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Thread: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

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    Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have seen you tube videos, downloaded instructions from American sites (which dont necessarily match our machines) etc etc and have read that descaling should only be done by technicians, even Chris at Talk Coffee was a little discouraging when I mentioned descaling.

    Im sure there are enough VBM junior users out there now in Aus and NZ who have a good reliable method for descaling.

    If you do regularly descale your VBM junior could you share the steps that your follow including what descaler you use.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Yeah, when I bought mine, Renzo at Di Bartoli didnt seem to think I will need to descale at home.

    As long as youre using appropriately filtered water.

    I guess if it goes in for a service between 12-24 months old it can be done then by the servicing technician.

    I am not sure why it gets discouraged for the home user.

    And if you dont descale - do you run the risk of problems down the track ?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 20272C2C273636420 link=1269222156/1#1 date=1269222638
    Yeah, when I bought mine, Renzo at Di Bartoli didnt seem to think I will need to descale at home.

    As long as youre using appropriately filtered water.

    I guess if it goes in for a service between 12-24 months old it can be done then by the servicing technician.

    I am not sure why it gets discouraged for the home user.

    And if you dont descale - do you run the risk of problems down the track ?

    I would also suggest it is not part of any regular HOME maintenance..


    1: Good water is a must.. With out it you will have problems...

    2: Backflushing uses different chemicals and only does the area that coffee oils would normally gather..

    3: Descaling is a lot more involved due to many reasons.. One being WHS for the person performing it and for any one that might be drinking coffee afterwards. Then depending on the typr of solution... It can also have an impact on seals etc that should be changes after a de scale as part of a full blown service.


    What.. I hear you say - But what about all the talk about Descaling EM6910s etc etc... Thermo blocks etc are simple... NO big cavities to fill and where scaling solution can splash around and stick to surfaces that may not get so well flushed / rinsed.

    Note: WHS is also why they also say not to run the steam arm... descaler running at hotter than required temps...





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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    And yet one of our NZ coffeesnobs (Skelly) says he descales bimonthly. So there are obviously VBM users out there that descale at home.

    Skelly (or any others) if you are "listening" let us know your descaling procedures on a VBM

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 010211110A630 link=1269222156/3#3 date=1269228850
    And yet one of our NZ coffeesnobs (Skelly) says he descales bimonthly. So there are obviously VBM users out there that descale at home.

    Skelly (or any others) if you are "listening" let us know your descaling procedures on a VBM
    I think assumptions and terminology may well be confusing people.

    I hear many say De Scaling when they mean a Chemical back flush.

    1: Backflush to many is just with water - A rinse to me :-X

    2: Backflush using chemicals often called a descale by some. - This is a backflush to me :)


    As a true descale would take a few hrs and you would have to fill and drain ya boiler at least 3 times with clean water etc.. *Not something I would be doing every every day / month / 3 months etc... *Once a year maybe; as part of a major service if I had dirty water.




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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    No Im not talking chemical backflushing. I do that weekly

    Im talking the true descale where you put descaler in your water tank

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F4C5F5F442D0 link=1269222156/3#3 date=1269228850
    And yet one of our NZ coffeesnobs says he descales bimonthly. *
    I wouldnt recommend that...

    We learned in year 7: acid + metal = *:-? :-?

    Better is to purchase appropriate filtration- not a a brita jug or drinking water filter and minimise scale buildup. Descale when the machine requires it...

    Chris

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    barri I contemplated descaling my Giotto myself and did lots of reading about it. I read different information from different sites and it did not seem like a simple enough procedure to confidently to it myself.

    In the end I simply paid the pros at coffee craft to do it for me and glad I did. A relatively small amount of money to pay for the peace of mind knowing its been done right.



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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5D5C56455B5E44370 link=1269222156/7#7 date=1269232772
    barri I contemplated descaling my Giotto myself and did lots of reading about it. *I read different information from different sites and it did not seem like a simple enough procedure to confidently to it myself.

    In the end I simply paid the pros at coffee craft to do it for me and glad I did. *A relatively small amount of money to pay for the peace of mind knowing its been done right.

    OK Ive think Ive got the message!

    How often, then, should it be professionally descaled assuming 3 or 4 cups a day using unfiltered water and can I ask how much you paid?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 6360737368010 link=1269222156/8#8 date=1269237109
    OK Ive think Ive got the message!

    How often, then, should it be professionally descaled assuming 3 or 4 cups a day using unfiltered water and can I ask how much you paid?
    1: 3 to 4 cups is only part of the issue...

    A: It is to do with the element ON time / the heat reached etc *and the level of minerals in the water.

    If ya only have 3 cups a day and leave on all day.. *That will be more of an issue; than 9 cups and only on for say two hrs. *( Rough data not hard and fast facts)


    2: Why the unfiltered water ? *Many reasonable options that do not cost an arm and a leg and do not have to be fixed; if ya renting etc.

    Prevention is better than a last min cure.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Any non fixed suggestions then?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 717261617A130 link=1269222156/10#10 date=1269238663
    Any non fixed suggestions then?

    Bombora have a bench top filter system - Code BCTF-SOFT - that has been designed for use with domestic coffee equipment.

    "The BCTF-SOFT contains a combination filter that has carbon
    and cation resin media offering sediment, chemical and softening
    capacity."

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Hi barri,

    Descaling an Hx properly is a fussy and reasonably complex task. There are a few sites that detail it, and despite being very handy myself Im going to leave it to the experts. It does require some internal dismantling and some electrical disconnecting/reconnecting for a complete job.

    I really recommend you get a filter+softener, Bombora will be VERY helpful, and then descaling neednt be done until problems arise. The price of a good filter+softener should only be about 10% or so of the machine price.

    Greg

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4D787572465A767F7F7C7C190 link=1269222156/6#6 date=1269231706
    Better is to purchase appropriate filtration

    Quote Originally Posted by 5E6B7C7E4E766B7478757D190 link=1269222156/12#12 date=1269258028
    I really recommend you get a filter+softener, Bombora will be VERY helpful, and then descaling neednt be done until problems arise.
    And I couldnt agree more!

    I run a 2group Elektra at work with .75mm jets in the group. The tiniest impurity would certainly block these. Ive been using Bomboras filtration system for over a year, and recently checked the jets - they look as new as the day I installed them. 8-)

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B382B2B30590 link=1269222156/8#8 date=1269237109
    How often, then, should it be professionally descaled assuming 3 or 4 cups a day using unfiltered water and can I ask how much you paid?
    The issue of unfiltered water has been dealt with.

    For your level of usage Im guessing you wouldnt need to do it any more frequently than once per year.

    I got my Giotto descaled, serviced and an o-ring replaced in the hot water arm for $101 in total at a CS sponsor. Not sure if that is cheap/average/expensive but seems pretty reasonable to me.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    I was a naughty boy and used my GPP for 2 months without water filtration.......i checked the mushroom just before i installed the filter and it was COVERED in the initial stages of scale, green semi attached goo, when i say covered, it literally was covered, about 2-3mm thick, i descaled it with chriss guidance, then installed the scale filtration and its now clean as a whistle....12 months down the track :)

    Depending on your location, without filtration, your machine WILL fail in time, i would suggest in worst case scenario, in under 12 months......

    Bombora has some articles that cover australias "typical" water hardness levels based on location, its a general guide only though.

    cheers
    warren

    PS ive heard some of the site sponsors that service these machines on a daily basis tell some horror stories about scale and machine destruction......its not something you want to put off till next week ;D

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Does anyone know how these water filters hook up to a tanked coffee machine?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    You can just hook it up so you have just a tap on the benchtop, you know those filtered water taps?, all the filtration is hidden under the sink, or as i have done, have the filter in a line with a tap, i simply remove the top cover of my machine, poke the hose (5mm) in the hole and turn on the tap till full, works for me ;)

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Do you have to get a plumber to install these filters or is it a DIY job? Id imagine youd need to install an extra water outlet under the sink, to plug the tap/filter into.

    I currently use brita water jug filter but wonder how effective they are in terms of reducing scale build up. I will do a couple before and after water hardness tests tonight.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    under my sink has those braided SS hoses to the taps, my method was to purchase a few items from bunnings
    1. 1 three way brass splitter
    2. 2 200mm braided hose
    3. 1 1000mm braided hose
    4. 1 inline tap
    5. 1 omnipure inline SCL10 filter (not from bunnings)

    then you would need to set up either to a "tap" on the bench or something

    mine is a fully plumbed machine so i just attach to the machine

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 425946515C0801300 link=1269222156/18#18 date=1269295823
    Do you have to get a plumber to install these filters or is it a DIY job? Id imagine youd need to install an extra water outlet under the sink, to plug the tap/filter into. *
    I got one of the bench top filters from Bombora as Im pretty limited in my undersink space as well as having no room on the sink to put a second tap in.

    Took all of about 2 minutes to install as it attaches to the the thread for the aerator on my tap. *The hardest part was cleaning off the thread from where the old aerator o-ring had perished and left crud everywhere.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    I bought:[*]http://www.bomborasupplies.com.au/product.php?productid=169&cat=8718&page=1[*]http://www.bomborasupplies.com.au/product.php?productid=168&cat=8718&page=1[*]2 x 1/4-1/2" nipples, 30cm of braided and a joiner and I just hooked into the braided hose leading to my flick mix tap under the kitchen sink...It took 10 min and everything which comes out of the cold tap is fantastic for drinking and great for coffee as well. All up cost was well under $200 8-)

    Chris

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 282E2B262C2E3B274F0 link=1269222156/20#20 date=1269298689
    Quote Originally Posted by 425946515C0801300 link=1269222156/18#18 date=1269295823
    Do you have to get a plumber to install these filters or is it a DIY job? Id imagine youd need to install an extra water outlet under the sink, to plug the tap/filter into. *
    I got one of the bench top filters from Bombora as Im pretty limited in my undersink space as well as having no room on the sink to put a second tap in.

    Took all of about 2 minutes to install as it attaches to the the thread for the aerator on my tap. *The hardest part was cleaning off the thread from where the old aerator o-ring had perished and left crud everywhere.
    How much did that cost Dave?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Hmm, unfortunately all my tap inlets and water pipes are behind a brick wall. Cant access any of it. :( The ones that attach to your aerator might be my best bet.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 756E71666B3F36070 link=1269222156/23#23 date=1269303819
    Hmm, unfortunately all my tap inlets and water pipes are behind a brick wall. Cant access any of it. :( *The ones that attach to your aerator might be my best bet.
    Rival - I have the same issue and I am thinking about putting an above-bench solution into my laundry where the washing machine water is.

    Such as http://www.bomborasupplies.com.au/pr...at=8719&page=1

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 454655554E270 link=1269222156/22#22 date=1269302301
    How much did that cost Dave? *

    It ended up being about $100 landed. *I looked at doing a setup like Chris, but unfortunately I have brass all the way to my taps and no cold water outlets under for a dishwasher.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D6B6E63696B7E620A0 link=1269222156/25#25 date=1269306878
    I have brass all the way to my taps and no cold water outlets under for a dishwasher.
    Ive wondered about this myself. Does this mean you cant put an underbench system in without getting a plumber to do it?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 5352584B55504A390 link=1269222156/26#26 date=1269307051
    Ive wondered about this myself.Does this mean you cant put an underbench system in without getting a plumber to do it?
    Not in my case, and Im pretty sure even if I did do some soldering it wouldnt quite be legit. Not sure on the regulations around that sort of modification.

    If I had cold water plumbed to my dishwasher I couldve just put a tee on that and used it for an underbench filter.

    Dave

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Looks like the type that fit to the existing tap wont be any good for me either since they say you shouldnt run hot water through them. This would mean i couldnt wash the dishes!

    Surely there must be a simple jug filter which reduces scale? Ive read some people say the brita filters do this, and some people say they are useless.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D76697E73272E1F0 link=1269222156/28#28 date=1269308531
    Looks like the type that fit to the existing tap wont be any good for me either since they say you shouldnt run hot water through them.
    The benchtop system that Bombora has uses a diverter valve so you can run water through the filter only when required.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Bombora have told me the Brita filter jug will do the trick (so long as the filter is replaced at proper intervals)

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 342F30272A7E77460 link=1269222156/30#30 date=1269314045
    Bombora have told me the Brita filter jug will do the trick (so long as the filter is replaced at proper intervals)
    :-? Thats not our observation- even with the most fastidious of owners- unless youre planning on replacing the cartridge every 10 litres...

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    HI,

    this probably needs some context ...the Brita filter will mostly do what you need BUT the issue is it has a limited volume - the softening resin is only good for 5-6 litres based on average Melbourne water hardness...which isnt much - so after that, there is no protection from scale formation ....the expectation is that this filter would do more volume (which is why most people dont rate them)...but the litreage capacity on the filter refers to chemical reduction - not softening.....this makes replacement expensive if its scale protection you are after .....a bench top system with a 3 stage sediment, chemical and softening filter costs around $ 99 (and a filter change every 6 - 12 months of around $ 50 ( depending on usege and Hardness)...much more economical

    cheers

    Bernard

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 04313C3B0F133F36363535500 link=1269222156/21#21 date=1269301373
    I bought:[*]http://www.bomborasupplies.com.au/product.php?productid=169&cat=8718&page=1[*]http://www.bomborasupplies.com.au/product.php?productid=168&cat=8718&page=1[*]2 x 1/4-1/2" nipples, 30cm of braided and a joiner and I just hooked into the braided hose leading to my flick mix tap under the kitchen sink...It took 10 min and everything which comes out of the cold tap is fantastic for drinking and great for coffee as well. All up cost was well under $200 *8-)

    Chris
    Does this set up require a pressure limiting valve? I am guessing any type of inline filter will.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 3B3A30233D3822510 link=1269222156/33#33 date=1269323547
    Does this set up require a pressure limiting valve? *I am guessing any type of inline filter will.
    The filters are rated to 9 bar CJ and it would be rare to see this as mains pressure- unless you have a fire hydrant for a cold tap ;D

    A PLV is used to ensure your machine gets no more than 350kPa

    Cheers

    Chris

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Just tested my water:

    KH (Carbonate hardness):
    Tap water: 5 degrees (89.5ppm)
    Brita filtered tap water: 2 degrees (35.8ppm)

    GH (General Hardness):
    Tap water: 9 degrees (161.1ppm)
    Brita filtered tap water: 4 degrees (71.6ppm)

    Anyone able to interpret anything from this, go ahead :)

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 794C4146726E424B4B48482D0 link=1269222156/34#34 date=1269327189
    The filters are rated to 9 bar CJ and it would be rare to see this as mains pressure- unless you have a fire hydrant for a cold tap *;D

    A PLV is used to ensure your machine gets no more than 350kPa
    Cheers for that Chris. I dont have a plumbed in machine so wouldnt be connecting directly so no PLV reqd by sounds of it.

    I just checked all our plumbing and unfortunately it seems that all the taps are plumbed directly from the wall. Not sure how Im going to integrate a fliter system. May have to plump it outside and have a line coming in?

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    My system is the same as Chriss and performs exactly as stated.... Not a sign of scale in the DJE coming up to 12 months use.

    I do have the PLV though as I intended plumbing my Bezzera in where the DJE now sits but its doing no harm where it is for now so it can stay where it is... ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 28332C3B36626B5A0 link=1269222156/35#35 date=1269334794
    Anyone able to interpret anything from this, go ahead Smiley

    It is the General Hardness (GH) you need to be looking at in this context.


    soft <17 mg/L CaCO3

    slightly hard 17-60 mg/L CaCO3

    moderately hard 60-120 mg/L CaCO3

    hard 120-180 mg/L CaCO3

    very hard >180 mg/L CaCO3

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 33342F27203235410 link=1269222156/38#38 date=1269391417
    Quote Originally Posted by 28332C3B36626B5A0 link=1269222156/35#35 date=1269334794
    Anyone able to interpret anything from this, go ahead Smiley

    It is the General Hardness (GH) you need to be looking at in this context.
    Yes and same temp and volumes etc etc... Testing methods must ensure Apples with Apples

    Then there is what happens at the operating temp..

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 7B607F68653138090 link=1269222156/35#35 date=1269334794
    Just tested my water:
    The real test for the Brita jug is to repeat your test over and over and document what happens to the levels. The jug will reduce hardness - the question, as stated above, for how long. It is the long run average cost and the PITA ratio that counts here.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    I started this thread and now I am completely demoralized. :(

    The journey of moving from 6910s to VBM HXs has been exciting up till now. My shots are great, my steaming is now good, my pouring has improved etc etc, in fact I enjoy making the coffees just as much as drinking them. I have a good backflush and cleaning routine but here I am thinking I could descale myself and this thread has convinced me otherwise but its got worse, I have to now spend more money and do some plumbing. I dont think this is spelled out loud enough when you buy a machine. Its like an anticlimax

    Anyway whats the simplest, non plumbing method, of using acceptable (whatever that means) filtered water. Is it the jug but replacing cartridges regularly or is it this benchtop solution and does that make our newely renovated kitchen look ugly? I really couldnt be bothered with some permanent solution that requires a plumber or a skilled handyman.

    The journey has stalled. :(


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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    barri, where are you located?

    I dont like to see people unhappy with the outcome of their purchase, whether its from me or someone else.

    If you happen to be in Sydney, Id be happy to descale your machine for free, the next time its required, which is usually about every 12 months.

    Youre also welcome to watch and learn so that you can do this yourself in future.

    Cheers!


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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F4C5F5F442D0 link=1269222156/41#41 date=1269399334
    Anyway whats the simplest, non plumbing method, of using acceptable (whatever that means) filtered water. Is it the jug but replacing cartridges regularly or is it this benchtop solution and does that make our newely renovated kitchen look ugly? I really couldnt be bothered with some permanent solution that requires a plumber or a skilled handyman.

    For me the easiest was the benchtop setup. *Fits on my aerator, theres a little switch to choose when to run water through the filter. *The unit isnt what Id call sexy, but its not too bad either. *Its probably 30-40cm tall and about as round as a cappuccino saucer. *Up front $99, and then $50 every six months or so.

    I think there was also a slip over attachment for taps that dont have the aerator thread. *Im sure bombora could give you more info. *I stopped looking at what was in the box once I had it fitted.

  45. #45
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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Dont get put off Barri, have you done any tests on your water supply?Ive been using espresso machines for 5 years now with no filtration or softeners, maybe im just lucky with our well supply water.I did do a couple of de-scales and only ended up with green water from the copper pipes! Ive dis-assembled my machines to check the boilers and found nothing.
    Im certainly not advocating everyone can get away with this, but it all comes down to your water supply.If its not that hard, you may not need complicated or expensive filtration systems.You can always check your mushroom in the e-61 grouphead periodically to see if there is any scale build-up.
    Doing a de-scale is not rocket science, but you do need a good understanding of how your machine works.The reason most vendors advise against home users doing it is because of all the post we see on here like "i just de-scaled my machine and now theres no water flow" Its easy to stuff it up if you dont understand how a heat exchanger machine works.

  46. #46
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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Hi Barri,

    Thats a generous offer from Dennis (good one)

    I can also help a little......post me a water sample (200mls in a clean bottle should do) and i can run some tests and see what you can get away with for your filtration....p.s. i have a new photometric water profiling machine coming next week and i am looking to run some intial tests to get in the swing of it

    cheers

    Bernard

  47. #47
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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    It seems there is no easy way (eg jug filter) to filter water to the point where scale is eliminated completely.

    Scale affects irons, kettles, everything with a heating element... in the end you have to descale at some point. It makes sense to invest in good filtration so that you dont have to descale quite as often.

    Obviously none of us should use tap water but even my water test last night showed a huge improvement and a softening of my tap water by using a brita filter jug (carbonate hardness 35ppm, down from 89ppm). Tonight i am going to do the same test and run the water through the jug twice and see how low it gets.

    I have heard some people say the Brita filter wont help reduce scale - not true. The filter contains an ion-exchange resin stage. The ion-exchange resin softens the water, as shown in my water test. Carbon absorbs chlorine and organic compounds. And there is basic sediment filtration as well. The down side is the brita jug softening may not last more than a month or two... time will tell - ill do more tests over the coming weeks. A simple bench top system such as that offered by bombora is probably more cost effective long term and less work.

    Interestingly, according to this article by someone from Cafetto, hard water actually improves the taste of coffee somewhat in comparison to very soft water:

    http://www.bestcafes.com.au/water-and-espresso-coffee

  48. #48
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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B504F58550108390 link=1269222156/46#46 date=1269404950
    .....The down side is the brita jug softening may not last more than a month or two...
    Quote Originally Posted by 5B56545B564B58390 link=1269222156/32#32 date=1269317624
    Hi,

    this probably needs some context ...the Brita filter will mostly do what you need BUT the issue is it has a limited volume - the softening resin is only good for 5-6 litres based on average Melbourne water hardness...which isnt much...

    Bernard
    :-? Seems our resident water specialist disagrees about volumes...

  49. #49
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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    yeh, ive had this filter in use for one week. Ill let you all know how long the softening lasts... and if it diminishes over the coming days.

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    Re: Descaling a vibiemme junior (or senior)

    Quote Originally Posted by 666576766D040 link=1269222156/41#41 date=1269399334
    I started this thread and now I am completely demoralized.
    personally wouldnt worry about it. Just run it with your water, and if you do get any problems, take it in for a service then. if it doesnt last long before a service, investigate filtration, otherwise if it goes years all is good. I have run a HX for 4yrs basically non stop from melb water and no issuds at all.



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