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Scale buildup on top of ECM Synchronika steam boiler

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  • Scale buildup on top of ECM Synchronika steam boiler

    I pulled apart my Synchronika in an effort to remedy an issue I have with the machine leaking steam and water. Im going to check out the vacuum relief valve as shown on this WLL video

    However I was a little shocked at all the scale buildup on top (and some down the bottom) of the steam boiler shown in attached pics.

    I had the machine serviced about a year ago as it was leaking water and the service tech told me that some sort or plastic T connector had failed.

    I use bottled Mt Franklin water (and have been for approx 5 years) as the house im living in is rented- so no plumbed in/proper filter option is available. I also noticed some surface rust in some areas.

    I figured I'd be able to get away without descaling because I was using "clean" water but as I mentioned, the machine was serviced a year ago with no mention of all the scale buildup. The other thing I was worried about was lubricating all the correct parts properly as I'm not sure how to go about it.

    The machine is pretty heavy and I'd prefer not to move it around too much.

    Couple of quick questions:

    How is everyone getting their large machines serviced at home? Any recommendations for mobile services that carry ECM parts in metro Melbourne?

    What's causing all the buildup on top of the steam boiler and how do I stop it/clean it?

    Any tips on cleaning and preventing the spots of surface rust?

    Any tips on a reasonably cost effective and available water solution to mitigate all the scale in a rented house?

    Does anyone know of a good general maintenance video that applies to the synchronika?

    Many thanks in advance. Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Don't believe that deposition is scale mate.
    Just a case of mild corrosion products related to the presence of moisture. The Anti-Vac Valve might be leaking a bit or could be coming from another leak source. Worth trying to identify where the moisture is coming from and then rectifying same...



    • #3
      Washing up liquid around the joints and look for bubbling Mal?


      • #4
        How often are you using the hot water tap on the machine?


        • Marxy24
          Marxy24 commented
          Editing a comment
          Pretty rarely actually!

      • #5
        Hi Marxy - "
        I use bottled Mt Franklin water (and have been for approx 5 years) as the house im living in is rented- so no plumbed in/proper filter option is available. I also noticed some surface rust in some areas."

        Whilst Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) admit that the bottled water does not come from Mt Franklin - One stated company source ( 5 in Aust. apparently) is a property in the Mtns of the Gold Cst hinterland (groundwater spring).
        And it will be very difficult to factually ascertain from CCA what level of filtering of the source water takes place in the bottled water you are using.
        I personally would accept that until proven otherwise that any filtering CCA would be undertaking would be of a level far from the so called Coffee Std - avge = 15microns. And the amount (%) of TDS in a typical bottle may not be so much different to any typical municipal supply.

        In Sth East Qld which has a high level of mineral content naturally occuring in the ground water gathered prior to bulk storage / tertiary treatment, I filter at a level equal to not greater than 5 microns.
        To do this is not prohibitively expensive, doesn't require permanent installation or expensive restoration.
        This addresses A lot of the Issues with Scale buildup so that it can be minimised greatly in a home situation.
        Remembering a Home Setup Espresso machine has an operational service period Far Far greater than in a Commercial environment - timeline wise ( period of operation vs servicing) not volume wise tho ( litres thru the machine).

        I hope the apparent source of the leak / scale is established and fixed for you Marxy asap.


        • #6
          Pureau is about the only store bought water recommended for use in coffee machines without either further filtering or the addition of minerals


          • Dimal
            Dimal commented
            Editing a comment
            It also tastes really nice...

        • #7
          Just saw your comment above that you rarely pull water from the hot water tap.

          This is a problem, and it means the only thing leaving your service boiler is steam, which leaves behind the minerals. The water in the boiler then becomes more and more concentrated with dissolved minerals and this is not good. It leads to scale and other deposits.

          You should aim to pull at least a cup of water per day, to ensure adequate turnover of fresh water into the steam boiler.


          • #8
            Thanks mate, I appreciate the advice