Water filter for plumbed lever machine

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

Postby negrocorto » Aug 18, 2018, 8:36 pm

I've been shopping for an under sink water filtration system to feed my plumbed lever machine, a Conti Prestina. I've been using a Jetflo, but it died and I don't want to risk having to replace it every two/three years. I also don't want to spend more than $100, but will if that's what it takes. I live in a very hard water area. My question is, how much filtration is essential to keep the espresso machine running clean without mineral build up? Are the inexpensive in-line filters for refrigerators enough for the espresso machine?

bettysnephew

Postby bettysnephew » Aug 18, 2018, 10:21 pm

I suspect the cheap fridge filters will be less than adequate for getting espresso grade water. My understanding is they do remove chlorine and some of the better ones also get the heavy metals out but do not think they do much if any softening of the water to remove calcium. That is why I choose to treat distilled water for my machines. I am using Dr. Pavlis (RIP) recipe of potassium bicarbonate and steam distilled water.
Suffering from EAS (Espresso Acquisition Syndrome)
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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Aug 19, 2018, 1:17 am

No one can really give you advice about this without knowing what's in your tap water. At a minimum, you need hardness and alkalinity numbers in order to make any scaling estimate, and to choose a treatment that might avoid scale buildup problems.

Having said that, if you are on the Abilene water described here: https://saveabilenewater.com/wp-content ... _web-1.pdf, you will have scale buildup problems if you don't soften that water. A fridge carbon filter won't do the job, and any system that will is going run you more than 100 bucks.

That Abilene water is especially problematic because of the 87 - 166 ppm chloride levels. This will not cause scale problems, but may cause corrosion problems. Best advice here would be to go with a reverse osmosis filtration system to remove that chloride. (Carbon filters effectively remove chlorine, chlorite, chloramine in the small levels added to disinfect the water supply, but will not filter out that chloride.)

I think your most practical option would be to repair your Flojet system and use carboys of spiked purified water under the sink. The R Pavlis water is simply distilled or RO water with 50 - 100 mg/L of potassium bicarbonate. On a 5 gallon carboy that would be about 1 - 2 gram of potassium bicarb per 5 gallon fillup. It will have a nice non-corrosive alkalinity, will deposit no scale, and most folks say that it produces fine tasting espresso.

P.S.
Summarizing the numbers in that 2017 City of Abilene report that I linked above:

Total hardness 182 - 346 ppm
Total alkalinity 111 - 127 ppm ("temporary hardness" would be roughly equal to this)
Calcium hardness 138 - 208 ppm (calculated from Ca ion)
Chlorite ion 0.9 ppm
Chloride ion 87 - 166 ppm
Sulfate ion 63 - 212 ppm
TDS 366 - 717 ppm
Conductivity 698 - 1340 umhos/cm (would read 349 - 670 ppm on typical inexpensive TDS meters)
Pat
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bettysnephew

Postby bettysnephew » Aug 19, 2018, 9:16 am

I was hoping homeburrero might step in. He has an excellent grasp on water for espresso. The above post is very good advice regarding water for your machine. It will not harm your system and tastes good also.

As I mentioned in your other post regarding the FloJet, I would go to a more robust pump and stay with the carboys for supply and waste. With that type of pump and John Guest tubing rather than the FloJet setup you presently have you could just draw water from a one gallon store container and keep a slightly larger waste container. As long as you are not making many drinks per day (I make 2-3) the minor inconvenience of changing the jugs is minimal and you will always have fresh water at your disposal with no periodic cleaning of the carboy for the supply side. Again as I mentioned in the other post this is what I plan to do when, not if, my present FloJet fails. I should order that pump as I have likely just jinxed myself by even mentioning it failing. :mrgreen:

To make Dr. Pavlis 10% water premix, I add 10 gr. of Pot. Bicarb to 100gr./100ml distilled water. When I change jugs of water I add 4 ml. (4gr.) of the premix to the fresh gal. of distilled water. This is not a perfect value (3.8ml/3.8gr.) but close enough for me. Easy Peasy. Of course, my coffee bar is in an area without plumbing so it is a predetermined selection to not have it on the local water system. Pot. Bicarb is cheap on Amazon for a pretty much lifetime supply at the rate I use it and I can get steam distilled water for less than a dollar a gallon at Wally World. Ultimately I suppose a treatment system could pay out if I had plumbing available but there is still maintenance required to keep the system working in the long haul so I really somewhat doubt it for the minor expenses I incur. If you are making many more drinks per day than I the cost versus payout will likely reverse.

Best of luck with whichever way you choose to proceed.
Suffering from EAS (Espresso Acquisition Syndrome)
LMWDP #586
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Javier

Postby Javier » Aug 19, 2018, 10:15 am

bettysnephew wrote:As I mentioned in your other post regarding the FloJet, I would go to a more robust pump and stay with the carboys for supply and waste. With that type of pump and John Guest tubing rather than the FloJet setup you presently have you could just draw water from a one gallon store container and keep a slightly larger waste container.


Are you using a FloJet to draw water from a one gallon container (a plastic carboy??) to "feed" your Bosco? Just curious.

What is the expected lifespan of a FloJet? "Negrocorto" FloJet only lasted three years.
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negrocorto

Postby negrocorto » Aug 19, 2018, 1:52 pm

Thanks Pat, for this great info, and for the research you did and deciphered for me. Good thing I didn't get the in-line fridge filter. Like they say in Venezuela, where I learned to love espresso: "Lo barato sale caro" (Loosely: "Inexpensive turns out being expensive), like in using a cheap filter for my machine. I'll follow up on the info provided, and on a different pump system too, then decide.

Thanks guys.

negrocorto

Postby negrocorto » Aug 19, 2018, 2:25 pm

Javier, my Flojet lasted almost exactly four years, but there was about a year of not using it because I was rebuilding my espresso machine, so it actually lasted three years. Apparently that's about average?

bettysnephew

Postby bettysnephew » Aug 20, 2018, 12:30 am

Javier wrote:Are you using a FloJet to draw water from a one gallon container (a plastic carboy??) to "feed" your Bosco? Just curious.

What is the expected lifespan of a FloJet? "Negrocorto" FloJet only lasted three years.


Yes, I am. I am presently using the package that has the pick up tube and low water sensor out of a 3 gallon carboy as the length and weight of the pickup tube is such that it tips over 1 gallon jugs. Model 4000 if I recall. I only keep about 1 gallon in the carboy so that there is no chance of overflowing my 2 gallon waste container that I empty each time I fill the carboy.

When my FloJet fails I will be replacing it with a beverage pump that does not have the requirement of going into a carboy. I will use John Guest tubing to draw out of the 1 gallon jugs of R. Pavlis treated distilled water from the market.

FWIW, I picked up my FloJet in new condition at an estate sale for $30 a couple years back, it was a no brainer, so if it only lasted a year it was still a bargain. I have heard of other FJ's failing at about the 3 year period so suspect this may be realistic. This pump package is not too robust but convenient to get started with. I have mine wired into the WIFI switch that turns on my Bosco in the morning to preheat it. With a bit of luck mine might last longer as it does not hold pressure when the machine shuts down at 10:00 AM.
Suffering from EAS (Espresso Acquisition Syndrome)
LMWDP #586

negrocorto

Postby negrocorto » Oct 23, 2018, 11:01 pm

UPDATE:
I went ahead and bought an Aquatec 5851-7E12-J574; a bit smaller than what bettysnephew recommended in a previous post. Based on some reviews on Amazon, it was suggested that this pump is smaller and quieter, but still with plenty of power to supply my espresso machine. And it is very quiet, quieter than the Flojet, even though the Aquatec is massive compared to the Flojet. Also, it is rated to last at least seven years, as opposed to the three years that the Flojet lasted, yet costing less.

Thanks to all for you advice and input. Very happy now that my Prestina is flowing and hissing again.

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EvergreenBuzzBuzz

Postby EvergreenBuzzBuzz » replying to negrocorto » Dec 06, 2018, 10:29 am

Are you using any sort of accumulation tank with it? Either a Flojet or Sureflow or other model?

Is it always on if there is electricity?

Would be curious to see an image of your setup.

What will be your water reservoir and what is the connection to the pump?

Thanks in advance, Michael
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