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Thread: Is water filtration even necessary for HX machines using Sydney water

  1. #1
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    Is water filtration even necessary for HX machines using Sydney water

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    This question is specific to Sydney water - according to google it's hardness is 57ppm which is on the low end in this country

    Add this to the fact that for a HX machine, the only time the boiler needs to have a sip is after you've let out enough steam, which means tiny sips each time you use the machine. This introduces tiny tiny amounts of Mg / Ca into the boiler water, which will add to scale, but is tiny.

    The brewhead water circuit consumes much more water and therefore will scale faster but brewhead scaling is completely flushed out with a proper backflush which is incredibly easy (just add a bit of proprietary descaling powder to it, which is bascially a weak acid similar to vinegar, to dissolve all the carbonates that make up scale).

    Now if you look at the cost of the leading filtration product pushed on here, the Brita C150, its spec demands 12 monthly recharges at $120 per pop. Consider how much does it cost for a professional to descale the boiler? How often would one need to do this if the boiler consumes totally unfiltered Sydney water at 57ppm average hardness? I think at $120 per pop, it's cheaper to pay a professional their full hourly rate (2 hour job max for them) once every 5-10 years for a proper descale, if that's even needed (probably not).

    thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    My thoughts:
    1. There are plenty enough threads that battle this out.
    2. Measure your hardness in situ before making decisions.
    3. You're not just filtering for hardness anyway - that tends to be forgotten.
    4. My terrible science: If PPM is not at satisfactory levels, 100% of the water that goes into your boiler will be at your measured-before-filtering ppm (if unfiltered), and unless you prime your boiler with RO water (don't), it'll stay at/around that ppm. Without managing the ppm, the only reason you'd have 'tiny' amounts of Mg / Ca in your boiler from sipping your tank/inlet is because the rest has already left solution and become scale. Pour red water out of a cup and reintroduce more equally red water - it won't get lighter. Let that red dye stain the cup, having lighter coloured water will be indicative of a problem, not success.
    So... the only way this will work is if a. you're happy with the PPM, and b. you can guarantee the ppm will stay within your tolerances without filtration assistance.
    5. You'll probably want to avoid stale water in the boiler by letting some out each day anyway, increasing the flow through.

    All of that is just my personal thoughts. This is my criticism:
    1. You haven't accounted for the water flowthrough of the HX, only the brew head.
    2. You claim the backflush procedure is 100% efficient for preserving the brew head
    3. 57ppm may not be low enough to avoid a yearly descale

    Filtration is your 'insurance policy'. My car is still insured, even though I mostly catch the train.
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    Interesting... thank you for your detailed analysis! I didn't quite understand point 4 - do you mind rephrasing it?

    "Without managing the ppm, the only reason you'd have 'tiny' amounts of Mg / Ca in your boiler from sipping your tank/inlet is because the rest has already left solution and become scale. Pour red water out of a cup and reintroduce more equally red water - it won't get lighter. Let that red dye stain the cup, having lighter coloured water will be indicative of a problem, not success."

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    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Basically it was saying "you'll never have only a little bit of Mg /Ca in solution in your boiler (read: less than PPM), it will always be the value of your PPM going into the boiler" the only situations where this wouldn't be true is if you start with no Mg / Ca at all when you prime the boiler, or when scale build up reduces the dilution of your hardness solution by taking Mg / Ca out.

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    Is water filtration even necessary for HX machines using Sydney water

    Quote Originally Posted by scientist View Post
    This question is specific to Sydney water - according to google it's hardness is 57ppm which is on the low end in this country

    Add this to the fact that for a HX machine, the only time the boiler needs to have a sip is after you've let out enough steam, which means tiny sips each time you use the machine. This introduces tiny tiny amounts of Mg / Ca into the boiler water, which will add to scale, but is tiny.

    The brewhead water circuit consumes much more water and therefore will scale faster but brewhead scaling is
    It's actually the other way around. The scale problems are in the boiler. It's the LACK of water throughput that creates the issue.

    To explain, the boiler loses water as steam, and a little bit of fresh water then comes in to replace it. The problem, is that when you boil off steam, the dissolved minerals get left behind. This means that over time, these chemicals increase in concentration in the boiler.



    One good tip is to regularly use the hot water tap on the machine. Pull a couple of cupfuls every day. This at least introduces a decent amount of fresh water into the boiler and reduces the concentration of dissolved minerals.

    But I'd still go with some filtration.
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  6. #6
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientist View Post
    thoughts?
    My thoughts? Wrong, wrong and then even more wrongerer....

    We're happy to pick up the pieces at our hourly rate....

    Try humanities instead?
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  7. #7
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    I purchased the Aqua pro DIY bench-top filter (which is a sponsor recommended alternative to the Brita) for ~ $120 and I replace the filter cartridge every 6 months (Brisbane water) at ~ $60 each. I also like having filtered drinking water, but Brisbane water is certainly different to Sydney & Melbourne.

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    OP, my suburb's water source in Perth is 67 but I know another Perth suburb is over 200. I seriously doubt Google would know what your water is. Go to the source, contact the Sydney water board directly and they should be able to tell you exactly.

  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Cheap and easy enough to measure it yourself at home...
    Don't know why you'd bother with some kind of generic number supplied by a bureaucrat...

    Mal.
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  10. #10
    axs
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    H Mal,
    Just want your opinion on these cheap (~$10) "TDS 3 Water Tester" from the bay.
    Are they good enough for home use?
    I'm in SE Melbourne and it shows ~40ppm, sounds about right.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Cheap and easy enough to measure it yourself at home...
    Don't know why you'd bother with some kind of generic number supplied by a bureaucrat...

    Mal.
    Maybe we're spoilt here in the West but our water quality reports are very very detailed, minimum, max, mean for E-coli, metals, pesticides, chlorine, ph etc etc. You name it. And for every water source, not just average Perth value. Call them up, give your address and they'll tell you exactly where your water comes from and what's in it.

    http://www.watercorporation.com.au/-...2014.pdf?la=en

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Well, good for you mate.
    Not all of us are so lucky...

    Mal.

  13. #13
    TC
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    A story...

    I have two clients who live next door to each other. Dog, cat 2.2 kids. Same age, same lifestyle. Bought the same machine on the same day. Both used brita jugs and replaced the cartridges as advised.

    Machines return for service together a year later. One has significant scale, the other pretty much nothing.

    Best get your water tested so you know what you have. Local authorities can only provide a snapshot of a sample on a day wherever they choose to do it.
    Last edited by TC; 10th December 2015 at 06:13 AM. Reason: tpyp

  14. #14
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    Unless one of them has a rainwater tank, that story probably has more to do with machine usage than water quality...

    Unless you conduct regular analysis of the water delivered to you home how would your 1-off measurement be any better than the periodic testing done by the water corp water quality chemist?

    I could have sworn I posted in this thread earlier?
    burr, scientist and MrFreddofrog like this.

  15. #15
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Unless one of them has a rainwater tank, that story probably has more to do with machine usage than water quality...

    Unless you conduct regular analysis of the water delivered to you home how would your 1-off measurement be any better than the periodic testing done by the water corp water quality chemist?

    I could have sworn I posted in this thread earlier?
    Really? I would think that it's a real possibility. At the very least I certainly wouldn't count it out. What's the land like in the area? Is it hilly? If so, is one house higher than the other? Is one house really old, with old pipe work? There's many things that could affect water mineral content from house to house.

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    Many sources of calcium or carbonate ions in domestic piping (which is typically plastic copper, steel/iron or asbestos)? Nope.

    Also, residence time in domestic piping vs scheme will be tiny (if you do the dishes each day, you've probably flushed the pipes at least once).

    Impossible? No. But I'd be willing to bet water quality is significantly less likely to be the cause than other factors (such as how much water has passed through the boiler) in the case of two neighbors with the same mains supply...

  17. #17
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    I use Brita filtered water here in Sydney byt have still had significant scale.

    One time Renzo from Di Bartoli replaced the mushroom in my machine because it was so bad and displayed it as an example of what can still happen.

    Recently I had the machine serviced by Coffee Parts and Pedro is recommending better filtered water as the scale was bad again.

    I'd say it is right that you shouldn't assume what your water quality is.
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  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    How are you TG....

    Long time no see...

    Mal.
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