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Date: 23 May 2007 09:46:36
From: Danny
Subject: softening water for the trailer
We have moderately hard water here and I've been using a catridge
system from Allpure, installed in the trailer. It's a slight pain,
since you have to remove the water line from the Gaggia after changing
the cartridge to run off some water before first use, and after all
that it doesn't seem to make much difference anyway, since the boiler
is full of scale again. I may not be changing the cartridge often
enough, but they are quite expensive, so....

I'm considering installing a softener on the mains water line in the
kitchen that feeds the hose that I use to fill the water containers
each day. Is that feasible? What I mean is, will filling the
containers with "softened" water be as efficient as softening the
water in situ, before the machine. I could then install a whole house
softener, or at least something more manly - suggestions?

I appear to have two rising mains in this house. The one I use for
the hose serves just that and the bathroom. There is another main for
the rest of the house.

Many thanks.

--
Regards, Danny

http://www.gaggia-espresso.com (a purely hobby site)
(apparently bad grammar but I like it that way...)





 
Date: 25 May 2007 11:45:49
From: Steve Ackman
Subject: Re: softening water for the trailer
In <5bidbvF2stk48U1@mid.individual.net >, on Wed, 23 May 2007 09:46:36
+0100, Danny wrote:

> We have moderately hard water here and I've been using a catridge
> system from Allpure, installed in the trailer. It's a slight pain,
> since you have to remove the water line from the Gaggia after changing
> the cartridge to run off some water before first use, and after all
> that it doesn't seem to make much difference anyway, since the boiler
> is full of scale again. I may not be changing the cartridge often
> enough, but they are quite expensive, so....
>
> I'm considering installing a softener on the mains water line in the
> kitchen that feeds the hose that I use to fill the water containers
> each day. Is that feasible? What I mean is, will filling the
> containers with "softened" water be as efficient as softening the
> water in situ, before the machine. I could then install a whole house
> softener, or at least something more manly - suggestions?

In USAian, when someone says "soften" it usually
refers to ionic exchange. It doesn't demineralize
your water; just exchange the calcium out for sodium
or potassium. We had moderately hard water in
Minnesota, though I can't recall what the actual
hardness was, we went through salt at the rate of
about 240 lbs. per year.
Water with this much sodium in it is better for
espresso than water with no minerals, but still, it's
far from ideal. Taste tests show that increasing
sodium and decreasing calcium begin to degrade the
flavor, though I couldn't tell you offhand what the
numbers are.
Without knowing how hard your water is, it'd be
impossible to recommend for or against using the water
from the whole house softener in your coffee. It
might have too much sodium, or it might not. If the
sodium isn't excessive, you may find that adding a bit
of calcium in the form of straight tap water will
improve the flavor... Or you might find a taste
improvement by using potassium chloride instead of
sodium chloride, and straight tap.

What we did in New Mexico, where we had 240 ppm
according to the pocket TDS meter, was to install the
200 gallon per day Reverse Osmosis unit we'd had in
Arizona.
Since the RO membrane was getting a bit long in the
tooth, the output from that unit measured about 15ppm
(vs about 2ppm a year earlier).
For both coffee and espresso, we used the calibrated
Bunn pitcher, filling to the 30 oz mark with RO water,
and topping off with water straight from the tap.
30 oz of RO + 18 oz of tap water yielded a solution
that was right at 100ppm TDS.

Given a couple of carboys to fill, and similar water
to what we had in NM, I'd do something like 3 gallons
RO + 2 gallons tap... or if I could actually detect an
improvement in the flavor, maybe even 50/50.
If I needed a much larger quantity, I'd probably have
to come up with something a bit more automated.

How much water a day do you go through? Do you have
separate coffee water and wash-up water?


  
Date: 25 May 2007 18:21:12
From: Danny
Subject: Re: softening water for the trailer
Steve Ackman wrote:

-snip-
> What we did in New Mexico, where we had 240 ppm
> according to the pocket TDS meter, was to install the
> 200 gallon per day Reverse Osmosis unit we'd had in
> Arizona.

From an earlier post of mine, where I contacted the local water
company, my water is purely chalk hardness, and is 277mg/litre or 227ppm.

> Since the RO membrane was getting a bit long in the
> tooth, the output from that unit measured about 15ppm
> (vs about 2ppm a year earlier).
> For both coffee and espresso, we used the calibrated
> Bunn pitcher, filling to the 30 oz mark with RO water,
> and topping off with water straight from the tap.
> 30 oz of RO + 18 oz of tap water yielded a solution
> that was right at 100ppm TDS.
>
> Given a couple of carboys to fill, and similar water
> to what we had in NM, I'd do something like 3 gallons
> RO + 2 gallons tap... or if I could actually detect an
> improvement in the flavor, maybe even 50/50.
> If I needed a much larger quantity, I'd probably have
> to come up with something a bit more automated.
>
> How much water a day do you go through? Do you have
> separate coffee water and wash-up water?

I use 25 gallons of water/day (5x5 gallon containers).


--
Regards, Danny

http://www.gaggia-espresso.com (a purely hobby site)
(apparently bad grammar but I like it that way...)



   
Date: 26 May 2007 10:13:44
From: Steve Ackman
Subject: Re: softening water for the trailer
In <5bok8qF2sgudsU1@mid.individual.net >, on Fri, 25 May 2007 18:21:12
+0100, Danny wrote:

> From an earlier post of mine, where I contacted the local water
> company, my water is purely chalk hardness, and is 277mg/litre or 227ppm.
> ...
> I use 25 gallons of water/day (5x5 gallon containers).

That's probably more than I'd want to be messing with
manually all the time with my smallish 4 gallon RO tank;
either a larger RO pressure tank, or you could T off of
your wall mounted softener for the Gaggia (if you still
have that) and fill your containers from there.

It really all boils down to how much you want to
spend... doesn't it always. ;-)


 
Date: 23 May 2007 09:38:45
From: Ken Fox
Subject: Re: softening water for the trailer
"Danny" <danny@nospam.gaggia-espresso.com > wrote in message
news:5bidbvF2stk48U1@mid.individual.net...
> We have moderately hard water here and I've been using a catridge system
> from Allpure, installed in the trailer. It's a slight pain, since you
> have to remove the water line from the Gaggia after changing the cartridge
> to run off some water before first use, and after all that it doesn't seem
> to make much difference anyway, since the boiler is full of scale again.
> I may not be changing the cartridge often enough, but they are quite
> expensive, so....
>
> I'm considering installing a softener on the mains water line in the
> kitchen that feeds the hose that I use to fill the water containers each
> day. Is that feasible? What I mean is, will filling the containers with
> "softened" water be as efficient as softening the water in situ, before
> the machine. I could then install a whole house softener, or at least
> something more manly - suggestions?
>
> I appear to have two rising mains in this house. The one I use for the
> hose serves just that and the bathroom. There is another main for the
> rest of the house.
>
> Many thanks.
>
> --
> Regards, Danny
>
> http://www.gaggia-espresso.com (a purely hobby site)
> (apparently bad grammar but I like it that way...)
>

Hi Danny,

As far as I know, soft water is soft water, and the machine is not going to
care where it was softened. I used to use a cartridge softener just under
the sink, to feed the espresso machines. I began having problems with other
plumbing in my house due to accumulation of scale from our hard water and
decided to just soften all the water in the house. I have been doing that
with a whole house rechargable softener ever since, for the last two years,
and plumb the espresso machine in directly with the whole house water now.
I recharge the softener with salt sold in those huge softener salt bags
which are quite cheap, at least over here.

Every so often I check the water and it reads 0 gpg on my dip sticks. I
have had no scaling problems.

So, I would say, go for it, but be sure that you are softening the supply
that will go into your containers, being as it appears that you have two
water supplies coming into the house.

ken