Water Treatment/Filtration Advice For Water in Dallas TX area

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

#1: Post by No_cureEspresso » Oct 09, 2019, 12:17 pm

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Hello fellow H-B'ers:

I need serious help. I've been drinking from the proverbial 'water hose' of information, and my head is spinning...so I am hopeful that you nice & more knowledgeable folks than me will be able to wisely direct/advise me to do the right thing regarding an appropriate water filtration system.

Background:
About 4.5 yrs ago, I purchased a Profitec Pro 700 dual boiler machine. Despite having that option, my machine isn't plumbed in (yet), and I've exclusively been feeding ZeroWater filtered water - which I thought it was well regarded for home prosumer espresso machines. However, in the time that I've had it, I already have evidence of scale buildup (I've attached a picture of the E61 mushroom hex bolt...). Moreover, in the last month or so, with machine being ON but idle, occasionally I find a puddle of water being accumulated underneath the machine. I looked for the source, but everything seemed dry underneath. My Profitec just wants to take leak once in a while. Anywho, short story - I sent the machine for full restoration to Whole Latte Love. Things aren't kosher for sure.

Now, my local water is probably as bad as it gets: my water utility says that the average is 132 hardness level (7.7 grains), but my tests show about double that hardness level - I've measured the water hardness and it's probably in the 300's range (according to the paper strip test color chart, it's more orange than brown - see attached picture). As shown in the report below, the most recent water quality test report doesn't list key factors/ingredients like alkalinity, chloride ion levels, etc. For goodness sake, they don't even show me the pH level...

https://www.gptx.org/home/showdocument?id=17524

My dilemma:
I want to feed my Profitec the best possible water I can. The friendly Ace Ventura folks that work @ UPS already damaged some panels during shipment to WLL, so obviously I don't want to ship my machine again and get it repaired (smartfully, I insured the shipment).

I understand that direct plumbing offers many benefits (like pre-infusion) hence I DO have the option of direct plumbing the machine, although I would need to run a long 1/4" plastic tubing (about 60 ft I guess) along/behind other appliances and through cupboards to reach where my machine is situated.

So as of now, I have 2 possible routes:

A. Stick with the pour-over reservoir - the most cost effective solution.
In that case, I was thinking of feeding Crystal Geyser water through either the ZeroWater filtration system or the BWT Penguin filtration pitcher. Given my Dallas TX location, I presume that the water sources for the Crystal Geyser are either

Benton, Tennessee - water quality report: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/A ... Benton.pdf

or

Norman, Arkansas - water quality report: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/AS ... Norman.pdf

For this reservoir option - is my water feeding method a recommended route? Any flaws in my method?

B. Direct Plumb In - the costly solution.
Once (IF) I get to that point, I was thinking of either using one of the following filtration systems:

- BWT Bestmax Premium. WLL really recommends this product, but I've read issues with hydrogen ion exchange filter filtration systems given questionable (low) alkalinity and (high) chloride components.

or

Go all the way out and get this:
- OptiPure BWS175: reverse osmosis + mineralization cartridges

I DO plan on getting a robust water test kit (something similar to https://www.amazon.com/Drinking-Water-T ... 80&sr=8-10

I appreciate your advise and input on the above - thank you!

No_cureEspresso

#2: Post by No_cureEspresso » Oct 09, 2019, 1:14 pm

Ok...maybe I can answer my own question (and perhaps also help another frustrated soul...)

How about simplifying one's life and use (my recently found) Prof. Plavis' water recipe:

Step 1:
Mix 10 grams of Potassium Bicarbonate (chemical formula KHCO3) to 1000 ml of distilled water to create your 'special no-scale forming great tasting' water concentrate.

Ingredient Sources:
a. KHCO3 @ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Potassium-Bicarb ... 468&sr=8-4
b. Distilled water can be found at your local grocery store (I can buy distilled water @ Kroger for less than $1/gallon).

Step 2:
Then, add 37 ml of your home made concentrate to 1 gallon of distilled water. End result will be the water source for your espresso.

Step 3:
Fill your machine's water reservoir. My machine's reservoir is about 3L (0.79 gallons).

In the end, this will cost you pennies per gallon of water, for a little inconvenience. I can make 4-5 gallons of this water which should easily last me for about 1 month (averaging 3 lattes/day).

For those in the know, did I get Prof. Plavis' water recipe correctly? I don't want to mis-inform in any way.

Cheers y'all!

No_cureEspresso

#3: Post by No_cureEspresso » Oct 09, 2019, 3:43 pm

@homeburrero and all of the other VIPs!

I'm generally not a complete idiot, but I certainly feel like one today. I can't seem to find a definite home recipe to make my own safe and delicious water (aka rplavis recipe). I keep seeing conflicting ratios on this forum:

Which of the below is the correct recipe?

Option A:
- to make solution concentrate: mix 10 grams of potassium bicarbonate for each 100 mL of distilled water (or ZeroWater I suppose will work)
- to make final water for your machine reservoir: add 3.8 mL of the concentrate to 1 gallon of distilled water

Option B:
- to make solution concentrate: mix 10 grams of Potassium Bicarbonate to 1000 mL of distilled water
- to make final water for your machine reservoir: add 37 mL of the home made concentrate to 1 gallon of distilled water

Besides the fact that the above is mixing SI units and British Imperial units, the ratios are off nevertheless.

Can someone enlighten me please? Thanks a bunch!

User avatar
homeburrero
Team HB

#4: Post by homeburrero » Oct 09, 2019, 4:01 pm

No_cureEspresso wrote:did I get Prof. Plavis' water recipe correctly?
Your original recipe looks fine to me. (US gallon is 3785 ml, and 37ml / 3785ml * 10000 mg/L = 97.8 mg/L KHCO3) 38 ml would put you slightly closer to the 100 mg/L mark that Dr Pavlis recommended. Dr Pavlis said that he sometimes used half that amount for dark roasts. The full strength gives you an alkalinity of about 50 mg/L CaCO3 equivalent.
No_cureEspresso wrote:Which of the below is the correct recipe?

Option A:
- to make solution concentrate: mix 10 grams of potassium bicarbonate for each 100 mL of distilled water (or ZeroWater I suppose will work)
- to make final water for your machine reservoir: add 3.8 mL of the concentrate to 1 gallon of distilled water

Option B:
- to make solution concentrate: mix 10 grams of Potassium Bicarbonate to 1000 mL of distilled water
- to make final water for your machine reservoir: add 37 mL of the home made concentrate to 1 gallon of distilled water
Both are essentially the same. If you make Option B 38 ml they are identical. Option A uses a 10x stronger concentrate and lets you use a smaller concentrate bottle.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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homeburrero
Team HB

#5: Post by homeburrero » Oct 09, 2019, 4:39 pm

No_cureEspresso wrote:Now, my local water is probably as bad as it gets: my water utility says that the average is 132 hardness level (7.7 grains), but my tests show about double that hardness level - I've measured the water hardness and it's probably in the 300's range (according to the paper strip test color chart, it's more orange than brown - see attached picture). As shown in the report below, the most recent water quality test report doesn't list key factors/ingredients like alkalinity, chloride ion levels, etc. For goodness sake, they don't even show me the pH level...
I think water can be much worse than that. Don't give up yet on getting more info from water utility folks. They probably have the data and may have it in a sharable report form. I came across one online from 2008: https://www.gptx.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=2112

A lot may have changed in the 10 years since then, but I'll bet the chloride level has not decreased from the 55 ppm in that report. For plumbed-in you are probably wanting an RO system to deal with that chloride, and if the hardness is as high as it appears from your strip test you may even want a softener in front of the RO. (For example, that Optipure system recommends 12 grains or less of hardness for the feed water.)

For now, the BWT doesn't look promising but you can revisit that after you know more about the hardness, alkalinity, and chloride of your water. The homemade rpavlis water is always a good, safe choice.

If you want to have plumb-in line pressure but still make your own water, you can look into a carboy and pump setup. Search this site on "Flojet" to see more of what that's about.

For test kits I'd recommend a drop titration test kit rather than strip test kits. The best are from Hach, but are a little pricey. For hardness and alkalinity I think you can use the simple and economical API Fishcare GH & KH kit sold in aquarium an pet stores (and readily available online. If you really want to test your own chloride you'll need the Hach kit. Be aware that water will change over the seasons, and as the utility changes sources for various reasons - that's one good reason to try to get numbers from your water utility that might indicate range and average over a year.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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homeburrero
Team HB

#6: Post by homeburrero » Oct 09, 2019, 5:08 pm

No_cureEspresso wrote:A. Stick with the pour-over reservoir - the most cost effective solution.
In that case, I was thinking of feeding Crystal Geyser water through either the ZeroWater filtration system or the BWT Penguin filtration pitcher. Given my Dallas TX location, I presume that the water sources for the Crystal Geyser are either

Benton, Tennessee - water quality report: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/A ... Benton.pdf
or
Norman, Arkansas - water quality report: http://www.crystalgeyserasw.com/docs/AS ... Norman.pdf
Both have about twice the hardness and alkalinity that you want. One easy way to treat them would be to dilute them with 50% or 60% purified water. The ZeroWater is a system for making highly purified ( 0 - 6 ppm) water, and is not economical for hard waters - for you the best bet would be to buy distilled or purified. I would not recommend something like that BWT Penguin before seeing some technical data. Maybe WLL will eventually add that.

You can taste test espressos from the Pavlis recipe water vs one of these diluted hard waters, and if the taste is about the same just go with the safe and non-scaling Pavlis.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

No_cureEspresso

#7: Post by No_cureEspresso » Oct 09, 2019, 5:33 pm

@homeburrero - 1,000 thank you's! You ROCK and I vote that you should be nominated as our resident Water Master-Guru! I most certainly appreciate your input...

When I get my Pro 700 back, and to keep the cost down since I've asked WLL to also install the PID and Flow Control valve, I'll stick with the tried and true Dr. Pavlis' water recipe!

Cheers - thanks again!