Hard water issues

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.

#1: Post by ShotPull »

How is everyone with hard water dealing with issues?

I tested my water a few times and it's considered "moderately hard." That sounds like a lot but it's about the middle of the scale. None of my other appliances care, only my ECM Synchronika. WLL wants to sell me an expensive machine only filter system. I don't have anywhere to put it, the wife has sacrificed way too much counter space already and we're already short on cabinet space. Their contraption would take over a much needed cabinet.

I've considered a whole house softener but I don't want the salt or the slimey feeling in the shower. Softened water makes it feel like you can't get the soap off of you! There are alternative salt free systems coming out but they're too new to trust and I feel like the only reviews I'm seeing are what the company wants me to see.

Of course my machine has a tank and I've considered many times buying the 5 gallon jugs from the supermarket but what a giant step backwards from a plumbed machine setup!!


#2: Post by Satchmo780 »

A plumbed machine with hard water will need some filtration, and that filter will take up space.

I have a whole house softener that still leaves me with enough hardness to scale, so I actually go the distilled water route (adding potassium bicarbonate). I've thought about plumbing, but getting an in the cupboard BWT system or similar is expensive and space consuming.

Check the water forum for good suggestions

ShotPull (original poster)

#3: Post by ShotPull (original poster) »

Water forum ... okay thanks, I will check that out.

Scaling even with a softener? Yikes, I would not have suspected that. I'm sure it would change my taste profile completely too. About the only thing I feel like a whole house system will help with is washing the cars. They come out worse than before I started becasue of the water spots! I even tried doing smaller sections and drying it with a shammy but it doesn't help much.


#4: Post by MCal2003 »

Well water with a hardness of ~85ppm or ~5gr of hardness. Considered moderate hard. Dissolved solids are magnesium and calcium.

When I use to pull shots with the HX/E61 machine I ran the water through a Brita type filter that knocked the hardness down to ~45ppm. Had a diy external water reservoir. Placed an inline resin exchange type of filter in the line leading to the machine. Still required occasional descaling. After more or less trashing my original espresso machine(Gaggia Coffee) purchased in '81 due to real heavy scaling. Got a bit scale paranoid. Routine descaling maintenance to keep the new machine happy.

With the MCal I run the water through two brita type filters knocking down the hardness to around 2 grains. Light scaling on the heating element. Just descale when I need to replace the heating element and boiler gaskets. 2 or 3 times since purchase back in '03.

For the Flair 58 and V60 I run straight tap water at full hardness. For V60 prefer the taste of the straight water over the treated water brews. JMHO, the ~5gr hard water makes for better coffee and tea.
LMWDP #151


#5: Post by Acavia »

I have a well and the water is hard. From analyses, I know roughly how much Gh and Kh it has. While I craft water for coffee, I have used the well water diluted a few times. Diluting it 80% distilled with 20% well water puts the resulting water in SCA range.

You could try that. Even if you do not know your water's number, just do trial and error to find a good dilution percentage.

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#6: Post by homeburrero »

Satchmo780 wrote:A plumbed machine with hard water will need some filtration, and that filter will take up space.
Yes. I would go further and say that a plumbed machine will need filtration even if the tap water is not hard. You generally need to remove particulates, and chlorine or chloramine from tap water before it gets to the machine.

There are some fairly compact undersink single cartridge filters that provide both softening and charcoal filtration like the Homeland HCWS and the 3M ESP 114T and 124T. If you don't need softening there are many more options that just handle chlorine, taste and odor, and particulates. All of them are going to take up some of your undersink space.

To get a better handle on whether you need to soften, it's always best to know both the alkalinity and the hardness values. Then you can use the oft-referenced Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ to help you decide if your water is scale prone and if so how often you might need to descale the machine.

If you have a machine with a reservoir, the one solution that requires no undersink space, and that can reliably give you good non-corrosive scale-free water is to use good water (bottled, or refilled at a local dispenser) that you can spike with minerals if needed. The R Pavlis recipe water is easy to make and very popular for that.
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