To Descale or Not To Descale - Page 2

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#11: Post by Augsburg57 »

I'm curious as to whether fellow Seattle area espresso lovers descale their machines. According to data on the website of our local water department, tap water in Seattle is a very soft 26 ppm. I never descaled my old espresso machines and ran some of them with daily use for years. Now that I've invested in a Rocket R58, I'd like to know what to do.

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#12: Post by cannonfodder »

It all depends on the hardness of your water. Ignoring descaling until you have a water flow problem is not a wise idea. By the time the water flow from the group is noticeably reduced from the restriction caused by scale buildup you are going to have a nightmare of an issue cleaning. Full tear down and soak all the guts in tubs of acid for days to get it clean.

If you have soft water then you may never need to descale. My water runs 130-150ppm and my machine runs 24/7. I can go a couple of years between descales without a lot of issue but do it once a year for preventative maintenance. Excessive scale will mess up your boiler fill probe changing your boiler water level, calcify the heater making it inefficient and running the risk of burning it out, reduce the heat transfer rate between the heat exchanger and boiler, plug up your water tap, clog up the group jet, clog up any internal group filter screen which will all reduce the water debit, plug up the piping in the machine, jam up solenoids..... Most machine that have an issue after a descale are from bits of undissolved scale that dislodge and get stuck in the OPV or group jet restricting the flow and can be addressed by simply opening the parts up, cleaning out the schmutz and putting them back on.
Dave Stephens