Help with water management

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

#1: Post by bryston »

I bought a new gs3 mp and I have been using it for 3 weeks, am using the tank for now but I will be plumbing the machine
My water reading as best as I can tell after testing:
TDS 85-88
GH 145
Kh 71
PH 7.5
I am on a well water
The store recommended I use BWT bestprotect filter even before I tested my water which I am planning to install
Today I decided to test the water comming out of the gs3 steam boiler and the TDS was 215
What should I do? I do have a water softener system in the hous that was installed by the previous owner, I don't use it as I consulted with water people and they did not think I need it so I passed it.
Any advice how to proceed
Thanks

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

bryston wrote:My water reading as best as I can tell after testing:
TDS 85-88
GH 145
Kh 71
PH 7.5
I am on a well water
You are missing a number for chloride ion, which can be critical if it's high. Probably not a concern since most of Nova Scotia has reasonably low chloride ion, but if a well happens to have some salt water incursion that can be an issue. You can get that tested, or test it yourself with a titration kit from Hach. Or maybe ask whomever did your testing -- they may already know whether or not chloride is an issue for wells in your neighborhood. I think you should be OK though if your GH, KH, and TDS numbers are accurate*. La Marzocco currently advises going to RO when the chloride ion content is above 30 mg/L.

bryston wrote:The store recommended I use BWT bestprotect filter
That's your best choice in my opinion of the different BWT products. It is a conventional cation exchange softener, which will drop your GH very low and keep the KH, TDS, and pH about the same, which is good in your case. It also has carbon to remove off tastes and odors, and particulates filtration.

bryston wrote:Today I decided to test the water comming out of the gs3 steam boiler and the TDS was 215
That's an expected outcome if you use the steam wand and don't take steps to drain or periodically flush the steam boiler. See Jim's advice here: Espresso machine water tastes really bad . If you are using non-scaling water (which should be the case if you go with that bestprotect) you can manage this with periodic flushing from the hot water wand: Using hot water tap to manage steam boiler water concentration




*some geeky chemistry follows:
If you trust those GH and KH numbers, you can calculate that you have about 74 mg/L as CaCO3 (1.5 mEq/L) of non-carbonate anion. If 100% of that anion were chloride, it would only amount to 50 mg/L. And it's not likely to be all chloride - - if it were I think your TDS would be higher.
Pat
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Pressino

#3: Post by Pressino »

The OP mentions having a whole house water softener...though it is apparently being bypassed. In any case a major source of excess chloride in water is ion-exchange water softeners. They may decrease the risk of scale forming in house plumbing and water heaters but can increase the risk of corrosion in espresso machines.

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homeburrero
Team HB

#4: Post by homeburrero »

Pressino wrote:In any case a major source of excess chloride in water is ion-exchange water softeners. They may decrease the risk of scale forming in house plumbing and water heaters but can increase the risk of corrosion in espresso machines.
For sure, conventional whole house softeners greatly increase the amount of chloride and of sodium released to wastewater during the recharge cycle. So much that many wastewater utilities strongly advise against using them. It makes sense that they would also increase chloride in treated water depending on how well the system rinses the resin after a recharge.

Nick, do you have any numbers as to the chloride levels in the treated water from typical whole house softeners? I've always wondered, but have yet to come across reliable numbers for that.

For cartridge softeners like the bestprotect, you will get sodium in the treated water but not chloride.
Pat
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bryston (original poster)

#5: Post by bryston (original poster) »

Thank you all , I will try to get a chloride test and report back.

Pressino

#6: Post by Pressino »

homeburrero wrote:For sure, conventional whole house softeners greatly increase the amount of chloride and of sodium released to wastewater during the recharge cycle. So much that many wastewater utilities strongly advise against using them. It makes sense that they would also increase chloride in treated water depending on how well the system rinses the resin after a recharge.

Nick, do you have any numbers as to the chloride levels in the treated water from typical whole house softeners? I've always wondered, but have yet to come across reliable numbers for that.

For cartridge softeners like the bestprotect, you will get sodium in the treated water but not chloride.
Water softeners are clearly responsible for large amounts of chloride getting into wastewater that winds up in domestic septic tanks and municipal water treatment plants and from thence eventually back into groundwater. I'm not sure just how much gets into the water of a house using a water softener. Based on the way that ion-exchange water softeners work, I would guess that any chloride anions associated with cations in the pre-softener water supply will simply pass through the filter. This includes those associated not only with Na+, but with Ca++ and Mg++. Since the Ca++ and Mg++ ions are being exchanged for Na+ in the filter resin and attached to the resin's carboxyl groups, their associated chloride ions will also pass through the filter, but now be associated with Na+ ions (to maintain overall charge neutrality).

That would be the case for an ion-exchange filter with new "fresh" resin. Whether or not "more" free chloride ion is present in such softened water depends on whether or not the dissociation constants of NaCl, MgCl2, and CaCl2 are different. Frankly I don't remember. Let's assume for tyhe sake of argument that they're not significantly different. In that case water softeners with new resin will not add significant free chloride to the home water system. Such systems, however, will definitely increase the content of Na+ or K+ (depending on the filter resin type) of drinking water, which may have health impacts.

The problem is what happens when you "re-charge" the resin using brine. Besides the immense waste of water to do that, you will add huge amounts of chloride into the wastewater going to the septic tank and municipal wastewater processing facilities. I suspect also that no matter how scrupulously you flush the water softener (while wasting even more fresh water), you are going to at that point start adding excess chloride to your house water system. This is probably the reason that one of the reported downsides of water softening is that it can increase the risk of corrosion of house plumbing.

Whether or not and just how much water softeners affect chloride content in softened water could be easily answered by simple testing. I haven't been able to find any published studies yet, but this would be a great project for H-B members!

bryston (original poster)

#7: Post by bryston (original poster) »

Hi, I decided to test my water before installing a bestprotect filter. Am not a water expert but it does not look too bad to me.
Here is the lab results

bryston (original poster)

#8: Post by bryston (original poster) »


Hi, I decided to test my water before installing a bestprotect filter. Am not a water expert but it does not look too bad to me.
Here is the lab results

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homeburrero
Team HB

#9: Post by homeburrero »

bryston wrote:Hi, I decided to test my water before installing a bestprotect filter. Am not a water expert but it does not look too bad to me.
Here is the lab results
That's a nice complete report. Summarizing some key numbers:
Total hardness: 84 mg/L as CaCO3
Calcium hardness: 75 mg/L as CaCO3 (calculated from 30 mg/L Ca++ ion)
Alkalinity: 73 mg/L as CaCO3
Chloride: 13 mg/L as Cl- ion
Sulfate: 12 mg/L as SO4-- ion
Silica: 8.6 mg/L as SiO2
pH: 7.92
Conductivity: 210 uS/cm (would read about 105 ppm on a typical inexpensive TDS meter)

The report says nothing about chlorine and chloramine, but you generally assume that it's there and handle that with a charcoal or a carbon block filter.

It would not cause heavy scale problems, but if not softened would tend to create some limescale deposits. It has a healthy alkalinity for corrosion protection but not so much that you expect dulling of acidity in espresso brews. It's not too high in undesirables like chloride and silica.

You could use a BWT bestprotect, the Homeland HCWS, or any conventional softening filter to make the water reliably non-scaling. It would drop the hardness very low and keep the TDS and alkalinity the same. That's what I'd probably do here.

With this water I think a descarbonizing filter like the BWT bestmax would also do the job. These filters will reduce both hardness and alkalinity, and drop the pH a little, They usually use an adjustable bypass head, and you would want to adjust so that your alkalinity stays up in the 40 - 50 mg/L range - you do have a little chloride in that water and don't want to add to corrosion risk by dropping the alkalinity too low.
Pat
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bryston (original poster)

#10: Post by bryston (original poster) »

Thanks you