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Nuova Simonelli Appia "S" on the road: preventing scale buildup

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  • Nuova Simonelli Appia "S" on the road: preventing scale buildup

    Hi All,
    The company I work for is using a Nuova Simonelli Appia "S" Gr.1 1500W brewer for mobile catering and we are experiencing a lot of scale buildup as a result of unpredictable water quality. I am wondering if there is anything we can do to filter or condition the water in a mobile environment before it enters our brewer so that we don't have to service it as often. Also, where can an end user acquire service and parts literature, or special service tools in Canada?
    Thanks for any help, D

  • #2
    I would imagine that you or your company purchasing or service section could contact a business in your area that specialises in water quality, and it will be able to assist you with appropriate scale inhibiting water conditioning apparatus for your particular situation. You probably need to be confident that your company is willing to spend the money on such (which of course should go hand in hand with any commercial coffee making situation)....ie, the equipment shouldnt have been set up without it in the first place, and setting up without is a false economy because any "saving" from not fitting filtration equipment first up, will be added back to the running cost and then some, later on down the line as you have found, not to mention the inconvenience and frustration when the equipment suffers from the lack of good water in use.....

    If you do not know who to contact in Canada wrt NS service, just email them in Italy and ask them who the importer is for Canada / US, and take it on down the line from there. I imagine their address will be something like nuovasimonelli.it

    HTH.

    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
      I would imagine that you or your company purchasing or service section could contact a business in your area that specialises in water quality, and it will be able to assist you with appropriate scale inhibiting water conditioning apparatus for your particular situation. You probably need to be confident that your company is willing to spend the money on such (which of course should go hand in hand with any commercial coffee making situation)....ie, the equipment shouldnt have been set up without it in the first place, and setting up without is a false economy because any "saving" from not fitting filtration equipment first up, will be added back to the running cost and then some, later on down the line as you have found, not to mention the inconvenience and frustration when the equipment suffers from the lack of good water in use.....

      Attilio
      very first CS site sponsor.
      Hi Attilio,

      Thank you for the quick reply. Our difficulty is that we have not found water conditioning apparatus that is portable. We don't have a catering truck or trailer (caravan) that the brewer is permanently installed in; rather we load the brewer (gently) into our transport vehicle and set it up on tables. We've thought about permanently installing stationary equipment onto a hand dolly and wheeling it around to wherever we need it, but are wondering if anyone has devised an easier solution.

      Thanks for your help. I did find Nuova Distribution in Washington thanks to your suggestions. Regards, D

      Comment


      • #4
        From my experiences, rotary pumps in a coffee cart situation (ie. an unpressurised water source) don't work well with in-line filtration anyway, I think you are better off looking into a portable filter setup that you run your source water through BEFORE it gets into the tank which the machine draws from. Just keep it in the car with a range of adaptors, and hook it up to a convenient tap at each location.

        Comment


        • #5
          Agreed. In that case, you basically just want a short hose that you set up with an in line scale inhibiting water filter cartridge, where one end of the hose can be connected to common garden taps wherever you are, and you poke the other end into containers that you will fill with filtered water to feed the machine with. Its elementary my dear watson!

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi all, and thanks for the quick replies. I spoke to the owner of the machine, and apparently they are using reverse-osmosis filtered water in the machine which drinks it from large water cooler bottles. However, they have not been descaling the machine. What's happened is that scale flakes have gotten into the hot water valve solenoid, causing the nozzle to drip. I've had the machine covers off now and am just starting to get into it for a descale. I went to my local restaurant equipment dealer and picked up both descaling products they carry. One is a 28G packet of Urnex Dezcal powdered descaler containing citric acid, and the other is a 4L jug of Hawco descaling fluid which is a phosphoric acid cleaner.
            Now I've read the sticky about descaling HX machines, and my plan is to mix the acid descaler, drain the boiler as empty as I can, turn it on, drink the descaler into the boiler, bring it to pressure, then open the steam valve and/or hot water valve to rinse them out with the descaler. I have only two concerns about this. First, from what I see of the machine and the parts manual for it, this is not an HX machine. I only have one copper boiler and I think the heating element comes in direct contact with the water served by the machine. Two, How can you get away with turning on a water heater of any kind if the element is exposed? Will this not cause it to overheat? It would seem if I wanted to keep the element submerged I would have to leave the 5L boiler at least 1/3 full, which would further dilute the solution I draw into it to a point where it would be less effective. Do I need to calculate the amount left in the boiler and strengthen the mix ratio to compensate?
            Finally, I plan to remove the heating element from the boiler once the descaling has been completed and evaluate how much scale is left. If there's too much, and I have to disassemble the boiler and tubes, etc how do I descale them?
            I am an industrial equipment mechanic by trade and am quite comfortable working around 110VAC and industrial equipment, but descaling is a new one on me. If anyone can walk me through this, it would be much appreciated. I plan to give the packet of Dezcal to the owner and instruct him to descale the machine with it on a weekly basis to keep the scale down to a point where the machine won't have to be disassembled for descaling again.
            Anything else we should be servicing on a regular basis? The group head is getting resealed with genuine gaskets and seals occasionally as well.
            Many thanks, D

            Comment


            • #7
              Dave. Replies in point form for efficiency:

              As far as I know it IS a heat exchanger ("HX") machine.

              If you leave the electric element uncovered (without water) and power it up, it will blow.

              Unless the machine is on its last legs due to scale contamination my advice is NOT to attempt to descale it in toto, and I WoULD NOT give a pack of descaler to the owner and advise them to do this very week....or ever for that matter. The idea is to make sure that the water being fed to the machine has been descaled or scale inhibited before it enters the machine, period.

              Contrary to apparent popular forum legend, scale in a boiler does not much as long as it is not blocking anything up in there. The areas most likely to become blocked through use of UNconditioned water, are the areas in the machine with the smallest passages such as electrovalves and groups. They can in most cases be readily mechanically descaled when necessary. Fit new heat proof O rings whenever removing and replacing electrovalves. If a group were to become blocked, first check the electrovalve and if that brings no joy, open up the group and check. If that rectifies a problem, that's enough. If it doesnt rectifiy a problem, you then chase backwards from the group to the boiler and remove the feed piping for inspection. It the piping is badly blocked, soak it, check, then refit etc. But remember everytime you do this you degrade the copper so only do if necessary.

              For the rest of it, if it aint broke, dont fix it. Start feeding it properly conditioned water ASAP.

              Just my 3.6 cents worth, and other equipment repairers may have differing opinions they would like to share.

              HTH
              Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 7 January 2013, 12:19 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Fresh_Coffee
                If you leave the electric element uncovered (without water) and power it up, it will blow.
                This is what I was thinking. So why does Talk Coffee say this:

                Originally posted by Talk_Coffee
                Switch the machine on and allow it to come to working pressure. Start with a boiler as close to empty as possible.
                I couldn't resist removing the heating element before descaling. Yes, it is a heat exchanger. Yes, the scale has reached a point where there are loose flakes sitting in the boiler and getting sucked up into the hot water solenoid. So descale for now, throw away the citric acid, advise the customer to keep using RO water, unless that isn't good enough?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I dont know what if anything RO does for scale inhibition. Someone else will need to chime in here, or you could send an enquiry about that to site sponsor Bombora who are in the biz of water quality (here).

                  From the safety of flying blind from the computer keyboard in this instance, I am still not in favour of descaling anything. If you have the element out you can flush out the boiler thereby getting rid of any floaties in there at the moment, put the element back, clear the hot water solenoid valve, and start feeding the machine scale inhibited water as per previous.....but that's just me. If the boiler flushes clean, the only scale in there will be the stuff that has stuck fast onto the sides of the boiler, and that wont be coming off....


                  HTH
                  Last edited by Fresh_Coffee; 7 January 2013, 07:51 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skydragondave View Post
                    So why does Talk Coffee say this?
                    Because we reference small domestic machines where the element would be covered within seconds of powering the machine. Those with appropriate qualifications might choose to disconnect the element.
                    Last edited by TC; 7 January 2013, 05:10 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I appreciate the help Gents but now I'm confused. Descaling an espresso machine is now a no-no? If the scale stuck to the boiler isn't going anywhere anytime soon, where did the floaties come from? I have about a week to get this done in the evenings after my day job and I now am very trepidatious about using the descaling acid I just purchased for it... I do not want to harm this machine as it was bought new, for a lot of money...
                      I'll try to track down Bombora and see if I can get some advice about water.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
                        Contrary to apparent popular forum legend, scale in a boiler does not much as long as it is not blocking anything up in there.
                        Just my 3.6 cents worth, and other equipment repairers may have differing opinions they would like to share.
                        As a repairer, i'll chip in my own 3.6 cents - in this particular case, and any other situation where the machine is moved about regularly (short term installations, temporary 'loan' machines for covering equipment failures, coffee carts, coffee vans/trailers) scale in a boiler CAN be an issue. But this only applies to loose scale, or a situation where scale buildup is thick enough that vibrations and jolts from moving the machine can loosen scale. And it will only affect the hot water, and in extreme cases the steam - NOT the heads.

                        We have one customer with a 2 year old ECM Raffaello in a mobile van that had ongoing issues with dirty hot water and boiler fill level problems despite having very good filtration, since she is in Ballarat and the water supply there is not ideal for coffee machines. We had to remove and clean out the boiler to solve the problems caused by scale constantly flaking loose inside the boiler.

                        And another specific subset of machines that can be affected by boiler scale buildup is any machine that has the level probe installed in the sight glass - a blockage in the lower sight glass tube can cause boiler overfill or underfill issues.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What about the prospect of scale buildup on the heating element, insulating it from the water it heats?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            .... a situation where scale buildup is thick enough that vibrations and jolts from moving the machine can loosen scale.
                            I would think the heating element is a certainty for scale flaking off (even on a m/c that is never moved),.. due to the constant temperature changes and consequent expansion /contraction movement.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks again to all of you.
                              MorganGT, you are correct in that I have not been having scale issues in the group head, just gasket/seal changes. I did see some flaking of the boiler but it was mostly the element with the most loose scale on it. So will either citric acid or the liquid phosphoric acid I picked up harm the boiler if I mix it according to directions? If not, I'd like to use the phosphoric acid and follow-up occasionally with the citric acid powder.

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