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Thread: water softening

  1. #1
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    Mazatlan, Mexico
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    water softening

    Greetings from sunny Mazatlan.

    My wife and I own a couple of cafés here in this port. The water here is medium hard (about 175 ppm total hardness). To lower the hardness content for the espresso machine water, we currently use the standard softener with resin that gets recharged with salt.

    My question is if anybody has experience with a magnetic water softener that attaches to the outer surface of the supply pipe.

    I believe that reserve osmosis treatment is much better and reduces hardness up to 95% when the filter membrane is new, but cost and space is a consideration.

    Gracias

    RF

  2. #2
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    It works about as well as getting down on your hands and feet and praying to God to change your water quality! God can change your life but I don't think God will do much with your water!
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  3. #3
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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    Carefull about over-filtering

    Most of the espresso machines hava sensor at the top to indictate when the boiler is full. If you use water that is too pure (like the output of a quality R/O unit) the espresso machine may not sense the correct water level.
    We use an everpure 2 head system 7so and an MC filter for the espresso machine.
    So far we have had NO problems with any buildup or any issues with the machine.

    FYI!

  4. #4
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    The magnetic route should be taken after checking out other options. It is not the best way towards softening and I have had some people tell me that it doesn't do a thing.

  5. #5
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    Water Softner

    I have been told you do not want to use a reserve osmosis system because it will remove too much of the mineral causing problems with your espresso machine, things like causing the auto fill not to function.

  6. #6
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    It can, but a lot of the newer RO's have a post polishing phase where it brings the water back up to around 1.5 grains which can help eliminate non conductive and aggressive water.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  7. #7
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    Magnetic filtration will only remove free iron that is greater than about 25 microns in size, they will not remove dissolved iron. I have used some of the most powerful rare earth magnets produced and they only remove about 20% of the total Fe. I can't imagine anything that the consumer could purchase would do much good, just not strong enough.

    I'm not sure about the boilers in Esp. machines but most commercial boilers work the best with water as soft as possible, we have 2 resin units on our boiler at work, the first gets about 98% of the metals/minerals then the polishing softener removes the remaining 2%. Unless you have a boiler made from Fe soft water won't hurt it. The other main factor in boiler maintenance is keeping air out of the boiler.

  8. #8
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    Missouri
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    The easiest thing you could do would be to place a simple carbon pre-filter before your water softener. You could even do a two-stage system with a 10 micron first stage going down to a one micron carbon filter to eliminate any off-taste from the water supply. I do not recommend additional softeners as I have seen excessive sodium deposits build up and block the tubes and orifices inside espresso machines. And it's a real pain to clean up!

    FYI for R1200C: Espresso boilers are only half full of water. The other half is for storing the steam to froth milk.

  9. #9
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    Dave
    If Sodium from a softener is plugging anything then you need to get the softener looked at because it is not working properly. The brine is only used to backwash the resin then there should be ample rinse to rinse the salt from the resin. No sodium should get into your water.

  10. #10
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    From my understanding it not even possible to over soften your water. Softening works by ion exchange. More calcium ions = more salt ion exchange. So if you have 10 grains of hardness it will take however many salt ions to replace those 10 grains calcium ions. You will get even more salt ions for 30 grains of water hardness.

    But no exchange will happen if no calcium ions are present. The other issue is how much time the water comes in contact with resin. For people who have cartridge based systems that pull more water then the cartridge is rated for will have softening issues.

    I have read that it can take between 60 to 90 seconds for a complete exchange of ions to occur. Most cartridge based systems run any ware from .5 gallons per minute up to 1.67 gpm. If you exceed this then you will run in to scaling issues.

    The other thing to remember is that softening doesn't remove 100% of the hard water. So build scale build up will still happen over many years.

    In the past I have ran 2 softeners systems and found the secondary cartridge was never utilized. Upon removal and reinstalling the second cartridge at the shop, it softened about 200 gallons of water on it own before finally dying.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

 

 
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