1

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It’s very likely the o-ring is worn and/or dirty. You could wrap some duct tape around it and then try your strap wrench. Taking a piece of duct tape and folding it in half, so both sides are sticky, and sticking between the filter and the strap wrench should stop it from slipping. That or put a few wraps of duct tape around it and then use a pipe wrench. But before you use a pipe wrench, make sure you have access to a replace kit. It looks like you can get a replacement one from Amazon for under $50 which is less than a plumber is going to charge.
 
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