Lelit Bianca hot water line stop flowing

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jfjj
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#1: Post by jfjj »

This is a multi question post and I apologize if it's not in the right spot.
  • I noticed a few weeks ago that my hot water line in my Bianca basically stopped flowing, and to my recollection it never really flowed well to start with. I bought it as a return at idrinkcoffee.com and have had to get a replacement for the gliceur as well (in Feb 2021). Going through a normal troubleshooting, I checked the line to the ball joint (air passes through fine), checked from the ball join to the fitting in the inside and air passes through fine as well My last subject is a blockage in the boiler, but without the tool to remove the element to check if there is major scale at the bottom I'm a bit at a loss. Now the machine is still under warranty, but if it's scale they may not fix it. That being said, would a descale attempt help break up the blockage? I can't really run water though the line since it's blocked but I can run fresh water though the steam boiler since the steam line seems clear.
  • Curiously, I decided to take out part of the mushroom to see if scale was the problem. I use Brita + Lelit in tank Resin filter for my water. to my surprise the mushroom was covered with green scale like material.
    and after some light scrubbing under water what was left is a partially flaked off mushroom.I'm not particular concerned about it but I am curious. The spring was white ish, I soaked it in vinegar and was clean as a whistle after. I have a theory for this but not sure if it's correct. I tried to reionize the resin filter and used a pink mountain salt rather than pure salt (it was an accident) and shortly after I noticed white particles coming from my steam boiler. After I realized my mistake I flushed the steam and replaced the filter and eventually the white flakes disappeared. So I am wondering if some of those particles attached to the the mushroom and caused a bit of corrosion. Here is my city's water tests (city water) https://www.fredericton.ca/sites/defaul ... 020_en.pdf. after some googling it seems that it may not be scale but jut build up from the exposed brass?
  • Lastly, I know tha descaling should be avoided but seems like I will need to do it. Any recommendation from the forum world? I see that Puly is the recommended descaled solution for the Bianca, but has anyone else used Urnex or another reputable one?
- Jean

JRising
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#2: Post by JRising »

From the cleanliness of your mushroom, I would assume you don't have a scale issue, but go ahead and remove the boiler fill probe, look at it to be more sure there's no scale issue and give it a quick cleaning.

With the water valve open, machine off and cold, can you force air backward through the water wand, boiler and hear it exit at the vacuum breaker?

cgibsong002

#3: Post by cgibsong002 »

Is your steam pressure fine?

jfjj (original poster)
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#4: Post by jfjj (original poster) »

Air seems to flow through the steam wand no issue, but exits in the pressure release, the hot water line solid block. No air movement. I'll take a look at the boiler filler probe.
- Jean

jfjj (original poster)
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#5: Post by jfjj (original poster) »

cgibsong002 wrote:Is your steam pressure fine?
Yes, perfectly fine.
- Jean

kitt

#6: Post by kitt »

I've had a few of these in the workshop with the same issue - the copper pipe from the valve to the bottom of the steam boiler may be blocked, or the fitting on the bottom of the boiler. The pipe exits the steam boiler and has a U shape, which can clog up . Check both the pipe and fitting on the boiler . It may be time for a de scale . Once clear, periodically use the hot water tap to keep the line in use and clear

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homeburrero
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#7: Post by homeburrero »

jfjj wrote:I tried to reionize the resin filter and used a pink mountain salt rather than pure salt (it was an accident) and shortly after I noticed white particles coming from my steam boiler. After I realized my mistake I flushed the steam and replaced the filter and eventually the white flakes disappeared. So I am wondering if some of those particles attached to the the mushroom and caused a bit of corrosion. Here is my city's water tests (city water) https://www.fredericton.ca/sites/defaul ... 020_en.pdf. after some googling it seems that it may not be scale but jut build up from the exposed brass?

Lastly, I know tha descaling should be avoided but seems like I will need to do it. Any recommendation from the forum world? I see that Puly is the recommended descaled solution for the Bianca, but has anyone else used Urnex or another reputable one?
What you see on the mushroom is a small amount of copper corrosion - very typical and not the same as limescale. However, that mushroom only sees HX water, not the water in your steam boiler. If you make a habit of steaming, and not draining or flushing the steam boiler, the water in there can become highly concentrated. Check the level probe for scale there, also remove the water tap nozzle. You may benefit from descaling that boiler and I think it's wise to use a any of the recommended home espresso machine descalers per the instructions on the label.

That's a nice water report, and it essentially tells you that you have a calcium hardness of 106 mg/L and alkalinity of 90 mg/L - so you do need to soften that water or deal with accumulated limescale. That LeLit softener is a conventional softener which will reduce the hardness and keep the alkalinity. You do want to keep that alkalinity up because you have borderline high chloride at 33 mg/L and the alkalinity should help alleviate the corrosion risk from that. Be sure to replace the LeLit at the recommended intervals. Also be sure you use charcoal filtered water (The LeLit softening filter has no charcoal to reduce chlorine and/or chloramine.)

I know that people do recharge those softeners with table salt, but I think it's best to just replace them per the manufacturer's recommendation based on throughput and the total hardness of the water. If you switch to an undersink unit I think you should either go with a conventional softener* and carbon or charcoal filter, or possibly, because of that chloride, an RO system with remineralization.


*Conventional softener would be a sodium or potassium ion exchange (aka SAC) softener, as opposed to a hydrogen ion exchange (WAC) softener. The latter is a popular option that can be tuned with a an adjustable bypass head, and does a good job of limescale reduction. But it reduces the alkalinity and tends to acidify the water - not what you want at your high chloride and moderate alkalinity levels.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

jfjj (original poster)
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#8: Post by jfjj (original poster) »

homeburrero wrote:Check the level probe for scale there, also remove the water tap nozzle. You may benefit from descaling that boiler and I think it's wise to use a any of the recommended home espresso machine descalers per the instructions on the label.
Where is the water tap nozzle? I ended up descaling, and it clear up the blockage pretty quickly. Water was pretty cloudy, so to your point the concentration just got bad. I never drained the steam boiler before normaly but I do remember getting a lot of sediment after leaving for a few days and the machine being for a while. Descaling seem to work, but would like to avoid that. Here is the picture of the steam boiler water.

homeburrero wrote:I know that people do recharge those softeners with table salt, but I think it's best to just replace them per the manufacturer's recommendation based on throughput and the total hardness of the water. If you switch to an under sink unit I think you should either go with a conventional softener* and carbon or charcoal filter, or possibly, because of that chloride, an RO system with remineralization.
It's due to be replaced soon but almost thinking to switch to rpavlis water. Going to look to see if it's cost effective to do that. Walmart has distilled water at $.97/gallon, and I would say I'd go through a gallon per week.
- Jean

jfjj (original poster)
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#9: Post by jfjj (original poster) »

kitt wrote:I've had a few of these in the workshop with the same issue - the copper pipe from the valve to the bottom of the steam boiler may be blocked, or the fitting on the bottom of the boiler. The pipe exits the steam boiler and has a U shape, which can clog up . Check both the pipe and fitting on the boiler . It may be time for a de scale . Once clear, periodically use the hot water tap to keep the line in use and clear
Thanks, I don't think I did this in the past. How often should I run the hot water and for how long?
- Jean

kitt

#10: Post by kitt replying to jfjj »

We usually recommend a cup or so every 1-2 weeks, keeps the water in the steam boiler turning over, as well as keeping the pathway clear . The location of the water drawing from the bottom of the boiler is not great as any sediment accumulates there