Nuvo H20 & 3M

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
apple2k
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#1: Post by apple2k »

Salutations from Los Angeles

We recently moved into a new house and now that we're a little settled I am getting around to the espresso calibration. We live in LA, which has very hard city water. The house has a Nuvo H20 water softener on the outside:

https://shop.nuvoh2o.com/the-science-behind-the-process

The prior owner's cartridge was spent when we moved in and I bought a La Marzocco water kit when and tested what came out of the tap which gave me these levels:
  • Total Hardness 250 ppm
  • Total Iron 0
  • Free Chlorine 0
  • Total Chlorine 0
  • ph 7.5
  • Total Alkalinity ? (missed reading)
  • Chloride 65 ppm
I replaced the Nuvo cartridge and also replaced the under sink standard 2 stage sediment/carbon water filters with a 3M ESP 124 system, per the advice of a good espresso machine repair person in the city : https://www.webstaurantstore.com/docume ... p124t1.pdf

I took a new reading with both new cartridges and got the following results from the water tap (processed like the espresso machine line by the 3M):
  • Total Hardness 0 ppm
  • Total Iron 0
  • Free Chlorine 0
  • Total Chlorine 0
  • ph 6.9
  • Total Alkalinity: 90
  • Chloride 57 ppm
I also took a reading of 'tap' water and got the above but with a Total Hardness of 120, so it seems the Nuvo takes 130ppm of hardness out and the 3M everything else.

And I have read other posts but am new to this and wondering:
  • Is this water too soft?
  • Are there there too few minerals for espresso and if the
  • 3M is doing too much?
Or of those are still present they just don't read due to the chelation of the Nuvo system.

We have tankless water heaters and the untreated LA water will cause those trouble over time which I suspect was rationale for prior owner putting in the Nuvo system.

Thx in advance

Peter

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homeburrero
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#2: Post by homeburrero »

The NuvoH2O thingy is not clearly specific, but appears to be a combination of chelating/sequestering agent and a citric acid acidifier. It should tend to reduce scale deposits, but hard to say by how much in espresso equipment. It would not reduce hardness measures in a typical GH titration by much if at all. And the effect of the lower pH from the NuvoH2O is a bad idea when you have chloride, which you do.

Your 3M ESP-124 contains a conventional softening resin, and if not depleted should replace almost all of your hardness ions (calcium and magnesium) with sodium ions, reducing the total harness to 0 - 20 mg/L. It uses a conventional (strong acid cation) resin, which is good because this resin does not reduce your alkalinity or further acidify your water.

If you get rid of the ESP-124 you will probably have scale problems, and in my opinion you don't want that - - because frequent descaling combined with the high chloride content of this water would invite corrosion problems.

The worst thing about your water is that high chloride. One way of dealing with that is to use a reverse osmosis system with a remnineralizing finishing cartridge. Many people in the L.A. area that plumb in their machines do that.

If you aren't plumbed in your best option would be bottled water, or distilled that you add minerals to. For bottled, Crystal Geyser from either the Weed/Mt.Shasta source or from the Olancha Peak source would work. The easiest machine healthy recipe would be to add either 0.4 grams of potassium bicarbonate, or 0.3 grams of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to each gallon of distilled or otherwise purified water.
Pat
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apple2k (original poster)
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#3: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

This is incredibly helpful, thank you

I am plumbed in and really wanted a machine that I didn't need to refill. Perhaps that was a mistake, I didn't have the foresight to think through the water situation. I could get one of those pumps that fit on a 5G tank and feed the machine that way, but it just doesn't look great in the kitchen. And I can look into a RO machine or perhaps if another/additional filter would take out more ofthe Chloride.

apple2k (original poster)
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#4: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

Perhaps something like the Claris Everpure

https://www.pentair.com/content/dam/ext ... -Sheet.pdf

That would let me dial in a little more hardness and reduce the alkalinity?

It seems only RO will remove the chloride, but I am not sure i want to bite the bullet just yet

The 3M has a head that also allows blending with the tap and that could get the some hardness back but seems like leave the alkalinity unchanged

and as it is now I am real low on hardness and seemingly high on alkalinity

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homeburrero
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#5: Post by homeburrero »

Given your chloride level I would advise against the Claris Everpure or any other weak acid cation (WAC) filter (which includes the BWT bestmax) When you have a chloride issue you don't want the drop in alkalinity and pH that these filters cause. (More on that can be found here: Warning: Chloride & sulfate levels with weak acid cation softeners (e.g., Everpure Claris) )

You could dial back your 3M a little if you want to try more hardness minerals. I would not worry about the 90 ppm alkalinity; it's not that high and espresso tolerates a lot of alkalinity without giving you a dull flat taste. ( 100+ ppm alkalinity is something that might be noticeable in pourover or when cupping. See this post about that from a water expert at the SCA: Mixing three waters )

And the higher alkalinity may help alleviate your chloride corrosion issue.

The only reasonable way to get rid of chloride in a plumb-in line is RO, or by using recipe or bottled water plumbed in via a carboy and a pump - like in this thread: Espresso Cart - Goodbye Plumbed In
Pat
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apple2k (original poster)
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#6: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

Brilliant, I am in your debt.

I'll get a new filter head for the 3M and then let this go for six months and take weekly readings and go from there. I know it'll fluctuate given it's LA city water and I can see how much and what happens to water.

Cannot thank you enough :)

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homeburrero
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#7: Post by homeburrero »

apple2k wrote:I'll get a new filter head for the 3M
Before making the purchase be sure to ask if it supports bypassing he softener resin with your ESP-124. You may be stuck with 0% bypass with that filter. Even if you can bypass you will want to set it low and keep your hardness below around 50 mg/L just to avoid scale issues.
Pat
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#8: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

The ESP124 filter has the same type of plug that fits into the head as the 3M scalegaurd series which has the head with the blending capability

I will have to see if twisting that dial that's on the top of the 3m BH3 head will work on the ESP124 which is sold with an NH3 head

apple2k (original poster)
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#9: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

EDIT: Called 3M, the BH3 blending head will only work with the Scalegaurd cartridges, so I will use the ESP 124 for 6 months, monitor by week and then swap it out for a scalegaurd and see what the readings are.

Will create a spreadsheet w/ data and share it out once it has some real #s

apple2k (original poster)
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#10: Post by apple2k (original poster) »

I bought an API GH/KH water kit in an attempt to get better readings

Total Hardness (GH)
  • 125.3 - Tap (LA City softened with Nuvo H20)
    26.85 - 3M 124 ESP + Nuvo H20
    125.3 - 3M HF40 + Nuvo H20
Alkalinity (KH)
  • 107.4 - Tap (LA City softened with Nuvo H20)
    107.4 - 3M 124 ESP + Nuvo H20
    107.4 - 3M HF40 + Nuvo H20
The HF40 water tastes the best, I will see how these fluctuate over time