Still need to decalcify if using BWT filter?

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

#1: Post by kronius »

Hi, I have been using a BWT filter for all of the water I run through my machine. I am wondering if that is sufficient to assume that no calcium is being built up in the boiler, or if it would be recommended to still use a decalcifying cleaner every once in a while?

Thanks!

Davi-L

#2: Post by Davi-L »

Hello,

You really need to to know how hard your water is. Buy a Hach 5B test kit and get the hardness of your water in and out of your filter. Decide which level of hardness you can live with. You really don't want to acid clean your machine more than needed, it can damage parts.
It would help if you explained which coffee machine you are using, and just what a BWT is.
D.

Senftjc77

#3: Post by Senftjc77 »

According to the team at Wholelattelove.com, you should never need to descale if you properly maintain a BWT filter system. Davi-L is correct, you'll need to know your current hardness so you can tune the filtration and regularly change the cartridge.
Profitec Pro 700 / I'm learning

kronius

#4: Post by kronius »

Davi-L wrote:Hello,

You really need to to know how hard your water is. Buy a Hach 5B test kit and get the hardness of your water in and out of your filter. Decide which level of hardness you can live with. You really don't want to acid clean your machine more than needed, it can damage parts.
It would help if you explained which coffee machine you are using, and just what a BWT is.
D.
I'm using a Profitec Pro 500. The BWT filter is a filter that reduces calcium and other minerals from the water to reduce scaling inside the machine. https://www.wholelattelove.com/blogs/ar ... o-machines

That's a great suggestion on the water hardness test kit, thanks! Is there a recommended level of hardness above which it will be necessary to descale? The city I live in has really hard water which is why I use the filter.

I bought my machine from Whole Latte Love and they recommended the BWT pitcher. I called WWL yesterday and the guy I talked to said if you're using the BWT pitcher, you're not supposed to need to descale, but that he still does so every 6 mos., which seemed reasonable at the time, but it didn't occur to me that it can actually hurt the machine.

luvmy40

#5: Post by luvmy40 » replying to kronius »

Wow! That's a bit pricy.

I just installed a whole house softener for less than that BWT system.

That with an $80 three stage filter( softener cartridge, activated charcoal cartridge, and particulate cartridge) for the BDB gets my 7.5 Gpg domestic water to <1 Gpg. Just the three stage under counter system had me down to about 3 Gpg.

sorenwrang

#6: Post by sorenwrang »

I recently tested my water.

The hardness of my tap water is around 16 dH.
After running the water through a Brita water pitcher with a cartridge filter, the hardness was reduced to 1 dH.

I couldn't believe my own eyes, but all repetitions of the measurement showed the same result. I used one of the test kits where you add a solution to your water, one drop at a time. 1 drop is equivalent to 1 dH. You add drops of the solution until your liquid turns from red to green.

So in my case, the cartridge filter removed basically all calcium from the water.

A subsequent pH test showed that the filtration reduced the pH from approx. 7 to approx. 6.
I'm confident that this pH level won't cause too much corrosion inside my machine.

Marcelnl
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by Marcelnl »

sorenwrang wrote:I recently tested my water.



A subsequent pH test showed that the filtration reduced the pH from approx. 7 to approx. 6.
I'm confident that this pH level won't cause too much corrosion inside my machine.
YOu are aware that the pH scale is a logarithmic one? just 1 less means a whole lot of acidity running free in your boiler, you;d need to know the material it's made from to know what is a safe pH level, but check at the correct tenperature as that amplifies the effect. Adding a little buffer can go a long way, just lookup the RPavlis recipe. I add a bit ofPotassiumbicarbonate to my almost pH neutral mineral free mineral water :mrgreen:
LMWDP #483

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homeburrero
Team HB

#8: Post by homeburrero »

sorenwrang wrote:The hardness of my tap water is around 16 dH.
After running the water through a Brita water pitcher with a cartridge filter, the hardness was reduced to 1 dH.
Test again when you are about to change the filter. Also let us know which filter - I assume it's the Maxtra but it's worth making that clear. The current Maxtra, like most Brita filters contains a weak acid cation exchange resin that will reduce hardness and alkalinity (and reduce pH), but is not marketed as a softening resin and is unclear about softening capacity over the life of the filter. I believe that the ion exchange resin in there is primarily to help remove lead, mercury, etc., but also removes calcium and magnesium, exchanging them for H+ ions.

In my opinion, if your water needs softening you should use a filter designed and specified for its softening capability. They don't say anything about how much softening capacity is in the Maxtra, or whether that may change in future products.

Note: Especially for North and South America, Brita is a confusing brand name with different products than those sold in UK and Europe. Mavea used to be the name here for the European Brita products sold in the US but that changed a few years ago.

And going back a bit:
kronius wrote:I'm using a Profitec Pro 500. The BWT filter is a filter that reduces calcium and other minerals from the water to reduce scaling inside the machine. https://www.wholelattelove.com/blogs/ar ... o-machines
BWT makes lots of filters, I suspect you are talking about a BWT bestmax or bestmax premium, but it's always best to be clear. Either of them is likely capable of rendering your water scale free depending on your water's hardness and alkalinity (it's best to know both) and the bypass setting you use.

Going back to the initial post:
kronius wrote:I am wondering if that is sufficient to assume that no calcium is being built up in the boiler, or if it would be recommended to still use a decalcifying cleaner every once in a while?
If you are using a softening method that reliably gives you scale free water, you can and should avoid routine descaling of the boilers. If all you have inside the boilers and fittings/tubing is maybe a light protective oxide coating you want to keep that, not strip it away with an acid descaler.




P.S.
This thread's questions are about water and water treatment methods, so I plan to just move it from the Espresso Machines forum over to the Water forum.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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homeburrero
Team HB

#9: Post by homeburrero »

kronius wrote:I bought my machine from Whole Latte Love and they recommended the BWT pitcher. I called WWL yesterday and the guy I talked to said if you're using the BWT pitcher, you're not supposed to need to descale, but that he still does so every 6 mos., which seemed reasonable at the time, but it didn't occur to me that it can actually hurt the machine.
I just now noticed this. That BWT jug filter is like the Brita - it has a WAC resin that will soften and reduce alkalinity, but BWT doesn't specify it for softening. The WLL guy's advice is that he uses it, but evidently doesn't trust it and therefore descales his machine routinely. Best to use a filter that has a known and specified softening capacity if you need softening.

Specifics on various BWT products can be difficult to find. I usually start at this page: https://www.bwt-wam.com/en/Products/Pages/default.aspx and mouse over the 'Products' tab. Nothing in there though about that jug filter - I think that product is intentionally unspecified, mostly a lot of BS about the magical properties of precious magnesium. (BWT has a patent on a cation exchange resin that is partially loaded with magnesium.)
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

emradguy
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#10: Post by emradguy »

Houston water does need softening, but it's actually not that bad in general. I'm in Bellaire, and our water is a little different than Houston proper, but both have alkalinity somewhere around 120-150 ppm. You definitely need to test your water...both before and after treatment, and then decide based on that if you need to descale, and if so, how often.