Worked myself into a knot - Lake Huron water treatment

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

#1: Post by bobby4 »

From my home beer brewing I know my local water from Lake Huron is as follows (or very close):
Ca2+ 30ppm
Mg2+ 8
Na+ 7
Cl- 9
SO4 2- 25
HCO3 100ish
So I believe my hardness is just over 100, and my alkalinity is just over 80 - maybe?

I want to plumb in my new Profitec 800, which I think has a copper boiler, and want to remove chlorine. But additionally I believe I want to decrease my hardness to about 65 - I think this is the recommendation? The more I read, the more lost I am as to how to get there, ideally relatively cheaply. :D

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#2: Post by Pressino »

Most water filters will remove chlorine, but the Cl- in your water ion list refers to chloride. If that's what you are asking about, 9 (if ppm) is low and you needn't worry about it. The main issue with chlorine is taste.

bobby4 (original poster)

#3: Post by bobby4 (original poster) »

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The chlorine we know is there by smell and taste, so removing it is a must. The hardness I am concerned about due to scaling worries. Having read many posts I am unsure if this is an issue for my situation, but was with my old Breville. I am just not sure the best approach to removing hardness when ours is only mildly high.
So, my goal is chlorine removal (likely a carbon filter) and hardness reduction (?). But only mild reduction, which doesn't seem to fit with many solutions.

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#4: Post by homeburrero »

30 ppm of calcium ion is equivalent to 75 ppm of calcium hardness as CaCO3 and 8 ppm of magnesium ion is equivalent to 33 ppm as CaCO3, so your total hardness (as CaCO3) is 108 ppm.

100 ppm of bicarbonate ion is equivalent to 82 ppm alkalinity as CaCO3.

This hardness and alkalinity are within some recommendations, but this water would tend to deposit limescale in your steam boiler, requiring occasional descaling. Your other numbers (chloride, sulfate) are nothing to worry about. Of course you do want to use a carbon or a charcoal filter to deal with chlorine, off tastes and odors. If you have chloramine instead of chlorine you may want a larger/slower filter or perhaps a filter with a specialized carbon for efficiently removing chloramine.

If you want to reduce or eliminate the need to descale then you can soften the water. You could use an old fashioned conventional (sodium exchange) softener, which would drop your hardness very low and keep that alkalinity.

Or you could use a decarbonizing filter like Claris, Bestmax, Mavea, etc with an adjustable bypass head. That filter will reduce both hardness and alkalinity and lower the pH a bit, and you can dial it in to get an appropriate amount of softening. Some prefer that approach thinking that the hardness minerals are needed for taste reasons.

But I think I would go with the conventional softener - - your alkalinity level is OK where it is and it will very simply and reliably produce non scaling low hardness water as long as you replace the cartridge at recommended intervals.
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bobby4 (original poster)

#5: Post by bobby4 (original poster) replying to homeburrero »

Fantastic, thanks!! And the latter approach had the advantage of simplicity!

And thanks for the bonus chemistry notes, I am still trying to understand water chemistry!