Information Please: About Water Softening

beach brewer3

New member
Jun 22, 2005
1
0
Mazatlan, Mexico
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
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
0
Des Moines, Iowa
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!
 

JoeVolcano

New member
Jul 1, 2005
3
0
Santa Cruz, CA
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!
 

junkhead

New member
May 21, 2006
3
0
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.
 

morrisn

New member
Mar 27, 2006
126
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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.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
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Des Moines, Iowa
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.
 

R1200C

New member
May 26, 2006
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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.
 

DavesLT

New member
Nov 6, 2005
64
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Missouri
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.
 

R1200C

New member
May 26, 2006
3
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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.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
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Des Moines, Iowa
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.
 

DavesLT

New member
Nov 6, 2005
64
0
Missouri
The problem I was referring to occured at several Border's bookstore/coffee bar locations that were using a large Culligan water softening system on their entire kitchen that was also feeding their espresso machine's rechargable tank style softener. Since the supply water was already devoid of calcium or magnesium ions and heavy with sodium ions, when they added salt to the machine's canister softener, the salt would not fully dissolve during the flushing procedure and would over time collect in the machine and form salt crystals. They weren't supposed to be plumbed that way, but some genius contractor decided to do it anyway (who'd ever know, right?). It was pretty expensive to clean those espresso machines, and I thought I might save someone a few bucks with a little real-life experience. Sorry if the real world disagrees with theory.
 

beefybean

New member
Sep 20, 2005
31
0
Austin, TX therabouts
Ultra pure water can etch your boiler. Water is the universal solvent. Ultra pure water can kill any metal plumbing over time. Others have also mentioned the need for minerals for the sensors. The sensors operate on conductivity of the water, and water needs ionic impurities to be conductive, Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium, etc..

You also need some level of mineralization for proper extraction. For espresso, around 75ppm. You do balance the need for minerals with the buildup of scale in the boiler. It helps to flush the boiler once or twice daily, as the mineral content will increase throughout the day. Especially true for those of you with double boiler systems. The steam boiler is not naturally flushing with the extraction cycle.

Polishing filters to restore some cacium carbonate, but not really enough for the extraction. If you use RO, you can always remix clean filtered hard water back in to a diluted level, appropriate for your needs.

Other filtration systems are dumping other chemicals into your coffee - glycophosphates, and softeners are exchaging sodium for Calcium. Minerals are good for coffee, in the right proportions. Strip it down, then put back what you want. This is what Cirqua does, and some of the higher end Culligans and some custom systems.
 

alipcr346

New member
Jul 18, 2020
2
0
Suggesting the best method for water treatment and purification

Hey!
Based on my research and experience what I consider is Reverse Osmosis is best method and one thing you should keep in your mind is Quality, all does this maters a lot. Go for more information related to water softeners and Purification to chose the best way.
 
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