It has been a while since my last post. For all ECM users out there, do you regularly descale your HX machine? I read two conflicting opinions. First says that you don't need to descale an HX machine as long as you are using good water filter, resulting in a soft water. The other opinion says otherwise. You need to descale regularly. The manual books suggests that you should regularly descale your ECM machine.
I've been using my ECM for almost a year now and I've never descaled mine. Any thoughts?
That doesnt sound like two different opinions.
Tell us about your water.
You can always pull the mushroom and check for scale. Descaling an hx isnt for the faint hearted
I discussed this with the Australian importer of ECM machines just last week when i had to replace a leaking boiler element seal, my ECM Technika Profi is about 3.5 years old.
Firstly and most importantly - exactly what trentski said, what is your water like?
I was descaling mine about every 6 months, not because I had any problems just because I thought it was the right thing to do. I have soft water to start with and I also use a filter/softner. The descaling solution had degraded the seal causing a leak. There is also something in the descaling solution which is not good for your SS boiler. He also mentioned it has a bad effect on the some of the other parts in the group head.
So my new cleaning routine now as suggested by the importer is (providing you are using soft filtered water) is to back flush with water once a day, back flush with cleaning solution once a month (but this would depend on how many coffees you make daily/weekly - I also clean the showerscreen reguarly) and descale every 2 years - but again as trentski said, I will be checking the mushroom every 6 months for scale, and when i do that I will also be checking the boiler water level probe.
Good post Caps. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, over-maintaining can be as much (or even more) of a problem than under-maintaining.
Everyone take note
Thanks for all of your replies. Appreciate it.
I have been using bottled water since Day 1. Although I have never checked the hardness of my water, I am quite sure that it should fall under the "soft" category.
I will try to check the mushroom. When doing so, what should I look for? I have been searching for a tutorial video on YouTube without any luck so far (found one but it was not really great).
Very interesting this. For what is worth, here in sunny GB, the consensus on the coffee forums dot co dot uk here is to use bottled soft water.
In the UK there are only 3 main brands of water which will not scale up your machine, one of them being Volvic. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of bottled water is very hard an high in minerals.
There has been tests done and, on a hard water area, a Britta filter will lose its effectiveness pretty quickly, sometimes as fast as 3 weeks.
I personally use bottled water which I know it is soft (you can look into the water composition and work out), but as a general rule of thumb you want something below 110 TDS. However, ironically a tasty espresso needs water which is rich in minerals, so one technically goes against the other.
I've checked my mushroom not too long ago and all is good (1 year or so from new). One member in the UK forum has been using Volvic for 2 years and the machine has no signs of scaling up.
One forum member descaled his Rocket machine and the mushroom showed signs of corrosion.
For me, when the time comes for descaling, I think I'll take the machine to be serviced at the authorised dealer and they can take care of that as they know what they are doing more than I do. :-)
Some reading material on the matter:
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