Water and scaling question - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Jeff »

Mainly in how you can (or can't) drain it. Boil a liter of water into steam, you have some fraction of a gram of minerals left behind.

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#12: Post by homeburrero »

bilitz wrote:My particular machine is a dual boiler, not HX. How much difference does that make?
The steam boiler is where you get the concentration effect, and that's the same whether DB or HX.
lagoon wrote:Draw about half a litre from the hot water tap every day or two and that will refresh the boiler water.
That would work. My method is to draw a half cup so from the tap, always enough to trigger an autofill before making my milk drink(s), which is usually a cortado but sometimes two split single caps. This also assures that my machine doesn't happen to kick on an autofill when I'm trying to steam (which would kill my steam pressure.) Two birds.

There is a formula for estimating the concentration effect in the Jim Schulman's Insanely Long Water FAQ (highly recommended reading) :
Boiler Concentration = Feedwater Concentration/(1 - Steam Ratio)

So in my case if I tend to use 40 ml of pure water (about 64 liters of steam) out the steam wand and also draw 150 ml out of the water tap, for a steam ratio of 0.27, I might expect a boiler mineral concentration in the steam boiler that runs about 1.4x my feedwater mineral concentration.

To pull a lot of water out of the steam boiler the usual method is to turn the machine off when up to pressure, then open the hot water tap and drain out as much as you want. I think the Profitek 300 manual advises this.

Phil's Neighbour wrote:The ECM manual recommends regular light descaling. Will this maintenance still be necessary with the distilled water/sodium bicarbonate mix? I'd think not, based on what I've read in these forums, but I don't want to screw anything up.
You don't need to descale with the pure sodium or potassium bicarb mix, even if the steam boiler does get concentrated. If it were to get very concentrated it would not deposit limescale, but may leave deposits at the steam tip and hot water orifice, and make your Americanos taste salty. The simple steam boiler draining or refreshing discussed here would take care of that.
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#13: Post by bilitz »

homeburrero, it sounds like switching to distilled water and potassium bicarbonate is the best solution if I want to eliminate or at least minimize any issues with scaling. Since it doesn't sound complicated to do I'm pretty sure I'm going to switch to that method.