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paullamey

Advice for hard water

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Hello, 

Apologies for another thread but i'm finding it quite hard to understand what I need to do to help protect my new coffee machine.

I live in a hard water area in London, The Calcium Carbonate levels are 274ppm. I have little to no understanding of how to reduce the hardness and get water that isn't going to kill my machine (outside of finding out the Calcium Carbonate levels!). 

I get that the reverse osmosis machines are the best way to go but that isn't an option for me. 

The Tesco tap water is not an option cos of the plastic waste. 

A BWT filter jug sounds good but I hear inconsistent things on whether it's enough. 

Zerowater filter jug could be am option - am I right in saying this this requires blending with tap water to get something decent?And how do I go about doing that?

Any advice or suggestions welcome! 

Thanks, 

 

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Get a water report from your water supplier, they should have a link to an in depth breakdown, look for Alkalinity as CaCO3.

Tesco tap water?

Once we know the Alkalinity we can suggest a mix ratio for your Zerowater (for me, I mix 1 part Tap : 4 parts Zerowater).


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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Yes, should be, but it has to tell us one or all of the following:

Bicarbonate

Alkalinity

Temporary hardness

Karbonate hardness

(Some of these are different names for the same thing, every few months they change the names of stuff just to confuse people).


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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28 minutes ago, MWJB said:

 

 

28 minutes ago, MWJB said:

 

Yes, should be, but it has to tell us one or all of the following:

Bicarbonate

Alkalinity

Temporary hardness

Karbonate hardness

(Some of these are different names for the same thing, every few months they change the names of stuff just to confuse people).

I"ve got this info: 

Calcium carbonate(CaCO3): 274 ppm

Alkalinity as CaCO3: 206 (is that temporary hardness?)

Also have this - not sure if that is any of the others: 

Degrees Clarke:19

Degrees German(DH):15

Degrees French:27

Having spoken to someone at Bella Barista they advised getting a BWT jug and an in tray filter to be on the safe side. Any thoughts on that?

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Your water is so hard it could fight Mike Tyson and win easily. I would predict without proper treatment you will have machine problems inside 2 years and probably within 1 year depending on how much you use it..

My advice, get yourself an Osmio Zero countertop RO system, put some TDS back using sodium Bicarb if you want

http://coffeetimex.wikidot.com/ro-water-copper-corrosion

You can pretty much guarantee trouble free operation for many years and any problems you do get won't be from hard water. It gives you a kettle and RO unit all in one, so no temptation to use the hot water tap on the machine, except for an occasional water refresh.

The problem with water is not just about hardness...I keep banging on about this but unfortunately people don't listen. I have seen machines that have leaked/sprayed for months with whatever bottled water is recommended and you wouldn't believe the state of the interiors.

 


 My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/ - Various Machines and grinders, Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster: YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/szhgxzl .......

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30 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

Your water is so hard it could fight Mike Tyson and win easily. I would predict without proper treatment you will have machine problems inside 2 years and probably within 1 year depending on how much you use it..

My advice, get yourself an Osmio Zero countertop RO system, put some TDS back using sodium Bicarb if you want

http://coffeetimex.wikidot.com/ro-water-copper-corrosion

You can pretty much guarantee trouble free operation for many years and any problems you do get won't be from hard water. It gives you a kettle and RO unit all in one, so no temptation to use the hot water tap on the machine, except for an occasional water refresh.

The problem with water is not just about hardness...I keep banging on about this but unfortunately people don't listen. I have seen machines that have leaked/sprayed for months with whatever bottled water is recommended and you wouldn't believe the state of the interiors.

 

Yikes. Thanks Dave. I really don’t have the space or money for anything big! Might have to get saving. Is it better to reduce the hardness as much as possible with BWT filters or go down the bottler water route in the short term?

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Just now, paullamey said:

Yikes. Thanks Dave. I really don’t have the space or money for anything big! Might have to get saving. Is it better to reduce the hardness as much as possible with BWT filters or go down the bottler water route in the short term?

It's better than tap water I guess, not sure how effective a BWT will be certainly with your water you will need to change the cartridge a lot more often than they recommend and they always use the term "reduce" limescale, whatever that means.

All I know is I have used treated RO water for 15 years now and I simply don't get many problems with my machines, certainly none related to water quality (note I don't say hardness).


 My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/ - Various Machines and grinders, Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster: YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/szhgxzl .......

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1 hour ago, paullamey said:

 

I"ve got this info: 

Calcium carbonate(CaCO3): 274 ppm

Alkalinity as CaCO3: 206 (is that temporary hardness?)

Also have this - not sure if that is any of the others: 

Degrees Clarke:19

Degrees German(DH):15

Degrees French:27

Having spoken to someone at Bella Barista they advised getting a BWT jug and an in tray filter to be on the safe side. Any thoughts on that?

1 part tap water to 3 parts Zerowater should be fine.

Yes: KH/ alkalinity/temporary hardnessare all the same thing.

No experience with BWT jug.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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7 hours ago, paullamey said:

 

I"ve got this info: 

Calcium carbonate(CaCO3): 274 ppm

Alkalinity as CaCO3: 206 (is that temporary hardness?)

Also have this - not sure if that is any of the others: 

Degrees Clarke:19

Degrees German(DH):15

Degrees French:27

Having spoken to someone at Bella Barista they advised getting a BWT jug and an in tray filter to be on the safe side. Any thoughts on that?

http://users.rcn.com/erics/Water Quality/Water FAQ.pdf

To avoid scale in an espresso machine boiler you need to know the temp of the water in there (a brew boiler for example will be at whatever temp your brew temp is set to + the PID offset e.g. 95 at group + 9c offset = 104c in the boiler). If you are using a dual boiler you need to think about service boiler temps too, mine is 125c. 

SCA water specs aim for 40mg Alkalinity and Calcium hardness of 68mg a litre (17-85mg acceptable range).

When trying to avoid scale you need to take alkalinity and calcium/magnesium hardness into account which will be calculated as CaCO3 hardness.

 Mixing your tap water with distilled or RO water will get you down to 68.5mg/l carbonate hardness at a 1:3 mix of tap:purified and your alkalinity will be about 51.5mg/l

1:4 will get you 41.2 Alkalinity and 54.8 hardness. Running in a 125c boiler will get a small amount of scale over time.

It would be good to know what else your water contains. Chlorine, chlorides, sulphates, other metals like iron and copper, sodium etc. Boiler safety isn't just about avoiding scale.

 

 

Edited by Rob1
Correction

ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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26 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

http://users.rcn.com/erics/Water Quality/Water FAQ.pdf

To avoid scale in an espresso machine boiler you need to know the temp of the water in there (a brew boiler for example will be at whatever temp your brew temp is set to + the PID offset e.g. 95 at group + 9c offset = 104c in the boiler). If you are using a dual boiler you need to think about service boiler temps too, mine is 125c. 

SCA water specs aim for 40mg Alkalinity and Calcium hardness of 68mg a litre (17-85mg acceptable range).

When trying to avoid scale you need to take alkalinity and calcium/magnesium hardness into account which will be calculated as CaCO3 hardness.

 Mixing your tap water with distilled or RO water will get you down to 68.5mg/l carbonate hardness at a 1:4 mix of tap:purified and your alkalinity will be about 51.5mg/l

1:5 will get you 41.2 Alkalinity and 54.8 hardness. Running in a 125c boiler will get a small amount of scale over time.

It would be good to know what else your water contains. Chlorine, chlorides, sulphates, other metals like iron and copper, sodium etc. Boiler safety isn't just about avoiding scale.

 

 

This is the report from Thames Water. Thank you all so much for your help! as evet i'm learning alot from people on here1245721238_Waterlevels3.png.cb86b5f6ac861b496b755c93e55cc1ea.png

water levels.png

Water levels 2.png

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You'd get about 11mg/l chlorides and sulphates diluting 1:4 and a little less Sodium. It's up to you to decide if that's acceptable. A lot of people use bottled water containing more chlorides and sulphates than that so you can do worse. The question is if you can effectively filter your water down to 0 TDS without having to change the cartridge every week. If the money and space for an RO unit isn't available you might also consider a cheap water distiller. 

I don't know what the very small amount of chlorine might do to taste.

Edited by Rob1
Correction

ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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48 minutes ago, Rob1 said:

You'd get about 11mg/l chlorides and sulphates diluting 1:5 and a little less Sodium. It's up to you to decide if that's acceptable. A lot of people use bottled water containing more chlorides and sulphates than that so you can do worse. The question is if you can effectively filter your water down to 0 TDS without having to change the cartridge every week. If the money and space for an RO unit isn't available you might also consider a cheap water distiller. 

I don't know what the very small amount of chlorine might do to taste.

Thanks loads. what would the difference between 1:5 and 1:3 as @MWJB suggests?

I'm thinking that zerowater might be the best bet as I get the sense that BWT jugs might not be enough though am still not that clear on that!  I also only really make espresso twice on the weekends so am hoping it won't require me to be using the zerofilter that regularly... hoping...

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I just use Delonghi water softening packs which you drop into your water tank.  We live in a hard water area and since using these, limescale is much reduced and taste has improved.  I also descale monthly.  No problems with any of our kettles or machines.  No need to go to the expense of a R/O machine!  Just descale regularly and either use a water jug/filter which has a water softener in the filter itself or buy the water softener bags for the water tank and follow the instructions for replenishment frequency.  I took apart the group head and had a look at some of the pipework recently and with this regime, our machine is still as good as the day it was bought.

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I was impressed by their honesty for how long the filters last in litres. I think our consumption is over 16 litres per day, so for us a Zero water system would last about 3 days per cartridge. I note they don't give a cartridge use by life once in the jug and filtering, but i would have thought 2 months regardless of amount filtered. It dos show clearly though that other systems which are no where near as good e.g. Brita etc.. must be like building Igloos in the Sahara.


 My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/ - Various Machines and grinders, Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster: YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/szhgxzl .......

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57 minutes ago, paullamey said:

Thanks loads. what would the difference between 1:5 and 1:3 as @MWJB suggests?

I'm thinking that zerowater might be the best bet as I get the sense that BWT jugs might not be enough though am still not that clear on that!  I also only really make espresso twice on the weekends so am hoping it won't require me to be using the zerofilter that regularly... hoping...

My 1 part Tap (100ml) to 3 parts Zero (300ml) is the same as @Rob1's 1:4 ratio. 

You could use 100ml tap to 400ml Zero as Rob1 suggests, I just tend to aim 50mg/L alkalinity, rather than 40mg/L but both will be fine.

 


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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17 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

I was impressed by their honesty for how long the filters last in litres. I think our consumption is over 16 litres per day, so for us a Zero water system would last about 3 days per cartridge. I note they don't give a cartridge use by life once in the jug and filtering, but i would have thought 2 months regardless of amount filtered. It dos show clearly though that other systems which are no where near as good e.g. Brita etc.. must be like building Igloos in the Sahara.

I just use the Zero water for tea & coffee, probably around a litre a day on average? I'm on my third cartridge in a year. 


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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Ah of course I made an error in my dilution. 1:4 is 5 times less concentrated not 4.


ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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