Descale - dual boiler espresso machines

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oferlev

#1: Post by oferlev »

Currently, i have a Rencilio Siliva machine and I consider upgrading to Rancilio Silvia Pro x (dual boiler)
An important consideration for me is the ability to maintain the machine myself and specifically to descale.
From reading around, I understand that its not recommended to descale dual boiler machines at home as i do for my single boiler silvia.
is this correct. is there an issue descaling dual boiler machines and the silvia pro x at home?
thanks

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

If you've been successfully descaling a single boiler machine, you should be able to descale a double boiler machine.
The best thing you can do would be to use non-scaling water to avoid the issue as much as possible.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

oferlev wrote:From reading around, I understand that its not recommended to descale dual boiler machines at home... is this correct.
Of course, the easier solution is to use non-scaling water and thus no need to descale. But if that's impractical, you have to descale from time-to-time. The procedure for descaling espresso machines for single boilers, heat exchangers, and dual boilers has been documented countless times; it's just not complicated.

My guess is that main rationale for advising against descaling is the manufacturer/vendor's concern that owners will do something dumb (e.g., use a harsh descale solution and leave it in for days, damaging the heating element). I'll sometimes read reports of problems like a gicleur getting clogged right after descaling, I assume because the owner didn't keep up with maintenance and finally descaling dislodged chunks of scale.

Specifically to your question, I am deeply skeptical there's anything special about the care of Rancilio espresso machines versus others.

Many years ago, Rancilio included in the Silvia owner's manual the admonishment not to use backflush detergent. I assume they had the same reason that I mentioned earlier: Reducing the opportunities for owners to do something stupid -- at least until the warranty expired. A vendor once told me he had a warranty claim for a Rancilio Silvia - no flow from the grouphead. It turned out the owner had used more than a tablespoon of backflush detergent (!), which clogged the grouphead. :roll:
Dan Kehn

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baldheadracing
Team HB

#4: Post by baldheadracing »

It is often recommended here to use water treatment that greatly reduces the need for descaling ... although this is more common with users of higher-end machines. This isn't because of a different need to descale, just an acknowledgement that descaling is not an easy process to control as it is very easy to use too much acid or too high a temperature or leave the solution in too long, and thus using "better" water is preferable to descaling.

There are also two kinds of descales - one where the machine is opened up so that the boiler(s) can be descaled separately from the rest of the machine, and the second where solution is put in the reservoir and then the descaling acid is run through the entire machine. There is little practical difference between the two in a Silvia, but as machines get more complicated inside, the more likely that it is desirable to descale machine components separately, as is done on commercial machines or "prosumer" machines with conventional commercial components & construction. (Note commercial machines also require separate water filtration systems.)
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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BaristaBoy E61

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

HB wrote:I'll sometimes read reports of problems like a gicleur getting clogged right after descaling, I assume because the owner didn't keep up with maintenance and finally descaling dislodged chunks of scale.
Based on personal experience, you might be surprised at how minuscule a piece of scale can be to interfere with the proper sealing of a solenoid valve.

Best to use non-scaling water from the get go. One day that machine you love won't love you back. :shock: :mrgreen:
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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slybarman

#6: Post by slybarman »

I didn't find descaling my double boiler machine to be any big deal or much different from my HX machine.

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cafeIKE
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#7: Post by cafeIKE »

I've been descaling my DB for 14 years.

I run the descaler in from the reservoir and syphon the boilers dry and then rinse twice before buttoning up.

You may need to add a port to the brew boiler to syphon. Steam boiler can be done from the vac break.