To descale or not to descale my espresso machine? - Page 2

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SutterMill (original poster)

#11: Post by SutterMill (original poster) »

Great info everyone and gave me a few new things to consider. The water where I live appears to be fairly soft and alkaline and has great flavor. I agree once a month is too frequent. My last machine was once every 6 months for 6 years and its still going strong.

I will look into some of the water recipes on here and compare it to the flavor of my tap.

One question that came to mind while reading the replies. Assuming good quality water, Would an in tank softener help mitigate the likely hood for scale to develop?


#12: Post by Gr4v1ty »

Interested in this answer as well!

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Team HB

#13: Post by homeburrero »

SutterMill wrote:One question that came to mind while reading the replies. Assuming good quality water, Would an in tank softener help mitigate the likely hood for scale to develop?
Yes. As long as its softening capacity is not exhausted it will tend to reduce the concentration of hardness ions that cause limescale. If your water is already very low in hardness, then you would not get scale with or without an in-tank softener.

Some in-tank softeners (Breville Claro-Swiss, BWT Bestsave) contain resins that decarbonize the water, reducing hardness and alkalinity, and acidifying the water slightly. For water that does not need softening and that already has low alkalinity these might make the water more corrosive without any real benefit.
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h


#14: Post by rsn4534 »

First either go into your city's web site and check out the water report, there will be one. The flaw in this advise is I did this very thing and didn't understand what I saw.

Second, instead of visiting a web site, go to your city's city hall and ask about the water and let their expert explain it to you.

Three, not wanting to do all of this, go to a pet store that sells tropical fish, they sell cheaper and more expensive kits to analyze your water, you only need the cheap one for hardness/softness and test your water. Youi may not even need to purchase a kit as the experienced staff at the pet store working with the fish will need to know the water they are working with, ask them about hardness and softness.

Then base your plan on the above for descaling. In the Lelit world, they flog and I use a water softener that attaches to the intake hose which is good for roughly 3 months.

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#15: Post by Shakespeare »

A precautionary measure would be to empty your boiler every few weeks. Remember the water in boiler has a tendency to build up solids as you use your steaming wand.
Some machines can empty the boiler using the hot water wand. Some have a valve.
Some individuals have descaled the boiler only.. It can be a little inconvenient but it won't cause any other blockages if performed correctly.


#16: Post by iyayy »

i simply refer to my kettle, since i had it for much much longer.. it has steel base for heating. i think its a good reference for how good your water is, since u'd likely have a kettle in the house for years.

on my kettle, daily usage it builds up miniscule amount of scale. every few month i'll need to rub it.

i added line filtration for my drinking water. this actually made a visible difference, thru clear beaker (i have few of them just because :lol:) its visible the reflection is bluish instead of amber-ish.
my filter however needs regular cleaning and replacement, since it builds up that amberish residue.

so i got bwt as well after that.
i notice bwt made it taste slightly less acidic, so definitely its doing something. i feed that in my machine and my kettle from then. havnt seen any build up after a year.
so i just run a flush instead of descale now, and bleed my boiler every month or two. close to 2 years now, and no longer having issues of wierd taste from my steam wand that i initially had after few weeks. (most easy to notice).

its a bit of an extra cost, but i feel its a good investment since im ingesting well treated water and also keeping my kettle and machine clean.

i guess being paranoid for coffee do teach you to be health conscious. :P