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  • rain water and coffe machines - decalcify needed?

    I had recently been given a Jura Z5 automatic machine from the father in-law, I think it was too complicated for him . I spent last night running the cleaning program and the decalcify program so the machine should be fine now.

    I was wondering because I can only use rain water for the unit do I really need to decalcify ever again.

    Rain water is basically the same as demineralised water ?. I used a hardness test strip and it came up as 0 The water coming into the house is very clean with no debris in gutters and filtered into the house

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

    In urban situations water authorities dont recommend rainwateter be used for drinking --- because it can pick up contaminants between the clouds and your glass. It dissolves airborne chemicals and then there is always the debris on the collectors.

    But unlike groundwater, there is no reason for it to contain any worrying levels of calcium or magnesium which results in limescale.

    So providing you are satisfied it is filtered clean, itll be ok.

    In any case, if you use rainwater in the electric jug, look at the element and if should be pristine, fre of that telltale rusty look.

    -Robusto

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    • #3
      Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

      Probably best to buy demineralised water. Its cheap as chips at your local supermarket, as long as you get the no brand names.

      I think $2 buys 2 litres. Thats a lot of espresso and steaming!

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      • #4
        Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

        Originally posted by tempestv8 link=1177020867/0#2 date=1177028965
        Probably best to buy demineralised water. Its cheap as chips at your local supermarket, as long as you get the no brand names.

        I think $2 buys 2 litres. Thats a lot of espresso and steaming!
        But if your machine has a water level sensor for auto fill - demineralised water will kill it - the level sensor needs minerals to work - no minerals it wont sense that the tank is full...... you can imagine the rest! :-[

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        • #5
          Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

          I use rainwater and still de scale etc regardless. My machine runs better after I have done it too.

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          • #6
            Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

            2 litres doesnt last long at my place.
            3 coffes minimum a day plus cleaning and its gone pretty quick.
            I use a Brita filter. Even cheaper.

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            • #7
              Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

              Ditto TG.


              For the Jura, I dont think autofill would be an issue.

              -Robusto

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              • #8
                Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                Originally posted by robusto link=1177020867/0#6 date=1177032301
                Ditto TG.


                For the Jura, I dont think autofill would be an issue.

                -Robusto
                Nope not an issue for the Jura but for those with prosumer machines who read this thread it is (and the warning about not using demineralised and reverse osmosis water certainly appliers to them).

                By the way theres is a significant school of thought that some hardness in the water improves the taste of the resultant coffee.... for example many users in the US who use reverse osmosis filtering on their water add some calcium back to enhance the flavour (it has something to do with the perception of the taste buds as far as I can recall.....)

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                • #9
                  Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                  CHEER!! Thanks for the feedback.... cool no more decalcifying, I might use up the tablets I have

                  I used to live on town water and the thought of rain water off a dirty roof was disgusting. I move down the road about 10 minutes in a nice quite spot. Only problem was no town water and Im only about 20minutes from the heart of Brisbane..

                  If you do things right rain water tanks are very nice. My gutter have screens then the storm water catcher have finer screens then when pumped out the tank go though a 10 micron filter to supply the house.....Now I dread the thought of town water with all those dirty pipes and added chemicals.


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                  • #10
                    Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                    After a 3-month wait, we had a large rainwater tank delivered last Friday. Its all plumped in, ready to go....waiting....waiting....for those precious drops of forecast raindrops....which never arrive. Sob.

                    I always said, with my luck, soon as we get a raintank itll either pour down so we wont need it...or never rain to fill it.

                    -Robusto

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                    • #11
                      Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                      But if your machine has a water level sensor for auto fill - demineralised water will kill it - the level sensor needs minerals to work - no minerals it wont sense that the tank is full...... you can imagine the rest! :-[
                      Hi JavaB
                      I have had this problem twice only 18 months apart in my ECM Giotto Classic, and this is one subject that puzzles me. The general advice is to use "clean" water, and I have been using an under-sink "Clearwater" filtered water. At repair by the ECM distributors, they say that there is lime build-up on the probe that contains the sensor that detects the water level in the boiler, and that this lime coating stops the sensor from detecting the water level and then it just continues to draw water from the water tank into the boiler, overfilling and spilling out of the machine, requiring a costly repair.

                      I am confused if the problem is due to the lime build-up or the lack of minerals in water as suggested by JavaB. How does one prevent this problem? I have read where a HX like Giotto should not have decalcifiers run through (why?), but obviously the filtered water I am using is not good enough.

                      Anyone with similar problem - any ideas on how to prevent?

                      cheers
                      Stephen

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                      • #12
                        Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                        Stephen.....

                        There are two seperate problems....

                        One is you need minerals in the water for the level detection to work..... but these need to be soluble minerals that dont form a scale coating and then insulate the level detector..... sodium salts are fine for example....

                        But calcium salts when heated precipitate and form scale.... which is a layer of mainly calcium carbonate.... or basically limestone. This layer insulates the level probe.....

                        So there are "good" and "bad" salts. How do you get the good ones? Use a water softener - NOT a water filter. Water softeners work by a process called ion exchange.... they remove the calcium ions from the water (from the calcium carbonate) and replace them with sodium (then becoming sodium carbonate). Sodium carbonate does conduct electricity and doesnt precipitate when boiled - Voila you have fixed both problems.....

                        So, just get yourself a water softener (most quality machine retailers can supply you with one) and you will have no more problems.

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                        • #13
                          Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                          thanks JavaB
                          I dont know the technical specifics sufficiently about HX machines or the water level sensing probes etc to have a valid opinion, and your explanation makes some sense.
                          However:
                          1) I did not think water in Sydney was "hard"?
                          2) I had my Giottos boiler decalcified last week, and the probe cleaned. Since then, I have been using triple-filtered "Nobles Pureay" water. This should not let any Ca or Na carbonates into the water in the boiler, yet the probe sensor IS detecting the water level normally - so it is difficult to understand that sodium salts are required for the probe to work.
                          3) if one adds a good commercial-grade softener to the water, that presumably adds the good sodium, but how does that remove the bad calcium? Doe sone need to add the softener to filtered water, or just tap water?
                          Im a scientist by trade and nature, hence my probing to understand this problem.

                          Your advice would be greatly appreciated. I am curious why there are not more posts about what I thought would be a common, expensive problem.

                          Stephen

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                          • #14
                            Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                            Stephen

                            Water in Sydney is relatively "soft" - at least compared to Adelaide and where I live - Perth.

                            However all water contains some Calcium salts - as well as other soluble salts. And when the water is boiled these calcium salts will precipitate out of solution forming scale.

                            Filtered water only removes heavy metals (bad for your health), biological impurities (again bad for your health) and chlorine and fluorine..... maybe good for your health - but many thing it causes the water to taste funny and of course particulate matter.... "dirt!!". Water filtration alone (no matter how many times it is done) will not remove soluble small ions in the water like calcium and sodium... so your level probe is in a conducting solution - and works.

                            But the calcium is still there and for longest possible life of your machine needs to be removed. This is done with an ion exchange water softener - a totally different device to a water filter. The material in the softener has an affinity for calcium ions which it grabs out of solution and replaces them with sodium..... every so often the material becomes saturated with calcium and will no longer work. It is then "reactivated" with common or garden salt.... sodium chloride - at a very high concentration. This high concentration forces the calcium out (and it gets flushed away) and sodium ions take the place of the calcium.... and after a good flush it is put back into service again.

                            There are a few special filters which also do this and are disposable - and very expensive..... but normal filters do nothing to remove calcium. All commercial machines use water softeners and so should all plumbed in prosumer machines. Those with a tank can use a Britta filter- but these filters only remove calcium for a relatively short time---- as they do contain the special resins and they do work - but cant be regenerated.

                            Hope that helps.

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                            • #15
                              Re: rain water and coffe machines - decalcify need

                              Yes that does help, JavaB - thanks.
                              Though the analysis of the Nobles Pureau water I have just started using says: " sodium NIL, calcium NIL, potassium NIL, magnesium NIL, bicarbonates, nitrates, sulphates, chlorides all NIL.

                              I take it that your recommendation is to use both filtered water PLUS commercial grade water softener?

                              There is nothing special with Britta is there? It is just a filtered water?

                              Is there any reason why one cant run a decalcifier, even vinegar, through a HX machine occasionally, as long as it is flushed through well at the end of the process? If one is handy enough, the probe (it is inserted at the top of the boiler) can be withdrawn and cleaned too?

                              Stephen

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