Water and scaling question

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

#1: Post by bilitz »

I have a Profitec Pro 300 which I've been using for a little over a year averaging 2 double espressos per day. I've been using only Crystal Geyser water bottled at the Salem source. Will using this water be adequate for preventing scaling? Or should I use something like a BWT filter in conjunction with the Crystal Geyser? Either way, will a machine like mine go indefinitely without scaling issues or is scaling inevitable and using proper water just delays it?

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homeburrero
Team HB

#2: Post by homeburrero »

bilitz wrote:. I've been using only Crystal Geyser water bottled at the Salem source. Will using this water be adequate for preventing scaling? Or should I use something like a BWT filter in conjunction with the Crystal Geyser? Either way, will a machine like mine go indefinitely without scaling issues or is scaling inevitable and using proper water just delays it?
CG from Salem is soft - - here's the report: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/AS ... _Salem.pdf

The calcium hardness is only 21 mg/L and the alkalinity 24 mg/L (CaCO3 equivalent), and if you do an LSI calculation on a hot steam boiler temp of 130C (about 1.7 bar of pressure) you still get a negative number, which says that this water would tend to dissolve rather than deposit limescale. So in a sense, this water is constantly doing a safe, acid-free prophylactic descaling of the machine.

The water is also low in sulfate, so the odds of calcium sulfate deposits are low. One thing that can cause deposits in the steam boiler would be if you are constantly concentrating your steam boiler water by taking steam out and never draining water from it. You can avoid this by pulling a little water out of the hot water tap whenever you steam. I think the manual advises that you can drain the steam boiler every 2 - 3 weeks, which would also take care of that.

Adding an in-tank pouch filter probably wont hurt but would be a waste of money. In theory at least the BWT tank filter might reduce your alkalinity, and you would not want that. Your CG has no chlorine or chloramine so you don't need a charcoal filter.

At an alkalinity of only 24 mg/L, this CG water is a little lower than the usual recommendation of 40 mg/L or more. In this case I don't think that's an issue because the water is nicely low in chloride and sulfate and should not be a corrosion problem.

It is softer than the conventional wisdom for tasty extractions, but I don't think that's an issue. It's comparable to Seattle city water, where people do make perfectly tasty espresso.
Pat
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bilitz

#3: Post by bilitz »

Thank you for the excellent, detailed answers to my questions. That's what I was hoping to hear. One thing I have not been doing is pulling hot water from the steam boiler but I will definitely start doing that.
Thanks again!

Jeff

#4: Post by Jeff »

Scaling or not, the steam boiler is "distilling" the water, leaving the minerals behind.

bilitz

#5: Post by bilitz » replying to Jeff »

So then eventually all steam boilers will accumulate minerals to the point where they need to be cleaned/serviced? Any idea how long that usually takes?

Phil’s Neighbour

#6: Post by Phil’s Neighbour » replying to bilitz »

I've been wondering the same thing. I plan to use Dr. Pavlis's water recipe in my soon to arrive Technica V. 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.

lagoon

#7: Post by lagoon »

bilitz wrote:So then eventually all steam boilers will accumulate minerals to the point where they need to be cleaned/serviced? Any idea how long that usually takes?
Draw about half a litre from the hot water tap every day or two and that will refresh the boiler water.

Use the water as part of your prep or cleanup.

Jeff

#8: Post by Jeff »

bilitz wrote:Any idea how long that usually takes [for steam boilers to get nasty inside]?
Ever taste the water coming out of an HX's water tap? (Don't...)

If your machine has an easily accessible drain tap, perhaps once a month shouldn't be too painful. If you're using an HX's hot-water tap, perhaps a bit more often as it won't completely change the water and remove the sludge. I used to draw hot water off my HX regularly to clean the steam wand and work area. If neither are available, then it comes down to your time and patience to do the work. If you steam a lot, you probably want to consider more than less regular.

lagoon

#9: Post by lagoon »

Jeff wrote:Ever taste the water coming out of an HX's water tap?
It's fine IF you turn over the water frequently AND your machine hygiene procedures are good.

On the other hand, if not, its a mineral cocktail with bonus potential for cheese sucked up the steam wand!

bilitz

#10: Post by bilitz »

My particular machine is a dual boiler, not HX. How much difference does that make?