THE TRUTH ABOUT MACHINE DELIMING COSTS…
It requires about 6-8 hours labor to disassemble a machine, delime the components, and then reassemble the machine. The normal bill for deliming a two group machine is over $600. To make it even worse, your machine may be in our shop for a week or more. You’ll still get a limited amount of lime buildup even when you use a water softener, but the buildup won’t be as fast or as severe. Think of water softening as a low cholesterol diet for your espresso machine; you can’t completely eliminate the risk of a heart attack with a low cholesterol diet, but you can greatly minimize the chances.
A small investment today will save you money tomorrow. Don’t run an $8,000 espresso machine without a $150 water softener.
Other Things You Should Know…
Municipal Water Treatment
- Most municipal water plants do not soften their water
- Central Indiana utilities often use surface water supplies when their reservoirs are full, but will use well (aquifer) water when needed. Since surface water generally contains less hardness than well water, water hardness may fluctuate immediately after water sources are changed.
Filtered Water vs. Softened water.
- Filtered and Softened water are not the same thing.
- Filters remove floating minerals, softening removes dissolved minerals.
- Bottled water is often advertised as filtered, but rarely as softened.
- Reverse osmosis water (RO) and distilled water (DW) can be used to make coffee—and you can’t have lime buildup if your water contains no minerals. The downside to RO and DW is those missing minerals change the coffee’s taste (both waters are somewhat acidic and this effects extraction) and may prevent the espresso machine from working properly (minerals enable the machine to determine when the boiler is full).
- Some centralized or whole house softeners are set to regenerate every 24, 48, 72 hours instead of every X gallons. If that hourly setting allows for too much time between regeneration, it is quite possible that in the hours immediately preceding regeneration, the water is not getting softened. Consequently, you may still be feeding hard water to your machine. Ensure your centralized water softener has the correct regeneration settings for your water usage.
Checking Your Water Hardness
- An easy way to determine the hardness of your bottled or tap water is by using a swimming pool test strip. Locate the hardness part of your test strip, dip it in the bottled or tap water, read the strip. If the reading is in the lowest two levels your water is sufficiently soft. If it is in the third level or higher, your water is too hard.
- Drip coffee makers do not require soft water; these machines are not pressurized and can easily be cleaned.
- If you need to satisfy your inner chemist, more detailed information can be found at Water for Coffee FAQ