The Great Clack WS1 Valve Teardown - Disassembly and Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks
Do you want to learn how to disassemble, rebuild, and troubleshoot the Clack WS1 water treatment valve? If so, great! That's what we're talking about here today.
I've often said that the Clack WS1 is the best water treatment valve in the business and I've done lots of videos featuring and troubleshooting these valves on our YouTube channel. Today we’re sharing a live stream video where I actually disassembled a Clack WS1 valve for an inside look under the cover!
This is a great informational video for anyone that's involved in the water treatment business, is a plumber, or is a do-it-yourselfer at home who wants to know how to service these valves themselves. In this post I’m going to share with you why I recommend the Clack WS1 as the greatest water treatment valve out there today so you can decide if it’s the right fit for you, too!
Applications for the Clack WS1 Valve
The Clack WS1 valve is typically used on water softeners but also on a variety of other water treatment products such as:
• iron filters
• tannin filters
• automatic backwashing filters
• neutralizing filters
The valve is the same for each of these applications, but there are some subtle differences that come into play.
VALVE TYPES: The five-button valve can be arranged in three and two (see video demo), or it can be arranged with all five buttons straight across. The difference between a three-button and a five-button is that the three-button is a time clock valve, which is typically used on backwashing carbon filters, backwashing sediment filters, and others not needing a metered filter.
HOW TO DISASSEMBLE & REBUILD A CLACK WS1 VALVE
STEP 1: Put the unit on bypass.
Before you do any work on this kind of valve, or any water treatment valve, you always have to start at the same place -- you have to put the unit on bypass. In the video below you’ll see the unit has a bypass valve built in the back. You’ll notice there are two red shut-off levels that are shaped like an arrow. Point the two arrows towards each other to bypass the unit.
STEP 2: Release the pressure inside the valve.
Once you've bypassed the unit then you need to release the pressure inside the valve. To do that, you start a regeneration cycle. Push the REGEN button and hold it down for five seconds. After five seconds or so you'll hear the noise of the valve starting up the cycle which releases all the pressure inside the valve. It's releasing it out to the drain so you will hear some water running to drain. In the drain line, you'll hear some water running and then hear it slowly die off. Once that's happened, the pressure has been released.
STEP 3: Remove the faceplate.
The next step is to remove the faceplate. To do so, click the tooth tabs on either side and the faceplate comes right off!
NOTE: One of the neat things about the Clack valve now is that they now have a QR code on the units for finding the digital manuals easily! If you have a QR code reader on your cell phone like I do, just scan that code and it will take you directly to the corresponding section of the Clack website that shows you the manual for each model! So simple - no more misplacing bulky manuals, right?
STEP 5: Disconnect the power.
Okay great, so once you've got the faceplate off, the next step is to disconnect the power. If you take a look at your unit, you’ll see there are electrical connections along the bottom for the motor, the power, and the meter. NOTE: The meter wire is gray and will only be on your unit if it uses a metered valve -- typically, you will see this on a water softener, tannin filter and sometimes air over media filters use them. Simply unplug the wires to disconnect the power.
STEP 6: Remove the circuit board.
Once all wires are disconnected, simply lift up the tab at the top holding the circuit board in place and pull the circuit board forward to remove. To put the circuit board back in or to install a replacement circuit board, you just line up the two tabs at the bottom and then click it in at the top.
STEP 7: Disassemble unit.
There are wires on the side -- unclip those and then tuck aside so they don’t interfere with your work. Then take a look at the very top of the unit and you’ll see two tabs at the top holding it in. Lift those two tabs up and the whole cradle comes out in one piece! Set the cradle aside.
STEP 8: Unscrew the drive assembly.
Now to get into the piston and the seal pack... Clack makes a great tool called a Valve Disassembly Wrench that we sell on our website for assisting with removing the drive assembly. Check it out here!
Once you’ve got the drive assembly loosened up then unscrew it fully and pull out to remove. WARNING: If your unit has been in use, there will be some water coming out when you remove the drive assembly. Because you bypassed it, it's not going to be under pressure but there will still be water that comes out -- so make sure you've got something to catch that water before you unscrew it!
STEP 9: Take apart the piston.
Once you pull the drive assembly out, you’ll see the piston(s) on the other side of it. If you need to replace it, now is the time!
STEP 10: Remove spacer stack assembly & clean it well.
If your unit is an iron filter, you may notice the spacer stack looking quite dirty (like melted fudgesicle dirty). If it is super dirty, it's a good idea to clean it and, as long as it's not leaking, you can actually clean it and reassemble it. If need to replace it, you can order a new spacer stack assembly here.
To clean the spacer stack, run it under the faucet to get rid of most of the iron that's clogged on there. You can also use a product like Rust Out for a deep clean which can be found here on our e-commerce website. If using Rust Out, simply take a bucket of water and put some of the powder in it to dissolve in the water. Put the parts in the bucket of solution to soak overnight. When you come back in the morning, the water will be perfectly clear and it will look brand-new!
STEP 11: Reassemble.
Once you’ve got everything cleaned up then you can just reassemble the spacer stack and drive assembly. It’s good to note that since the piston is keyed, it only goes back in one way -- which means there’s no confusion on how to put it back together! Before sliding the assembly back in, I usually apply some plumbers clear silicone grease on the o-rings. Then once reassembled, tighten it hand as far as you can and then use the handy Clack tool to close that up nice and tight again.
Now, before putting the circuit board back on, make sure the wires behind it are pushed all the way into the strain relief notches so the wires don’t get in the way and make it hard to close. The circuit board then just clicks back into the two little hooks at the bottom, and make sure the top tabs click all the way back down too.
Plug the motor and meter wires back in first, with the power plug going in last (otherwise you’ll get an error code). Once plugged in, you’ll see it'll start to go through its startup which moves the piston into the right spot. When it's back in service, it will get the whole belt set up for doing a sub for water filtration / water softening / tannins.
CLACK WS1 VALVE TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS & TRICKS
Q: What Is Error Code: Can’t Find Home? (21:44 timestamp)
Often this error code is a result of a power blip during one of its cycles or could be a hiccup with the piston going back and forth. To fix this, take faceplate off, disconnect power for about a minute to reset valve, then plug back in.
Q: Why Does My Display Have a Blank Screen? (22:46 timestamp)
In cottage country, sometimes when they open up their cottage in the spring and hook units back up they may get a blank screen.
This means one of two things: either the transformer is defective or the circuit board is defective. Unplug power wire and get a voltage tester (see my Blank Screen troubleshooting video here). If it shows voltage then you need a new circuit board. If you don’t get voltage, then you need a new transformer. Both are available on our website.
Q: Why Is My Iron & Sulphur Filter Not Working? (29:26 timestamp)
Typically there’s an injector inside your unit that is clogged, but it’s a super easy fix. Click here for a great troubleshooting video that explains what to do if your iron and sulfur filter is not working.
TIP: Apply plumbers clear silicone grease around your injector and o-rings to lubricate it so it doesn’t stretch as easily. (Stretching is what can cause leaks!)
Q: How Do I Winterize My Unit? (33:39 timestamp)
If you have an iron filter, water softener, or tannin filter installed in a cabin or a cottage, you will want to winterize it because you're going to turn the heat off during the wintertime. I've got a video that goes into great detail about that, view it here.
Q: How Do I Program How Hard My Water Is? (35:56 timestamp)
If you were to purchase one of these systems from us either our e-commerce site or a DIY to do from our store, they typically come pre-programmed. If it's a water softener, you need to program how hard the water is. The good news is it’s super easy to do!
With the faceplate on, you’re going to press the NEXT and the UP button at the same time. The first thing you’ll see is a REGEN days which is how many days between REGEN. The default setting is 3 days at 2 am (make sure all your equipment is regenerating at different times if you have multiple units with varying cycle times so they don’t overlap). Press NEXT & NEXT again.
More in-depth videos can be found by clicking here.
Q: How Do I Change the Backwash Time? (41:09 timestamp)
If you have a situation where you know your well pump can't keep up or you've got a holding tank where the backwash water is going and you may want to cut that down by a few minutes, it does make a fair amount of difference if you cut that down. To do so, press NEXT and this is the air draw cycle.
For air over media systems, all you'd have to do is set the current time, hit NEXT and NEXT.
Q: How to Determine Water History in a Metered Unit? (44:25 timestamp)
Metered units usually give you 66 days of water history. Typically, a water softener is a metered unit.
Q: Problem With Fitting / Float Assembly Installation? (46:08 timestamp)
Make sure you remove the c-clip and push the fitting all the way home if you've purchased a water softener or a tannin filter online and either installed it yourself or had a local plumber help you out with the installation.
Q: Benefits of a Backwashable Filter? (49:33 timestamp)
If you're on a municipal water system and there's a lot of chlorine in your water, having a backwashable filter is a great way to get rid of that chlorine. Typically they backwash once a week to remove the chlorine from your water. These systems typically last about 15 or 20 years and you never have to change a filter!
Q: What is the Life Expectancy of a Clack Valve? (52:20 timestamp)
The life expectancy of a Clack valve is typically 20 years plus! These valves have been around since the year 2000 and I can probably count on one hand how many that we've replaced in that span -- very, very few. They are made in the USA and they're a great product which is one of the reasons I highly recommend it.
Well, I hope this post has helped simplify water filtration to help you conquer crappy water for your family. As I like to say, buy a filter or be a filter -- it’s your choice!
Need more help? If you and your family have identified that there is staining in your home or cottage, an off-putting smell to your water, if there's discoloration, or your water tastes awful, we’re here to help you with those concerns. Check out my YouTube channel - Gary The Water Guy or our website for tons of great information or reach out to our team for more help today.
- Gary Beutler